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mono vs cat which is better

Cat vs Mono – Price & Performance

This might be one of the greatest debates of all time.  To be quite honest we had no desire to add our opinion into the already mile high pile.

But back when we were still in the dreaming phase of moving aboard a sailboat, it was the first big question we had.  Catamaran or Monohull?

We must have read a few dozen articles but the one we found most insightful wasn’t from a sailing expert.  It was written by cruiser who had sailed a catamaran around the world and a monohull around the west coast of the USA and Mexico.  It was a well-rounded perspective from someone who wasn’t firmly rooted in one camp or the other.

The article:  Cat vs Mono – The Great Debate, was written by our friend Pat and if you really want to have your feathers ruffled, check out his Trawler vs Sail piece.

So, when we saw that our friends Nick and Terysa were considering the switch from Monohull to Catamaran we invited them to come crew with us for a week. With each sundowner we shared, the conversation seemed to circle round to the benefits and downsides of life on a catamaran compared to their monohull.  We tried to fight it…but it seemed crazy not to share our thoughts on The Great Sailboat Debate: Catamaran vs Monohull.  In this round we’re covering price and performance.  Stay tuned for part 2…safety and comfort.

There really is no such thing as a perfect boat. We all agree that the best boat is the one you can afford, maintain and get out cruising in.  If you have the cash to purchase a small monohull now, then don’t try and wait till you have that 5 million saved up for the latest HH.  At the end of the day we’re all anchored in the same beautiful bay with the same million dollar view…its just some of us get knocked around a little more while enjoying that cocktail. 😉

It’s your birthday!

Ok, perhaps not.  Unless it is, and in that case, Happy Birthday.  But around here your opinions are special, and we want to hear them. Did you find this insightful?  Would you like to see more off the cuff chats?  Do you have some thoughts you want to share on the great catamaran vs monohull debate?  Let us know in the comment box below!

 

the wynns and ruby rose go sailing

 

Nick and Terysa documented the week of sailing and shenanigans over on their channel.  So, if you want to see what life aboard Curiosity is like from a couple of monohull loving but catamaran considering sailors, here is a binge ready playlist:

 

Monohull for sale!  Ruby Rose (the Southerly 38) is indeed looking for new owners.  Full Deets Here: http://yachtrubyrose.com/southerly-38-for-sale/

 

🙏 THANK YOU!

Sharing our lives and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (29)

  • Mary

    Love all the chatter!

    reply
  • Mary McCorquodale

    Absolutely love watching Gone With The Wynns on YouTube. The video is fantastic, the best I’ve seen. Love your catamaran. Most importantly; what a beautiful couple. Keep smiling, you guys are awesome.

    reply
  • Kerri McHale

    I honestly don’t get a chance to watch many of your videos, but had to make time for this one out of pure curiosity. Not that I have any passionate opinion on the topic — we just always knew what was right *for us* — but it’s really interesting to hear the perspective of monohull sailors’ experience on a catamaran. One thing I observed during all of the discussion of pros/cons was how vastly different the sailing characteristics of one monohull vs. another can be, even ones purpose-built for cruising. I don’t know much about catamarans, but I assume they’re built/shaped/weighted to sail in a much more uniform manner than monohulls? We have a 40-year-old 35′ full-keel, heavy-displacement double-ender cruiser, and in hearing some of the “stats” discussed for Ruby Rose, I actually often found more similarities between your two boats than Ruby Rose and our monohull. And some things that were *way* different (for example, comfortable top speed: we’ve sailed speeds much higher than those in complete comfort — and we’re still scared n00bs that don’t ever try to push any limits! — likely because the weight/ballast and shapes of our boats are so different), even if we’re both in “half boats” *and* cruiser boats, I didn’t find a whole lot of commonalities in sailing characteristics (I love that “half boat” term, btw — first time I’ve ever heard it; guess no one will say it to our faces!).

