6 Great Starter Catamarans

Story by Will Miller / March 1, 2023

In early 2023, Cruising World approached us to seek our opinion on recommending a couple of brokerage catamaran options for first time catamaran buyers to consider when they first stepping into the catamaran market. Here are six boats hand-picked by The Multihull Company’s president and CEO, Capt. Will Miller, as excellent choices for brokerage-catamaran seekers. These are all worth a look whether you’re a first- time buyer or an experienced monohull sailor converting to a catamaran. 

Bear in mind with these recommendations that these do not consider personal cruising agendas, budgets or preferences. 

Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41 – The Lipari 41 is an ideal choice for those looking for an  affordable liveaboard cruiser. Its deck layout is ergonomically designed for convenient sail handling and al fresco entertaining, blending excellent sailing characteristics with comfort. The Maestro version offers an owner’s suite full of cabinets and lockers complimented by a large master bath. On deck, there is ample storage space in the forepeaks and anchor locker for all of your cruising essentials. Whether you are a seasonal cruiser or full-time liveaboard, the Lipari 41 can fulfill those demands at an affordable price point. 

Lagoon 42 – The Lagoon 42 (or 420 as a budget friendlier option) is a top pick for those who prioritize comfort onboard. This catamaran offers unparalleled volume and storage capacity in its size category, making it an excellent choice for those with large families or frequent guests. With a self tacking jib, and simple deck organization, this yacht can be easily single-handed. The semi-raised hem station provides great sightlines and the vertical salon windows offer panoramic views from inside. The spacious design, simple sail management, and excellent payload capacity are great features that will attract many first-time catamaran buyers.

Catana 431 – For performance-minded sailors the Catana 431 boasts a number of desirable traits. Upwind performance is dramatically enhanced with the use of daggerboards, an aerodynamic cabintop, tulip-shaped bows, and well thought out weight distribution. The Twaron reinforced layup further strengthens the vinylester foam core construction,making these yachts extremely light and stiff. Creature comforts were not an afterthought. The interior fabrics and finishes are very high-quality, turning this into a very aesthetically pleasing platform inside and out. This generation of Catanas continues to retain resale value and marketability 20+ years after they were originally launched. If you grew up racing, and are now transitioning to the liveaboard lifestyle, this yacht will give you the responsiveness and speeds that you became accustomed to in your youth. 

Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 – One of the most coveted models from Fountaine Pajot is the Helia 44. Its modern Euro-styling strikes a unique balance of comfort, storage, and space utilization. The peninsula shaped berths make climbing in and out of bed all too easy, and the rest of the interior flows together creating a very livable space. The exterior combines a generous sailplan with a cockpit designed for entertaining your buddy boat crews. It’s no surprise this model transitioned seamlessly from a popular charter design into a capable offshore cruiser. The Helia is an excellent option for those who appreciate a sophisticated look with above average sailing characteristics.

Leopard 46 – For the experienced sailor who wants a larger boat that balances performance, value, and comfort, the Leopard 46 hits the nail on the head. Leopard prides themselves on system design and accessibility, making this a very user-friendly yacht. Her spacious cockpit and salon come together to create an optimal social flow. The helm and cockpit can also be easily enclosed to extend your sailing season. Beefy davits with an integral step make loading and unloading the dinghy exponentially easier, and are complemented by extra wide sugar scoops. Whether you’re planning an offshore passage or just island hopping in the Caribbean, the Leopard 46 should be considered as a top contender. 

Seawind 1260 – The Seawind 1260 is the perfect boat for beginner sailors who want a high-performance option without sacrificing interior volume for daggerboard trunks. The vinylester resin and foam coring ensures superior build quality, lighter weight, and improved performance. Garage-style salon doors give the boat a unique interior/exterior feel, with unparalleled ventilation. With a galley down configuration, the saloon lives like a much larger yacht. This yacht can sail with ease in light air, conserving fuel and shortening passage times. If you’re just starting out and want a boat that provides a great sailing experience with excellent build quality, the Seawind 1260 has a track record of proven success.

Capt Will Miller is the CEO and Senior Broker at The Multihull Company. He has been a yacht broker, ASA instructor, and delivery captain for over two decades. He has sailed aboard dozens of catamarans in locations all over the world, and has managed the sale of over 100 yachts throughout the course of his career. For more information, visit www.multihullcompany.com


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