Advantages and disadvantages of catamarans
Denis Korablev
  • 08.10.2021
  • 1,274

Advantages and disadvantages of catamarans

As a watercraft, the catamaran appeared in the most distant centuries. According to one of the versions, the word "catamaran" comes from one of the dialects of the language of the inhabitants of southern India, and literally translates as "connected logs". The name itself indicates the venerable history of the catamaran, because tied logs are the same primitive means for sailing on water among primitive tribes. Another version attributes the invention of the catamaran to the fishing community of paravas, who once lived in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

But giving the palm to Indian inventors is not given by facts indicating that the waters of the ancient Nile were sailed by ships very reminiscent of a catamaran; the tribes on the shores of the Amazon also used a similar craft. Oceania generally considers the catamaran to be its brand, and the peoples of Polynesia used the catamaran as a main means of moving when settling the people back in the 2nd millennium BC. Expedition A. Tasman back in 1642 brought to Europe drawings of Polynesian catamarans, D. Cook made sketches of double canoes of Hawaiians. So the history of the invention of the catamaran remains a mystery.

Nevertheless, in the following centuries, the practical Romans, with might and main, used the catamaran during sieges, managing to put canopies on the paired boats to protect them from shelling, and at the same time ladders for storming the walls. For the development of the sea, ancient catamarans were not suitable - the complexity of manufacture, problems with stability on the wave and the quality of the material for construction did not provide the strength of the vessel. Catamarans began to be used mainly on inland waters, rivers and lakes.

But as soon as technical progress reached a level allowing the use of strong and lightweight materials in shipbuilding, the catamaran was remembered and truly appreciated. Aluminum, marine steel and composite materials have created a new generation of yachts, not only with unique hulls, but also with unique characteristics.

And these characteristics, without exaggeration, cause admiration:

  • Absolutely smooth running (even in rough seas), high stability of the vessel. Symmetrical body for minimal pitching;
  • Large deck area, spaciousness, the ability to design cabins with increased comfort for the crew and guests;
  • Practical unsinkability, security guarantee. The scheme of the catamaran makes it possible to spread the power plant, increasing the reliability of the vessel from mechanical damage. Low (compared to a classic yacht), fuel consumption;
  • Increased maneuverability and maneuverability, donated by two float-hulls (which means two engines!), no keel (shallow water is not a hindrance!). With a smaller displacement, the catamaran is able to carry a large windage, with small roll angles. Catamaran engine drives are spaced along the aft ends of the floats. Since the floats are located at some distance from each other, tactical circulation is zero. This allows the catamaran to be fully deployed practically on the spot;
  • Small hull draft and safe sailing on the shallows open up additional opportunities to navigate hard-to-reach harbors, closed to classic yachts.

The first modern catamarans, which appeared relatively recently, aroused at first simple interest and curiosity among yachtsmen who are accustomed to traditional boats. A double-hulled vessel connected by a truss or deck aroused apprehension and bewilderment. Fierce debates began about the possible competition between catamarans and monohull yachts. The active use of catamarans in tourism, powerboat sports, as passenger and cruise ships put everything in its place - the double-hull ship was recognized and loved. In addition, many clients who constantly rent yachts, having tried a vacation on a catamaran, simply cooled off to a classic yacht. Catamarans yachts are manufactured both in serial batches and by individual order, with a complete set at the request of the customer. Such ships already belong to the luxury category. Charter companies offer rent catamarans, designed for comfortable accommodation of any number of travelers. There are options for sailing catamarans, but most modern double-hulled boats have motor sailing gear. And since 2000, thanks to the round-the-world trip on the Race catamaran, the demand for double-hulls has grown significantly.

Companies - manufacturers of catamarans (Blubay, Yapluka, Sunreef, Lagoon and Privelege), in conditions of increased demand, have started producing super catamarans with a length of more than 60 meters. The huge (by classic standards) salon, thanks to the construction of the catamaran, is at the level of the main deck. This allows you to get in and out of there without the need to use a ladder. Comfort for vacationers is ensured by the isolation of the skipper's helm post and the possibility of complete privacy - separate hulls with living quarters allow this.

The first private catamarans designed for cruise travel began to be put into mass production back in 1987 - 1996. (Lagoon 55.47, 57.67). Against the background of the growing struggle for the right to be called the most optimal solution in the field of charter tourism, catamarans are ahead of monohull yachts by the whole hull. And this is not only an allegorical comparison, but also a fact. A modern catamaran made of the latest materials (carbon fiber), having on board a cabin with a luxurious interior, without any problems gaining speed up to 50 knots, easily overtaking a traditional single-deck yacht, sailing with the wind to the stern floor by 20 - 25% faster. The tailwind makes the catamaran generally unattainable in speed, in such situations it goes 75 - 100% faster than the yacht. Some catamarans are capable of developing a speed that many ground vehicles cannot master - 250 km / h!

