40 Best Sailing Catamarans and Trimarans. Ever. | Cruising World

40 of the Best Catamarans and Trimarans. Ever.

Move over, monohulls. Check out Cruising World's list of the 40 multihulls that most significantly changed the boat-design game.

multihulls

The age of the multihull is here!

Courtesy of the Manufacturers

And Now, Miss Universe

In 2014, CW's editors, with some help from our multihull sailing friends, put together a list that we modestly called the "40 Best Catamarans and Trimarans. Ever." Not surprisingly — catamarans, after all, are the fastest growing segment of the sailboat market — our collection of cruisers, racers and all-out-fun machines garnered a fair bit of attention.

Turns out, many of those who clicked through the eclectic collection of old and new models had some strong opinions of their own and took the time to go to Facebook and vote for their favorites. With those tallies in hand, we now present a new version of the "40 Best Catamarans and Trimarans. Ever," only this time in a beauty pageant format. I won't spoil the suspense of who's named "Miss Universe," you can discover that for yourself. Hope you enjoy the show and, oh, of course, tell us what you think.

Best Catamarans: AC 45

40. AC45

When the movers and shakers of the 34th America’s Cup turned the Auld Mug on its crown with an all-catamaran extravaganza, they relied on the wing-sailed AC45 cats for spectator sizzle and proof of concept — that high-speed match racing in multihulls would get the world to pay attention. Core Builders Composite of New Zealand produced 14 of these one-design carbon-fiber crafts (as well as their complex 84-foot wing sails) for team training, the AC World Series, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, and they’ll be featured in the lead up to the 35th Cup Match. Their trickle-down effect was as immediate as it was astounding, wings and foils are everywhere.

© ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Best Catamarans: Louisiane 37

39. Louisiane 37

Based on the famous French racing cat Charente-Maritime, the Louisiane 37, designed by Joubert/Nivelt and launched by builder Fountaine-Pajot in 1983, was a light, fast liveaboard cruiser with full accommodations that represented a radical departure from the hefty British cats that preceded it.

Click here to see more catamarans from Fountaine-Pajot.

www.yachtworld.com

Best Catamarans: Tremolino

38. Tremolino

The late Dick Newick was one of America’s great multihull yacht designers, the creator of famed ocean racers like Third Turtle and Moxie. He also conceived, with a big assist from Hobie Alter, the classic little Tremolino tri, which incorporated Hobie 16 hulls for its amas, and a Hobie 16 rig for its sails.

mostsailboats.org

Best Catamarans: Bahia 46

37. Bahia 46

Fountaine-Pajot has built so many outstanding cruising catamarans that it’s difficult to narrow down any single boat, but we’ve always been fans of the good-looking, well-thought-out Bahia 46. At 46 feet, the boat is large enough for offshore forays and has plenty of volume; with its simple but powerful sail plan, it’s also an excellent performer.

Click here to see more catamarans from Fountaine-Pajot.

Courtesy Of Sunsail

Best Catamarans: Hobie Wave

36. Hobie Wave

Everybody’s got to start somewhere, and in the case of soaring along on a multihull, a whole lot of people get their first feel for flying a hull on a Hobie Wave. Visit a seaside resort just about anywhere and you’re likely to find a fleet of Waves ready for the taking. A word of warning to the cat curious: The ride can become habit forming.

Hobie

Best Catamarans: Kronos 45

35. Kronos 45

French builder Henri Wauquiez is best known for his long career building monohulls, but the Kronos 45 cat, which he launched in 1992, was ahead of her time. Classic lines, the aft “targa bar” over the cockpit, the louvered coach roof windows, even the distinctive stripes on her hull: the Kronos 45 remains timeless.

www.wauquiezforever.com

Best Catamarans: Outremer 40

34. Outremer 40/43

The light, lightning fast 40-foot cat that launched over 250 sisterships – from a builder still going strong today – the Outremer 40/43 features slender, easily driven hulls, a minimalist coach roof and large nets forward, all in the interest of keeping weight and displacement low, and boat speeds in double digits.

Click here to see more cats from Outremer.

www.voilier-nation.fr

Best Catamarans: Sunsail 384

33. Sunsail 384

Every sailboat is a compromise, and in the case of the Sunsail 384 (also sold privately as the Leopard 38) that’s a good thing, because designers Morrelli & Melvin and builder Robertson and Caine got the balance just right. With four cabins, the 384 can carry the same size bareboat charter crowd as her larger siblings, but does so with a decided bounce in her step. Named CW’s Import Boat of the Year in 2010, you can gauge the success of the design by the grins on the crew as they barrel down Sir Francis Drake channel in the British Virgin Islands.

