Join the Cat Crowd
There's no shortage of good reasons to climb aboard a catamaran
Still, the draw for some sailors remains the potential for exciting, wave-skimming passages. For them, such builders as Outremer and Maine Cat offer boats with more slender hulls and less capacity for weighty accoutrements.
"The Outremer 45 has as much performance as you'd want in a cruising cat," says Gregor Tarjan, the president of Aeroyacht, a dealer for Outremer and Fountaine Pajot. "The trade-off is narrow hulls and low headroom."
Compared with more sumptously appointed 40-footers, the slippery Maine Cat 41 is on a tighter budget for sleeping quarters, and it doesn't even have a bridgedeck saloon. On the tween-hulls platform, it's set up for open-air living under a fixed hardtop--a sun porch under sail.
As the number of new catamarans has proliferated, so too has the number of used boats. "In the early 1990s, there might have been under 100 used multihulls on the market, max," says Bill Ware, co- founder of 2Hulls, which is now part of The Catamaran Company. "Today, we have over 170 listings, and that's just The Catamaran Company. Worldwide, the number is much larger." In early spring this year, his company listed half a dozen Lagoon 38s, which isn't surprising given the builder was approaching hull number 400 in production. Their prices ranged from $225,000 to $325,000, an indication that cats from the recognized builders hold their prices well.
Over time, Ware has seen many different types of buyer. "Some sailors buy a cat as a transition boat," he says. "Especially monohull sailors. They might be thinking of moving to a trawler later on, but they buy a cat because it's stable, and they aren't ready to give up the sails."
Whatever your needs and preferences, and those of the others around you involved in the decision making, you'll find a number of choices where your desires will mesh with what's available.