Before you begin your search for the ideal boat, you need to decide what type of yacht you want to sail. Catamaran boats are well-known for their comfort and safety, making them an excellent choice for retired couples who plan to live aboard.
Unlike monohulls, which can heel at an excruciating 20°+ angle. Catamarans are far more stable, rarely heeling more than 10°, so living and moving about onboard is vastly more comfortable. With two separate hulls creating ample space for private living quarters adjoined by an open plan saloon and cockpit area on the bridge deck for socialising and entertaining, multi-hulls create the perfect platform for long distance voyaging. The spacious layout of cats, such as separate flybridge, also helps create much-needed privacy and space, essential when living aboard on long haul passages. Whether you’re planning on a holiday cruise or liveaboard, this space will make all the difference to life at sea.
Catamarans have less bulk in the water than monohulls, so there is less drag, making them 25% faster than monohulls, especially when travelling with the wind. But, bear in mind that catamarans are more sensitive to loading and its performance will be affected when loaded for cruising. So, keeping your cat light is critical if fast passages are your goal. But we guess if you’ve chosen your cat for retirement, slowing down and enjoying the journey, speed is less important than comfort.
Reefing: To sail a catamaran successfully, you need to be vigilant about reefing. Cats don’t heel much, so almost all additional wind force is loaded on the rig, which is why they are fast. But the pressure quadruples on the sails as the wind speed doubles, so you need to watch the weather and reef in good time for safety and to keep the boat sailing flat.
Catamarans have two engines giving you peace of mind if one fails. Two engines make it easier to rotate and move your boat in small spaces. That is especially helpful when docking in a cramped marina. They’re also easily manoeuvrable and light, so cats have excellent fuel efficiency when compared to monohulls.
The double hulls of a catamaran mean there is no need for ballast or a substantial keel, reducing the overall weight of the boat, allowing it to be manoeuvred in shallow waters that a monohull wouldn’t be able to navigate. As a result, cats are ideal for island hopping and nosing right up to that perfect beach. This ability also makes minor underwater maintenance more accessible as you can rest your boat on a sandbank at low tide while you work on her.
Catamarans have the added safety of level sailing which makes it much less likely for the crew to go overboard in rough weather. Adding to this is the speed of the boat. With a cat's swiftness, it’s relatively easy to outsail severe weather. But, if something does go wrong and the cat flips - which is very rare due to the substantial amount of reserve buoyancy of cats - it will remain on the surface of the water until rescue arrives.
So, you’ve made up your mind to buy a catamaran. Now you need to consider all the variables when choosing the right catamaran for your retirement. Do you buy new or used? Time and money will play a significant role in your decision to opt for a custom-built yacht or a pre-owned catamaran.
Semi-custom build: This is one of the most popular ways of creating and obtaining the ideal craft. While the hull and general arrangement of the boat are predesigned, the finishes, interior and all extras are up to you as the owner. Yacht builders like Knysna Yacht Company will involve you in every step of the process so that you receive the vessel you desire. The average semi-custom yacht build takes approximately ten months to complete.
Pre-owned: Buying a pre-owned boat can be a wise choice, but there are a lot of factors to consider before committing. Since the yacht will most probably have done its fair share of nautical miles, it’s a good idea to find a competent surveyor to give you a realistic overview of the refits and costs involved. If you think you are getting a bargain, you may not feel the same way after calculating replacements, repairs and upgrades. Beware of boats that have done multiple long hauls. They are sure to need a lot of attention.
At Knysna Yacht Company, we offer a boutique customised yacht building approach. Our clients get to choose preferences when it comes to interior decor, additional features, and so much more. Our Knysna 500SE is a 50-foot sailing catamaran, easily managed by a couple, and our 55-foot Knysna 550 is available as a sailing catamaran or a powercat.
Designed by world-renowned yacht designers and dictated by your personal needs, our boats are built with your needs in mind. With 3 or 4 cabin layout, large saloon and galley area, which is perfect for entertaining, our Knysna yachts offer both comfort and luxury.
To view our catamaran range, contact us for an appointment today.