Your First Charter – Catamaran or Monohull

By: Cruising Tips, Learn To Sail

It’s a fair question… We’ve seen quite a few monohull purists research the ins and outs of a potential bareboat charter trip on a catamaran and say, “Well, I suppose it wouldn’t be bad to split the cost with three other couples and still have our own private stateroom with a queen-sized bed and a flat-screen TV.

More and more would-be charterers are running the numbers of that equation and finding that: while a cruising catamaran isn’t what they might choose to own, they cannot argue with its comfort and roominess for a vacation with friends and family. You love Marvin, but God knows, he can rattle the barbecue lid with his snoring – not a problem. Marvin and his wife will be stowed away nicely in a pretty soundproof stateroom. Big cats can also make a pretty fast passage, get into shallow water, and be extremely comfortable once the hook is dug into the sand.

Having said that, we know for the single couple who wants to explore a new and perhaps exotic cruising ground in the way they best know-how, a nice new cruising monohull can also be an absolute blast. And let’s not forget that chartering monohulls is a less expensive prospect. Although your drink won’t spill on a cruising cat that’s sailing along at seven or eight knots, there’s no feeling like being perfectly trimmed and heeled on a beam reaching monohull.

Catamaran Sailing – What’s the Difference?
Catamaran Sailing – What’s the Difference?

ASA, of course, endorses either choice and has the means to prepare you for whichever you choose. It’s all covered between Bareboat Cruising Made Easy (ASA 104) and Cruising Catamarans Made Easy (ASA 114). We say get your skills up to speed and charter a cat or a monohull – either way, it’s sailing and you will have an amazing experience regardless of how many hulls there are.

5 Considerations Before You Charter

  1. Navigation fundamentals
    Sailing in a completely new environment requires a solid navigational skill set. If this is a weakness in your game – fix it before you board that boat.
  2. Know how to anchor and moor in varying situations
    There will be anchoring and mooring so knowing the ins and outs of those skills are a must. “Bareboat Cruising Made Easy” (ASA104) illustrates it all quite comprehensively. There’s also lots and lots of other very important and pertinent information in the book. It’s a good book to pack or you can download it on iBooks and bring it on your trip.
  3. Brush up on first aid and emergency protocols
    It will in all likelihood be a great trip, free of drama, but being prepared for the opposite is extremely important. Ask fellow charter-mates about any medications they might be using and ensure the boat has the necessary emergency gear and then some.
  4. Watch ASA’s Docking Made Easy video series!
    If you’re about to charter you should have your docking act together, but it doesn’t hurt to practice the drills and other information that are a part of our well-thought-out 3-part series. Visit
  5. If it’s a cruising cat, there is a great book out!
    Shameless plug. Cruising Catamarans Made Easy really is a perfect book for those who are used to monohull sailing but want to have that luxurious

Charter Resources

  • Your First Charter Sailing Vacation Today bareboat chartering is the culmination of your sailing education. When you walk across the deck and get your sailing diploma you step on to the metaphorical boat of your future and you can sail it anywhere you want!
  • Charter Sailboat Resources Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you.
  • Bareboat Charter in the BVI Getting aboard your bareboat charter is the goal when you get your ASA sailing certifications. Where do you begin? For many, it is a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Choosing a Charter Boat Company It’s time for you to set off on your own and explore endless shorelines and secluded coves. You have mapped out your plan and you have reserved your vacation time now all you need is a boat. How do you choose a charter company to rent a boat for a week?
  • Choosing The Right Boat for Your Sailing Charter When you decide to take a sailing vacation aboard a sailing vessel that you will call home for a week or two you’ll be surprised by just how much you think you need.
  • Sailing in Europe? Chartering overseas is on the bucket list of many a sailor, but making it happen comes with a stipulation or two. A sizable number of countries require an International Proficiency Certificate that lets them know the charterer is trained, qualified and prepared to take one of their boats out to sea.
  • Find a Sailing School and take sailing lessons to improve your sailing skills.