The design of the catamaran prevents it from tilting more than 5 °. Naturally, this is not suitable for fans of extreme sports, but for adherents of a quiet family vacation, without exhausting pitching and cramped cabins, the catamaran has become a real paradise. Everyone who previously suffered from seasickness could afford a comfortable vacation in the sea. The main factor that determined the popularity of the catamaran in the maritime tourism market was the spaciousness and almost homely atmosphere of the living quarters on the ship. Models released after 2010, in the design of interior interiors, used the developments of the famous design bureau Nauta Design.

The production of super catamarans over 60 meters in length has further widened the gap in comfort offered on one-size two and single-deck vessels. This is understandable: more space - more opportunities. The yachting industry has begun building new catamarans, over 100 feet in length, which are luxury floating castles. All models of modern catamarans are modeled using the most advanced software and testing tools. This helps to maximize safety by considering payload, drift reduction, grounding, tuning, and draft to the smallest detail.

According to experts 2yachts, the incredible capabilities of modern catamarans contributed to the emergence of a separate sport discipline - water sports Formula-1 (first class boat races). The impression of the sight of boats rushing over the water, with a design similar to a catamaran, will remain for a long time.

Tourist catamarans offered to a wide range of water travel enthusiasts are not designed for phenomenal speeds. Water tourism can be sports, educational, ecological, adventure. And what unites all these types is striving for new experiences with the help of catamarans. For such floating craft, the ability to ensure safety, maneuverability, carrying capacity, maneuverability and maximum allowable (in such Spartan conditions!) Comfort are important.

Made of duralumin, reliable and simple double-float pedal catamarans are familiar to most tourists who had a rest by the reservoirs. Their unsinkability and stability became an excellent basis for the creation of such models from plastic, and later from more modern materials. Models of children's water bicycles (with awnings, slides, with a fender and even with a solar battery) are striking in their variety.

Tourist catamarans (floatable or inflatable) are made of new composite materials, equipped with a sail, and provide an excellent opportunity to go out into reservoirs for fishing or passive recreation. Compact and lightweight, rafting catamarans are interconnected airtight cylinders (nacelles), divided into independent compartments with holes for the necessary pumping. The number of autonomous pressurized compartments can be any, at the request of the owner. The shape of the catamaran gondola is cigar-shaped, with a smooth taper towards the bow and stern, the extremities are raised. The welded seams of the cylinders are made by the method of semi-automatic hot air welding. This guarantees (unlike glued joints) maximum durability and protection against overheating in the sun. The buoyancy reserve of the gondolas has been increased due to the reinforcement in the bow, stern and middle parts over the frame, additional air tanks - slugs.

Light rubberized fabric or imported PVC (Valmex, Heytex), from which inflatable cylinders are made, are not sufficiently protected from mechanical damage, therefore, a protective cover made of durable nylon or lavsan is usually put on over the gondola, and the bottom of the cover is made of a more durable material ... Usually it is polyvinyl chloride reinforced with lavsan. The catamaran frame is made collapsible, mainly of duralumin with bolts. There are options for alternative, wire-wound timber frames. For diagonal elements, cables with lanyards are used. Four longitudinal stringers and 4-5 transverse beams complete the collapsible tourist catamaran. Four-seater catamarans are more widely used, they have excellent seaworthiness, excellent propulsion, a large buoyancy reserve, a large longitudinal and lateral stability. At the same time, disassembled and packed, the mass of the catamaran does not exceed 55 kilograms. Confidence in the stability and unsinkability of structures based on the catamaran made it possible to create models for extreme descents on mountain rivers, with overcoming dangerous rapids and rapids.

Against the background of all the advantages of catamarans, their disadvantages cannot be ignored. These include:

  • High cost;
  • Lack of feedback. Catamaran yachts are not suitable for sailing;
  • Limited windage;
  • The catamaran is not suitable for high latitudes;
  • Not so romantic.

Well, the high cost, lack of communication - quite surmountable obstacles. New technologies and constant upgrades of communications will help solve these problems over time. The computer will eventually be able to calculate a model of a catamaran with a huge sail, capable of rushing along the waves of the "roaring 40s". And with regard to romance ... to whom and in the hut paradise. Does a sincere hug depend on the place, be it a fragile boat, a beautiful yacht or a solid catamaran?