Multihull Madness: Our Readers Write
In response to a letter in our July issue, SAIL editor Peter Nielsen asked our readers to spout out on their thoughts on multihulls. Check out reader responses to “Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea”.
In response to the analogy of multihulls and refrigerators: stay tuned to the America's Cup "refrigerator" race.
Wrightsville Beach, NC
JR Maxwell, you expressed my feelings about multihulls so well. I never dreamed that when I first started sailing forty years ago that sailing magazines would feature multihulls in their publications. The graceful lines of a traditional sloop-rigged sailboat are so appealing and, for my money, can't be improved upon to any great extent. Multihulls should have their own magazine and let the existing publications show sailboat lovers what they have enjoyed seeing and reading about for many years.
-Dr. Paul Batson
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have a beautiful 31-foot trailerable trimaran that constantly receives compliments. Many monohulls are wonderful to look at, but I would never choose to sail one. While monohull sailors sit on their sleek boats receiving compliments, I’m sailing three times faster on a more stable boat to wonderful destinations that are too shallow for monohulls. As an added bonus, I sail in New England in the summer, then trailer my trimaran to Florida for the winter. I’m sure the ancient Vikings would not think that Mr. Maxwell’s boat fit their definition of a sailing vessel, but over time, the world has progressed and it will again.
Buzzards Bay, MA
I have an analogy to your comments about monohulls being “sleek and graceful,” while multihulls are “refrigerators.” Think of your comparison this way: a playboy model versus a real woman. Which one would you enjoy more in the long run in regards to both comfort and speed?
-Jennifer Du Nesme
Klamath Falls, Oregon
I have been racing and cruising out of Santa Crus, California, since the 60s. I’ve mostly raced on beach cats onshore, and offshore, I’ve raced monohulls. While I appreciate the graceful shear on a sleek monohull, I own an 18-foot camper cat and am thrilled that multihulls are becoming more popular. I enjoy sailing fast without much heel. Modern cruising cats can be a bit cumbersome for my taste, but many of them perform well enough to overcome their ugly duckling appearance. The sailing world needs both types of boats, simply so that we can admire all of them.
JR Maxwell hit the nail on the head about multihulls. I never understood the attraction to cats and still don't. We had a cruising cat anchor off our marina a few weeks ago. It looked like three shoeboxes (or refrigerators) crammed next to each other. No matter what the angle, it was seriously unattractive. I have lost all interest in the America’s Cup, which I had followed for years until now. Go monohulls!
Mr. Maxwell’s commentary on multihulls is wrong on many levels. First of all, the sailing community is just that—a community. I am proud to say that the sailing community is made up of friendly, helpful people sharing a common passion. Sailors enjoy each others company, help each other in times of need and do not pass judgment on the size, make or model of someone else’s boat.
Also, Multihull cruisers are a fairly recent development in boat design. Every year, designs are enhanced, and just like their monohull ancestors, multihulls range from performance to cruising. There are many advantages to sailing a multihull. However, all boatowners should choose a boat based on their needs, desires and budget. Multihulls expand the choices to include some characteristics not previously available in monohulls.
As to the aesthetics remark, monohulls and multihulls alike run the spectrum of comely to homely. A tour through any marina or anchorage quickly reveals that privately owned monohulls hardly resemble the sleek, clean models depicted in the advertisements Mr. Maxwell describes them. For example, boat decks can look like a home from Hoarders, with bicycles and fenders strewn on board. Dinghies can be found deflated and left in a rumpled heap on the deck of both mono and multihulls.
Mr. Maxwell should focus on other aspects of sailing so he can enjoy the company of the sailing community. Please, read the articles you like, pass on the ones you don't, and stop your whining.