Girl sitting on the pontoon of a catamaran

Catamaran Vs. Monohull

Tonight live from Charters Eleven Square Gaaaaardeeen…..Catamaran Vs. Monohull.


Many articles, debates and opinions are out there about this duel. Here, I will give my humble opinion based on my experience as a sailing boat crew member and as a professional skipper for catamaran charter companies in Ibiza.


Many summers of my youth were spent on the little nine-metre sailing boat that was my father’s Black Pearl. There are four of us in the family. The truth is that we had a great time sailing in the Mediterranean. At that time I could not imagine that in the future I would become a professional catamaran skipper and spend half my life floating.


In this post I will talk, as objectively as possible, about 12 metres length catamarans and Monohulls, those where I have been lucky enough to sail.



Catamaran Vs Monohull –  Just about Money


Like almost everything else in life, money talks.




Here, in the first round, Monohull fighter Holyfield lands a right hand on Catamaran Tyson and knocks him out to the ground.


Anyone who has had a look at the prices of catamarans and monohulls will realise what I am talking about.


If you have a hundred thousand Euros to spend on a boat, which by the way is a lot of money, you can buy a more than decent, well-equipped Monohull saliling yacht. With that money forget about catamarans, you are not even close to get a second-hand one.


A new 40-foot catamaran doesn’t cost less than 400,000 euros and comes with no extras. From here, you have add up a few thousand more if you want GPS, generator, watermaker, solar panels, etc. Don’t trust the prices advertised on websites. They are basic prices and almost never come with VAT included.




Another big beating. The catamaran has twice as many things to maintain and will therefore cost twice as much money and time. Two engines, two rudders, two bathrooms, at least three cabins, two bilges …. twice as much of almost everything.


You have to take into account that the basic cost of maintaining a boat per year is not less than 10% of the value of the boat. This is without taking into account any unforeseen events that may arise, such as engine failure or any improvements you may want to make to the vessel. Believe me, every year you will want to improve this or that.


The more a boat costs, the more it costs to maintain, that’s for sure. This 10% is reduced the more things you do yourself. Unless you are a multi-millionaire you will see grease stains on your hands.


Let’s not forget that everything to do with boating has a higher price than in other sectors. Mechanics, spare parts, labour for anything you want to have done on a boat, everything has a really astronomical price.


Think about it…

The same screwdriver found in a local hardware store costs more than 50% in a marine shop. Yes, the same screwdriver. And let’s not talk about any part that is unique to a boat. Sometimes I look at a part of the catamaran that I hold with one hand and I ask myself: is this really worth 2000€?


By the way, everything you are installing on a boat, be it a catamaran or a monohull, has to be of high quality if you don’t want it to be destroyed by salt, humidity and sun after a couple of months.


Embrace stainless steel and labels that say “Marine Use” and get your wallet ready. As I have already said, on a catamaran there is a double of everything important.


After more than three years as owner of the catamaran Geronimo, which I offer for catamaran charter in Ibiza and Formentera, I never cease to be surprised at the quotes I get for this or that.


My father used to say…


Everything is broken on your boat…you just don’t know it yet.


With all this I just want to underline that you have to take into account not only the budget you have for the purchase of the boat but also the budget and the time you will have to invest in the maintenance of the boat you choose.


Ports and boatyards


For catamarans, ports and boatyards usually pay 1.5 times the price you would pay for a monohull. Of course, there are usually discounts for long stays and off season stays. It is not the same port fees in summer as in January.
It is quite logical to pay more for a catamaran than for a monohull, as catamarans occupy twice as much space. Fortunately for catamaran owners, you don’t pay twice as much, but usually 50% more.


Many boatyards are not prepared for catamarans, and that in many harbours there are no moorings for such wide boats. Two monohull moorings are needed, and next to each other. Good luck if you want to find a berth on board a catamaran in summer, in a busy harbour. Find in Ibiza a berth for a catamaran in August it’s just a fairy tale.


Catamaran Vs Monohull. a sailing boat side by side a catamaran

You can appreciate in this photo the difference in beam between a catamaran and a sailing yacht.



Ladies and gentlemen, the fighter Catamaran Tyson, monetarily speaking, is down on the ground after three straight right hands from the fighter Monohull Holyfield, who raises his arms before the referee signals the knockout.


Catamaran Vs Monohull – Sailing


I believe that there are no winners and losers here. Each vessel sails better than the other in one or the other weather condition.


