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I thought the following email from a friend of mine might be useful as it compares sailing on both a monohull and a catamaran and is written by someone new to sailing and thus someone with no pre-conceived ideas or prejudices.

It was written after a 2007 passage on a monohull from the Galapagos to Costa Rica. Marilyn had previously sailed on Rush from the UK to Canaries, the same Crowther designed 33ft catamaran I sailed across the Atlantic in 2006/7. (Marilyn got off Rush in the Canaries and I got on for the trip from Canaries to Panama).

Personally I found Rush to be just about the most uncomfortable catamaran I have sailed. Certainly much much worse than my similar length Eclipse. Anyway, this is what Marilyn wrote about her monohull trip:

The wind erred on the lighter side so we rocked and rolled for a large part of the trip! The good news - no I did not feed the fish, not once. I was amazed I didn't get seasick. It was bad enough just trying to sleep and stay in the bed! That was a feat on its own. The lee cloth certainly helped but it didn't stop my head from rocking side to side. I tried sandwiching myself in with cushions and while that worked for comfort I was so hot I had a bath in my own perspiration.

I found the last part of the trip extremely tiring as my back started to ache or I felt like I had been punched in the chest, I think caused by the balancing act while I was sleeping. It was very exciting, cooking meals on a stove that is weighted to stay level so as we rocked, the stove moved. . At least I wasn't rocking and rolling around the place and that I could handle.

The day we arrived here (in Costa Rica) was such a gloriously sunny day, the sea hardly a ripple on the surface. I lay down for a couple of hours, absolutely exhausted. I had my book on my chest and didn't move a muscle for 2 hours. I died and went to heaven for a short while I am sure. The rocking and the rolling has finally stopped. At the moment all I want to do is relax and get some good sleep.

This trip has truly been a new learning curve in my life. I thought the motorbike tripping around S America was hard, I think this has been harder. How easily we forget though. I have learnt heaps about sailing. I know I can cook excellent meals with camping equipment and limited tools! I can sleep eventually while rocking and rolling when exhaustion takes over! I did arrive safely and there are times when the seas are kind to us!

Monohulls versus catamarans!

Well is there a choice!! I mean to say, a choice where everything is tied down, even straps to tie me in the galley, coffee cups 2/3rds full so it doesn't spill, being flung from side to side versus a full cup of coffee, sitting or lying in comfort outside and not being flung out of bed.

There is nothing worse than your brains racing from side to side in your head when you are lying down. That in itself answers any doubts in peoples mind regarding the state of my brain. If I had more brains, I maybe wouldn't have been to sea in a monohull!! More brains might have meant less space to move around in!!

You know, it could have been worse, there is always worse. I have bumped around in Rush at times too but then the seas were a lot worse than we encountered on this trip. Pity help it if they had been worse, I can now see why so many monos motor sail. At least to get a break from the constant motion. "

The Youtube clip below, taken from the Multihull Sailors Have More Fun! video shows our Sagitta on it's maiden sail sailing to windward in 24 knots apparent wind with an open celebratory bottle of wine on the floor. It doesn't fall over.

And then another cruiser with experience of both multihulls and large monohulls wrote:

"I don't think that people ever change back as such. There are pros and cons each way of course. Usually once people switch to Cat's they stay that way - however, plenty of people try one but don't buy one...

My experience has been on cats ever since I was about 4 years old. My father bought one by "accident" while setting out to buy a trimaran... We eventually traded up a few times and bought one of Richard Woods boats, a 35 foot Banshee. We had a lot of fun on that and took it down to Spain a few times. Your range and reach is expanded so much when you have a boat which is capable of "nipping down" to the north of Spain in under 5 days from the South coast (frequently under 3 days door to door actually).

We were a little irresponsible with it though (sorry Richard!), and occasionally had full sail up in force 8 or so.... As someone earlier pointed out, these things are so solid that it's sometimes very easy to just leave things up because they simply go faster and faster! We were doing in excess of 20 knots in the situation described above.

So I had my first chance to sail on a 65" ex Challenge race boat a few days back. They made us wear oil skins! Yeah I know! I mean I do own a set of my own, but on the cat I think I have worn the trousers only twice EVER in my life and the jacket perhaps a dozen times! Usually I just sail in a jumper and perhaps a waterproof over jacket! OK, so the 65" race boat was a shock because it seemed to need lots of people to handle the sails, it was quite slow (we only did around 7 knots down the solent), there was not a lot of space, and the darn thing tipped over!

In comparison my folks now have a 43 foot privilege cat which can easily be sailed by one person. You can tack it single handed in probably less time than a moderately experienced race crew can tack the monohull... It has 5 double cabins (but only 4 of them have on suite shower and toilet...). And to be fair you do know when the weather is getting rough - for example my folks gave me a ring a few days back as they sailed up from Indonesia to Singapore and said that they had been in a severe thunderstorm, strong winds and even (drum roll) one of the photos had fallen off the shelf around the main table... (Yep, when it gets really rough the washing up bottle jumps off the side into the sink as well!)

Possibly this is the easiest way to describe the difference between cats and monohulls..."