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  • Writer's pictureCaptain Dave

To monohull or multihull, that is the question

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Would you rather feel every movement of the sea beneath your sails or have the safety and stability of two hulls? Would you rather have a boat that is cheaper and easier to dock in the marina or have more living space? These are some of the things you need to consider when deciding between a mono or multihull sailboat.

In a catamaran (aka multihull for my novice readers), the party will always be on your boat because of the amount of space and level of comfort. When docked, it is all about BYO beverages. Throw in a strand of lights and install some uplighting and voila — instant rendezvous after dark with friends and family.

Unlike the Titanic, multihulls are considered to be “unsinkable” because they are “keel-less.” Did I just make up my own word there? If “selfie” and “throwing shade” can end up in the dictionary, then maybe there is some hope for me! If you are navigating through high winds and somehow manage to tip over, exiting via the escape hatch might be your only option. But this is an extreme case and who does not like a little adventure and a memorable story to share with the grandkids one day?

Although they are more difficult to anchor, catamarans have multiple engines so if you lose one along the way, it is not the end of the world. Another benefit is the ability to enjoy all that nature has to offer because the main cabin is above sea level. There is a greater chance that you will catch a whale breaching or a pelican nose-diving for food (see my last post for some fun facts about these nifty creatures).

As proud owners of a monohull for quite some time now, I can say without reservation that my co-captain and I are leaning toward purchasing a multihull this time. You know, to try something new, shake things up a little bit. Make no mistake, we love our monohull. After all, monohulls have many enticing upsides that will be sorely missed. They point better so you will not have to tack as often. This could mean that even though they are not as fast as catamarans per se, you might actually reach your destination faster if that is your goal. Monohulls are easier to anchor and depending on the situation, they may hold up better in rough waters because (thanks to the keel) they usually land right side up if they get knocked over. If you prefer the Meryl Streep kind of privacy, then this ship is definitely for you as the floor of the main cabin is below sea level. Are you into collecting heavy rocks or bowling balls? Monohulls can hold more weight so feel free to collect away.

My daughter called boaters pretentious if they knock catamarans simply because they believe these ships do not capture the true experience of sailing. I would argue that it is just a matter of preference. Would you rather drive a Mazda Miata or a Dodge Ram down a windy road?

At the end of the day, each sailor needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each vessel before making a final decision.


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