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The Marsaudon Composites ORC57 designed by Marc Lombard

In addition, where we have specific information on individual boat manufacturers, we will list them here.

One of our favourite performance cruising catamaran manufacturers, although they now seem to be concentrating more on their Bali cruising catamaran brand these days. The company that launched the Catana 471 back in the day, the latest model is the Ocean Class.

UK based performance catamaran manufacturer with many Fastnets under their belt.

Fountaine Pajot
This French yard have been building catamarans since the launch of the Louisiane 37 in 1983 and are one of the most successful manufacturers in the market.

From Peter Johnstone to Grand Large Yachting. Surely the most biggest catamaran brand out there. With Grand Large they are definitely going large with the Gunboat 80.

HH Catamarans
The 66, the 55, the 50 and now the Ocean Series, these yachts, manufactured to a high standard in China, are really snapping at the heels of Gunboat.

Kinetic Catamarans
Kinetic are building 2 luxury performance models: the 62 and the 54.

The market leader in catamaran production who needs no introduction.

Born from their charter partnership with The Moorings, Leopard are now one of the largest cruising catamaran manufacturers

Marsaudon Composites
Speed with no compromise from the L’Orient yard.

There is a great blend of performance and comfort in The Nautitech range.

Fast cruising cats, these boats have been designed to travel long distances quickly and safely.

A French luxury cruising catamaran manufacturer with a long history in the industry.

The brand that arguably invented the cruising catamaran market, Prout sadly went bust in the early noughties.

The history and all of the launches from this famous luxury catamaran brand.

Definition of a Catamaran

What is a catamaran? Well, strictly speaking it’s a a multi-hulled vessel (power or sail) with two parallel hulls of equal size. Catamarans get their stability from their wide beam (and some cats like Looping and the old Lagoons really go to town on this one). Generally, the ratio of length to beam is around 2:1. Some yachts are more narrow (Outremer) and some have bigger ratios. On, we focus on sailing catamarans.

This differs to a monohull which gets its stability from a ballasted keel. Catamarans typically have less volume in the hulls, a lower displacement and a shallower draft than monohulls of a similar length. The hulls slip through the water faster (less resistance) and the wider platform means that heeling and pitching are reduced. Less energy is lost generating a wake.

The first multihulls were built by the Polynesians.

At we group boats as follows:

Performance Catamarans
Yachts designed for speed with safety.

Cruising Catamarans
Yachts designed to maximise the living space while maintaining good performance.

Luxury Catamarans
No expense spared luxury, the Mercedes S Classes of the multihull world.

Classic Catamarans
Designs that have gone down in history as classics, these boats are still sought after today.

Custom Catamarans
One off designs and builds, either in the luxury or the racing sectors.

Pros and Cons of Catamarans versus Monohulls

Catamarans have many advantages over monohulls. But there are some disadvantages too, of course. You can’t have everything.


Higher cruising speeds.
Generally speaking, a catamaran will have a higher Sail Area to Displacement ratio than a comparable monohull, particularly at wider wind angles. However, fixed keel cruising cats are not as efficient upwind so your VMG will be lower (Velocity Made Good). Dagger-board cats, however, will match or exceed monohull speeds upwind. Performance cats can sail at windspeed and even up to 1.4x windspeed in some cases.

More Living Space
This is perhaps the big advantage for many catamaran enthusiasts. Even performance cats with narrow hulls have a large living platform up in the saloon and cockpit. Monohulls cannot compete here.

Less Heeling
Catamarans do heel, but not to the same extent as monohulls. That means a more comfortable sail for everyone (particularly less frequent sailors). Sailing flatter on long passages is less tiring.

More Stable at Anchor.
If you have ever sat on a catamaran anchored in a bay with a swell next to a monohull, this point will need no explaining.

Quieter Under Power
On night passages, you can cruise on a single engine and keep one of the hulls quieter for whoever is off watch.

Cruising in shallow waters
With less draft, you’ll be able to get into anchorages that a monohull can only dream of. This is particularly true of daggerboard cats. With the boards up, your draft will be a metre or less.

Most catamarans have twin engines (though not all). That makes them highly manoeuvrable in tight spots. Most cats can turn 360 degrees within their own length.

The Nets
One of our personal favourites. This is a great space for lounging, jumping off the boat, dolphin watch, you name it. Not all catamarans have nets however.

Sugar Scoops
It’s generally easier to get on and off a catamaran with gear via the sugar scoops. That includes diving, swimming and so on. Although modern monohulls with swimming platforms are just as convenient.


Larger Marina Fees
Most marinas charge extra for catamarans versus the same length monohulls. That is because they are beamier. The additional cost can be anything between 50-100%

Higher Maintenence Fees.
There are 2 engines. And 2 rudders. And more heads. And that all means more maintenance costs. At least you only have one mainsail!

Less Efficient Upwind (Generally)
Most catamarans are happiest on a beam reach or a broad reach. Thanks to their speed through the water, the apparent wind moves forward and sucks your catamaran along. They make their own wind. Close hauled, however, most cruising cats do not point as high as a monohull. 55 degrees to true is probably your limit before you start sliding. This is not an issue on performance cats with daggerboards, however. The gap is most noticeable in lighter winds

Wave Slap
This depends on the catamaran, but some designs (particularly older models with low bridgedeck clearances) suffer from wave slap, especially heading upwind into a chop.

Different Motion
Although, as a general rule, catamarans are more stable than monohulls, they do have a different motion under way and one that not everyone likes. With no keel, they tend to pitch more and shorter boats may have a tendency to “hobby-horse”, particularly if there is weight too far forward and too far aft. 45 foot seems to be the sweet spot when this becomes less of an issue.


Where does the word “catamaran” come from? Why do we call yachts with 2 hulls catamarans?
The word “catamaran”comes from a Tamil word “கட்டுமரம்” which is romanised as “kattumaram”. A kattunaram is actually a Tamil single-hulled raft made from 3 to 7 tree trunks lashed together (often made from fibrous palm trees) used in the Coast of Southern India and Sri Lanka, but the word has evolved in English to mean any boat with 2 hulls.

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