Catamarans have seen a steady increase in popularity over the last several years as more people charter them in exotic destinations and realize the value of having that much extra space on board. Sailing catamarans have exceptionally wide beams which make for a sturdy platform while enjoying the boat, but this design feature also gives owners a lot of livable space. The salon, galley, and entertainment spaces on a catamaran can be exceptional thanks to the additional volume.
The stability of catamarans are one of the main selling points and why so many more are selling in recent years. It is a much different experience being anchored at night in a catamaran than in your more traditional monohull boats. Sailing cats also don't need much water to run so your draft is generally a lot lower than monohulls. This makes owning a catamaran ideal for Florida, Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Power catamarans have also become increasingly popular for boaters that desire the benefits of a cat hull, but don't want to worry about a sail.
PRE-OWNED Sailing Catamaran Boats
74' Sunreef Sunreef 74C 2018
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
73' Lidgard Executive 73 2006
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72' Dixon Custom 2017
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70' Custom CK70 2022
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70' Sunreef 70 Sail 2021
67' Axcell Yachts Axcell 650 2010
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67' Fountaine Pajot Allegra 67 2022
65' Custom Pacific Expedition 65 2013
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64' Custom CK64 2018
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64' Serenity Yachts 64 2019
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63' McConaghy Boats MC63P - Offshore 2024
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There are many sailing cat manufacturers today whose boats are used in both charter and private ownership. Sometimes the charter companies even put their charter boats on the market at a reduced price when they sell them. Sailing Catamaran manufacturers like Lagoon, Leopard, Privilege, and Gunboat, among others, have continued to advance their products by using new construction methods, higher quality, materials, and design layouts that promote private ownership and not just charter. Let the team at United Yacht Sales help you find the right used sailing catamaran for sale that fits your budget and needs.
Here Are Some Commonly Asked Questions About Sailing Catamarans
What is the difference between a catamaran and monohull sailboat?
A catamaran sailboat is basically two parallel set wide apart hulls with mast and sails in between, while a monohull sailboat is a single hull centered around a heavy ballasted keel to counterbalance the mast and sails. The catamaran footprint tends to be square or rectangular instead of a long and narrow single hull. These basic differences impact the entire sailing experience. Because catamarans’ stability is based on its beam and multihull configuration (called form stability), they do not heel (tilt) like a monohull, nor do they require a ballast and large keel. Traditional sailors tend to prefer the exhilaration of heeling under sail, but it does require physical strength and skill. Since catamarans don’t heel, the boat’s motion is different, and sails need to be trimmed differently. Catamarans don’t really tack or handle that well in increased winds; they don’t “feel” the wind immediately as a traditional sailboat. But the advantages of a catamaran far outweigh the detractions and include stability, safety, speed, spaciousness, efficiency, comfort, and greater privacy in the accommodations.
The two hulls offer inherent stability and a deck platform that tends to stay level—no rolling or heelingwhich greatly helps with seasickness! The large open and enclosed main deck areas, along with accommodations in separate hulls, are great for entertaining, families, and charter groups. With less drag (less wetted hull surface and weight), the speedy catamarans can outrun weather and travel farther. They are less likely to capsize, since they don’t heel or rock and are less dependent on weight distribution; but if they do, catamarans do not right themselves like a monohull is designed to do…but neither will a catamaran sink, there is enough buoyancy in the hulls to keep them afloat.
Catamarans can have a flybridge or raised bridge decks with 360-degree visibility, a distinct advantage over traditional sailboats that cannot have a flybridge. Being lighter weight and without a keel, catamarans can sail in shallower waters making them ideal for cruising around islands, anchoring closer to shore, and a great platform for diving. Some catamarans can be beached, resting on their hulls, allowing quick repairs or a shore picnic!
Lighter weight also translates into fuel efficiencies and having two engines set wide apart allows a catamaran to track very straight or rotate in place, and even ‘crab’ sideways making bow thrusters unnecessary. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder sailing (and power) catamarans are one of the fastest growing recreational boat categories.
Is a monohull or catamaran sailing yacht better for long range cruising?
While much of the choice is based on personal preference, some sailors who have experienced worldwide cruising in both types of sailing yachts, prefer the modern catamaran for undeniable advantages in safety. This includes no heeling, level sailing for less crew fatigue and seasickness, speed to outrun weather, hard to capsize, will float if they do capsize, and have redundancy of engines, props, charging and other systems.
Monohull sailboats are designed to work with the elements and have a sailing advantage—tacking and quicker maneuvering under sail especially upwind, better performing in heavy weather, and the keel/ballast enables monohulls to right themselves from a capsize but will not float if holed. Monohull sailboats are less costly to purchase and maintain.
Are there any superyacht sailing catamarans?
Currently the largest sailing catamaran is “Hemisphere”, built in 2011 by Pendennis Shipyard, UK and designed by renowned naval architect VPLP Design (Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost). The 145ft sloop-rigged yacht sails at 13 knots and was designed for the luxury charter market. It can accommodate 12 guests and 8 crew for world-class cruises in sumptuous comfort. Enjoy dive trips all around French Polynesia. Also designed by VPLP, the all-aluminum schooner catamaran built in 1998 by French builder, Alu-Marine, and is capable of sailing at up to 15 knots and cruising at 12 knots. “Douce France” is 126.6 ft in length and can accommodate 12 guests plus 7 crew. Though catamarans make up less than 10% of the global superyacht fleet, more superyacht concept catamaran sailing yachts are on the drawing boards of top design firms for the many advantages catamarans offer.
Seen below: An image of HEMISPHERE, the largest catamaran built to date.
When were the first sailing catamarans built?
