As us (Stephen and also Estelle) self-isolate during this pandemic aboard Zuri, our Bali 5.4, we thought we would share some insights around important features you need to think around when purchase a catamaran. We began out with 5 then at the end, Stephen threw in another 3. What space your thoughts? What are important features top top a catamaran. Let us know listed below in the comment section.

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Like all marine vessels, details characteristics make part catamarans better than others. You will not uncover a perfect catamaran since no boat is perfect. Compromise is always required. Yet with forethought about how you will use your multihull, and matching your needs to high top quality design, you can obtain pretty close to her “dream” catamaran.

Crucial features to consider for a setravel catamaran are:

Weight-carrying abilityBridge deck clearanceStructural integrity and seaworthinessWindward abilityDeck surface ar designEase that handling

We will check out each of these catamaran characteristics, and also how they impact performance, comfort, and, ultimately, safety.

Early catamaran designs were hefty by today’s standards. The multihulls to be designed with a narrow beam, high freeboard, and also inefficient underwater design. Castle were susceptible to understanding horsing and pitching. Today, v the technical advancements of lighter, more powerful composite materials, catamarans power has greatly improved.

In the last twenty years or so, watercraft builders have painstakingly studied and also resolved the concerns affecting catamarans, properly increasing their seaworthiness by leaps and bounds. Consistent reform and transformation of also the basic tenets the catamaran design continue now as is noticeable in the radical catamaran design in the 2013 America’s Cup Challenge. (The foiling Gunboat G4 designs feather to mind). In fact, many of the problems of the larger multihull designs have actually been got rid of altogether.

The brand-new generation of cruising catamarans provides exciting, fun cruising vessels with good livability, space, comfort, and also safety. This to be made possible, in no little part, by the beforehand multihull pioneers.

Catamaran security & Weight-Carrying Ability


WEIGHT: uneven the monohull architecture that can lug weight without lot loss the performance, an overloaded catamaran promptly loses performance and, eventually, safety. In bespeak to respond to this, multihull manufacturers space continually trying to find ways to reduce building weight to increase the potential payload capacity while retaining optimal performance.To select a irradiate catamaran, look because that hulls with cored construction and interiors constructed with lightweight materials. Lighter construction permits catamarans to carry more weight and also perform faster, for this reason this properties is very important when selecting a seafaring catamaran.

Monohulls can heel and spill wind as soon as the sails room overpowered. Yet a catamaran’s only easily accessible response to pressure of a wind gust is to accelerate. So the watercraft has to it is in very solid to host together. Cored construction makes the catamaran strong and really stiff. Stiffness gives a catamaran great performance.

Consider that the catamaran’s hulls are actually two watercrafts joined with each other by a bridge deck. These “boats” space constantly fighting every other and also trying to go in their very own direction. The boat structure should be strong enough to respond to this and, at the very same time, resolve the downforce that the mast in the facility of the bridge deck. The catamaran performs an impressive feat competing with all the opposing pressures inherent in the multihull design. For the reason, that is crucial to ensure the design and also manufacturer are reliable with a track record to demonstrate structural integrity.

STABILITY: unlike monohulls that count on a hefty lead keel to save it upright, a catamaran relies on the beam the the boat and the buoyancy that the hulls because that stability. Typically setravel catamarans will have a beam to length ratio of about 50%. So a 45-ft long catamaran will be about 22-ft wide, giving a an extremely stable platform. An excellent stability in a catamaran is as soon as the to the right forces and healing pressures are in balance. So if the righting moment is greater than the capsizing moment, the watercraft stays upright. As soon as the capsizing minute becomes bigger than the righting minute due to boost in wind, the boat starts come capsize. This diagram and article by James Wharram, king of “self-build” catamarans, offer an useful insight right into catamaran stability. Also, read this write-up by Shuttleworth “Design Considerations because that Seaworthiness“.

Catamaran bridge Deck Clearance

ALL catamarans slam (waves hitting under the leg deck). The noisy and sometimes disconcerting slamming takes getting used to. The an initial catamaran I ever before sailed an s passage on was a Shuttleworth 44. In the early 90’s and even today, that is considered to it is in a an excellent design. However, ~ a few hours of cruising in part sloppy seas turn off the eastern coast of Africa, the slamming noise had me encouraged that the boat was walk to break up and also sink. Currently that I have a full understanding the the nature of a catamaran, it transforms out that there to be no must worry. Ns have concerned accept that slamming is just part of cruising a catamaran. That is the level of slamming that makes the difference in between a comfortable ride and a terrifying experience.