Navigation comfort


There is no doubt that sailing a monohull is as bucolic as it is sporty. Not only are the sensations stronger and more intense, but you also experience sailing in the same way as the greats such as Eric Tabarly or the legendary Bernard Moitessier. This is “cool” for those of us who are attracted to the bohemian aspect of sailing.


On a sailboat you are closer to the water, more in contact with nature. The experience is completely different.

I can’t help but share a video about this giant of the sailing world, crazy bohemian, half man, half boat. A reference for all lovers of sailing and adventure. He is the one!


80% of the time, sailing a catamaran is undoubtedly more comfortable, not only for the passengers but also for the skipper. The stability provided by the beam and the two hulls is just exceptional.


Sailing pros are going to kill me here, but to me, comfort is a very important aspect to take into account now that I’m going grey hair. Twenty years ago, going to the bow to reef the mainsail, at night, in a storm, seemed the most exciting thing to me, and today I would say three prayers before getting out of the cockpit of the monohull.


For long crossings


It depends a lot on the weather conditions we are going to face.


For rough seas with messy waves, sailing a catamaran is much more uncomfortable. As the waves crash on both hulls at different times, the catamaran gets “out of shape”, producing a shaking motion and a noise that sounds like the boat has broken in pieces.


The first time I heard that “Baaang” produced when the wave crashed against the leeward hull I quickly went to check the bilges as I believed we had hit something. But no, far from it, it is a “normal” thing that can happen on a catamaran in rough or disorderly seas. It is necessary to change course slightly so that the wave doesn’t crash against the two hulls and bounce under the catamaran. On a long crossing, that means deciding whether to put your bow hundreds of miles from your destination, or to endure the unpleasant sensation of being inside a drum.


In the meantime, the monohull surfs the wave and laughs out loud at how the catamaran shakes in these sailing conditions.


In carrying winds, which is actually the expected weather for long crossings, or in “normal sailing” conditions, the comfort offered by a catamaran is simply unbeatable. I remember crossing the Atlantic in a 42-foot catamaran, with wind at 180 degrees, having the feeling of being in a villa overlooking the sea.


Big Storms


I have been in storms while sailing but fortunately I have never been caught in one of those storms you often see in movies. Today’s technology makes life so much easier for sailors.


However, if I had to choose between being on a catamaran or on a sailboat, sailing 20-metre waves, I would definitely choose to be on a sailboat. In the event of a capsize, thanks to its heavy keel, the sailboat returns to its original position. On a catamaran, forget about it. If the catamaran capsizes due to a rough sea or a bad manoeuvre, say goodbye to the catamaran, activate the EPIR and get the the life raft ready.


It is also true that it takes a very bad manoeuvre or extreme conditions for the catamaran to capsize. In addition, the catamaran, not having a heavy keel, is much more difficult to sink.




Without a doubt, the catamaran wins the fight by unanimous decision.


Even if the monohull has a bow propeller, the catamaran, having an engine on each hull, is able to rotate on itself as if it were a turntable.


This is something that is very much appreciated when entering a harbour. To me, the stress of getting into a harbour is greatly reduced at the helm of a catamaran. My father, who helm his monohull as an extension of his body, does not feel the same way.


It is also true that when manoeuvring the catamaran in a confined space, such as a harbour, and in strong winds, however much more manoeuvrable a catamaran may be, it also offers more surface resistance to the wind. This can be not that easy, especially with the latest generation of catamarans, which have a very high freebord.


Catamaran Vs. Monohull – Anchoring


Anyone who spends a holiday on a boat spends a lot of time at anchor.


In fact, whether you come to charter a catamaran in Ibiza and Formentera for a day or for a whole week, you’ll spend time anchoring in the coves of these islands, swimming, paddle surfing or just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Not forgetting that if you come for an overnight trip, you’ll sleep every night in a beautiful cove.


It is one of the nicest things about renting a catamaran in Ibiza and Formentera or having your own boat.


Catamaran Vs. monohull, Geronimo at achor

Geronimo at anchor in a beautiful cove in Ibiza


The comfort offered by a catamaran at anchor is far superior to that offered by a monohull. There is simply no fight in this anchoring section, it is simply cancelled due to manifest superiority.


Also, when the wind and the wave do not agree, for instance, Aeolus comes from the north and Poseidon from the east, there is always a strong rolling that occurs in a monohull at anchor. Meanwhile, the passengers on a catamaran are much more stable and comfortable.


