Sailboats vs. Catamarans: What’s the Difference?

Last update: Friday, January 26, 2024
woman relaxing on a catamaran with a view to a small island

If there is one debate that never ends in the sailing world it’s one about sailboats and catamarans. And there are fans on both sides.

Some people just love monohulls and some can’t get enough of those good old catamarans. Both groups have very strong arguments and both types of vessels have advantages and minor disadvantages.

This fierce sailing debate will continue as long as there is the sea to sail on, so it’s better just to stay beside and hear what they have to say. Most of them certainly agree that a lot of ‘arguments’ come from personal taste and preference.

On the other hand, most of the arguments are hard facts. Nonetheless, this debate will maybe help fellow navigators to choose the perfect boat for rent.

For a better understanding of the space that a catamaran or a sailboat offers we prepared a layout for you:

catamaran and sailboat layout

Advantages and disadvantages Sailboats and Catamarans

Stability & Safety

The first thing that interests future navigators is stability and accordingly, safety. And when talking about stability, we are talking about healing.

Everybody agrees that heeling is very small on catamarans because of their shape and weight-bearing. Monohull lovers argue that because of this stability sails cannot heal themselves, the hulls are straining and this makes the voyage noisy.

They also say that heeling on the sailboat actually helps stability and spills gashes of wind out of sails.

When speaking about safety, the main argument for catamarans is that they are unsinkable.

Sailboats can sink, but very rarely can capsize, because they have better abilities for straightening.

Those who love catamarans say that is better to capsize than to sink, but another side argues that when you’re capsized, you’re pretty much done.

Straightening ability gives a chance to fight with waves. Tough arguments on both sides.

Can’t make up your mind?

Get in touch with us for additional information!

sailboat in a sunset

Speed & handling

When it comes to speed, catamarans are certainly faster than sailboats. It is because more surfaces of monohulls are below the sea level and therefore the resistance of the sea is much higher.

A lot of people agree that riding with catamarans is more uncomfortable than with sailboats because of the hydrodynamic design of sailboats which fits with the sea.

In all fairness, both of those are extremely comfortable, these are just minor details. 

When talking about handling, the thing that goes in favour of catamarans is two engines, which can work separately for better manoeuvring. Also, catamarans have a more shallow draft which is good for shallow bays and coves.

Strong arguments for sailboats are that they can make easily sudden and sharp turns and can be handled without problems in narrow straits.

Maintenance & Price

When maintenance is considered, catamarans are more expensive because they are bigger and have ‘two of everything.’

The good thing is that catamarans can run on half power, which means, if one engine doesn’t work for some reason, you can still go out sailing.

With a sailboat, you cannot do that. Repair costs are significantly lower for the sailboat and the price of the new boat altogether.

But catamarans look good on the market, and there is a great demand for them, so if you paid a lot of money for a catamaran and now you think you cannot handle it, you can sell it very fast.

Even better, it’s always an elegant solution to put it in rent. It will pay out its value in no time because there’s always clientele who wants to rent a catamaran.

Of course, you can do the same with the sailboat. Perhaps rent is the most elegant solution of them all because you can enjoy sailing without worries about maintenance.

Who is the winner – the sailboat or the catamaran?

In the world of navigation, there are often conflicting opinions about which is better, a sailboat or a catamaran.

This article presented to you opinions from both sides, but all that matters is that the reasons are mostly subjective. The best way to decide is to compare both of them and then choose which of these two suits your needs.

We offer a wide range of different types of boats to rent and if you need help with your choice between a sailboat and a catamaran, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Have a question?

We have answers to your questions. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today!