Catamarans are quickly outstripping single-hull boats for long-distance journeys. They are more stable and comfortable, and some can travel more than 200 miles in a day. In today’s article, I have put together a complete (well almost) list of some of the best catamarans for circumnavigating the planet; the question is, which one is best for you?
The best catamarans for sailing around the world include:
- Lagoon 42
- The Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58
- Manta 42
- Catana 50
- Dolphin 42
- Gunboat 62
These cats focus on speed, safety, and comfort for longer journeys.
This article will show you the seventeen best catamarans for long journeys, and why they’re the best. You’ll also learn some great tips on what to look for in a Catamaran and how to save money by buying a used catamaran. Let this list be a jumping-off point for your future research!
The Best Catamarans for Sailing Around the World
A catamaran is a double-hulled boat with a deck or cabin area in between (bluewater cat definition in this article). The double hull design means that the boat rocks less, sits higher on the water, uses less fuel to sail, and can be sailed in shallower waters than a single-hulled boat without worrying about grounding.
Catamarans come in a variety of sizes and can be sail-powered or motor-powered and range from single-person sailing boats to family-sized yachts. Every catamaran design is different, and the twin-hull shape offers many ways to customize the layout of a ship.
Each boat on this list is a larger catamaran (+40ft, more on size here), so if you’re going to sail around the world, you want lots of space for provisions and rest.
Of course, there are tons of technical specs for each of these boats, but I’m going to focus on the overall features of each of these catamarans, what makes them stand out, and why they would each be an excellent choice for a transatlantic journey.
The Antares 44i is an excellent option for sailing around the world and was explicitly designed for long-distance cruising. It performs well in any weather conditions, can be sailed easily by two people, and you’ll be able to sail long distances and live in comfort.
Although it can be easily sailed by a crew of two I believe that a true bluewater cat should be set up for single-handed sailing, more on that in another article.
This catamaran features a stateroom on each hull and a forward cabin with plenty of storage space. The living and entertainment features include a flatscreen tv and a high-end deck speaker system.
With this model, Antares dedicates itself to high-quality boats with optimal rigging and engine configurations.
Atlantic is no longer building this catamaran, but there are usually a few pre-owned boats on the market. You can also get it made custom if you love the design, but be prepared to spend more money on a custom boat (custom boat also gets custom problems ;)).
The Atlantic 42 is slightly smaller than some of the other catamarans on this list but is a seaworthy vessel. 42 ft is what most sailors I interview (in this article) said was the smallest cat to safely cross big oceans. It is also a decent size to counter the risk of capsizing (more on that here).
It has a forward cockpit and pilothouse, which gives the owner a better use of space and makes the boat easier to navigate. With single-handed capability, one person can sail it easily and let the rest of the crew relax.
One of the best-praised aspects of the Atlantic 42 is its galley, more extensive than most 42-footers (12.8-meter) can offer.
One of the few 50 footers (15.24 meters) that can be sailed by just one person (many would of course disagree on this).
The Catana 50 is a catamaran worthy of an overseas journey. Its size adds to its stability on the open waters and its ability to sail straight through the choppy ocean and windy conditions.
The Catana is also incredibly spacious on the inside, with substantial cabins and showers. The biggest downside to the Catana 50 is its price, as it’s much more expensive than most of its competitors.
Catana also holds up well against some of the fastest cruising cats out there, here’s a list of the fastest cruisers if you are interested in that.
However, if you can find a gently-used Catana 50, you can rest assured that this boat will last!
The Dolphin 42 is unique because of the use of daggerboards instead of fixed keels. This upgrade means that the boat has some pretty decent upwind performance while at the same time being faster downwind.
Centerboards and daggerboards offer some interesting downsides compared to mini keels. This is an interesting discussion and I suggest you read another one of my articles if you want to deepen your knowledge a little.
These catamarans are some of the lightest on the market. Not many Dolphins were made, so they are relatively hard to find. However, if you want a small, lightweight boat capable of going great distances, the Dolphin 42 is an excellent choice.
Fountaine Pajot Belize 43
The Fountaine Pajot Belize is another well-built cruising yacht. Its core is made of foam instead of balsa, which reduces the risk of structural damage due to a rotten core in case of water intrusion.
The design of Belize offers many options for customizability, with large open spaces and a combined saloon, navigation, and dinette area.
There are two styles of Belize catamarans for sleeping quarters. You can either purchase a boat with an entire primary suite on one hull or one with two cabins in each hull. The first option is great if you are sailing the world alone and not expecting many guests, as it increases the storage capacity.
