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How Fast Can a Catamaran Go? (By Type)

Don’t pretend that you only go on the cat for a little sailing and sunbathing. Just like you want to feel and see it maximize its power, or you wouldn’t be here. I’ve experienced high speed on land, race cars, and motorcycles, and I’ve had speed at sea, which is just as exhilarating!

That’s why I’m happy to share with you how much I’ve learned from experience and the professionals about the fastest catamarans, even the cruising cats. Now don’t expect every cat to operate the same as they were not all built for speed.

If you’ve never heard of the F-50 Catamarans, then you’re not ready for this page. Just kidding.

The fastest cats push upward of 70 knots, you read right, while the average performance of a cat is between 15 and 30 knots. Therefore, cats can go twice as fast as a yacht, handling the water like a dolphin, with sheer efficiency. Let’s sail into the details of the fastest yachts.

how to pack for children on a cat cruise

How Fast do Catamarans Go

First of all, all cats make monohulls look like they’re not trying, in terms of speed. Even the cruising vessels designed for comfort, push between 15 and 20 knots. That’s up to twice the speed of a monohull equipped with cabins and all the amenities.  Let’s fast forward to the types of cats and their speed: 

  • Cruising – 15 knots
  • Swath – 30 knots
  • Sport – 30 knots
  • Military – 43 knots
  • Racing – 45 knots
  • Power Cruising – 70 knots

The cruising, sport, and racing cats are all sailing catamarans. Power cruising, military, and SWATH  are all power catamarans.

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Sailing Catamarans

old catamarans

The benefits of sailing catamarans over monohulls are numerous. For conventional sailboats with one hull like the monohull, speed is limited by what is known as hull speed. A monohull’s top speed is limited when the boat’s bow and stern waves meet.

Because they have two hulls, catamarans aren’t constrained by hull speed restrictions. With the aid of a catamaran, you can travel double or even triple times as fast as you would on a monohull.

The wide stance as well as the shallow draft of catamarans make them more sturdy than monohulls in choppy water. It is because of the two hulls that they don’t heel. Catamarans can also “wave pierce” by cutting through waves rather than riding on top of them, making them ideal for sailing in stormy seas.

Sailing Catamarans Average Speed

They range in length from 14 feet to more than 100 feet. Catamarans are available in a wide range of styles.

It has been a continuous task for sailing catamaran designers to improve upon their mono-hulled counterparts. To name a few, they’ve added:

  • Foils that aid in raising the boat above the water.
  • Improvements instability.
  • Racers can keep up their speed out in the ocean.

What are the 3 Different Types of Sailing Catamarans?

Sport Catamarans

Sport Catamarans

A sport catamaran, often characterized as a leisure catamaran, is one form of the sailing catamaran. Small crews and beach launches and landings are the norms for this craft. 2-hulled sailboats, such as sport catamarans, are quick and lightweight. Short-term transport for one to three individuals, without a cabin.

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Sport sailing, regattas, and sail camping are just some of the uses for this boat. To enhance performance, the sportier models have a trapeze installed. Foils are common on sports catamarans, as they are on most sailboats nowadays.

In the sailing catamaran class, they’re the second-fastest catamaran. Sports catamarans are capable of speeds of up to 30 knots.

The lack of living quarters makes sports catamarans excellent for one-day journeys. Rental services or resorts in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and other locations offer guests access to these amenities.

These can be utilized in racing as well. There have been reports of sports vessels traveling at speeds of more than 30 mph, but they can reach 40 knots in the right conditions.

Cruising Catamarans

catamaran

A cruising catamaran is another kind of sailing vessel. Because they frequently come with everything you need to live comfortably, they tend to be slower than their more sporty siblings.

Based on the weather, they can reach speeds of up to 10 knots. The maximum speed is usually 15 knots. Catamarans with living quarters should be avoided at all costs. Weight is inversely proportional to speed.

Racing Catamarans

racing catamaran

Finally, there are ocean racing catamaran types. Over 100 feet is not uncommon for these vessels.

This catamaran can reach a top speed of 45 knots. Because of the money that can be made by participating in these races, a lot of time and effort is put into researching and developing new versions.

Power Catamarans

catamaran size

Sailing catamarans come in a wide variety, but power catamarans are even more diverse. From ferries to patrol boats, these vessels are employed for a variety of purposes.

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Engineers and maritime architects have recently discovered that power catamarans have several hydrodynamic advantages over conventional hull designs.

Catamarans are superior to other hull types in terms of efficiency due to their lower drag for their size. With less material, you could make a considerably larger catamaran. Rather than building a narrower ship with a massive single hull, shipbuilders can design a much wider boat with two small hulls.

Average Speed Of Power Catamarans

Catamarans with electric propulsion represent a distinct subgenre of boating.

Whenever speed and fluidity are more important than size or volume, these are typically utilized.

While they’re great for transit, catamarans are also great for avoiding motion sickness. Commercially, these can be utilized for both passenger and car ferries, depending on the application. 

They are used for short-term travel, most commonly to or from the islands. Several forms of power catamarans exist as well, similar to sailing catamarans.

Power Cruising Catamarans

There are both sailing and power cruising catamarans available. In addition to living quarters, these boats have a great deal of stability even while they’re out at sea. The performance of these boats largely depends on the engines they have and the dimensions of the boat they are in.

Catamarans, including ferries or passenger transport, have a top speed of 40 to 70 mph.

Military Catamarans

The catamaran hull shape has found application in the military as well. Designed for cargo capacity and speed, the EPF of the Spearhead class is an expeditionary fast transport vehicle (EPF). The ship has two pointed hulls and a large cargo area.

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In terms of length, the Spearhead class EPF is comparable to a WWII escort destroyer at 337 feet. Although they share the same length and weight, these catamarans can reach 43 knots, or about 50 miles per hour, which is more than twice as fast as their competitors. Because of their hull type, they can travel at such a high rate of speed.

Patrol and utility boats on a smaller scale use power catamarans with inboard or outboard motors. The Texas Department of Public Safety uses cats to protect shallow rivers and lakes. The catamaran patrol boats made of aluminum and used by Texas Game Wardens are quick enough to outpace most fishing vessels.

Swath

The term “Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull” (shortened to “SWATH”) refers to a ship that fits this description. Two or two hulls are used rather than traditional single hulls in swath vessels. A swath boat is a catamaran in the truest sense of the term.

Swath ships are employed for a variety of purposes, including cruise ships, container ships, military ships, but also research boats.

In addition to the USNS Impeccable, which is a U.S. maritime surveillance ship, the Cloud X ferries between Florida and the Bahamas.

What is the Fastest Sailing Catamaran Ever Made?

The fastest and also most high-tech multi-hull, the F50 recorded a high speed of 49.7 knots throughout training exercises with Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby as well as his Australian SailGP crew at the controls. The F50 is intended to be capable of speeds of more than 50 knots when completely built.

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Measurement of boat speed

GPS monitoring systems are often used by boats to detect speed and distance traveled. The knot is the unit of measurement for speed on a boat. It takes around 1.15 miles per hour to travel one NM/per hour or a knot.

Factors That Determine Catamaran Speed

  • The hull type

Some hulls float higher or lower than others. The quicker it can sail, the less of its hull must be submerged. To put it simply, the less water the hull is in, the less drag is caused while sailing.

  • The boat’s length

A boat’s top speed increases linearly with its length. To exceed the boat’s full hull speed, the vessel must be able to plane on water or be lifted by hydrofoils. The longer a boat is, the greater its peak hull speed is likely to be.