What’s the ideal size catamaran for couples? 95% of the time, it’s the ideal size for just about anyone who doesn’t have 5 kids. The answer is always 40 to 45 feet.
If you look through a lot of webpages for information on the best size, you’ll see 40 to 45 the most, but you’ll also see 42 to 45, 40 to 50 (wrong), and 37 to 47 feet. Realistically, 50 is too long and 37 feet is too short.
There’s so many things to look at with this, I’m probably all over the place. Hope I make sense.
Money for Docking/Slips
Let’s start with the easiest part of this, the money. You want your catamaran to be 45 feet or less because it will cost less at the marina. Docking costs and/or slips are priced by the foot, with some marinas increasing in the per foot price based on the total size of the boat.
This is already an issue, you catamaran sailing son of a gun, because you’re getting charged more for your sweet catamaran due to it’s much larger beam (boat width).
If you look below, you can see the 2022 Transient Rate sheet for a South Carolina marina. The daily rate for a catamaran is 29% higher than the monohull. The Monthly rate is 30.6% higher.
Regardless of all of that, more feet equals more money. Don’t go bigger than you need.
Space for Docking
Not to be confused with Space Docking (do not look that up on Urban Dictionary).
Another simple one. The bigger you are, the tighter the fit… Maybe that’s not worded right. You can’t fit 5 pounds of shit into a 1 pound bag.
Uh, the smaller your boat, the more likely there is room for you to dock, especially briefly.
Yes, a smaller boat can fit into more spaces. While we’re mostly talking about docks/slips, this is also true for fitting into more adventurous spots around the world. Big boats can’t always go where the smaller boats can. I love that calling a 45 foot boat a small boat sounds crazy, but compared to Lagoon’s Seventy 7, 45 feet is small.
As you’ll see in the Quality vs Price page, the range you’ll pay for your catamaran can be huge. This only gets worse as you go bigger. I think some of these large boats are amazing and the higher quality boats are like high end apartment living. However, I have a budget and 40 to 45 feet is always closer to my budget range.
Beam Me Up
Another reason to not go too small is that the beam generally decreases proportionally-ish with the length. One of the advantages of having a catamaran is the stability you get with the two hulls. That stability increases and decreases based on how wide your boat is. For my wife and I, we want that comfort. Sailing a monohull is cool and all, but I prefer my sailing more on the level side of life.
Besides the stability, you also have more room. You’re living on this thing and you need to squeeze out as much room as possible. It’s also a comfort thing, but it’s a living in comfort thing, not just for when you’re under sail. Most people say you’re anchored 90% to 95% of the time. You want that room.
There is a very specific reason that the smallest number people will mention is 37 feet. It’s the Seawind 1160 and/or 1190. This boat is about 38 feet long, seemingly priced great, and could make a great live aboard. I say could make a great live aboard because it does have the least amount of space of anything my wife and I have looked at and liked. Their 1260 and the new 1380 are more in line with the sized I’d like. The 1380 is a next gen cat that I’d love to have.
What I’ve noticed across the board is that when you go smaller, you lose a lot of outside covered areas. They seem to always try to keep the topside interior about the same, but the outside loses out the most. It’s an area I think I’d spend the most time.
The Cat Draft
This doesn’t really depend on the length so much, but I feel like this is a good spot to quickly talk about the draft. Catamarans have great drafts, especially when compared to monohulls. That’s just a fact. Here’s another fact. If your draft is 2 feet or less, you can go damn near anywhere.
Most of super shallow draft cats use dagger boards. You have them down, and bam your draft is like 6 to 9 feet and you’re holding direction well. Pull them up and your draft is 3 feet or less. That’s amazing. The Seawind 1190 has these, but the downside on that model is that you lose storage space. Careful what you ask for. The 1190 is virtually identical to the 1160, except for the dagger boards. The 1190 has less storage, but the draft is 1′ 7″ less (at 1′ 11″ draft vs the 1160’s 3′ 6″ draft).
I’m looking for a draft of at least 3 feet or less. I might go to 4 feet, but once you get past that, there’s islands that you might not get to explore. It’s an important note.
Actual, Like, Sailing, Man
Here’s a good one… Most modern catamarans in the 40 to 45 foot range can be sailed singlehanded. Yep, no crew needed. It would, obviously, be easier with a second person. I’m thinking the wife, but you might be thinking the husband, or some rando that wants to go adventuring. Either way, it’s the perfect size.
Living with Your Loved One
I have heard tales of how people don’t always get along with their significant other. I do fairly well with mine, but everyone still needs some alone time. With this size boat, you can get a good 40, 45 feet away. Might not sound like much, but I’m sure it’s better than being stuck in the same room.
The reality is you need room to stretch out, have a hobby (besides sailing), and some privacy. This is the boat that can do that without breaking your bank.
This sounds like a no brainer to the majority of people who are interested in this kind of life, but for some people, they’ve never been without a store within a quarter mile of their home. Life aboard while sailing/traveling will put you away from stores. People. Stuff.
Even if you’re in a popular area with plenty of stores, they may not have what you like. You need to take it with you. I’m a fan of Sun Drop. It’s regional. There’s plenty of things you enjoy that are regional. If you want it, you need to buy it and store it.
This wonderful catamaran you’ve purchased is your home now. In our case, we’re planning on selling off virtually everything we own in order to live this life. If there are things we wish to keep, we need a place to put it. If it’s not on the boat, we’d have to pay to store it back home. That may not be fiscally smart. I don’t want unnecessary bills. I want to keep the things that are important to me with me. This size boat allows me to do that, within reason.
Ideal Size for Couples?
So, is 40 to 45 feet ideal for couples? Yes. It’s not too big and not too small. You’ll fit in there. The boat will fit in the places you want to go. You’ll hopefully have the money you need to do both of those fitments.
Here’s the craziest part: If money was no object, I’d still be in this range. I would most likely purchase the Maverick 440 Hybrid OceanVolt (43.6 ft), Balance 442 (44.29 ft), or maybe the slighty longer, but still under 50 ft, HH44 (49.7 ft).
Just for an example, let’s discuss a boat that I really like. I’ll go with the shortest one, the Privilege 510. I love this boat. The master cabin alone sells this thing. It’s amazing. Price no object, you have to look at it. It’s a wow. I remember looking at Privilege at the Miami International Boat Show 2020 and was amazed.
Price no object… Wouldn’t buy it. At 50 feet, it’s too long. (Pay no attention to that HH44 up there.) The draft is a full 5 feet 1 inch. That’s just too much. Specifically, there’s some islands in the Pacific that I’d like to visit, but I wouldn’t be able to in this. It’s just too big. Did I mention this is the smallest one?
Forty – Forty Five
That’s my number.