Today’s best catamaran brands sail the globe, carrying families to destinations from the West to the far-flung East. Catamaran’s advantage is the unsurpassed safety that they offer. The stable designs make passengers feel safe even when sailing in less than ideal sea state.
There is many options when is comes catamaran sizes, layout, and purpose. If you are looking into knocking off hundreds of mile-days, the best option might be a performance catamaran. If you’re looking to island hope with your whole family and some guest then maybe you’ll look for a functioning layout.
No doubt you already have some brands in mind. Nevertheless, this best catamaran brands article may probably enlighten you further before you make a decision.
Why Are Catamarans Popular?
Three main reasons for catamaran’s popularity: stability, speed, and comfort.
You feel safe because your boat is stable, thanks to the two hulls and the geometrical balance that they give to the boat. With a yacht having a single hull, you tend to spill your drink more often.
Seasick passengers feel better, your food and drinks do not slide off the table, and you can walk around the deck with confidence on a multihull vessel.
Another advantage is fast passages. A catamaran with a similar length as that of a monohull boat runs 25% faster and with the maximum speed of the wind, that difference can even go up to 100%.
Your catamaran will also be your big and comfortable home on the water. With a large cockpit, wide decks, and huge and comfortable cabins, every passenger on-board can feel like they are on a deluxe mansion in the middle of the sea.
Best Liveaboard Catamaran Features to Consider
These are some features to check when buying a catamaran. This isn’t a complete list because its very dependant on your own personal needs. All of the best catamaran brands we list have all these features.
If your family is big, you will want every one of them to be comfortable enjoying their space and activities in a big cockpit, where they have a spacious room for dining and entertainment.
It is nice if the cockpit directly leads to other rooms such as the saloon and the galley.
Solar panels are becoming the norm on all types of vessels. Catamarans are only coming out with more comforts and gadgets that all consume electricity. So, it’s very uncommon to see a catamaran without them these days.
Check out our review of the best marine solar panels on the market.
The advantages are: diesel cost will remain low and the boat does not produce much noise like boats running their generators all night.
For the environment, the big advantage is they generate low amounts of carbon emissions.
Fridge & Freezers
You need cooling equipment on-board to keep your beverages cold and provide storage for freshly caught fish.
You need this equipment to be compact and perhaps you need something that can be opened left and right. A fridge with a stylish slim tower design suits perfectly for saving space.
An open layout will offer you and your guest spectacular views of the sea and the sky .The main saloon can be wide-open with no mast intrusion. With a wide, open saloon area, you can transition to the cockpit with no tripping ledges to bother you.
Good Anchor and Windlass
Spend more time anchored away from the marina and crowds with a good anchor that moors your vessel to the bottom of the sea. Check out the ship’s windlass capacity for secure mooring, anchoring and moving of heavy weights.
8 Best Catamaran Brands for Cruising In 2020
When you compare brands, you would like to know how they fare with the models they manufacture. It is important that the catamaran you get is one you feel fully confident maintaining, troubleshooting and enjoying with friends and family.
Here are 8 best catamaran brands we deem as the cream of the crop.
Lagoon is currently the world’s leading manufacturer of cruising catamarans. They started operations in 1984, but only launched their first line of catamarans in 1987.
When Lagoon was established in 1984, they were only a direct development from Jeanneau’s racing division. There, they get involved with monohull and multihull racing circuits that produced the world’s greatest racers whose winning records remain unmatched to this day.
At present, Lagoon operates under the umbrella of Groupe Beneteau, the world’s largest manufacturer of sailing yachts.
Lagoon is run under these production and design principles:
- Superior protection from the sun
- Maximum use of available space (hence their trademark vertical cabin windows)
- Supreme comfort
- Close attention to trends and expectations set by private customers
The company boasts of having over 60 zealous catamaran distributors and specialists around the world. Their catamaran range is the largest with 9 sailing and 2 power models with hull lengths measuring from 40 to78 feet.
For inquiries, the Lagoon has plenty of information on their website.
A global cruising catamaran brand that was established in 1976, Fountaine Pajot appeared in the industry out of the quest for sporting performance by Jean Francois Fountaine, Daniel Givon and Yves Pajot.
The company’s first cruising catamaran was launched in 1983 and 15 years later, Fountaine-Pajot launched its Motor Yachts adventure.
With office location at Aigrefeuille FRANCE, the company was originally founded in Aigrefeuille-d’Aunis town, in Charente-Maritime. They have built another factory at La Rochelle.
Since its inception in the industry over four decades ago, Fountaine Pajot’s commitment to become the very best in the cruising catamaran business remains the guiding light that allows them to hold onto to their comfortable position as a world leader and stand out in the competition.
So why get a Fountaine Pajot?
The catamarans Fountaine Pajot produces pride themselves with:
- Spacious areas for relaxed and comfy living
- Saloons featuring 360-degree panoramic view
- Convivial and well-equipped galleys
- Easy descent into passageways
- Easy one-step boarding
- Well-balanced rigging
- Stability while anchored
- Easy port maneuvers
Leopard Catamarans sticks to their promise of producing quality and seaworthy vessels with great livability in mind. The company has a large sailing fleet to provide a wide range of options, and for racing enthusiasts, they can look at the company’s catamarans with their contemporary designs and budget-friendly costing.
Leopard Catamarans keeps on pushing the limits of catamaran design. Constantly monitoring feedback from customers, Leopard continues to innovate by incorporating ideas coming from their own experts and from people who are not directly involved in their organization.