Courtesy Of Sunsail

Best Trimarans: Telstar

32. Telstar 28

The follow-up to Tony Smith’s popular Telstar 26 tri, the 28-footer, launched in 2003, employed a clever rotary-pivot joint on its outer hulls to convert 18 feet of sailing beam into a manageable 8.5 feet for storage and trailering. The boat’s fully-battened mainsail and overlapping jib provides plenty of horsepower under sail.

Click here to read more about the Telstar 28.

www.cruisersforum.com

Best Catamarans: Maine Cat 30

31. Maine Cat 30

One of the more versatile and clever cats ever created, the central feature of the cool Maine Cat 30 is the open bridge deck/living room sandwiched between the hulls and canopied by a rigid, permanent hard top (the comfortable accommodations/ staterooms are stationed in the hulls). Ideal for a winter in the Bahamas but with the ability to sail offshore, it's a boat for all seasons and reasons.

Courtesy of Maine Cats

Best Catamarans: Manta 42

30. Manta 42

Built in Florida and beloved by the owners of the over 120 boats built during the company’s existence from 1993 to 2009, the Manta Catamarans range included 38-, 40- and 44-foot cats. For this exercise, however, we’re heralding the original Manta 42, which won the Best Value Overall prize in CW’s 2001 Boat of the Year contest.

www.mantaowners.org

Best Catamarans: Nautitech 441

29. Nautitech 441/442

The Best Multihull Under 45 Feet: So said the CW judging panel in the 2013 Boat of the Year competition, regarding the Nautitech 441. But what makes this versatile platform so intriguing are the different helm set-ups. The 441 employs a single wheel, to starboard, ideal for solo sailors, while the 442 has a pair of helm stations aft.

Click here to see more Nautitech Catamarans.

www.nautitech.fr

Best Trimarans: Piver Lodestar

28. Piver Lodestar 35

In the late 1950s and 1960s, World War II veteran Arthur Piver began a legendary career designing and building simple plywood trimarans, and later sold do-it-yourself plans for his boats in the pages of Popular Mechanics and other publications. His Lodestar 35, one of which he sailed across the Pacific, is representative of his impressive body of work.

Click here to read about a family who replaced the mast on their Piver Lodestar in a Costa Rican creek.

Courtesy of Outrigmedia.com

Best Catamarans: Victoria 67

27. Victoria 67

The French design office of Berret Racoupeau drafted the lines of Fountaine-Pajot’s new flagship, introduced in 2013, a magnificent world-girdling voyaging catamaran. Like other giant cats launched in recent years, the boat features a sensational upper deck with all sail controls, helm and lounging stations.

Click here to see more images of the Victoria 67.

Billy Black

Best Trimarans: Weta dinghy

26. Weta Trimaran

If we were to judge multihulls purely by their fun factor, the diminutive 14-foot, 5-inch Weta trimaran would tower among the giants. Fine for teaching kids to sail, the Weta’s no toy — in the right conditions you’ll see speeds approaching 20 knots. Hulls are a fiberglass composite sandwich; the mast is carbon-fiber; and the sail plan is simple but versatile, with a boomless main sail, jib and roller-furling gennaker. Other builders gave us a taste of what a small, easy-to-assemble tri could offer, but New Zealanders Roger and Chris Kitchen came up with just the right mix of stability, performance and ultimately thrills on the water.

Click here to read more about the Weta from our sister publication Sailing World.

Walter Cooper

Best Catamarans:  Prout Snowgoose

25. Prout Snowgoose 37

Solidly built for long hauls, the Snowgoose 37 comes from the Prout family of boatbuilders, who began plying their trade in the U.K. in the 1950s. The 37-foot Snowgoose, of which some 500 were reportedly built, mostly in the 1980s, was one of their best sellers, and they can still be found in far-flung harbors the world over.

www.yachtdepo.com

Best Catamarans: St. Francis 50

24. St. Francis 50

The flagship of the proud St. Francis line – built in South Africa since 1990 to designs by local legends Lavranos Marine Design – the St. Francis 50 is another “luxury cat” that shares much in common with an earlier 48-foot sister-ship, but packs even more payload into its roomier lines.

www.yachtandboat.com.au

Best Catamarans: Tornado

23. Tornado

Atop of every sport sits its Olympic athletes, so it’s only fitting that the Tornado catamaran be included in any list of great performing multihulls. Designed by Rodney Marsh and first launched in 1967, the Tornado has been the sole multihull sailed in the Olympics since 1976. The boat carries a crew of two, flies a hull and is considered to be among the very fastest of the double-handed cats suitable for international competitions.

tornado-class.org

Best Catamarans: Catana 50

22. Catana 50 Carbon

When it comes to speed, light boats are fast ones. And if you wish to save weight, that means exotic modern materials like carbon. Catana now infuses the laminates of their entire production line with carbon fiber, and for this list, we’ve chosen the Catana 50 Carbon, one of the zippiest cats now crossing oceans.

