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The Truth About Catamarans

Over the 40 years we have been in the industry we have heard a lot of myths and rumours around catamarans, most of them quite funny to those of us who have spent time in and around catamarans. As with a lot of things that are slightly different from mainstream, people often believe these rumours as they have no source of information directing them to the correct answers. Often opposition dealers and people who claim to be knowledgeable often keep these rumours going to help sell their own products or just through lack of knowledge.

One of our personal favourites was a dealer who after boasting about all his captains credentials and time at sea, warned our customer that catamarans drive around in circles on one engine. Needless to say when the customer drove one of our boats and it planned and tracked beautifully on only one engine he quickly discounted that dealer’s advice and products  and now owns a stunning 33 foot catamaran.

Below are some of the other myths that we have come across in our time and we hope that this may clear the waters and provide some more accurate information.

Catamaran Myth 1

Catamarans don’t track well in a following sea.

A lot of boaters worry that driving a cat boat isn’t relaxing, because they think they’ll have to constantly watch the sea and where they’re going. This just isn’t true. A catamaran is much better than a monohull, especially in a following sea, as a mono will plow into the front wave as it comes down, and then are susceptible to broaching down the face of the wave . But cats are more buoyant in the bow, almost removing this worry and as they do not have a V to roll on they are more sure footed then their monohull counterparts.

Catamaran Myth 2

Power catamarans don’t look like a traditional boat.

Every boater is aware that Australians know their boats and build some of the best boats in the world. For Aussies, catamarans are different but still commonplace. In fact there are four times more power catamarans in Australia and New Zealand per capita compared to the rest of the world. They know that the smoothness of the ride, especially in our rough water, is superior to any monohull’s. This is why Aussies make the best catamarans in the world.

Catamaran Myth 3

Catamarans are awkward to drive and hard to get used to.

Some customers believe that it’s too difficult to learn how to drive a power catamaran, and they worry that they’ll never get used to the awkwardness. But cats are incredibly simple to operate: once you learn the basics of keeping a proper trim you’ll be 90% of the way to being an expert. Experienced boaters will tell you that learning to drive a catamaran was easy…and they’ll never go back to a monohull. Spend the time with your dealer and you will realise how easy it really is.

Catamaran Myth 4

Cats always turn outward and can throw you from the boat.

One of the worst lies that monohull dealers tell consumers interested in a power catamaran is that they will get thrown from the boat, especially if they need to turn sharply at high speeds. While it’s true that at slow speeds and slow turns, our boats do tend to lean slightly outward, the effect is so minor no one’s in any danger of ending up in the water. Catamaran owners often comment how they feel odd when they get back into a mono hull and it banks inwards. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer –  it just comes down to what you are used to.

Catamaran Myth 5

Cats have trouble drifting in beam seas and can tip.

Many boaters believe that because catamarans have two hulls close together, the boats have a violent rock when drifting, and are even in danger of tipping. In fact, it’s just the opposite: the twin-hull design allows for a smoother drift in beam seas, one that settles much faster than a monohull as they do not suffer from the pendulum effect that a mono hull can as it has an opposing edge for every movement.

Catamaran Myth 6

Cats can’t handle rough seas.

Some customers have the impression that cats are fine in some sea conditions but not others.  Monohull dealers don’t clear up this myth, of course, and say that cats are great in a bay but not in rough seas. We’re not sure where this myth got started – but it’s just flat out wrong: catamarans are superior in every way in rough seas. For millenia, fishermen have trusted the twin hull design to get them through big seas. In fact, if it were not for rough seas catamaran dealers would be out of business as it is in rough seas that catamarans show their true superiority.

Catamaran Myth 7

Experienced boaters prefer monohulls.

Customers are often told that when it comes to experienced boaters, they prefer monohulls over catamarans. Some dealers even hint that buying a catamaran is buying a dying breed of boat. But the truth is that boaters with experience with both kinds of crafts almost always prefer cats. In Australia, a country that knows its boats, catamarans are a big percentage of the offshore fishing market. Our customer base is made up of experienced boaters who understand the advantages of a catamaran: 76% of them have owned three or more boats, and they choose a power catamaran as their ultimate boat.

Catamaran Myth 8

Cats angle or pitch for no reason.

Boaters are often told that the main weakness of the twin hull design is that the two hulls fight each other for dominance, each one pulling in opposite directions. In fact, some dealers claim that you can’t even hold a cup on a catamaran because you’re so busy fighting the wheel. The truth is nowhere close. Though catamarans are different boats from monohulls, with a unique handling all their own, learning to drive a catamaran is much easier than driving a conventional boat.

Catamaran Myth 9

Cats are bad in a head sea.

Customers are often told that catamarans have a history of bad performance in a head sea, making the ride uncomfortable or even dangerous. But in fact, thanks to the twin-hull design, catamarans actually perform better in head seas compared to monohulls. The secret is in the tunnel. The air is trapped in between the tunnel and the water creating a cushion of air for the boat to ride on giving you the best ride around.

Catamaran Myth 10

There’s no resale value and no market for traded cat boats

Another topic monohull dealers mislead potential customers on is resell value for catamarans. They claim that if customers buy a cat they’ll be losing too much money, because they’ll never be able to sell it. And it’s true, you rarely see a used power catamaran…but only because owners love their boats so much they never want to sell them! Of all the power catamarans sold in the last 10 years, only 4% are available for resale. With so few used boats on the market, the resale value of these boats is actually quite high. We have actually seen 10 – 15 year old catamarans sell for more than they sold for when they were new.

Catamaran Myth 11

Cats are hard to trailer.

Because of the unique twin-hull design of the power catamaran, boaters often wonder how easy it is to trailer them. Aren’t they difficult to load on a trailer? Can’t they be a complicated to drive down the road? As with so many of the previous myths, the truth to this one is the exact opposite: the twin hulls actually make the boats easier to trailer and easier to transport. Every catamaran trailer has a tracking pad that guides the hulls as you load or unload the boat. The unique design of the power catamaran creates less air resistance when on the move, meaning the boat is not only more fuel efficient on the water…it’s more fuel-efficient on land, too!

Catamaran Myth 12

Cat boats are weak and can break in half.

Of all the myths you hear about cat boats, this one is the most outrageous. There are rumors that, because of the twin hull design, cat boats are weak and prone to breaking in half. This simply isn’t true…no one we’ve worked with or talked to has ever heard of a catamaran breaking in half.