Understanding what factors to consider when getting a cat can be hard, there are just so many of them (such as the daggerboard discussion above), I have tried to compile some of the most important in this article.
The boat also has wraparound windows to increase the sense of space in the galley.
Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40
Fountaine Pajot is one of the best sailboat manufacturers existing today, as their boats are well made and highly versatile. The Lucia 40 is no exception – it’s a smaller boat but has a lot of room for moving around and on-board living.
The living area is remarkably spacious on this catamaran for its size.
The galley and lounge easily accommodate 6+people. The Lucia 40 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sailing either, as the narrow hulls slice through choppy waters with ease.
Most catamarans today are built to withstand rough weather but that doesn’t matter as much if the crew isn’t up for the task, I firmly believe that the most important thing a boat should consist of, is knowledge. Therefore taking online courses (two free here) or reading books (my favorites here) is imperative.
Gemini’s boats have been on the market for years and are solidly built for cruising. This boat is one of the most popular ever made, I personally would consider something different for offshore cruising, but since it has such a good reputation, I felt I had to add it to the list.
If you want to understand why I am hesitant to take this boat around the world, I recommend you read my article: What are trampolines on a catamaran?
The Gunboat 62 is a great catamaran and set the standards for the rest of the impressive Gunboat lineup. It’s sleek and spacious while being robust and capable of transatlantic journeys. You can easily travel the world in a Gunboat 62 with several people and not feel cramped.
Although the earlier models of the Gunboat 62 weren’t designed for a lot of cargo, you can still find space for everything you need without compromise.
Lagoon catamarans are known for their reliability and ease of use. If you are considering a catamaran for the first time and are unsure about the technicalities of sailing, a Lagoon boat is a great option.
The Lagoon 380 is probably the smallest cruiser on this list, which makes it better suited for solo or couple sailing.
When I go looking to buy something, whether it be a boat, campervan, or whatever, I create a checklist and classify all the things I want either by NEED or NICE to have.
I believe the Lagoon 380 to be sub-optimal for my NEEDS, even though it does check a lot of NICE boxes, there’s a step-by-step article on the NEED and NICE method here.
There are several cabin options available on the Lagoon 380, but if you’re sailing by yourself, you can settle for three cabins and a larger galley and living space. With a smaller cockpit and broader side decks, the Lagoon 380 packs a lot of practicality and ease of sailing into a more compact catamaran.
If you like the idea of a Lagoon boat but want a little more space, the Lagoon 42 is the upgraded version of the Lagoon 380. With all of the same benefits, it comes with more space for cabins or storage, making it one of the best-selling Lagoons of all time.
The Lagoon 42 is also a faster cruiser built for strength. While it’s not the fastest on the market, it works well in choppy waters and windy conditions, making it great for the beginning sailor to go on a more extended trip.
Many people have completed an around-the-world sail with this ship.
Although there is a flybridge version, I would recommend the “open” version due to several factors, some including increased windage and a higher boom. More on flybridges pros and cons here.
For stability, safety, and durability, you can’t beat the Lagoon 42.
The Leopard 45 performs better with less storage weight because of the relatively low bridge deck clearance. If the boat is fully loaded, you could experience some wave pounding. However, the cockpit is open and airy, with devices that block the sun and provide maximum comfort while sailing.
The Leopard 45 is an incredibly beautiful boat, and has a strong reputation for excellent build quality!
Designed in South Africa, it features a high rear arch for extra support and very smoothly connected decks. The galley is large and open, and most Leopards offer a four-cabin plan. If you are traveling with another person, this boat is an excellent option for you!
The Manta 42 is another classic catamaran that you can buy used (at a decent price), as it is an incredibly seaworthy vessel. While still in production, the Manta was one of the most popular catamarans on the market.
It is still in high demand amongst circumnavigators. Buying a used Manta 42 usually means that you inherit some of the previous owner’s boat upgrades!
The Manta 42 also made it to my list of the 9 safest catamarans on the market (link).
This blue water cat can be sailed by one or two people, making it ideal for liveaboard couples or long-distance shorthanded sailing. The galley is in the saloon (instead of in one of the hulls), making the cabins below more spacious and better equipped.
Overall, the Manta is well equipped for sailing around the world.
Nautitech is an excellent brand of the catamaran, with several different designs per boat. The Nautitech 44 has a unique feature, you can have it with two options for steering: twin wheels or a single wheel.
The Nautitech 44 also features a cockpit on the same level as the saloon. The door between the two is more convenient than a hatch and dramatically reduces the risk of water damage during rain pour.