What sets Leopard catamarans apart are their spacious interiors, large outdoor living spaces, and large cockpits with direct access to the saloon. In addition, Leopard’s renowned build quality and exceptional blue water capability are qualities that remain unbeaten in the industry.
Leopard is a business founded by John Robertson and the late Jerry Caine in 1991. Today, the business is a part of the leading travel group Travelopia, a firm owned by the global investment company KKR. Leopard Catamarans’ headquarters is located in Cape Town, Africa.
June 1984, South of France: A collaboration between a young naval architect Gérard Danson and an expert technician named Daniel Cailloux would be the beginning of a long journey toward leaving an indelible mark in the world of cruising and sailing.
Their project: To build a performance and ocean-faring 40-foot catamaran. The vessel’s design was aimed at long-distance cruising.
Danson was a creative designer who understood the key elements that would guarantee the marine qualities of a perfect multihull. For him, the key elements are fine hull, lightness and reduced windage.
Before the first boat was even launched, a second boat was put into production, which attracted new people to join in the project. The business needed to be registered, and so a name for it had to be created. Later, they approved a name: OUTREMER shipyard came into being.
Outremer’s boats began to monopolize the podiums of the world of racing with catamarans that were built to order to suit their owners’ needs. The boats featured open cockpits, small and large coachroofs, and inboard motors.
Outremer’s head office is located in La Grande-Motte FRANCE.
Another great shipyard that started operations in the year 1984 was Catana, a company that is also based in France. They are specialists in manufacturing fast cruising catamarans.
Catana is committed to continuous innovation and research, which helps them to produce some of the fastest cruising vessels the world has ever known. Some models from the company can traverse the high seas with speeds reaching up to 30 knots. Customized catamarans they offer range from 42-90 feet in hull length, all designed for ocean cruising.
Catana catamarans are built utilizing state-of-the-art Carbon Infusion and Twaron processes, which allows builders to use foam cored sandwich in making components such as decks, hull, and bulkheads. This approach in ship construction makes Catana units fast and unsinkable.
The Catana shipyard was founded in Cogolin in the Var region of France and has its central office located in Canet-en-Roussillon, France. The company is owned by Olivier Poncin who was the person behind the creation of PONCIN YACHTS GROUP in 2001.
With administrative and managerial located in United States, Pedigree Catamarans is an American business created by internationally-renowned sailor Philippe Jeantot in 1985.
Drawing from his wide experience, Jeantot went on to design catamarans that set a standard in performance, construction, safety and comfort. Today, Privilege Catamarans is part of the Hanse Yachts group of companies.
By 1996, the brand had attained the position of being the global authority in large catamarans with hull lengths of over 50 feet with the Privilege 745 model as the company’s flagship. During this time as well, Privilege obtained the recognition of being the dominant shipyard in the US cruising catamaran market.
The Privilege team boasts of their unparalleled expertise and experience that allow them to build premier catamarans. These catamarans are prized for their circumnavigation abilities and their topnotch comfort and safety both underway and at mooring.
Every Privilege cat is built according to the requirements set by its owner, and crafted with the finest materials to fashion the most excellent on-board experience.
Prout’s history goes back 85 years to humble beginnings when a partnership started between Mr. Jeoffrey Prout and his two sons, Francis and Roland.
Together, they created a boat which was first tried out on a duck pond. The boat would soon become the forerunner of small folding sailing canoes and boats which would soon get the attention of boating enthusiasts all over the world.
The idea to lash two canoes together came in 1949, and the Prouts began to experiment with this idea, resulting to the first catamaran ever created. More experiments were conducted afterwards, which led to the creation of a more sophisticated, race-capable catamaran called the “Shearwater 1”. The Shearwater 1 won every race it entered. The brothers then went on to develop bigger cruising multihull boats.
The company (G. Prouts and Sons) was dissolved in 2002. A new administration, Prout UK, took over and continued to trade from the Prout Catamaran’s yard in Canvey Island, Essex, England. The new administrator said that production of some models will not cease.
In 1981, the first Gemini catamaran was launched in England. The launch was never thought to be the beginning of a new legacy in the industry.
The man who started it all was Tony Smith and he started a cruising company registered under the name Performance Cruising Inc. (PCI). He ran the business together with his wife Sue.
Originally born in the UK with a career that also started there, Tony made about 300 Telstar catamarans in the country before he moved the business to the US.
In 1996, Tony started working on a new Gemini model (Gemini 105M) which would become the pinnacle creation of his career. With beautifully-shaped hulls, sleek decks, and a pilot-house that extends all the way to the cockpit, the new model became an instant success.
However, financial hurdles were to come and forced the business to enter into partnerships.
In 2010, the manufacturing of Gemini catamarans was sub-contracted to Hunter Marine, and the original manufacturing plant was converted to industrial units and office, where Gemini Catamarans and the Catamaran Center are now located. Hunter Marine is based in Doral, Florida.
Here are the best catamaran brands with all the salient points in their history as a business, and the principles that guide them.
With regard to the particular models offered by each brand, we have a separate post for that, along with articles discussing good brands for couples, keel types, and equipment and gear to use while living on-board.
Make sure that you get a catamaran that suits the purpose you intend to use it for. If going offshore, don’t get a catamaran that is designed for chartering.
If staying around the coast for entertainment, a Lagoon might suit that purpose. If you want to traverse the seas really, really fast, get a Catana or Outremer. It all depends on the purpose.
Read our review about the best cruising catamaran for a couple.