Top 6 Characteristics Of A Good Catamaran

Good CatamaranLike all marine vessels, certain characteristics make some catamarans better than others. You will not find a perfect catamaran because no boat is perfect. Compromise is always required. But with forethought about how you will utilize your multihull, and matching your requirements to high quality design, you can get pretty close to your "dream" catamaran. Crucial attributes to consider for a cruising catamaran are:

      • Weight-carrying ability
      • Bridge deck clearance
      • Structural integrity and seaworthiness
      • Windward ability
      • Deck surface design
      • Ease of handling

We will explore each of these catamaran characteristics, and how they affect performance, comfort, and, ultimately, safety.

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Why Does Bridgedeck Clearance Matter In A Catamaran?

Bridgedeck clearance on a catamaran invites a wide difference of opinion among sailors. But what we all agree on is that good clearance is very important for the seaworthiness and comfort of a catamaran. See what Stephen has to say in the video at right. 

Avoiding slamming or pounding of waves against the underside of the bridgedeck, can make all the difference for the comfort of the crew and safety of the vessel. The slamming phenomenon can both be nerve wracking for the crew and damaging to the boat.

As a rule of thumb, we believe that clearance of between 5 and 6% of the LOA of the catamaran is good. 

Read Sackville Currie's bridgedeck clearance article to learn more about why it is crucial. 



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Modern Catamaran Trends: Gimmicks or Valid Design Ideas?

Modern catamaran characteristicsIn its 137-year history, the catamaran has always garnered passionate devotees. But technological innovations in agility and speed and the foiling catamarans' spotlight in the 2013 America’s Cup have expanded its appeal and popularity to a wider audience of sailing enthusiasts. The development of the modern catamaran from the simple ocean-going Polynesian double canoe to the most impressive multihulls on the planet has accelerated even more, with all the latest innovations in structure and composite materials. Tom Weaver, the former CEO of an America’s Cup program, comments in an article by Rob Almeida of gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News: “In the next 15 years, if you are not racing a cat, you will be racing “classic” boats.”

The celebrity of the catamaran is not only swelling in racing, but also for cruising catamarans. At their conception, the atypical design enabled cats to sail faster and in shallower waters with less wind and crew than other sailing vessels. But for years the unorthodox design met with skepticism, leaving the catamaran with little commercial success. Additional challenges to adoption of early versions of cruising cats were the small, very cramped interiors by modern day standards, was heavy and lumbering handling abilities. Many sailors used to say they “were built like tanks and sailed like bricks”.

Read more: Modern Catamaran Trends: Gimmicks or Valid Design Ideas?

Are Production Catamarans Safe And How Well do They Sail?

We are often asked if production catamarans like Fountaine Pajot, Lagoon and Leopard can actually cross oceans and perform well. The answer is a resounding YES! The safety factor for production catamarans may have been an issue about 10 or 15 years ago when these vessels were still very new in production but that has completely changed with all the advances in modern technology.

ARC Rally Multihull Class Results 2014

ARC Multihull Rally

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