This is also the same boat that aeroyacht president Gregor owns, he has offered some great insights into Nautitech in the book Catamarans (amazon link)
Outremer is famous for being one of the fastest brands of catamarans on the market. If you need speed, the Outremer 45 might be the perfect choice for you. It has a top speed of 16 knots, which is higher than almost every other catamaran of its class.
While the Outremer 45 is known for speed, it doesn’t compromise on the quality of living.
You can settle into life on this boat with complete peace of mind. Even as a beginning sailor, the steering is simple and easy to use, and the autopilot is top of the line, so you’ll be able to sail across the ocean in an Outremer without issue.
Privilege Serie 5
A French-designed catamaran, the Privilege Serie 5 is one of the most comfortable 50-foot (15 m) yachts available. The unique cabin layout includes the master cabin in the boat’s center instead of in one of the hulls.
The Privilege Serie 5 is also incredibly easy to sail, despite its larger size.
The sails and controls lead to the helm, where the raised deck makes it easy to see all around the deck. If you want to cross the ocean with a full crew then the Privilege Serie 5 might be perfect for you!
The Seawind 1000 is the smallest boat on this list, measuring 33 feet (10 meters) long altogether. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not livable. If you are sailing on your own or with a partner, there is more than enough space to live in the Seawind 1000, which includes the option of a centered cabin or two hull cabins.
Because it’s small, the Seawind 1000 is easy to handle. The mast and sails are all manufactured for extra stability and ease of use.
Overall, the Seawind 1000 is an excellent example of a simple, safe, and seaworthy catamaran.
Note: since this is a small catamaran it will also be more sensitive to heavy weather so trip-planning becomes even more important.
The Voyage 44 is one of the oldest cats on this list, having had its hay-day in the mid-1990s. However, this also means that a used Voyage 44 will be cheaper than a newer boat. If you can find a Voyage with previous responsible owners, you will inherit any upgrades and fixes that they’ve made on top of a very seaworthy boat.
The Voyage 44 has more storage and space than most cruisers of its size and is known for behaving very well in choppy waters.
This catamaran does its job well while providing adequate space for cooking, sleeping, and living aboard.
What To Look For in a Long-Distance Cruising Catamaran
If you are planning to sail around the world, you need to be very careful about which kind of catamaran you decide to use. Many of the things you want in a boat really comes down to personal preference, so be sure you know what design preferences you want before you start shopping!
Size and Payload
The most important thing to consider when buying a catamaran is how much space and cargo you need because the larger the boats are, the bigger the payload it can handle. Decide how long you want the ship to be and how much you’re taking with you.
It’s vital not to overload a catamaran, this will reduce performance and increase risk of unwanted behavior in heavy seas.
Most catamarans have options for a “Maestro” cabin placement, where one entire hull is the master suite, and the other cabins are located on the opposite hull.
Cockpit and Protection From The Weather
Is the cockpit on the boat you’re looking at covered or open? This can make a difference on the high seas, especially during rainy weather.
The size of the ship also can affect how many people you need as a crew. If you’re traveling by yourself or with one other person, you don’t want to buy a boat that needs a larger crew.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a brand new catamaran, I don’t blame you. Several of the ships on this list are out of production and can only be found used. However, for circumnavigation, you do want a boat of high quality to keep you safe and dry until you make it to your destination.
When buying a suitably used catamaran, it’s essential to look at the refit history of the boat more than the year it was made. Catamarans are sturdy, and the general design has been the same for at least the past decade.
If you find a newer, larger, cheaper boat, you should look into its history.
Your best bet to save money while buying a catamaran will be to buy an older, probably smaller boat with an excellent refit history and no serious issues. It will still be an investment, and a sturdy used catamaran will serve you well.
No matter which catamaran you decide to buy for your journey, you’ll be able to sail safely and comfortably. Catamarans are great yachts for long-distance sailing, and the ships on this list are the best of the best. These brands are time-tested and ready to accompany you on an adventure around the world!
Here are Some of My Favorite Catamaran Cruising Resources
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you hopefully start your own sailing adventures. Here are some resources that I use as a sailor that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact things that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family.
Books: For getting started, I really like Cruising catamarans made easy. It is actually a textbook from the American sailing association it is used to get a cruising catamaran certification. there are some other great books and you can find my complete list here.
Communication: Being out on adventures, whether it be sailing or climbing mountains, good communications are essential to being safe. I recommend two things Google fi (incredibly simple cellular data all over the world) and Garmin inreach mini (for text and voice in remote areas without cell coverage)
Sailing courses: Online sailing courses are great for beginners starting out their sailing career, it’s an efficient way of learning the basics about navigation, throttle controls, and maritime safety. I suggest starting with two free courses from NauticEd.
To see all my most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource that I made for you!