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How We Chose Our Boat

How We Chose Our Boat

Many people have asked us how we went about choosing a boat.

Having no sailing experience, we relied heavily on our own research and the experience of others. Most of our research consisted of reading books, scouring blogs, and watching YouTube videos.  In addition, we were fortunate enough to consult with Jamie and Behan Gifford who have sailed around the world the past 9 years with their family of five aboard Totem (their website is a must read: www.sailingtotem.com).

As we gathered more and more information, one thing became clear in our search for a live-aboard sailboat: We wanted a catamaran.

In the sailing world there are monohulls (one hull – the most familiar type of sailboat), cataramans (two hulls), and trimarans (three hulls).  Each type of sailboat has their advantages and disadvantages but for the purposes of cruising, the real choice is really between a monohull and a catamaran.

So why was a catamaran our choice?

First of all, catamarans sail flat. Coming from a long line of NON-sailors, heeling over for days or even weeks on long passages – while considered the most "pure" way of sailing – didn’t appeal to us.  (“Heeling” is when a boat “leans” to one side when the wind fills the sails)

Second, a catamaran has built-in redundancy. For example, if an engine quits or a rudder breaks on one hull, you have another engine or rudder on the other hull. We pray that neither an engine quits or a rudder breaks, but just in case....

Third, there is generally more space on a catamaran when compared to a monohull of the same length. While the hulls are generally smaller on a cat, there are two of them and that extra room can make a big difference. Additionally, the bridge between both hulls provides great common living space.  Also, you have the cockpit for outdoor living and the trampoline at the front of the boat for even more "I need to get away from these people for awhile" space.

Finally, a catamaran does afford you "privacy" (as much as you can on a boat) in a way that a monohull can't.  Generally on a catamaran there are 4 cabins - two in each hull. The kids can occupy one hull while the adults can enjoy a little peace and quiet in their own hull.

These were just a few of the highlights that led us to catamarans, but there were certainly more nuanced qualities of a multihull that we liked as well.

Of course all this is hypothetical at this point. We haven't sailed a nautical mile yet so check back in a couple of months, and I'll do a follow up post on whether or not our catamaran met our expectations!

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