a few reasons why it's great to cruising on a catamaran....
I teach lots of Cruising Catamaran classes in the Pacific NW and students often ask why there aren't more Cruising Catamarans in the area, relative to many popular cruising areas? I'm not 100% sure, but here are some theories, in no particular order:
Many catamarans are manufactured in South Africa or France, then delivered to the East Coast or Caribbean on their own hull. Others are made in Australia. A good sized monohull can be trucked here fairly easily from anywhere in the country/continent. Not so a catamaran. There are lots of people here interesting in buying a catamaran, but very little local inventory here or even on the West Coast. So if you can't find a catamaran already in the area to buy, the cost of delivery here is considerable.
Even smallest cruising catamarans typically have 3 cabins and 2 heads; more than many cruising couples need/can afford. You get a lot more boat for the same length than a mono-hull, in terms of accommodations, amenities, systems. Likely a larger, heavier mainsail, with associated requirements such as power winches and beefier rig. Twice as much engine, drive train, batteries, etc. Most have sail drives, requiring haul out for maintenance, and periodic replacement of the SD diaphragm. Most local boat yards don't have lifts capable of hauling them out for repairs/maintenance, so the cost of delivery must be included. All of this costs more money to buy and maintain. Lots of people dream about cats, but can't afford them.
It's actually pretty easy to find transient moorage (a 'guest slip') for a catamaran when you charter one in this area. But there's not a lot of slips available for ANY type of boat around here, and fewer for catamarans. Shilshole and other marinas DO have dedicated catamaran docks and slips. Some marinas charge extra for cat slips, due to the wide beam.
The shallow draft that contributes to catamaran popularity elsewhere is of little value in our deep waters. The open concept indoor/outdoor living design of many cats, that is great for keeping cool in a warm climate has little value in our temperate climate. Some worry about the extra expense to heat the larger living space. Cats are great for swimming and snorkeling from, but we don't do that much here. In our protected waters, there's less interest in the superior primary stability of catamarans.
There are lots of features to a catamaran that ARE very well suited to our waters, including hard covers and full enclosures for cockpits, and lots of windows bringing light into the living spaces.
Close quarters maneuvering is very different than a monohull. Combined with their greater size and cost, this intimidates many monohull sailors. This is easily solved with training from an experienced catamaran instructor (see below).
There are multiple ways to sail a boat back to a crew that has fallen overboard. For a cruising catamaran, such as this 40' Lagoon, one alternative is this heave to method. It requires an immediate heave to after the victim goes overboard.
Check out our adventure!
Check out this awesome crew and their voyaging canoe, that sailed all the way around the world! I met them in Papeete Harbor last year. This is the legacy behind our modern cruising catamarans.
Challenging the flood at Deception Pass is easy on a catamaran with twin 800 Caterpillar diesels