If you are in the market for a sailing catamaran, there are some useful tips to learn first. Learn everything you can about the different boat types and manufacturers and spend some quality time attending boat shows and asking questions. You will be very glad that you did later when you're out on your new catamaran enjoying the ocean breeze on your face!
One of the best experiences a person can have is being out on the ocean on a sturdy vessel and enjoying a beautiful day watching the birds and dolphins without a stress in the world! It’s really good at helping a person decompress and that’s one of the big reasons so many people are searching for the right boat to retire on and travel the world. Some people aren’t even looking to travel anywhere; they just want a live aboard boat that has enough room and luxury they can enjoy in the comfort of their local marina. A great choice for many people is a sailing catamaran, which can provide a wide beam and stable platform on the water.
There are many different types of sailing catamarans out there, and it’s suggested that you attend as many boat shows as possible to get a good feel for what is available. The larger boat shows such as the Miami International Boat Show will usually have the best selection to look at, and some will also have a specific area or show that specializes in luxury sailing catamarans like the Strictly Sail Boat Show. These boats will be shown at a marina where the boat show is located, and you’ll be able to actually board the different boats and check out every aspect and function of the vessel.
South African sailing catamarans are very popular and some of my personal favorites. They are usually much larger and roomier than other types of catamarans, and they tend to be more on the luxurious side. They have a nickname, called “Condo Cats” because of how roomy and big the salon, cabins, and galley are! They have arranged a “pavilion” of these South African Catamarans at the Miami International Boat Show in past years, and they sail recently completed vessels over for delivery to clients in the U.S. or the Caribbean. Before delivery, they will showcase them at major boat shows to try and bring in more buyers.
One South African company, Royal Cape Catamarans, is really the best of the show in my opinion. The hulls have so much living space down below that they actually bow out instead of having thinner, sleeker lines like other sailing catamarans. This only has a small reduction in overall speed, and you probably wouldn’t even know it. The catamaran can travel 200 miles or more per day, and is so stable that you can set a champagne glass on the table while at sea and it wouldn’t tip over! It is a 50 foot long boat with an optional extra 3 feet at the stern for fishing or diving, which is a most popular add on. The beam or width is almost 30 feet, which is huge! That means it’s going to extremely stable against rolling waves and side to side action. They say that the most stable position for a sailing catamaran is upside down on the surface of the water, but the most stable position for a mono-hull is at the bottom of the ocean! So you will feel much safer sailing across the ocean on a catamaran than on any other vessel.
Royal Cape Catamarans also can have up to 6 cabins, or one great option is having one whole hull converted into a “owner’s cabin”, where the owners can have a huge amount of personal living space for extra hanging closets and 2 heads. The sleeping area is a very nice and luxurious queen size bed, and there is even an option with a bathtub!
In the aft sitting area on deck, there is storage space for extra freezers, washers and dryers, and other necessities that a couple might want on a long voyage or live aboard. There’s plenty of room in the forward deck storage area for any water toys you might want to bring along. In my opinion, it’s really the best in class for the South African Sailing Catamarans that I saw at the show.
So if you are seriously thinking about selling your house when you retire and buying a live aboard boat, there are many really good options for you out there. Spend a year or two going to as many major boat shows as possible to get some ideas for exactly what you want and so that you can actually go on board the vessel and be able to touch it and picture yourself as owner. Make sure that it’s the right fit for you, and get all your questions answered before purchasing. Good luck!