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The age-old question: Is a Catamaran Worth the Price?

For many aspirational bluewater sailors, the decision between a catamaran and a monohull boat is a pivotal one. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks, with factors such as comfort, stability, and cost playing a significant role. In this article, we will delve into the question of is a catamaran worth the price, particularly in comparison to used monohull boats. Additionally, we will consider the financing aspect, assuming that a catamaran falls within the 20-year rule for financing while a monohull most likely does not.

Is a catamaran worth the price?

Comparing Prices:

When comparing the prices of catamarans and used monohull boats, it’s essential to consider the initial investment as well as the long-term value. Used monohull boats can vary significantly in price depending on factors such as age, size, brand, and condition. Older monohulls, typically more affordable, can range from $10,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on their size and condition. Larger and newer monohulls, especially those from reputable brands, can easily surpass the $100,000 mark and reach several hundred thousand dollars.

Sailboat made into a dollar while discussing catamaran and monohull price comparison

On the other hand, catamarans tend to have a higher price point due to their unique design, increased demand, and the added features they offer. Smaller, older catamarans can start at around $100,000 to $200,000, while larger and newer models can range from $300,000 to several million dollars. The size, age, brand, and amenities of a catamaran greatly influence its price. Luxury catamarans equipped with state-of-the-art technology, spacious cabins, and high-end finishes can command premium prices.


It’s important to note that while catamarans come with a higher initial investment, they often retain their value better over time compared to monohulls. The growing popularity of catamarans in the sailing community and the limited supply of quality used models contribute to their better resale value. This means that if you decide to sell your catamaran in the future, you may recoup a significant portion of your initial investment.

Moreover, catamarans offer a wider range of living space and amenities compared to monohulls. The additional hulls provide more room for cabins, saloons, and storage areas, making catamarans attractive for those seeking a more spacious and comfortable living environment. The increased demand for catamarans in the market, coupled with their desirable features, contributes to their higher price point.

Considering the long-term value and potential resale price, a catamaran’s higher initial cost may be justifiable for those who prioritize comfort, spaciousness, and potential investment returns. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate your budget, needs, and sailing goals before making a decision.

Is a catamaran worth the price? This is a financial comparison chart between monohull and catamaran boats.

Timing – How Long Will You Own It?

The duration of boat ownership is a crucial factor that can influence the suitability of a monohull or a catamaran. Generally, monohulls are better suited for longer ownership periods, while catamarans can be a more favorable choice for shorter-term ownership.

Monohull Ownership (Longer Periods):

If your plan involves owning the boat for an extended period, a monohull may be a more suitable option. With a monohull, you have the advantage of potentially owning it outright or having a significantly reduced loan balance over time. This can result in lower overall costs, as you would not be making monthly loan payments, and you may even have the opportunity to recoup a portion of your initial investment when selling the boat.

However, it’s important to consider the condition of the monohull and the potential repair and maintenance costs that may arise over the years. Conducting a thorough condition survey before purchase can provide valuable insights into any necessary repairs or upgrades. Budgeting for regular maintenance and occasional repairs is essential, as older monohulls may require more frequent attention.

Catamaran Ownership (Shorter Periods):

For shorter-term ownership, a catamaran can be a more attractive option. Catamarans generally command a higher purchase price and may involve financing. However, they also tend to retain their value better and have a strong resale market, which can potentially offset the initial investment.

If you plan to own the boat for a shorter period, such as three to five years, a catamaran offers several advantages. Their unique design, spaciousness, and amenities make them appealing to buyers, which can lead to a quicker sale and potentially higher resale value.

Furthermore, catamarans often require fewer repairs and maintenance compared to older monohulls, especially if you are purchasing a newer model. This can help minimize ownership costs during your relatively short ownership period.

Ultimately, understanding your ownership timeline and weighing the costs, benefits, and resale potential associated with each type of boat will assist you in making an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals and personal preferences.

Financial Analysis: Is a Catamaran Worth the Price?

Let’s dive deeper into the financial analysis by comparing the purchase of a $70,000 monohull to a $250,000 catamaran with a loan, taking into account the downpayment and financing options.

Monohull Purchase:

If you choose to purchase a $70,000 monohull outright, you will need the full amount available upfront. This could potentially strain your financial resources, especially if you prefer to allocate your funds toward other aspects of your sailing adventure, such as outfitting, maintenance, or cruising expenses. However, the advantage of buying a monohull outright is that you won’t have to deal with monthly loan payments or interest charges.

