What to Look For When Buying a Used Catamaran

Congratulations on your decision to buy a pre-owned catamaran! Now, choosing which make or model to buy is the next most important step. Picking the right boat for your needs is paramount to ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of the experience.

To avoid common pitfalls of buying a pre-owned catamaran, we’ve compiled some simple guidelines to help steer you in the right direction.

1. Identify your needs

When searching the market to buy a catamaran, it’s important to establish what you intend to use your new vessel for.

Do you want to live aboard long-term? Maybe you just want to get away for the weekend from time to time or embark on some coastal cruising. Or, perhaps you are looking for a catamaran to put into commercial survey and undertake some charter work.

Whatever your intention, your needs will dictate the type and size of the catamaran, as well as the level of equipment required.

2. Set your budget

Ensure that you have a realistic budget, as this will set the parameters for the style and size of the catamarans you can purchase. Don’t forget to budget for additional costs to cover registration, insurance, marina fees, maintenance, upgrades and any unexpected upgrades or repairs.

3. Set your timeframe

Decide on a desired time frame for your purchase process. This will govern when and where you need to look for your dream catamaran, e.g. upcoming boat shows, inspecting brokers and marinas, or attending open days.

4. Do your research

When investing in a catamaran, it is vital that you undertake adequate research into what is available. A lot of information can be found online but don’t rely solely on the internet; be sure to speak to your broker and inspect as many boats as possible before making your final decision.

5. Daggerboards or fixed keels

Another element you should consider when purchasing a used catamaran is your keel type. The majority of cruising catamarans have fixed keels. Fixed keels on catamarans allow you to beach the boat easily, and good brands ensure these are sacrificial so in the event of a collision, your hull remains intact. You will lose a few degrees of height when sailing upwind, with the trade-off being more usable interior space in the hulls.

The other options are daggerboards. These will allow you to point better upwind on long passages, so can serve as a huge advantage should you need them. However, the negative is that they do take up interior space in the hulls of your catamaran.

6. Payload

Another important aspect to contemplate is the payload of each catamaran. That is, how much gear can you take on board? All catamarans are weight sensitive, however, some are far more so than others. Usually, a fast cruising multihull will be less forgiving than the usual production cat.

7. Production cat vs custom

One of the easier choices you will face is whether you want a production catamaran or a custom design. Generally, a production catamaran produced by a major brand will be backed by years of experience, proven designs, reliable construction and solid warranties. These types of catamarans are usually easier to service and also easier to source parts and diagrams. Production catamarans (especially in the owner’s version) tend to hold their value and will be easier to resell when the time comes to replace your catamaran.

While custom boats can be fantastic for tailoring to your exact needs, they can be harder to maintain and service due to lack of availability of parts and construction knowledge.

8. Bridgedeck clearance

Bridgedeck clearance is the space between the hulls from the waterline to the underside of the main saloon of your catamaran. The higher the bridgedeck, the less noise and slapping from wave action hitting the bottom of your boat making for a quieter and smoother ride.

9. Inspection

Ensure that you thoroughly inspect the boat yourself. It would be very unwise to buy a boat sight unseen. Be sure to hire the services of an independent marine surveyor to give you a report on the condition of the vessel you are keen to buy. This will highlight any structural concerns you may have.

Also, don’t forget the importance of the sea trial as this will allow you to check all systems, such as engines, winches, windlass and sails.

Ensure that you pick a trusted catamaran broker that will steer you in the right direction. Choose a specialist company that is experienced in the type of catamaran you are seeking to buy.

If you need any information on purchasing either new or used catamarans, contact the friendly professionals at Multihull Solutions today.


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