What is better to charter? a catamaran or a yacht?
First of all, let’s clarify some terms. Based on Cambridge dictionary Yacht means a boat with sails and sometimes an engine, used for either racing or traveling for pleasure. But in American English, Yacht refers to a large and usually an expensive boat used for racing or traveling around for pleasure. This means that Americans included in Yachts category the motor yachts also.
People from the industry will always refer to a sailing boat when talking about a yacht. What most people understand thru Yacht is actually a Motor Yacht. So let’s see what are the pros and cons for a catamaran or a yacht.
The main difference between a Yacht and a sailing Catamaran is that the catamaran is a yacht that has 2 hulls, while a yacht has only 1 hull. This difference brings also the names of monohull and multihull.
A monohull is more fun to sail, needs smaller places in the marina and thus berthing is less expensive too. A catamaran has a lot more space and comfort to offer, takes almost double the space in a marina and thus berthing will be more expensive.
To keep in mind that on a yacht you need to go down the stairs to reach the galley, while on a catamaran the galley is as the same level as the stern deck, having to go down the stairs only when visiting the cabins.
The pros of a Catamaran over an Yacht
1. Stability – catamarans are far more stable than yachts and this can be very beneficial for new sailors which are not yet used to yacht movement or feel more sea sickness. It’s the double hull design that helps the catamaran stay more stable in calm and mild sailing conditions.
2. Space – The space on a catamaran versus a yacht at the same size is double. It has the same amount of cabins but everything is more comfortable. The galley and the deck or decks are more generous and if you are looking for comfort and space to sunbathe, than the catamaran is the right choice for you.
The catamaran offers a lot of space for technical options too. Meaning that most of the catamarans will come with generator, ac and even a water maker installed, for complete independence. Almost every charter catamaran has also a large inverter offering you 220v power at all times, even at sea. This mean you can have on the ice machine so you really do not need to go in a port 🙂
3. Engine power – the catamaran has 2 engines, one on each hull. Although the fuel consumption will be higher than on a yacht, the catamaran in general will also have more power. Cruising speed of a 42ft catamaran when under engine is around 8kts, while a normal charter 42ft yacht will have a speed of 6-7kts when under engine.
The 2 engines gives you superior maneuverability of the boat, once you have experience on catamarans. It is very helpful in small spaces, in ports or marinas or at buoys.
4. Draft – is smaller in catamarans than in yachts. This will allow you to anchor closer to land/beach and also navigate in shallower waters. A 40-50 ft catamaran draft is about 1.1-1.5 meters, while a charter yacht this size can have even a 2.5m draft. The racing yachts have even deeper drafts.
The cons of a Cat over an Sailing boat
1. Sailing – Most of the catamarans are built for charter, for vacation and comfort. The sails of a catamaran are a little different in shape. The catamaran size is also a factor that is not helping when under sail, especially in up wind conditions. If a yacht can sail in 30° wind angle, a catamaran will need at least 50-60° wind angle to sail decent. Beam reach winds will help a catamaran sail properly.
2. Steering – a catamaran has less steering capabilities and is less responsive than a yacht.
3. Mooring – Although the mooring maneuver is easier on a catamaran than on a yacht, in some conditions when going to a marina or a port it might be difficult to find a space for a catamaran. Remember that the catamaran is double in width so it requires more space on the dock. This will also mean higher berth fees in a marina.
The pros of a Yacht vs Catamaran
1. Budget and berthing cost – Looking at the charter costs for both types of sailing yachts, a yacht is usually cheaper per person when compared based on the number of berths on each boat. So if comfort is not the main thing on your vacation list, a monohull will provide you a better price/person ratio. When chartering a yacht, you will have lower mooring fees also and probably half of diesel consumption.
2. Sailing – you will have a lot more fun when sailing a charter yacht. A Yacht can tack pretty fast and this is making the boat more maneuverable than the catamaran. Add to this the more responsive helm and sailing up wind
The cons of a Yacht vs Cat
1. Heeling, or stability – a charter yacht will heel when under sails and this brings it closer to the sport of yachting. This means less comfort when under way, cleaning and fixing everything on the yacht before setting sail.
2. Space – although newer charter yachts are wider and taller and provide more space, the yacht with 1 hull will be less spacious than the 2 hulls catamaran. And the galley down the stairs can be a hassle if needed to go there a lot or spend more time there (when cooking, checking the fridge etc)
3. Draft (draught) – having a deeper draft on a yacht will make it more difficult to sail in shallow waters or anchor closer to the land.