Purchasing a Monohull Outright:

Buying a monohull outright may be necessary if the boat buyer is unable to secure a loan for various reasons. There could be several factors that make it difficult to obtain financing, such as a lower credit score, limited credit history, or insufficient income documentation.

Additionally, traditional lenders may have stricter criteria for boat loans, including specific requirements for the age and condition of the vessel. If a monohull exceeds these criteria, it may be challenging to find suitable financing options. In such cases, purchasing the monohull outright with available funds becomes the only viable option.

Monohull sailboat in deep blue water from overhead

Alternative Financing Options:

While securing a boat loan for a monohull may be more challenging, alternative financing options do exist. One option is obtaining a personal loan, either through online lenders like LightStream or through local credit unions. Personal loans are typically unsecured and can provide the flexibility to use the funds for various purposes, including the purchase of a boat.

However, it’s important to note that personal loans often have higher interest rates compared to specialized boat loans. The interest rates for personal loans can vary depending on factors such as credit history and loan terms. Additionally, personal loans may have shorter repayment periods, typically ranging from 3 to 7 years. These factors can result in higher monthly payments and potentially more interest paid over the loan term.

When considering alternative financing options, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms, interest rates, and repayment plans to ensure they align with your financial goals and budget. Comparing offers from different lenders, both online and local, can help you find the most favorable terms for your specific situation.

Should you purchase a Monohull?

While purchasing a monohull outright may be necessary in some circumstances, alternative financing options such as personal loans from online lenders or credit unions can provide a way to finance the purchase. However, it’s important to be aware that these alternative options may come with less favorable terms, including higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods. Careful consideration of the terms, along with a comprehensive financial analysis, is essential to determine the most suitable financing option for your boat purchase. Consulting with lenders and financial advisors can provide further guidance in selecting the best approach for your specific needs.

When Purchasing with a Loan Is a Catamaran Worth the Price:

Assuming you opt for a $250,000 catamaran, financing can be a viable option. Let’s consider a downpayment of 20%, which amounts to $50,000. You would then need to finance the remaining $200,000.

The loan terms and interest rates can vary based on factors such as your credit score, lender policies, and market conditions. For illustrative purposes, let’s assume a 20-year loan term at an interest rate of 5%.

  • Loan Calculation: Using a loan calculator, we can estimate the monthly payments for the $200,000 loan. With a 5% interest rate and a 15-year term, the monthly payment would be approximately $1,375.
  • Total Cost: Over the course of the 15-year loan term, the total cost of the catamaran would be the sum of the downpayment ($50,000) and the total loan payments ($1,375 x 240 months) which amounts to $330,000. It’s important to note that this figure includes the interest paid over the loan period.
  • Additional Costs: When comparing the overall cost of ownership, it’s essential to consider other expenses associated with owning a catamaran. These may include insurance, maintenance, marina fees, fuel, and potential upgrades or repairs. These costs can vary depending on factors such as boat size, location, and personal preferences. It’s advisable to research and factor in these additional costs when evaluating the financial implications of owning a catamaran.
  • Potential Resale Value: One aspect that can positively impact the financial analysis is the potential resale value of the catamaran. As mentioned earlier, catamarans generally retain their value better than monohulls. While future market conditions and individual factors can affect resale value, it’s reasonable to expect a higher resale value for a catamaran compared to a monohull of similar vintage and condition. This potential higher resale value can partially offset the overall cost of ownership.
Catamaran Sailboat in light blue water from overhead

So, is a catamaran worth the price?

In this financial analysis, we compared the purchase of a $70,000 monohull to a $250,000 catamaran with a loan, assuming a 20% downpayment and a 20-year loan term at a 5% interest rate. While the monohull requires an upfront payment, the catamaran allows for financing, spreading the cost over time.

The catamaran option involves monthly loan payments, and the total cost of ownership over the loan term, including the downpayment and interest paid, amounts to $380,000. However, the potential advantages of a catamaran, such as comfort, space, and potential resale value, should also be considered when assessing the overall value and financial implications.

It’s important to note that individual circumstances, which include your financial goals, job and career, and personal preferences will vary. Conducting a comprehensive financial analysis, factoring in additional costs, and consulting with financial advisors or lenders will provide a clearer understanding of the financial implications and help make an informed decision, but hopefully running through the basics between monohulls and catamarans here gets you started in the right direction.