If you Google catamaran vs monohull you will find yourself down a rabbit hole of passion, debate and divided opinions. Sailing enthusiasts all have a preference and defend it with vigour, leaving the fence-sitter even more confused than when they started.
Ultimately, the debate comes down to a few key points. Firstly, what do you need a boat for, and where will it need to go? Next comes more specific concerns such as cost, performance, safety and comfort.
This post will discuss the pros and cons of hiring a catamaran or monohull for a self-sailing holiday in the Whitsundays. We’re not going to talk about vessels in relation to purchasing one as a home, to race or to sail around the world.
There will be some boat jargon in this post, hence this lovely design from bearingsguide.com to help those new to boating.
The Pros of chartering a Catamaran
Space & Living Comfort
Catamarans have a larger indoor and outdoor living space compared to a sailboat. The saloon (main indoor area), galley (kitchen) and cockpit (steering) are more spacious.
All of the living spaces on a catamaran are above the waterline, meaning you’ll have beautiful Whitsunday views throughout the day. Preparing breakfast or merely entertaining the kids inside are all done without having to go down below.
The above-water living space on a catamaran offers excellent airflow, which can be handy in warmer weather.
Catamarans generally have more decent sized cabins (bedrooms) than monohulls. If a monohull has the same number of bedrooms as a catamaran, it can feel as if they’ve been squeezed in.
The bedroom layout of a cat offers more privacy because the bedrooms are separate from the living space.
Catamarans are great for entertaining with the outdoor and indoor living spaces working seamlessly together and offering equally comfortable sitting areas depending on the weather.
A considerable advantage a catamaran has over a monohull is stability. Cat’s simply don’t rock when stationary as much as sailing yachts.
We tell people who are concerned about seasickness to hire a catamaran. The effects of motion are felt much less aboard a cat than on a mono.
Thanks to not heeling (leaning) you don’t need to stow everything away on a catamaran as much as you do when you’re in a monohull.
The stable, flat cruising of a catamaran when on the move is a massive advantage for people with younger kids. The lack of leaning to one side can feel safer for younger sailors.
It’s much easier to move around both the deck and inside a catamaran when underway. You can even have one crew member prepare lunch when you’re between anchorages.
Easier to handle
When steering a catamaran, you’ll be sitting higher in what is known as a flybridge helm. The visibility is much better from this raised vantage point.
Sailing a catamaran is less of a sport than sailing a monohull. Thanks to the catamarans ability to sail flat, your crew will feel more relaxed when underway.
Water Sport Access
Many people want to snorkel, scuba dive or kayak while on a bareboat charter in the Whitsundays. The larger swim platform at the back of a catamaran makes accessing the water more straightforward, especially for scuba divers with tanks etc.
The Cons of a Catamaran
Compromise on Sailing
If you’re a sailing enthusiast and view it as a passion or sport, you will probably feel that a catamaran isn’t for you. Catamarans don’t heel over, which is where a lot of the buzz comes from for sailors.
Although it’s impossible to sail directly into the wind, it is important to know how to navigate as “close to the wind” as possible. Sailing close to the wind means to sail as close to the direction that the wind is blowing, but still making headway – frankly, it’s harder to do this in a catamaran. If the wind isn’t in your favour, it can be challenging to head directly to where you want to go with the sails up in a catamaran.
To understand wind terminology and theory, visit this Royal Yachting Academy article (RYA)
Catamarans can cost more to hire
Generally speaking the catamarans in our fleet cost more to hire than the monohulls.
To find out about rates and compare a catamaran’s prices with a monohull, you can use our online booking system, which will bring up available vessels on the dates you want to sail.
Featured Catamarans in our fleet
Whitsunday Rent a Yacht mainly stock Leopard and Lagoon catamarans, both work renowned brands with fantastic design, space and features.
