Sailboat or Catamaran? 5 reasons for and against choosing a catamaran.
If you plan to spend the summer sailing along the beautiful Croatian coast and islands, one of the first decisions you will face is whether to rent a sailboat or a catamaran.
Although both the sailboat and the catamaran are very attractive options for summer vacations, both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
It is very important to understand the differences between these two types of vessels before deciding to choose the ideal vessel for you.
The main difference between the shape of a sailboat and a catamaran is the number of hulls.
Sailboats got their name from the sails that are an integral part of every sailboat, and we distinguish them by length and model.
In English, the name “sailboat” is often replaced with “monohull“.
Unlike sailboats, catamarans are made of two parallel hulls connected by a bridge.
In addition to catamaran models with sails (of which over 95% are on the market), there are also models without sails, so-called motor catamarans, i.e. “powercats”.
In addition to catamarans, in the area of multihulls, there are also very rare trimarans (3 parallel hulls) – with fascinating designs and high sailing speeds but poor maneuverability in marinas.
5 reasons for choosing a catamaran:
Due to its shape and two hulls connected by a central platform, the space of a catamaran is much larger than that of a sailboat of the same length; which makes them wider and more stable than sailboats.
This design also provides more interior space, making them a more convenient choice and a more comfortable option for larger groups.
The most common brand of catamaran around the Croatian islands and the coast is “Lagoon”.
Below I attached a small table in which you can see that in addition to the length (by which the catamarans are marked), the boat’s width is also a very important information.
|Type of boat||Length||Width|
|Lagoon 39||11.74 m||6.79 m|
|Lagoon 40||11.74 m||6.76 m|
|Lagoon 400 S2||11.97 m||7.25 m|
|Lagoon 42||12.80 m||7.70 m|
|Lagoon 450||13.96 m||7.84 m|
If you are sensitive to nausea and prone to seasickness, a catamaran offers a calmer sailing experience, given that it does not tilt like a sailboat.
The double hull of the catamaran ensures a wide base and a low center of gravity, which makes it more stable.
In the picture, you can see the difference in the stability of a catamaran and a sailboat on waves. The increased stability is also interesting and important for parents with children, who will feel safer on the catamaran and have a calmer and wider surface for running, jumping and playing.
3. Net on the bow
The net stretched over the bow is one of the catamaran’s most notable features.
The catamaran bow net is made of durable, high-strength material and designed to support the weight of several people at once.
The net on the catamaran’s bow is a great place to sunbathe and stay during the trip.
The large area with a net and cushions/deckchairs that float above the beautiful sea will certainly be remembered and often used during the trip.
It provides passengers with a comfortable and stable surface to enjoy the scenery.
The distance from the engine during navigation without sails gives the bow a quieter and more pleasant sailing experience compared to the catamaran’s stern.
The bow of some catamarans is also sufficient for various sports and kinesiology activities. It can also be a great place to relax and stargaze at night.
4. Ease of maneuvering
This information applies primarily to current and future skippers among you.
Most skippers prefer a catamaran for its ease of maneuvering in narrow marinas, bays and confined spaces.
Two propellers on the left and right sides of the catamaran’s stern allow the vessel to turn almost in place, greatly facilitating entering and leaving narrow marinas and bays.
5. Depth of the boat
The depth of a catamaran is very small and depends on its size and design.
The depth of the catamarans ranges from the most minor (34 ft), which is only 0.85 m, to 1.90 m for the largest catamarans (77 ft) that you can find on the Adriatic.
Catamarans generally have a shallow draft, which makes them ideal for exploring shallow bays and coves.
This is because the double hull of the catamaran spreads the weight of the boat over a larger area, reducing the draft required.
You can expect sailboat depths from 1.80m (30 ft) to 2.95m (66 ft), making a significant difference in long shallow bays.
In addition to the numerous advantages of the catamaran, there is not much room for disadvantages.
Probably for this reason, more and more charters are adding catamarans to their fleets, reducing the number of sailboats.
However, below, I list a few key facts before you make your final decision.
Several reasons against choosing a catamaran:
One of the main disadvantages of catamarans is that they are usually more expensive to rent than sailboats.
Initially, you can expect that catamarans are 35-40% more expensive than sailboats of the same rank.
The reason for this is, of course, all the qualities and advantages above.
In addition to the higher price of the boat rental itself, some charters also have higher prices for the skippers who manage the catamarans.
Fuel is also a bit more expensive, given that the catamaran has two engines instead of one, and fees in marinas are about 40% more expensive than sailboats because the catamaran takes up almost twice as much space on the shore.
2. Proximity to the propeller
The proximity of the propeller on the stern of the catamaran is one of the potentially more dangerous segments of the trip.
The catamaran’s stern is divided into two low platforms on the catamaran’s left (port) and right (starboard) sides.
Platforms are mainly used to enter the catamaran itself, and on one side, there is a folding ladder that descends into the sea while swimming on a buoy or anchor.
It is important to ensure that the motors are not used during the swimmers’ exit to the catamaran’s stern because the propellers for steering the catamaran are located directly under the platforms (only about 60 cm from the folding ladder).
Also, when maneuvering in marinas, it is much easier to catch the mooring (rope underwater) with the propellers installed in this way, so it is important to have an experienced and verified skipper to reduce the risk to a minimum!
3. The feeling of sailing
The feeling of sailing is the main disadvantage of catamarans compared to sailboats.
Enthusiasts in sailing will surely choose a sailboat first because of the sailing itself and the adrenaline when the boat tilts.
Catamarans, on the other hand, do not tilt in the same way due to their stability, which can make the sailing experience less dynamic and exciting for individuals.
Of course, you can sail in all directions with a catamaran, but the sails of most sailboats can be trimmed better and provide a better feeling of sailing solely using the power of the wind.
What is a better option, a sailboat or a catamaran?
The choice between a sailboat and a catamaran ultimately depends on your personal preferences and sailing experience.
A sailboat might be a better choice if you have a limited budget or enjoy the adrenaline and the feeling of tilting.
If you are sailing with a large group of people, like comfort, want a more pleasant and stable sailing experience, and are prone to seasickness and nausea, a catamaran could be a better choice.
Whichever option you decide on, be guided by your personal preferences and priorities, and keep in mind that the chosen vessel will be your new home for a whole week.
Finding a boat is the first and big step when planning an ideal vacation on the Adriatic.
With so many boat models and options on the market, there is always confusion and many questions.
If you have questions about renting and looking for a boat in Croatia in accordance with your criteria, contact us via email at [email protected], and we will be happy to help you find the ideal boat for you!
In the end, no matter what type of vessel you choose, sailing along the Adriatic coast and islands is an unforgettable experience and one of the best ways to experience all the beauties of Croatia.