Click here to read about a couple's charter aboard a Catana 50.

www.mediashipcharter.it

Best Trimarans: Searunner

21. Searunner Trimarans

Designed by the great Jim Brown and his partner John Marples – and inspired by another American multihull pioneer, Arthur Piver – the home-built, wooden series of Searunner tris came in five sizes: 25-, 31-, 34-, 37- and 40-feet. Intended for safe if spare circumnavigations, many a Searunner accomplished that goal.

Courtesy of Jaynes Marine

Best Catamarans: Seawind 1160

20. Seawind 1160

If the Seawind 1000 was a minimalist approach to cruising cats, the 38-foot Seawind 1160 is the flip side of the coin, a full-fledged long-range voyager. Among the reasons it was named _CW_’s Most Innovative boat for 2007 is the unique “tri-folding” door that stashes overhead to open up the saloon and cockpit into a spacious living area.

Click here to read more about the Seawind 1160.

Billy Black

Best Catamarans: Lagoon 620

19. Lagoon 620

How big can a production cat, still operable by a short-handed crew, really be? The builders at Lagoon discovered that 62-feet hit a sweet spot in the marketplace, and have sold over 70 boats since its introduction in 2010. The centerpiece of this design is the sensational steering station atop the flybridge, with expansive views of the sea and sky.

Click here to see more cats from Lagoon.

Nicolas Claris / Lagoon Catamarans

Best Catamarans: Leopard 40

18. Leopard 40/Moorings 4000

With an unmatched pedigree – designed by premier multihull naval architects Gino Morelli and Pete Melvin, built by the prestigious Robertson & Caine boatyard in South Africa, and commissioned by chartering giant The Moorings – the Leopard 40 was, perhaps unsurprisingly, _Cruising World’_s Import Boat of the Year in 2005.

Click here to read more.

Courtesy Of The Moorings

Best Catamarans: Privilege 48

17. Privilege 48

French solo sailing hero Philippe Jeantot parlayed his success on the racecourse into a boatbuilding enterprise called Jeantot Marine, which launched a series of catamarans under the Privilege label, including this 48-footer in 1985. Extremely well appointed, Privileges were “luxury cats” through and through.

www.sailboatdata.com

Best Catamarans: Wharram Tanaroa

16. Wharram Tangaroa

No list of influential multihulls would be complete without the work of James Wharram, and while Tangaroa wasn’t a production cat by any means, it showcases the British designer’s respect for ancient Polynesian craft. Wharram sailed this 23’ 6” “double-hulled canoe” across the Atlantic in the 1950s, and sold countless plans for similar boats for decades afterwards.

Irish Photo Archive

Best Catamarans: Atlantic 42

15. Atlantic 42

Almost 30 years ago, yacht designer Chris White revolutionized catamaran design with the first in his series of Atlantic cats, the primary feature of which was the innovative mid-ship sailing cockpit forward of the main cabin. The smallest in the Atlantic line, the 42 remains White’s most popular design ever.

www.sacsmarine.com

Best Catamarans: Seawind 1000

14. Seawind 1000

Founded by Aussie surfer and sailor Richard Ward in 1982, the 33-foot Seawind 1000 is easily the most popular cruising cat ever built in Australia (the company has since moved its manufacturing and management operations to Vietnam). Roomy and airy, these cats dot the coastline of eastern Oz.

Click here to read more about Seawind Catamarans.

www.eastcoastsailing.com.au

Best Catamarans: Lagoon 380

13. Lagoon 380

No roundup of cruising cats would be complete without several Lagoon entries, and the best of that impressive bunch might well be the Lagoon 380. Originally launched in 1999, and revered for its combination of quality, volume and performance, with over 740 boats built the 380 is still going strong.

Nicolas Claris / Lagoon Catamarans

Best Trimarans for Cruising: Neel 45

12. Neel 45

Cruising World’s Most Innovative yacht in the 2013 Boat of the Year competition, the Neel 45 trimaran is the brainchild of French boatbuilder, offshore racer and entrepreneur Eric Bruneel, the longtime chief of Fountaine-Pajot cats who managed to include a full interior expanding all three hulls – a first for a tri – in this long-range beauty.

