What are the Pro and Cons to a catamaran

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by greenelephant, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. greenelephant
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    greenelephant New Member

    I am considering buying a catamaran for myself but am not too experienced with them. As the title implies (What are the Pro and Cons to a catamaran?) knowing would be very helpful.. :)
    Especially what advantages and disadvantages a 2-4 man catamaran at sea has over other 2-4 man boats

    thankyou
     
  2. Luckless
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    Luckless Senior Member

    Motor or Sail?

    What seas are we talking about? How far out, what kind of conditions are you planning to sail in?
     
  3. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    The problem with your question is that soon this thread will become a battlefield for each side.... There are many threads here that cover many of the points.
     
  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

  5. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Let me tell you why I made decision against a catamaran for my purposes. First let me start by saying there are many fine cats and tri's out there.
    But I looked at both and here is what I found looking for a boat in the 50 to 70 foot range.
    The center of gravity is lower in the Monohull. The monohull is typically longer than the Cat for typical size boat. A 50 foot cat is comparable to a 70' Mono in price and apparent size.
    The mono has taller freeboard and therefore better blue water boat. I feel more comfortable handling it in a storm. Also it is easier to maneuver in a narrow river, or canal like for a Great loop trip. There is one engine room not two. Easier for plumbing, electrical etc... All spaces are more together and wider than cat except for area between hulls which has higher CG. Mono can handle more weight with less change in performance than cat. Remember a Cat performance is based on its relative light weight, low displacement. So the performance you get is based on its light performance. It is very easy to overweight a CAT and drastically alter its performance and even safety. A mono because of it greater volume underwater (displacement is less affected by a few extra pounds) Then there is the whole self righting thing. Yes, my boat should self right, a Cat almost impossible. But a CAT should give you better good weather performance than a Mono for the size engine. Later I found out that both a 50' Cat or a 70' mono are hard to find cheap dockage for.
     
  6. Luckless
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    Luckless Senior Member

    As a fan of redundant systems on anything important, I'm wondering why you actually call the issue of two engine rooms for a dual engine vessel a bad thing. Yes you end up costing yourself a small amount of space that could have been used for something else, but with proper fire suppression systems you can completely lose one engine room to damage and still have the ability to limp home. (Assuming your fuel lines are properly buffered, if not, you're screwed anyway.)

    As for the easier plumbing and electrical, well, I can see the cat having a little more plumbing, but we're not talking rocket science here. As for electrical, well I can't see where the difference would be. You might have a few yards more of wires, and likely you'll have your batteries split for balance, but again I see this as an option to split and build redundant systems.


    As for docking price, doesn't it get expensive for any larger boat?


    I'm personally interested in learning more about the subject, I'm working on starting my ten year plan, (which could turn to 20, we'll see how life goes.) to design and build my own sail/motor cruiser suitable for Canadian East coast/main inland water ways, with options to jump over to Europe in the safer seasons. I figure 6 years in design, 4 in build. Wood and glass, and multiple shorter masts over a larger single. But anyway.
     
  7. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Do not underestimate the amount of plumbing and electrical in a large boat. A 50 to 70 foot boat has many "rooms" and they all need, electrical, water, bilge pumps, Air conditioning. Two hulls plus a large center area. Is 1/3 more than a on hull, with two decks. Sounds like a little thing but it isn't. As far as engine room. It is not the same to install two engines in a 15x15 space versus, 1 engine in 2 6x6 spaces. Remember I am equating a larger mono to smaller Cat.

    I have redundant batteries, fuel, water, etc... Just in a linear manner not on two hulls.
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Comparing a catamaran to a monohull is too vague of a question. The argument can go on forever between catamarans with or witout deck structures alone. <i have sailed mono and multi hulls. At the end, because I am a cheap *******, will buy whatever I can get a deal on. That is how I have ended up with a lot of strange vessels.
     
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  9. greenelephant
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    greenelephant New Member

    In answer to the first response. I wish to sail around europe, and the mediterranean. However are catamarans suited for ocean travel ie from Europe to America?

    BTW I with to carry around at the very most half a ton of supplies with me. Is this suitable for a catamaran? What are the weight capacities for catamarans?
     
  10. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    This small size in a 2-4 man boat magnifies the space issue, which has been so ably discussed earlier.

    I prefer to sail a cat for the thrill of speed, flatter deck etc, but for say a week or more trips, the space is very much better in a mono.

    It appears to me that cats are a lot more expensive for the equivalent interior size as a mono. This is probably due to having two hulls to build instead of one, and maybe lightness dictates more 'exotic' materials than the 'standard' monohull.

    But, as pointed out some many times in these forums - you must decide your priorities long before you decide your design - its all a big compromise.
     
  11. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    Pro:

    Catamaran go fast. :)


    Con:

    Catamaran flip over. :(



    Jimbo
     
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    pros and cons - Monohull

    Monohull:

    Monohull go fast




    Monhulls tip over
     

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  13. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Cats flip and stay that way.

    Cats are crap at heavy loads (a cruising boat) unless HUGE!

    Big cats require big WIDE slips and railways , bring your check book dockside or at the boat yard.

    Light weight is required for performance , light weight is far more expensive to build than "usual" construction.

    Light construction required far more care coming alongside , as its easier to damage.

    FF
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Light construction is cheaper because it takes less materials, unless you go to some exotic ultralights. The savings in rigging and ballast make up for the expense of two hulls and deck structure. I think that the main misconception is that people compare high performance racing cats with low tech cruising boats
     

  15. greenelephant
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    greenelephant New Member

    Reason I brought up catamarans as you know is their speed is a good factor about them. But after reading the responses I am reconsidering my options..

    Ideally I and Im sure everyone else wants a boat that will move quickly! I am aware of the conflict between performance and stability.
    I have taken a look at the stats of various catamarans and have found that on average they sail @ approx 8-10 knots.
    Ideally I'd like a boat (catamaran or not) that can closely match this speed.

    Are catamarans less able to cope under heavy rogh seas than conventional cruisers?
    Also I wish to have a boat capable of supporting 2-3 tons of utilities/supplies. Could a catamran handle this?

    Thank you
     
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