The first Western example of a double-hulled sailing vessel was designed in Europe by William Petty in 1662 for the same advantages catamarans offer today—to sail faster, in shallower waters, in lighter wind, and with fewer crew than other vessels of that era. It was not accepted commercially, due to people’s skepticism of the unfamiliar and the design was generally unused until 160 years later when an Englishman built a double-hulled merchant ship described as “a fast-sailing fine sea boat” for trading during the monsoon season in Burma (Myanmar). Later in the 19th century, American Nathanael Herreshoff designed and patented his double hulled sailing boat named Amaryllis, and raced her in a June 1876 regatta, in which she performed extremely well, demonstrating the catamaran’s distinct performance advantages over standard monohulls.
Then in 1936, Eric de Bisschop built a Polynesian style “double canoe” that he sailed from Hawaii to France and was given a hero’s welcome, like Lindberg’s transatlantic flight! Considered the “grandfathers of the cruising catamaran industry,” brothers Roland and Francis Prout worked on their own catamaran design in 1949 and then converted their boat factory in England to catamaran production in 1954. Their Shearwater catamarans handily beat monohulls in races. Their sail plan of enlarged jib (over 2x area of mainsail) set aft of midships, and reduced size of mainsail kept the bows from digging in! A winning model sailed by Francis Prout is in the collection of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The speed and seaworthiness of the Prout catamarans attracted attention and orders; the 1970s were the most productive. Though production ended in 2002, Prout catamaran sailboats are still in the boat brokerage market today.
When were the first catamaran sailboats raced?
American Nathanael Herreshoff designed and patented his double hulled sailing boat named Amaryllis in 1876, and raced her in a June 1876 regatta, in which she performed amazingly well, proving the catamaran’s performance advantages over traditional monohulls. As a result of Amaryllis’ easy win at the Centennial Regatta of the New York Yacht Club, catamarans were barred from the regular sailing classes for nearly 100 years, until the 1970s. In Europe, the Prout brothers sailing catamarans went into production in 1954, after they easily won races against monohulls, creating demand for the Prout brothers’ Shearwater catamaran and subsequent models that became very popular during the 1970s.
The “America’s Cup” is the oldest and longest running yachting race in the world and has been dubbed “The Formula One” of yacht racing. Begun in 1851 with a race around the Isle of Wight in England that was won by the yacht, “America” of The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) which was awarded custody of the trophy cup, renamed “America’s Cup” in honor of the winning team. The rules were changed in 2010 to include 90ft multihull racing yachts and that led to the 2013 Americas Cup Race between Oracle USA Team’s AC72 with its towering wingsail and Emirates New Zealand’s AC72 introduction of foiling. Modern racing catamarans have come a long way, utilizing hydrofoils and rigid sails to achieve speeds of 50+ knots, faster than the winds propelling them by combining the laws of hydrodynamics with aerodynamics to achieve these astonishing speeds.
Hydrofoils reduce wetted surface to a minimum, effectively reducing friction and wave drag to lift the hulls above the surface; rigid sails are shaped like aircraft wings, effectively producing a greater apparent wind when combined with true wind to power the craft beyond true wind speed. The racing catamarans literally fly out of the water like flying fish! Today racing yacht design is moving away from catamarans to monohulls with huge hydrofoils and soft wing mainsail, as new design rules are set. The America’s Cup has challenged competing teams to push the limits of sailing skill and boat/sail design producing the innovations seen over the years of this most prestigious race.
What are beachable sailing catamarans?
Simply put, shallow draft catamaran sailboats that can be pulled up on a beach to sit on its keels. Most 40-50 foot catamarans only draw between 3' - 4.5' of draft. Some hulls are reinforced with Kevlar for extra protection and strength. Most catamarans are lighter and those with daggerboards and/or rudders can lift to allow beaching. Monohull sailboats cannot be beached because of the large keel and ballast. Iconic California surfboard manufacturer Hobie built the first beach launchable, daysailing 14ft HobieCat in 1967 based on the Polynesian catamaran. They are ideal for youth sailing schools. HobieCats in a range of models are still being manufactured today and marketed around the world!
What are some of the current popular brands of catamaran sailboats?
- Lagoon – customer centric brand by French boatbuilder since 1984. Fountaine Pajot – founded by French maritime catamaran builder in 1976.
- Leopard Catamarans established partnership with South African builder, Robertson & Caine in 2000. Catana Catamarans built by Catana Group/France, formerly Poncin Yachts, building catamarans since 2001.
- Nautitech – French catamaran brand founded in 1990 in Rochefort Sur Mer shipbuilding center. Privilège Catamarans – founded in 1985 in France.
- Gemini –subsidiary of Performance Cruising Inc. in USA has been building catamarans since 1981.
- Seawind – catamaran designer/builder in Australia (now built in Vietnam) founded by Aussie surfer/sailor Richard Ward.
- Sunreef Yachts – world’s leading manufacturer of luxury sailing and power multihulls—all custom; established in 2002 in Gdansk, Poland. Bali Catamarans – brand established in 2014 also produced by renowned Catana shipyard.
- Manta Sailing Catamarans are a USA built classic originally designed by noted multihull French naval architect Erik Lerouge and are still prized by catamaran sailors who have established a Manta owners group. Gemini and MaineCat are the only sailing catamarans produced in the USA today.
What is the cost of a 40-to-42 foot sailing catamaran?
The median cost of preowned cruising catamaran sailboats model year range 2000 to 2009 and 40-42ft length, currently available in the USA, is $219,900. Worldwide median cost is about $35K higher. For preowned model year range 2010 to 2019, 40-42ft length currently available in USA, median cost is $487,500. Worldwide median is about $10K lower, as there are more available abroad.