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Curious Minion here, pinch-hitting while the Wynns are sailing between islands and thus, WiFi. Yes, your double-ended cruiser relies on its weight for stability and is made to just sort of slice through anything, whereas Ruby Rose is dependent more on her width and won’t be as smooth a ride because she doesn’t ride as low in the water. Not sure what you mean about catamarans sailing in a more uniform manner than monohulls? I’m not really a sailor so the finer points of sailing are lost on me.

      BUT, good for you for finding your boat and getting out there! As they said in the video, the best boat is for where you are right now and how you’re sailing right now. Fair winds!
      Curious Minion

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      • Kerri McHale

        Hey, miss minion. 😉 “The best boat is for where you are right now and how you’re sailing right now.” Exactly! I don’t know a darn thing about catamarans, so this is purely my assumption (based on nothing), but I just meant that I assume the shapes and sailing characteristics of catamarans as a group are a lot less varied as opposed to to monohulls (like the huge differences between a performance cruiser like Ruby Rose and a heavy displacement cruiser like Meriwether) — e.g. catamarans ride the water much more similarly due to the keels, shapes, displacements, etc being a lot less varied even amongst different sizes). But for all I know, that could be totally untrue!

        reply
        • Curious Minion

          Aah, I see and I think you’re on the right track there. There’s probably more variability in cats meant for racing, but less so for cruising cats I would think. I’m sure someone will correct us if we’re wrong.

          Fair winds!
          Curious Minion

          reply
  • Molly age 11

    Hey Nicky,
    So have you thought about the bloops! Ref my post on your last vid!

    reply
  • David Burnett

    Great balanced discussion guys. Certainly there are pros and cons for any boat – mono or multi. I don’t think anyone could argue that a mono wins hands down as far as grace and aesthetics are concerned. A cat wins on space and the great advantage of having one hull for the owners, and one for guest, or children etc. However the load carrying is an issue – it seems the forward section of those hulls is usually fairly empty due to weight issues, whereas it is not unusual to have a tonne or more of anchor and chain right up in the bow of a mono.
    Nice to have a back-up engine too on a cat – the consideration of two sets of impellors, two sets of exhaust elbows, and double the time for an engine service is in my view worth that back-up. Also of course great for manoeuvrability, but then monos have bow thrusters that do a pretty good job.

    Liveability on a cat- up there in the breeze, rather than being down there in the heat is another factor. Then there is the sailing – well for the ultimate sailing experience, then at the helm of a nice mono, heeled into a nice breeze is pretty hard to beat (but then others would argue they don’t like heeling – they just want a flat ride).
    On that, there is stability – a cat is stable, and more comfortable in a swell. That stability applies however whether it is right way up or not (sorry, but those hatches in the bottoms are not for looking at the fish!)
    This ‘argument is never going to be won – for some, a mono is right, for others a cat. For some a mono is right in some places, a cat in others, and so it goes on.
    Mention was made regarding antifouling – the issue of two hulls to do. Well, with a cat, you can beach and give the hulls a scrub, with a mono, you have to go over the side, or haul.
    On that, I continually shake my head when people talk about antifouling – we don’t. Since out boat was new in 2012, we have not touched the hull (yes, there’s the giveaway guys – we have a mono :).). We just scrub or pressure wash from time to time, but do not paint the hull. Our Coppercoat is going strong eight seasons in, and looks like going for another eight at least, so that’s one expense that can be avoided – mono or cat.

    There are plenty of other factors to consider, and of course there are the exceptions too – mono or multi.

    We look forward to part two of your discussion – great stuff!

