Change can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Considering the significant change we are contemplating, what kind of boat will we make our next home? This question ranks right up there with “How much money do we need?”, and “Where are you going to go?” Fun fact… I haven’t been on a sailboat in over 30 years! And the one-time Sandy was on one, the boat heeled so much she swore she’d never set foot on one again!
So, what kind of boat are we considering for our next home? There are definitely options on this. Consider a traditional monohull. This is the type of boat most people typically envision when they think of a sailboat. They are narrow and sleek, the keel is deep, and living spaces are mostly below the waterline. If you want to see a tour of a monohull, check out this video from S/V Delos. This S/V Delos video gives a good tour of the boat, the systems, and living quarters on the boat. S/V Delos is a 53’ Amel Super Maramu sailing ketch boat. This design has a width of 15’ and all of the interior living space is below deck, sleeping quarters, head, galley, etc. All that is down below.
Another popular option is a sailing catamaran. These boats have two hulls, and they are typically wider than a monohull. In between the two hulls, there is an open space that typically encompasses a living/dining area, galley, and charting station. These living quarters are above the water at the same level as the boat deck. Some catamaran designs do have the galley down below in a hull, opening the salon area for larger living/dining room area. The sleeping quarters, heads (bathrooms), desk/bookshelves are down in each hull. Sleeping quarters are obviously limited by the size width of the hull, although the size boat we are considering easily accommodates queen size beds. Here’s a great tour of a catamaran from Sailing Nahoa. Ben and Ashley live aboard an owner’s version of a Lagoon 410. This catamaran is a 41-foot-long boat and is approximately 23 feet wide.
Trimarans, also known as double-outriggers, are another sailing vessel option. These boats have a main hull with two smaller outrigger hulls attached to act as a float. Trimarans offer a wide living space above the water line, with additional sleeping quarters in the outrigger hulls. Here is a virtual tour of a beautiful 50-foot NEEL Trimaran that Sail Oceans owns. Trimarans have a many great features, and while we have considered this option, it will likely remain out of our price range.
There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to each style of boat. This video, from The O’Kelly’s, talks a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of each. Ultimately, this really comes down to personal preference. One of the key differences most sailors agree on, is that when you are at anchor, catamarans are a bit more stable because of the wider design. Another advantage that is appealing to us personally is the panoramic windows in the salon of the catamaran. This gives you a good view of everything around you and lets lots of light inside the salon. And to be clear, we recognize this can also be a detriment in the tropics as you try to keep your living space cool!
The advantages of monohull also abound! Most are related to the actual sailing. It is far easier to sail upwind in a monohull. Many liveaboard cruisers have pointed out that 90% of your time is spent at anchor, but of course even in that 10% when you are sailing, that can make a world of difference in terms of where you go. Another big advantage of a monohull is that you have one of everything instead of two, which means you have less maintenance costs. Only one engine, only one hull…you get the idea. That is a big consideration too. I’ve also seen some monohulls with a dingy garage in the back, very cool feature. The dinghy is out of the way, nothing hanging off the back, keeping clean lines on the boat.
Maybe things will change for us when we start to walk on some boats, but for now we really like the idea of a catamaran. The stability at anchor, the extra width and living space really are appealing. So is the idea of sitting up top and seeing what’s going on around you with relative ease. We also really want a boat with the galley up. We’ve made 4 houses our home over the past 22 years, and in each one the kitchen has been open to our family room. We love the connectedness, and don’t foresee that changing just because we live on a boat. Galley up means that when one of us is cooking, we can still talk to each other. There’s also just something about the look and feel of catamarans that we really like. Of course, looks aren’t everything!
We will start our sailing journey learning the ‘ropes’ on a monohull this summer and are planning a trip to Florida next Christmas to set foot on many different boats. From there we will decide and select our next home. For now, though, when we peruse Yachtworld.com, it’s the catamarans that we search for!