Six Great Starter Catamarans for Multihull Sailing

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced sailor, these cats are worth taking a look at.

Lagoon 42
Lagoon 42 Courtesy The Manufacturer

Special delivery: Sign up for the free Cruising World email newsletter. Subscribe to Cruising World magazine for $29 for 1 year and receive 3 bonus digital issues.

Here are six boats ­handpicked by The Multihull Company’s president and CEO, Capt. Will Miller, as excellent choices for brokerage-catamaran seekers. He says that these are all worth a look, whether you’re a first-time buyer or an ­experienced monohull sailor. 

Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41

Looking for an affordable liveaboard cruiser? The Lipari 41’s deck layout is ergonomically designed for convenient sail-handling and alfresco entertaining, making for an enjoyable sailing experience all around. The Maestro version offers an owner’s suite full of cabinets and lockers complemented by a large master bath. There’s also abundant stowage in the forepeaks and anchor locker on deck for all of the cruising essentials. Whether you’re a seasonal cruiser or full-time liveaboard, the Lipari 41 checks all the boxes at a friendly price point.

Lagoon 42

The Lagoon 42 (or the 420 model, as a more budget-­friendly option) is a solid choice for first-time catamaran buyers who prioritize onboard comfort. This cat delivers unparalleled volume and stowage capacity in its size category, making it a trendy choice for those with large families or frequent guests. A self-tacking jib and simple deck organization allow for easy singlehanding, while the semi-raised helm station adds great sightlines and the vertical salon windows offer panoramic views from inside.

Catana 431

Catana 431
Catana 431 Courtesy The Manufacturer

If sailing performance is high on your wish list, then the Catana 431 is a ­must-see. Upwind performance is dramatically enhanced with daggerboards, an aerodynamic cabin top, tulip-shaped bows, and intelligent weight distribution. The Twaron reinforced layup further strengthens the vinylester ­foam-core construction, making these yachts extremely light and stiff. Creature comforts were not an afterthought, with high-quality interior fabrics and finishes yielding pleasing aesthetics inside and out. This generation of Catanas continues to retain resale value and marketability more than 20 years after they were originally launched. If you grew up racing and are now transitioning to the liveaboard lifestyle, you’ll appreciate the responsiveness and speed that the 431 delivers.

Fountaine Pajot Helia 44

Delivering a sophisticated look with decent sailing characteristics, the Helia 44 is among the most coveted models from Fountaine Pajot. Its modern Euro-styling strikes a unique balance of comfort, stowage and space utilization. Peninsula-shaped berths make climbing in and out of bed all too easy, and the rest of the interior flows together, creating a very livable space. The Helia 44 has a generous sail plan with a cockpit designed for entertaining your buddy-boat crews. It’s no surprise that this model transitioned seamlessly from a popular charter design into a capable offshore cruiser.

Leopard 46

For the experienced sailor who wants a larger boat that balances performance, value and comfort, the Leopard 46 is a top contender. Leopard prides itself on system design and accessibility, making this a very user-friendly cat. Its spacious cockpit and salon join seamlessly, creating optimal social flow. The helm and cockpit can also be easily enclosed to extend your sailing season. Beefy davits with an integral step and complemented by extra-wide sugar scoops make deploying the dinghy exponentially easier. 

Seawind 1260

Seawind 1260
Seawind 1260 Courtesy The Manufacturer

Beginners looking for high-performance adventure without sacrificing interior volume for daggerboard trunks would do well to peruse the Seawind 1260. Its vinylester-resin construction and foam coring ensure durability, lighter weight and solid performance. Garage-style salon doors create a desirable interior-exterior feel with great ventilation. With a galley-down configuration, the salon feels like a much larger yacht. The 1260 sails with ease in light air, conserving fuel and minimizing passage time. —Capt. Will Miller

Capt. Will Miller has been a yacht broker for more than two decades and has managed the sale of more than 100 yachts. For information, visit

More Sailboats