Moreover, on a catamaran, as it has a much shallower draft than a monohul, it is possible to anchor in places where a sailing boat does not dare to go.



people swimming in es palmador

Photo taken from the catamaran where you can see the clients a few metres from the boat with the water below their shoulders.


Access to water


To even come close to the ease of access to the water offered by a catamaran, you have to look for a state-of-the-art sailing yacht with folding platforms at the stern. Still, the catamaran, in my view, wins this crucial battle for the day-to-day sailing holiday.


Catamaran Vs. Monohull – Habitability


It’s very simple, whichever way you look at it, Catamaran Tyson with an upper cut right to the jaw of Monohull Holyfield, wins the fight without even batting an eyelid.


What can I say? A 40-foot catamaran is like a villa of more than 70 square metres.


To achieve the habitability and comfort of a 40-foot catamaran, you would need a monohull of at least 60 feet, and I’m sure that’s an understatement.


The cockpit of our catamaran in Ibiza

Here is a nice view of the cockpit of our catamaran Geronimo. It’s like being on the terrace of a penthouse.


In addition, the rigid roof of our catamaran in Ibiza and Formentera provides a shade that is much appreciated in summer and which is more difficult to get on a sailing boat.


And what can we say about the net on the bow of the catamaran? without a doubt, it is a space of comfort and enjoyment that a monohull cannot match.


There is a downside to all the space the catamaran offers…the cleaning. Yes, it may not even have crossed your mind, but cleaning a catamaran with much more deck area and much more room inside, will probably take more than twice as much time and effort.


Don’t worry, if you rent our catamaran in Ibiza and Formentera you won’t have to worry about it 😉


Catamaran Vs. Monohull – Dinghy


The dinghy is a basic tool for anyone who owns a boat and does more than just go for a stroll two miles from home port.


Every catamaran has davits that secure and facilitate the transport of the dinghy.



catamarán fondeado en cala dhort

Here you can see the stern of the catamaran with the solid davit holding the dinghy.


The davit is curiously something that sailboats do not have (I am talking about a sailboat of about twelve metres in length), perhaps because davits would increase the length of the sailboat by at least one metre, which means paying more in ports, or perhaps because of the increase in weight that it would mean. It is something fundamental for day-to-day life as a skipper.



For short sailing on a monohull, the dinghy is usually moored to the stern of the boat. For long sailings, the engine is usually removed and the dinghy is tipped over to secure it at the bow. It is quite a heavy operation to perform. Here, even my father nods his head and agrees with me. In fact, he has mounted one on his monohull. “I’m too old for that s***” he says.


I can assure you that I have found more than one dinghy adrift in the waters off Ibiza and Formentera. It’s easy for the line dragging the dinghy to break and you don’t remember to look astern for a while.


Without a doubt, a good davit at the stern is a plus for the comfort and safety that catamarans offer.



Catamaran Vs. Monohull – When renting a boat

If you want to rent a boat for your holidays, you have to consider the difference in price between renting a sailboat and renting a catamaran.



I can assure you that paying a little more per person and choosing a catamaran is well worth it, especially if you are in a group of four people or more. The difference in price per person is practically diluted when it comes to a group of 8 people.


Nowadays the catamaran is the most popular boat for hire in Ibiza. It has completely replaced the monohull boats that less than ten years ago were the kings of the islands.


Customers appreciate the virtues that a catamaran offers and which I have talked about in this post.






Access to the water

Catamaran Vs. Monohull – Conclusion


I sincerely believe that there is no absolute winner here.


To choose between one or the other you have to evaluate above all;


What you want the boat for?

How much time you are going to enjoy it? All year round? only in summer time?

How much money are you willing to burn?


In my case, that at first I considered buying a sailboat for Charters Eleven Catamaran rental in Ibiza and Formentera, I finally decided on a Leopard 40 catamaran, which although it was much more expensive than the monohull I had in mind and the maintenance is absolutely crazy, I also knew that I was going to rent it at a higher price, get more customers and it was also be my home.

Catamaran vs. Monohull, customers on the stern of the catamaran preparing for a swim


It is also true that if one day I had the choice between a monohull and a catamaran to sail around the world (fingers crossed) where I would encounter all kinds of weather and I would have to pay for harbour from time to time… I would definitely choose a monohull.


I hope you have enjoyed reading Catamaran Vs. Monohull that I have written from my own little experience.

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