A Buyer’s Guide: What is the Right Size Cat for Me?

So you know you want to buy a catamaran. You have done your research and know they are undoubtedly the best choice for giving you onboard space, comfort, safety and cruising pleasure. You’ve seen more and more multihulls out on the water and realise that the rest of the world is switching to multihulls for these very reasons.

However, perhaps you’re not entirely sure what you should be looking for in a catamaran. Where do you start? How big should it be? What features would you like, and which ones are the most important?

Keep reading for some handy hints and tips on picking the right-sized catamaran that has the perfect combination of features for your needs.

Considering the Size of Your Catamaran

In a nutshell, catamaran size should be determined by:

  • Where you want to go. Will you be sailing mostly in protected waters or be negotiating open water swells? Generally speaking, the longer the waterline length, the more comfortable the ride in rough conditions.
  • How long you want to go for. Consider the length of your trips as that will determine how much space and storage you will need to embark on a safe and comfortable journey. The larger the boat the more living and storage space you will have. Some brands offer more space than others depending on their set up. For example, Catana catamarans have dagger boards which take up hull space making the living area in the hulls significantly smaller than that of an equivalent-sized Fountaine Pajot catamaran.
  • What the primary purpose of the vessel will be, eg: fishing, diving, cruising, commercial, private etc. This will determine what equipment you will need to carry, how much space you will need, and what features your catamaran will need to have to best suit your purpose. For example, a flybridge and adjustable transom is ideal for boats that will be used primarily for fishing. Extra-large cockpit lockers are essential for storing scuba diving tanks and air compressors for dive boats.
  • How much sailing experience you have along with your level of physical ability and health. Sailing can be demanding in heavy weather, so be sure to consider your age, health and physical ability. You and your crew will get a lot more joy out of an appropriately sized boat than you will a boat too big to confidently handle.
  • Number of crew and experience of crew typically onboard. Be sure to consider how many people you will want onboard at a time and ensure there is enough space to accommodate them comfortably and safely. Also take into consideration their ability so you are know how much you can rely on them to assist you in managing the boat if needed.
  • Your access to a place to keep your boat. Unless you intend to move aboard and cruise off into the sunset, you will need a place to keep your boat while it is not in use. Consider whether you will keep your boat on a mooring, in a marina berth, on a hard stand etc. The options are endless but must be considered, and the price of stowing generally rises with the length and width of the boat. Also be aware of any access issues, eg. bridges to go under (be sure your mast height is suitable). Also many private berths in canals have a width limit that dictates how far you can protrude into the waterway, so be sure to check this out before you make any final purchase decisions.
  • Your budget to buy and maintain your boat. Budget is, of course, one of the main considerations. Buy what you can afford, but don’t forget to budget for extras like marina fees, delivery costs, maintenance, insurance premiums, surveying, and equipment. As a general rule of thumb, it will cost you approximately 8-10% of the purchase price to properly maintain, insure and keep your boat annually.
  • Resale value of the boat. Well-known reputable brands will always maintain their value and resell at a better price than a lesser-known or one-off brand. Think into the future and consider how long this particular boat will be practical until you will want to upgrade or sell. ALWAYS purchase a known brand from a reputable broker.

The main thing to remember is to not buy on a whim; make practical decisions based on your answers to the above when shopping for a catamaran. Buy for the purpose you need, not something out of your league. Your boat will only be as good as you look after it, so you must have the time, means and inclination to maintain your pride and joy. There is no doubt that bigger boats offer more space to enjoy and a potentially more comfortable ride. However, costs and maintenance time also rise with size, so think carefully and be practical.

Shopping for a catamaran with Multihull Solutions

The experts at Multihull Solutions are the best place to start if you know that you want to buy a catamaran but are not sure where to start or what you need. They will take the time to get to know you and your individual needs, and will recommend boats based on your responses to the above.

At Multihull Solutions, choice is everything and we have a wide selection of multihulls to suit both novice and experienced sailors alike. Our team has extensive knowledge and exclusive connections to key brands within the multihull industry, which means you have access to the very best catamarans in the world.

Unlike many other brokers, Multihull Solutions does not represent one or two single brands. Instead, they are affiliated with a broad range of shipyards so you can be assured of receiving impartial advice and guidance to find the most suitable boat brand and size to suit you and your exact requirements and budget.

For more information, advice or if you wish to arrange an inspection, contact our team at Multihull Solutions.

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