Catamaran yacht charters
Catamaran yacht charters are increasingly popular in the Mediterranean and Greece, and there are a lot of reasons for chartering multihulls. To help you choose the right yacht for your holiday I made a list of advantages and disadvantages of catamarans compared to monohulls, compiled by both avid cat and monohull sailors, who often resemble Android and iPhone aficionados.
Advantages of catamarans
- The smaller draft of a catamaran allows you to anchor in shallow bays or very close to the beach, which leads to more privacy and more options to drop anchor.
Yet, do realize that the draft is still 100 – 160 cm. For instance, a Lagoon 500 has a draft of 140 cm without the full tanks and without all the gear and guests on board.
In Turkey you can find wooden quays that have catamarans dock at the shallow side – where there is usually room – while the monohulls dock at the deeper size stern-to.
Monohulls typically have a draft of 200 – 215 cm.
Anchor with a minimum of 150 cm of water between the hull / keel and the seabed.   The swell of the sea, ferry wash, direction change of winds can easily drop you a full metre.
- Minimum heeling and more stability can help to avoid “mal de mer” – see my page on how to prevent seasickness – 5° heel versus 20° on a monohull.
- A catamaran has about the volume of a 8' longer monohull i.e. a 42' catamaran has about the space of a 50' monohull. So, more room on deck and inside with wrap around windows. Now only the elderly benefit of the stable and spacious deck with no steps between inside and outside.
- The autopilot steers very well, because the hulls as well as the two rudders give good tracking.
- Modern catamarans are surprisingly fast as long as not sailing close hauled, and when sailing with enough wind.
- More privacy, since the sleeping accommodations, heads and showers are totally separate, located in each hull and in opposite corners.
- Handy storage of the dinghy pulled into the davits aft between the hulls.
- Two engines, one in each hull.
Disadvantages of catamarans
- It is often difficult to find room to moor a multihull in crowded Mediterranean Greek and Turkish ports, especially in July and August. Yet, this can be avoided by arriving early in the afternoon.
- Many agree that anchoring is somewhat more difficult with the anchor chain entering the yacht between the two hulls and that the anchor is often stowed in either hull.
- There are fewer types of charter catamarans to choose from, since the majority of charter yachts in Greece, Italy, Croatia and Turkey is monohull.
- Because of its width a catamaran experiences more windage in gusts and oscillating winds which makes it more difficult to raise or set anchor or to dock in windy or gusty conditions. Moreover, it lacks a keel to prevent leeway.
- Minor: although extremely unlikely, the danger of capsizing leads to (over-)reefing and less performance, since a catamaran will not recover from a knockdown or capsize. Although this doesn't mean a multihull is less safe than a monohull because hull breaches are often not fatal in catamarans.
- A catamaran is slower in fickle wind conditions than a monohull.
- Sailing upwind is different – because multihulls don't point that high – although the VMG is not greatly affected.
- Catamarans are slightly more difficult to tack, especially in a choppy sea.
- Contrary to monohulls which have a ballasted keel, catamarans rely only on form stability, which may lead to motion discomfort and more seasickness in light wind conditions.
The advantages and disadvantages of chartering a catamaran are quite balanced.
Moreover, most of the downsides can be remedied by an experienced skipper/crew !
Whether or not to charter a catamaran in Turkey or Greece – or anywhere else in the Mediterranean – will mainly rely on personal taste.
Top charter catamarans
Below a short-list of reliable and best reviewed catamarans available for yacht charter in Greece – Athens → Argolic-Saronic and Cyclades.
- Lagoon 500
- Lagoon 450 Flydeck
- Fountaine Pajot Elba 45
- Lagoon 440
- Lagoon 420
- Lagoon 40
- Bali 5.4
- Lagoon 520
- Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 Quatuor
Read more articles in my yachting guide.
- Charter guide
- Assisted bareboats
- Bareboat requirements
- Choosing a charter yacht
- Catamarans & monohulls
- Prevent seasickness
- Greek sailing areas
- When to sail in Greece
- Yacht charter provisioning
- Itineraries Ionian
- Itineraries Argo-Saronic
- Itineraries Cyclades
- Itineraries Dodecanese
- One-way itineraries
- Flights & ferries
- Last minutes & budget
- Sailing between Greece & Turkey
- Greek chart terms
- Greek fishing techniques
- Climate graphs Athens
- Climate graphs Bodrum
- Distances sailing Greece
- Itineraries Ionian + Aegean