Bridge deck clearance is a vital factor in predicting the slamming level that a catamaran design. A greater clearance produces less slamming. My rule of ignorance is; 4% of the overall length is low, 5% is acceptable, and also 6% is good.

When it involves slamming, one more important variable is weight. If the watercraft is heavy due to construction or payload, it will tend to get in a wave. This slams the chest the the watercraft into the wave. A lighter watercraft with much more buoyancy will rise on the wave reducing slamming substantially. “The space Between” by Sackville Currie, explains in detail the various options, problems, and compromises.

Windward Ability: Catamaran Keels vs. Dagger Boards

The average cruising catamaran has actually keels if high power catamaran cruisers have dagger boards. Let’s look at the two schools of thought on this subject. The basic perception the catamarans cannot suggest as high together monohulls is not totally true. I have actually seen modern catamarans pointing as high as many cruising monohulls, especially in stronger winds. The issue is not how high the boat points, however rather how much leeway that makes. A monohull through a large keel (lateral resistance) makes less leeway 보다 a catamaran with shallow keels. So, also if both vessels room pointing in ~ 45 degrees, the monohull will certainly be make a much better track come windward.

Catamarans through dagger boards are able to point much better than catamarans with keels. The insurance claim is that a catamaran with dagger plank is safer because if the boards room up and also the boat gets party on a wave, it will certainly skid under the wave sideways. Dagger plank proponents think a keel trips the watercraft as it tries to navigate down the next of a wave causing capsize.

I can only speak from an individual experience. I was recorded sideways top top a 20-foot tide a couple of days the end of Cape city on a 40ft catamaran with keels. The watercraft was struggle by successive three waves before we might get it back on track. The boat skidded down the waves and there to be no capsize, but it took some nifty maneuvering in ~ the helm. My an individual belief is the both species are safe and acceptable detailed they are operated correctly.

Catamaran Deck Surfaces

From a security perspective, decks must be as large and as level as possible.

Cockpit come Mast

Older designs often have decks through two levels from the coach roof home windows to the gunnels which type a next deck v a expedition hazard. Most contemporary catamaran deck draft are currently one level surface being wide enough to walk unhindered indigenous the cockpit come the mast.


The cockpit and also the saloon have to be ~ above one level with no step down right into the saloon, if possible. Contemporary designs have completed this and also it really provides a huge difference because that ease the movement and safety while at sea.


The measures on the stern should be large and simple to climb v a reasonable angle. If the measures are too steep or narrow, they come to be a hazard and lose an are for recreation. The stern should be easily obtainable from the dinghy.

Ease the Handling: Catamaran Deck Layout

Deck layout is crucial factor due to the fact that most setravel catamarans are sailed short-handed. ~ above catamarans with one helm, every lines must run ago to the helm so over there is a static position from where the entire watercraft can it is in controlled. Ns recommend electrical winches and solitary line reefing for at least the an initial reef, but additionally the 2nd reef, if possible. Every one of these of lines should come ago to the static regulate station in ~ the helm:

Both jib sheetsThe paper from the opposite side of the watercraft should it is in run through a revolve block and across the coach roof through a clutch to the helmMain sheetJib furling lineSingle heat reefing linesMain halyardOuthaulTraveler regulate lines.

Visibility from the helm is also really important. Every round visibility while underway, maneuvering, or docking is key to safety of her boat and others’ property and life. When standing in ~ the helm, you should be able to see both bows or, at the very least, the pulpits. The center of the crossbeam where the anchor is taken on from have to be visible and also both sterns for once you dock “stern to”. If every these stations room not visible while standing in ~ the helm wherein the engine controls are, you may encounter problems since of remote spots.

Catamaran characteristics Conclusion

Modern catamaran designs space much an ext advanced 보다 the at an early stage models the were slower, heavier, and also underpowered. Problems like understanding horsing, burying the bows, and also underpowered rigs have actually been largely eliminated.

Even despite composite construction technology gives a huge advantage in lighter materials and sleeker designs, no one design element or item of high tech equipment should dominate the vessel come the hinderance of others. Through some compromise, a an excellent naval architect can design a vessel satisfaction to many people and the result can be very exciting, safe, and also seaworthy.

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Top Tip: use a Buyers’ Broker in ~ No Cost

Which compromises should you do when picking your catamaran? it all counts on just how you will usage her. Catamaran Guru helps new and veteran multihull owners choose the right boat for their desires at no cost! The yacht seller payment broker commissions so our advice indigenous gleaned from countless boat-buying transactions is cost-free to you. Us will aid you discover right boat, the best program, or the right situation. If you desire to explore an ext on her own, visit our buying a catamaran section.