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Cruising on Multihulls
I think that you are going down the right track in respect to Multi''s. We ahve been mono sailors for over 40 years & made the transition to a multi last year.
We purchased a Dufour Nautitech 475, but after 12 months we are looking at modifying her to enable her to properly carry the weight she was loaded with when we bought her ie Generators, watermakers, 1200 ah of batteries, landlubber water & fuel.
We are now adding 1.5m to the stern & .75m to the bows & extending the rig by 2m, adding a panel to the main & adding a lager overlapping genoa. Currently she has a "self tacker". Currently we can carry all sail in 30 kts apparent without even looking like having to reef !
At this point in time, the boat holds its own with most monos of a larger size, and other cruising cats - where they do come into their own is on longer cruises where the hulls are not bound to "hull speed" like monos of a cruising / racing design. We club race regularly.
Cats with centreboards certainly perform better than those with fixed keels (as ours is) - but it is a trade off in both instances. We are happy with the ease of fixed keels & performance and pointing ability really depends on the individual owning the boat.
The prior owners of our boat test sailed each boat available in our size range, and while the Catana was slightly faster, the overall value for money with the Dufour won the day.
Our boat was sailed from Tahiti to Australia, and as a rule, most French manufactured boats are delivered across the Atlantic on their own bottoms.
The other aspect to the French manufactured boats, is that they are all built to DNV survey & are certified by this agency - check with other manufacturers.
Upside to cats :
Livability - most cruising proponents statistically say that only 10% of your cruising time is spent at sea. This is borne out by many cruisers who end up in our area.
Sea Kindly - despite what other people have to say - we have now done 2,000nm of open ocean cruising on our boat and as opposed to monos - the motion is no problem. Most of our sailing is conducted in 20 knots +, and so far have recorded a max of 16 knots.
Fuel efficient - generally smaller diesels (even with 2) than is required to push a similiar sized mono. We have twin 50''s and get 8 knots at 1/2 rpm using 1.5 ltr per engine per hour
Stability - have never had to worry about gimbals (fiddles yes), but generally all sailing is done on an even keel with very little sudden lurching - even surfing down swells.
Modern Cats don''t seem to have any corners ie all of our furnishings are rounded - which makes it impossible to prop into a corner & relax at sea or in harbour. Not even in our cockpit. We are rectifying this during our Mods.
Other than than - we are yet to experience a downside. And docking is no problem at all - in fact it is just as easy as a mono with a single diesel. The boat will spin in its own length. BUT windage can be a problem - just have to allow for it.
Let us know if you want any further info.