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Power Catamarans

  • Activities: Overnight Cruising and Day Cruising
  • Length Range: 16 -120 ft.
  • Average price: $657,000
  • Propulsion: Outboard Engine

When it comes to finding the smoothest ride around, power catamarans are often a top pick. These boats ride on two narrow hulls, instead of one wide one. This reduces wave impacts (think of two knives moving through the water, as opposed to one big spoon) and increases efficiency. Many power catamarans are also designed with “compression tunnels.” These compress air between the two hulls as they move forward at planning speed, providing lift and creating a cushion of air under the boat which further reduces wave impact.

Power catamarans enjoy several other advantages as compared to monohull boats, too. Stability is greatly enhanced, since the weight of the two hulls is spread out and they tend to counter-balance each other. The beam of the boat goes all the way to the bow, rather than narrowing to a point, enlarging the boat’s useable deck space. And since the hulls move through the water with less resistance smaller powerplants can often be used with them as compared to monohull boats of the same length. For these reasons you’ll see some large power catamaran models with big cabins which are designed for long-distance cruising in displacement mode. These boats are often utilized for charter by vacationers looking to spend a relaxing week or two afloat.

There are some downsides to power catamarans, too: some “sneeze,” which is when they send a puff of mist out of the tunnel, which blows back on the boat’s occupants. Many lean outwards in turns, instead of banking inwards like a monohull. And their enhanced stability can lead to a “snap roll,” in which one hull goes into a trough while the other goes up on a wave, and then the countering forces roll the boat back level with an abrupt motion. But just as all monohulls are different all power catamarans are different, and any one model may display all, some, or none of these traits. In any case power catamarans are certainly different from their monohull brethren and for many boaters, offer the ideal mix of characteristics.

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