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Catamaran or monohull yacht: How many hulls may there be?

When choosing the right yacht for your vacation, you need to consider many things. How big should the ship be, how many berths should be available? Does the crew want to sail actively, or rather relax in the sun? Do the sailors want to sail to a harbor for the night, or would they rather stay in a romantic anchorage?

If experienced sailors are involved who enjoy sporty sailing, a single-hull yacht is often a good option. However, those who opt for a catamaran can spoil themselves and their crew with a previously unimagined amount of space and corresponding comfort.

Arguments for a monohull yacht (monohull yacht)

Sporty sailing with a small hull width

Those who choose a yacht with only one hull, choose sailing in its very original form with a proven layout on and below deck. Depending on the equipment of the ship, the genoa and mainsail are equipped with a furling system, so that the setting of the sails is easy by hand. All winches and spreaders can be operated from the cockpit, and a sprayhood over the companionway provides splash protection in rough weather. And those booked for a cruise in more southerly climes will be grateful for a large, shade-providing bimini that can be stretched across the entire cockpit.

On a monohull yacht, the crew is in the cockpit

At sea, the crew is either gathered in the cockpit or can make themselves comfortable on the forecastle during a calm, spacious course. Depending on the size of the ship, sunbathing areas are recessed into the deck structure, on whose cushions you can relax in the sun – at sea and especially in the anchorage.

Below deck, the skipper usually has a cabin in the forecastle with a separate bathroom. The main living space on board is the salon, which, in addition to a galley and space for a chart table, usually offers a U-shaped seating area at whose large table everyone can sit down for meals.

In the stern – especially in more modern ships due to the trendy bent-span look with chines and double rudder – are once again two spacious cabins.

Hull yachts have limited storage space

Yachts of this type are small or large space wonders. Everything has its place, and those who come aboard here are well advised to arrive with small luggage. Many lockers and cupboards provide the necessary storage space, but life takes place on quite few square meters.

At sea, ships with a hull with sporty sailing characteristics are convincing. Downwind and on rough courses, spinnakers, gennakers or a jib with the boom out provide for a relaxed glide under sail.

At the cross and on upwind courses, a yacht with only one hull can sail significantly higher than a catamaran, but the yacht also heels, which means it leans to leeward. Even though on a relaxed vacation cruise, unlike in a regatta, it is not necessary to actively trim the ship and shift as much crew weight as possible to windward: it is more comfortable to sit “on the high edge” to windward.

Hull yachts with sporty sailing characteristics

If a ship heels, everything on and below deck begins to slide to leeward. Accordingly, even before setting sail, the crew must secure or properly stow away all movable items to prevent them from slipping and falling overboard. This also means that it is not possible to lie comfortably on deck on every course, and even a nap in the bunk is only comfortable to a limited extent – those who want to sleep upwind need a so-called lee sail to avoid falling out of the bunk.

It is easier to find adequate space in the anchorage with a single-hull yacht than with a wide catamaran, but catamaran sailors have the advantage of being able to sail closer to the beach due to the shallow draft of a “cat”. Most modern yachts are equipped with a bow thruster, making them very easy to maneuver even in narrow harbors.


Sailing yacht (monohull)
© mk-perspective | Adobe Stock


Single-hull yachts take up less space

Once in port, you can comfortably find space in a spare box with a monohull yacht. It doesn’t matter if you moor “Roman Catholic” stern to the pier or bow first. When mooring, all fellow sailors can lend a hand. Fenders have to be hung up, fore and aft lines have to be laid ready. Skippers can communicate well with the crew from the helm, so they know exactly how many meters they have left and when it’s time to stop and complete the maneuver confidently.

Arguments for a catamaran

A lot of space and comfort

Those who come aboard a catamaran optimized for vacation cruising for the first time are first overwhelmed by the immense amount of space. Everything that has to be accommodated in a hull on a conventional yacht is now spread over two hulls and a generous saloon in the middle.

Catamarans offer a lot of space

This large amount of space is primarily what makes numerous sailors choose a catamaran again and again for a comfortable vacation cruise. In the hulls are the spacious cabins, usually with separate bathroom. And the centrally located salon, where the galley, navigation area and seating area are located, opens through large doors to the rear cockpit, so that the common living space can be easily expanded by many more square meters.

Catamarans have plenty of natural light

Unlike a yacht with only a hull, the salon of a catamaran is well above the water surface, so it is always bright and flooded with light. Especially those who are cruising in southern regions really enjoy being able to open the large door when cooking in the galley, creating a slight draft. On a yacht with only one hull, it can sometimes get quite warm and stuffy when cooking below deck.

But the main attraction of a catamaran is that it has multiple levels. The raised flybridge on the salon roof, which usually also houses the helm station, provides the opportunity for a hidden lounge area far above the water. In addition, the “trampoline” in the bow area between the two hulls, usually consisting of a close-meshed net, offers yet another opportunity for extensive relaxation at sea.


© BlackMediaHouse | Adobe Stock


Catamarans don’t heel

With this immense amount of space, it’s hard to beat the comfort a catamaran offers. And many are pleased at sea when the ship does not heel on cross or upwind courses, but continues to sail upright “as if on rails”. Even if no “height” can be driven and accordingly quickly the engine is turned on for support.

Sailors who dream of a longer time out on board and want to cover long distances with their own ship over several months often opt for a catamaran because it offers more space. Not only can more equipment be carried, but each crew member also has more privacy.

Good maneuvering characteristics with two engines

Due to the two engines, a catamaran can be turned “like on a plate” and has very good maneuvering characteristics, however, skipper or skipperess have a good overview from their elevated steering position on the flybridge, but quite little contact with the crew.

However, anyone who loves sporty sailing and enjoys changing the trim settings of the ship and getting a bit more speed out of it by setting the sails correctly will be disappointed by the sailing characteristics of a catamaran optimized for vacation cruises. On the other hand, you can already start the grill installed in the stern at sea, without sausages or vegetable skewers falling into the water to leeward.

Catamarans need two places in the port

In the harbor, however, catamarans need two berths, which on the one hand is more difficult to reserve, but on the other hand is also much more expensive than just one berth. It is easier to anchor in a bay with a catamaran that has shallow draft and stay there overnight. If you dare, you can even go dry with a catamaran at low tide.


If you want to convince especially newcomers of the beauty of a trip under sail and attach importance to a lot of space and comfort on board, a spacious catamaran will inspire everyone. However, if you have a sailing enthusiastic crew on board who want to actively participate in sailing, you should choose a yacht with only one hull and correspondingly less space on and below deck. On a monohull yacht, the crew is together when sailing in the cockpit, here is cranked, gefiert, trimmed and steered – sailing as a community experience, which gives the vacation a sporting component.


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