If there is one debate that never ends in sailing world it’s one about sailing boats and catamarans. And there are fans on both sides. Some people just love monohull and some can’t get enough 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 lot of ‘arguments’ come from personal taste and reference. On the other hand, most of arguments are hard facts. Nonetheless, this debate will maybe help fellow navigators to choose the perfect boat for rent.
Stability & Safety
First thing that interests future navigators is stability and accordingly, safety. And when talking about stability, we are talking about heeling. 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 heel themselves, the hulls are straining and this makes voyage noisy. They also say that heeling on the sailing boat 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 of straightening. Those who love catamarans say that is better capsize than to sink, but other side argues that when you’re capsized, you’re pretty much done. Straightening ability gives chance to fight with waves. Tough arguments on both sides.
Speed & handling
When it comes to speed, catamarans are certainly faster than sailing boats. It is because more surface of monohulls are below the sea level and therefore the resistance of sea is much higher. Lot of people agree that ride with catamarans is more uncomfortable than with sailboats because of 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 favor of catamarans are two engines, which can work separately for better maneuvering. Also, catamarans have more shallow draft which is good for shallow bays and coves. Strong arguments for sailing boats is 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 sailboat you cannot do that. Repair costs are significantly lower for sailboat and price of the new boat all together. But catamarans look good on the market, there is a great demand for them, so if you payed lot of money for catamaran and now you think you cannot handle it, you can sell it very fast. Even better, it’s always 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.