    Thank you.
    David
    SY Te Anau
    Sharing Life

    reply
  • Jason Dorsey

    Absolutely love watching your video’s. Wife an I and our 2 kids are within a year from moving onto a boat for good. Agree totally with buying a boat for what your doing now. Sold our sailboat for a Hatteras powerboat as we use it only on the East coast, and the Chesapeake bay currently. Plan is to get a bigger boat next year to voyage further. Most likely a sailboat again. We are also torn between Cat or Mono. I feel reading all the comparisons the one thing everyone is missing is comparing apples to apples. The great equalizer is money. I think if you have 350K to spend you have to compare a 350k catamaran to a 350K mono. So in reality it is a 40-44′ Cat vs a 50-60′ Mono. I think operating costs of the two would likely be equal. Space would be closer, certainly could still argue about usable space but the extra 10′ of waterline length changes a lot of the comfort, speed, and safety comparisons. Another big issue we have seen when you compare a 50’ish Mono to a 40’ish Cat is storage space, refrigeration/freezer size and such. Seems there is almost double the storage space on the Mono. Cat is the easy winner when you compare two equal length boats. Gets a lot tougher when you compare say a Leopard 43-44 to a Oyster 53 / Hylas 54 as these would be the approx same price used. Just my two cents as my hair gets grayer searching for our almost perfect boat! Keep up the great work.

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  • Keith Moser

    Whatever you choose is the right one. My/our first boat was a monohull. I never ever had a boat to be on a boat powered by wind was the most wonderful experience of my life. If I wasn’t so crippled my boat would be xquisite without a dought or a second hesitation. Learning to sail is easy it’s like walking just do it.

    reply
  • Roger B

    I really enjoyed your informative video with the comparisons between the two types of hulls and their advantages and disadvantages. Those are the pieces of information that I absorb as that’s the way my mind functions. Yes, I would enjoy seeing more of this type of video. Very entertaining for me.

    reply
  • Jon

    I keep meaning to ask; You and Jason are always walking but at one time you had bikes aboard though you weren’t sure if they would earn their keep. Do you still have them or were they repurposed as anchors?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Haha – almost anchors! They sold them in Ft. Lauderdale after their first trip to the Bahamas. Although they were handy to have, they were really difficult to get in & out of storage & load on the dinghy, and sometimes they were almost impossible to get off the dinghy onto the dock. So walking & public transport it is!
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Gary Church

    Great discussion. I have sailed and motored a variety of boats (makes and sizes) and your observations and comments are right on target based on my 50 years of boating.

    Currently my wife and I are spending the hurricane season in Grenada on our 64’ Grand Banks Aleutian Trawler. We are fortunate to have a boat virtually without compromise. It is surprising however to see 95 percent of the boats in the Caribbean south of the Bahamas are sailboats, half monohulls and half cats. Personal trawlers and motor yachts are few and far between.

    reply
  • Jonathan (and family) in Canada 🇨🇦

    Another informative and beautiful video! Our family looks forward to watching your videos every Sunday, without fail, here in chilly Canada!
    We have sailed on both mono’s and cat’s many times, for many years, during many different stages of our lives as a family.
    Honestly, we can say from our experiences, that a cat is the way to travel on the seas. It is far superior for comfort during rough seas, space-wise to keep a family somewhat sane together, and with the double engines, getting to where you want to go is never an issue. Also, if one engine fails, you have the other to use. Our kids adore the “sugar scoops,” they favour them for great fun, all the time. It is their hang-out area with friends etc.
    Cost is the biggest issue, we have found, both with us and our friends, in being able to afford the cat lifestyle. But, boy is it worth it!
    Once a cat owner, always a cat owner! We have never, ever, encountered a sailing family saying they are going back to a mono after living on a cat. Never. And I am in my 60’s and have sailed virtually my whole life, in one capacity or another.
    Thank you again for your beautiful videos.

    reply
    • Part 2-Jonathan again! From Canada 🇨🇦

      Please, if I may add, as I can’t stress enough, the huge importance of everyone on board being certified in First Aid. And to take refresher courses often. Even children; there are classes geared for children too. Medical emergencies on boats especially, happen more often than most might at first realize.
      Remember to update and revamp your on-board first aid kits often, and teach everyone where they are located, this goes for the EPIRB’S too.
      —Our rule is: as soon as guests get on our boat before we leave for a sail, and to refresh the ‘regulars,’ we, as a group, go through what to do in case of emergencies.
      The Captain and Helms-woman/man must be told of all medical conditions of all boat guests, PRIOR to departure.
      We have been approached by other boaters needing medical supplies and requiring life-saving assistance, quite a few times. I have been so proud of my family for going to their stations and following through quickly with pre-learned procedures, during hair-raising situations. Practice every possible scenario, because, we guarantee, it WILL sometime in your boating history…happen.
      We have been shocked at how little, if any, supply-stocks, some other boaters carry on board for emergencies.

