47' Ferrel Custom Catamaran

by Clint Bush
(Key Biscayne, FL)

Note high bridgedeck clearance and dagger boards

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.

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May 14, 2014
Steep seas
by: Salty

How do catamarans handle a steep following sea?
Do you use a drogue or just hang on?
Also with steep seas on the nose, do you crab up the wave or just Sail over the top?

Nov 21, 2013
A Compelling Argument for Cruising Catamarans
by: Dick McClary

Even to a committed monohull sailor, you present a compelling argument in favour of a catamaran for long distance cruising - and having proved your case by sailing around the world in one you've certainly got my attention. Congratulations on your circumnavigation and thanks for the excellent article.

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