You learn more about hiring a catamaran and common questions here: Catamaran hire in the Whitsundays, what you need to know
Leopard 38 “Yellow Fin”
Highly livable, spacious and comfortable is the Leopard 38’s style. The spacious interior includes two bathrooms, a large saloon and a galley with windows large enough to provide a 360-degree view of the Whitsundays surroundings.
Leopard 40 “It’s All About Me”
Neither too big nor too small, the Leopard 40 is a versatile catamaran ideal for charter. Her spacious four double-cabin layout includes forward cabins with forepeak bunks – perfect for sleeping eight to ten.
The Pros of chartering a monohull
Better Sailing Vessel
Passionate sailors choose a monohull over a catamaran because they’re built with sailing as their primary purpose. The act of heeling gets the adrenaline going. People who love to sail find the flat sailing of a catamaran uneventful and boring!
The keel of a sailing yacht prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind. The keel also carries weight which counteracts the effect of the wind that causes a sailboat to heel or lean over. Primarily, keelboats have been designed for an optimal sailing experience.
In a monohull, if the wind is coming from the direction you want to head in, you can cross it in smaller angles, covering less ground than you would in a catamaran. It’s easier to sail close to the wind in a monohull.
Monohulls tack quickly and easily with the ability to turn tightly. In a catamaran, due to its lighter weight, you carve through the tack rather than making a sharp directional turn as you would in a monohull.
Saling a yacht while on a charter is an incredibly adventurous and unique holiday; sailing is an activity not everyone gets to do regularly, so why not do it with the stunning Whitsundays as a backdrop?
Many of the Monohulls in our fleet have the same berths as catamarans; however, they cost less to hire.
The Cons of a sailboat/monohull
Compromise on Space & Living Comfort
It’s obvious when you see a monohull or a catamaran next to each other that the living space in a cat is more significant because of the square design. Some people find the sailing yacht living area too cramped, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you are a small group. In the Whitsundays, you’ll be above deck most of the time anyway.
The main indoor living space of a monohull is below the waterline. You need to take steep, narrow stairs down below to access the kitchen and lounge. The stairs can be tricky with little kids.
The closed-in living space of a monohull can feel a bit restrictive, especially when you’re in the Whitsundays and you want to be taking in the scenery as much as possible.
The inside living spaces can be harder to ventilate with fresh air. Fans have been installed on our vessels; some come with air-con for summer however there are limitations on when these can be used (chat to staff when booking).
Monohulls are more prone to rock and roll when anchored.
Safer for offshore
A monohull may be a safer option if you plan to go offshore. However, the Whitsundays has a reputation as one of the safest sailing grounds in the world, so considering which boat handles extreme weather better doesn’t need to be a consideration.
Featured Yachts from our Fleet
The Jeanneau 40 will accommodate you and your crew in style, comfort and ease. With its smooth sailing and motoring ability, Tiger Blue is an ideal yacht for those keen sailors or a family adventuring around the Whitsundays.
The Beneteau 43 is one of the most sought-after vessels in the fleet because of her excellent sailing performance and appealing cabin configuration. Ideal for a family or group sailing adventure in the Whitsundays.
What our guests have to say
We did a quick social media survey asking what our customers prefer to charter, and most of them said that for the Whitsundays, they choose a catamaran over a monohull. Because…
- Chartering around the Whitsundays is about so much more than sailing; it’s an adventure filled with islands to explore and underwater worlds to observe.
- Many people sail the Whitsundays as a group or family, making the living space of a catamaran more appealing
- The Whitsundays is a tropical holiday destination that makes you want to relax. Many people choose to explore the islands with the motor on for their trip.
For couples, the budget-conscious or those keen on sailing – of course, a monohull has its advantages.
We often tell people trying to decide between a cat and a yacht that we all prefer to sail a yacht to a destination but to be on a catamaran when at anchorages – due to the sailing enjoyment on a yacht and the living space of a cat.
In the end, you’ll have a pleasant experience in the Whitsundays no matter what vessel you decide to charter. If choosing between chartering a catamaran or a monohull, both will give you the freedom to explore our world-class sailing destination.