Click here for more photos of the Neel 45.

Courtesy Neel Trimarans

Best Catamarans: Stiletto 27

11. Stiletto 27

The one-of-a-kind Stiletto 27 was conceived and built by a pair of young Floridian entrepreneurs beginning around 1979. One of the most remarkable things about this “beach cat on steroids” was its aircraft-like construction, the core of which was pre-preg Nomex honeycomb, which kept the hulls light yet bulletproof.

www.360yachting.com

Best Catamarans:  Catana 471

10. Catana 471

Beginning around 1996, the French builder Catana was one of the first companies to manufacture fully found cruising cats for private ownership, and this Christophe Barreau design, which enjoyed a nearly 10-year production run from 1997-2006, was emblematic of this first generation of safe, fun, long-legged offshore voyagers.

Click here to see more cats from Catana.

Dream Yacht Charters

Best Catamarans:  Gemini 105M

9. Gemini 105M

Pioneering catamaran sailor, builder and designer Tony Smith launched the first of his 33-foot Gemini 105M’s (10.5 meters = 33’) in 1993, and soon after found a ready and willing stream of sailors enamored of the boat’s compact size, affordable price tag, and such innovations as the nifty lifting rudder and transom steps.

Click here to read about the Gemini Legacy 35.

Gemini Catamarans

Best Catamarans: Outremer 5X

8. Outremer 5X

A state-of-the-art all-oceans cat that exemplifies how far multihull design has come, the 59-foot Outremer 5X was a winner on both sides of the Atlantic, taking top honors in the European Boat of the Year competition in 2013, and following up as the Best Full-Size Multihull in CW’s contest a year later.

Click here to see more cats from Outremer.

Billy Black

Best Trimarans: Dragonfly 1000

7. Dragonfly 1000

Designed and built to exceedingly high standards in Scandinavia, the fast and sleek 32’ 9” Dragonfly 1000 is another racing/cruising tri that earned Sailing World magazine’s 1994 Boat of the Year award. With its swing-wing foldable amas, and kick-up rudder and centerboard, the boat can be berthed or beached with ease.

Quoming Boats

Best sailing catamarans: Lagoon 440

6. Lagoon 440

Launched five years after the breakthrough 380, the Lagoon 440 was an evolutionary design that featured a raised flybridge helm station, a unique “gullwing” configuration below the bridge deck, expanded windows in the hull and much more. With 400 boats built in a 6-year production run, the 440 was an unqualified success.

www.bviyachtcharters.com

corsair 27

5. Corsair 27

The lone trimaran in the American Sailboat Hall of Fame, the versatile Corsair F-27 employs designer Ian Farrier’s ingenious folding ama system, which allows the dual-purpose racer/cruiser to be trailered, to fit in a standard marina slip, and to be easily rigged for sailing in minutes flat.

Click here to see the Corsair Cruze 970.

www.sailboatlistings.com

hobie

4. Hobie 16

Unveiled in Southern California in 1970 from the shop of an ingenious surfboard shaper named Hobie Alter, the beach-launched Hobie 16, with its trapeze harnesses and asymmetrical fiberglass hulls, did nothing less than revolutionize multihull sailing. Over 100,000 boats later, the Hobie 16 is still a blast.

www.hobiecat.com.au

antares 44i

3. Antares 44i

Now built in Argentina as a full-fledged, all-oceans world cruiser that can be safely operated by a shorthanded couple or family crew, the Antares 44i features a fully covered cockpit with a quartet of big, standard solar panels recessed within the hardtop, one example of a yacht capable of long-range passagemaking.

www.liveantares.com

gunboat

2. Gunboat 62

Built between 2000-2005, the Gunboat 62 firmly established the Gunboat brand: go-anywhere cats that applied race-boat technology to a world-cruising platform. Hull no. 1, Tribe, was built for company founder Peter Johnstone, who then spent a year-and-a-half cruising with his family, smiling all the way.

Click here to read more about Gunboat Catamarans.

Courtesy Of Gunboat

leopard

1. Leopard 48/Moorings 4800

Another Leopard/Moorings collaboration built by the wizards at Robertson & Caine (though this boat was designed by fellow South African Alex Simonis), the Leopard 48 was another CW Boat of the Year winner with all the contemporary bells and whistles: forward cockpit, flybridge helm station and solid hardtop dodger, just to name a few.

Click here to read more about the Leopard 48, and click here to see more images.

Leopard Catamarans

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