Picking the right catamaran

How To Choose the Best Sized Catamaran for Your Needs

Written by Just Catamarans broker Larry Shaffer

This is something that comes up often in considering a Catamaran purchase, especially for a first- time buyer. The intended use of the vessel also plays a huge role in this decision, are you planning on using the boat on weekends and Holidays or are you going to cross an ocean or two?

catamarans regatta

So many people that I speak to, want an owner’s version with 3 cabins until I explain that these are harder to find as fewer are built. When you do find them they typically go for 15% to 20% more for the same model Catamaran. I have often explained that having an extra storage room is a good thing and that an extra head can be easily converted to a massive dedicated shower, a nice pantry with shelves or a wet locker to hang up your foulies to dry after a wet passage.

Why would a cruising couple want to purchase a four-cabin boat with 4 heads? For the storage space when living aboard. It’s nice to have that little sofa in the starboard hull but guys tend to forget that wifey needs space to store her wardrobe. It’s more important that everyone’s needs are met to some degree and having a little extra storage on board goes a long way to meet those criteria.

My ex-wife was a PH. D and was compelled to carry an entire library of scientific research books in our forward cabins while crossing the Pacific. I actually had to re-arrange the books because the weight of them was raising the waterline on the bow. Happy wife, happy life.


Most 37-foot Cruising Catamarans do not sail all that well, in fact, most Cruising Catamarans under 40 feet don’t sail all that well by today’s standards. There are a few exceptions of course, like the Admiral 38, the Catana 38 and a couple of others. For most cruising couples I recommend 40 to 47-foot Catamarans.

 If you are planning on living aboard your catamaran with 8 children, then you will need a larger boat and a good psychiatrist. While a 51-foot Outremer is a fast and safe cruiser for a small family, it is out of most people’s budget and yes, budget plays a very important part in your decision. I sold a Leopard 46 to a family with 4 children and they are out crossing the Pacific now with plenty of space onboard.

Leopard 46 cat

Catamarans are relatively easy to dock, having 2 engines spaced far apart provides an excellent turning radius and steering by throttle makes you look like a pro when reversing into a slip so most couples can safely dock a 47- foot Catamaran by themselves.

fp lipari catamaran

Remember the larger the boat, the larger the maintenance bill so I recommend the smallest boat that is comfortable for you and your crew and the largest boat your budget can handle. It all comes down to personal preference, however for most cruising couples and small families a 40 to 47-foot Catamaran will fit the bill if it is within your budget.

Find the right Catamaran for you

Licensed and Bonded Catamaran Broker Jim Ross

Larry Shaffer

Licensed + Bonded Catamaran Broker

Email: Larry@JustCatamarans.net
Mobile: (954) 235-1448
Office: (954) 589-2343

Latest News