47' Ferrel Custom Catamaran
by Clint Bush
(Key Biscayne, FL)
Note high bridgedeck clearance and dagger boards
Having sailed many ocean miles in both monohulls and catamarans, the catamaran is without a doubt the right choice. Having recently completed a world circumnavigation in a catamaran, I speak from some experience.
Stability is key to comfort and therefore to the overall experience, especially during the time at anchor, which is usually about 85% of your cruising schedule. (Monohulls roll at anchor, even the big expensive ones.) But under sail, a well-designed catamaran is a delight as well: stability (again), reliable speed - even upwind - without crowding on sail, space to live in and to carry plenty of spare equipment.
And there are safety issues:
* Going to the foredeck when the boat is heeled 40 degrees is unnecessarily risky.
* Coming on watch after a good sleep in a horizontal bunk is far preferable to arriving fatigued after being awakened by varying degrees of heel or worse, several upwind tacks.
* Cooking a meal in a level galley, or using a head that allows you to sit or stand comfortably is a huge advantage.
* Sitting at a horizontal navigation station allows one to focus on the important decisions at hand and not the struggle of just staying put.
A crew on an ocean passage which is sleep deprived, hasn't had a hot meal in days, is making distracted navigation decisions, has to maneuver on sloping decks, and prefers to urinate from the lee side is far more likely to make a bad mistake.
I agree with most of the comments above regarding bridgedeck height, interior layout, marina expense, sliding glass doors, dagger boards, etc. There are good designs out there, and even 41-42 feet of LOA probably makes sense for blue water passages.
Think before you buy. And don't settle for a monohull if you are planning any serious long-term cruising.