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      • Kurt

        Excellent reminders, Jonathan!
        Never feel bad for speaking up about boat safety anytime.
        We feel Nikki and Jason won’t hesitate to print good reminders on safety, like you wrote about on their blog.
        They seem like very safety-conscious sailors!
        We too have had to hand over supplies, especially med supplies, to other boaters in an emergency.
        We agree it is disappointing and shocking that so many boaters are out there without proper supplies on board.
        ;)…Maybe Nikki and Jason could do a video on what kinds of emergency supplies a boating family should have on board at all times?? (Hint, hint!)
        We too have to vote in favour of owning a cat.
        As mono’s look beautiful in races, so streamlined and elegant, a cat is perfect for families wanting to sail without losing their minds…aka, try boating with teenagers in a mono…not much fun.
        We did it many times and my wife and I almost jumped ship!!!
        Then we got a cat…and it has been smooth-sailing, raging hormones and all.

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    • David Burnett

      Interesting – we have. They sailed for years on a cat up in the tropics and Asian areas. now back in Australia they have gone back to a mono. Horses for courses.

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      • Kurt

        We hear you David and we too have sailed on a mono with teenagers.
        When the opportunity to buy a Leopard 48 Cat came up, we couldn’t turn it down, it is just too spacious, has the ever popular trampolines and sugar scoops, etc. Gorgeous views from the huge windows, big front loading fridges too.
        My wife got sick of trying to dig out food from the mono’s top-loading fridge/freezer all the time and cook in that tiny galley. The amenities list is massive on this cat.
        We feel more a part of the outside now, whereas in our old mono, we were kind of cutoff from the outside, down in the saloon.
        Plus my wife is a Chef and is so much happier cooking/baking in a cat kitchen, which is all level with the outside entertaining area/tables. Her going up and down the tiny ladder to get out of the mono, laden with plates and serving trays, made for an unhappy wife. We were constantly cleaning up spills when everyone had to maneuver that ladder, laden with food and drinks.
        Try doing that with a young grand-baby in your arms too!
        And I love her cooking, boating seems to make us all extra hungry.
        Something about being in the ocean air, we surmise.
        Don’t you find that too?
        The cat is just so family adaptable (for us and our brood) and easier to sail for long periods of time without wanting to jump ship.
        But, you are so right…to each his own!
        Maybe we are spoiled but we came to the conclusion, that life is short, so why not enjoy ourselves and get a boat that makes us happy and isn’t such a chore to just get through each day.

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  • Pam McClure

    Wow. Very informative especially to a non sailor like myself. Learned a lot. Thanks to all of you.

    reply
  • James

    I loved Jason’s “half-boat” comment. It can roll eyes many old salts. It is funny though. The discussion is very informative and spotted on – thank to Nikki moderating. A cat definitely will double one’s survival chances in resources and capabilities to face the challenges Mother Nature throws at them.

    reply
    • David Burnett

      Unless it falls over !

      reply
  • anil vijay madgavkar

    very nice and sensible discussion.

    As we get older ( I am 67 ) our balance is no longer as good as earlier, and CATS are most definitely a better bet because they are far more stable.

    I love CATS so maybe I am a bit biased !!

    Happy sailing.

    reply
  • Kevin Peronard

    Thought it was really good discussion you had, and I like to see your thoughts and others on this debate. Also a lot of the things I had also heard and found around the net.
    As I am looking in to getting a boat of my own.
    But really enjoy your channel

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  • Michael

    Did you manage to get the Watermaker sitiation resolved before your guests arrived?

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      • Nancy Fernandez

        Great to hear you got it running again. Clean fresh water!

        reply
      • Michael

        That’s good to hear. It must have been such a boring event, there wasn’t any reason to report… which is really how you want to have events like that.

        reply

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