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catamaran While most sailboats are single hull, sailboats with two and even three hulls are becoming increasingly more popular.  Called catamarans, boats with two hulls are extremely stable due to the spread between the two hulls.  While catamarans don't have a ballasted keel, the twin hulls do the job of ensuring that the boat remains upright.

Catamarans can come in any size, and in cruising boats, the twin hulls allow for more spacious living space down below.  Catamarans are also appreciated by sailors in rough seas, as the hull configuration gives a smoother ride in choppy waters.

Larger catamarans have auxiliary power, and are more fuel-efficient than boats with one hull.  For this reason, catamarans are often a popular choice for boaters who are traveling long distances.

There is one other way in which catamarans and monohulls differ greatly.  While a monohull that is tipped upside down will right itself immediately, the same can't be said of a catamaran.  Because of its twin hull configuration, catamarans are very difficult to right once they are upside down.

While this may be considered a negative, consider that catamarans are much more difficult to sink than monohull sailboats.  If a hole is punched in a monohull sailboat, it will fill with water and sink to the bottom.  If a catamaran finds itself with a similar hole it will also fill with water.  However, it will rarely sink.  This is because catamarans have no ballasts to pull them down, and are usually made up of a foam sandwich construction that is very buoyant.

Sport catamarans are boats with twin hulls designed to go extremely fast — as fast as some powerboats.  Instead of a cockpit there is mesh fabric between the two hulls for passengers, and the spread between the two hulls allows for great stability.  Because they are so stable, larger sails can be used on these boats, which allows for increased speed as well.

Catamaran Manufacturers

  • Corsair Marine
    150 Reed Court
    Chula Vista, CA 91911
    Features a line of high performance and comfortable trailerable Trimarans.
  • Glacier Bay Catamarans
    14298 169th Drive SE
    Monroe, WA 98272-2901
    Industry leader in the production of performance catamarans.
  • Hobie Sailing
    4925 Oceanside Blvd.
    Oceanside, CA 92056
    Leading manufacturer of catamarans, sailboats, fishing kayaks and float cats.
  • WindRider
    214 Eagle Drive
    Sandstone, MN 55072
    Manufacturer of simple, affordable sailing trimarans.
  • World Cat
    1090 West St. James Street
    Tarboro, NC 27886
    High-tech offshore catamarans built for a stable, smooth ride.

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