Power Catamaran Popularity Rising

With more boaters embracing the power-catamaran lifestyle, boatbuilders and charter companies alike are seeing an increase in demand.
Silent VisionF 82
The Silent VisionF 82 has aluminum construction and a hybrid propulsion system. Courtesy Silent-Yachts

Aromas from sizzling steak, local lobster and freshly caught mahi mahi wafted through the air as an inflatable Santa ballooned on the flybridge of Mark and Janeen Traylor’s Horizon Power Catamarans 52. The Georgia-based couple was in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, preparing for one of their most memorable family Christmas dinners.

Coker and Cathy Price of South Carolina also had what they described as their “best family vacation ever” aboard a catamaran—an Aquila 48 they chartered in the British Virgin Islands.

These are just two examples of boaters who have joined the shift toward catamarans in the past decade or so. While a catamaran or two used to be an anomaly at a marina, an increasing number of boaters are embracing the volume and efficiencies that catamarans offer. Marinas along the US East Coast are now building docks with transient catamaran cruisers in mind, and some charter companies now focus on cats because an increasing number of customers prefer them.

Horizon PC60
The Horizon PC60 can come with a main-deck master and still have a salon with room to spare. Courtesy Horizon Power Catamarans

The Traylors made the transition from 35- and 60-foot monohulls to a 53-foot Horizon power cat. The Prices owned several catamarans smaller than 30 feet long before buying an Aquila 36, christened Nauti Cat after Cathy.

“If you’re at anchorage, it’s much more stable. If you’re on a monohull, it just doesn’t take much at all to tip it from side to side,” Mark says. “It’s very family-friendly. As far as the amount of space that you get on it and having people be able to move around the boat and not feel like you’re right on top of each other, comparing it to a monohull, there’s just not much of a comparison at all.”

Coker also says there’s no comparison: “I don’t know why they even make monohulls anymore.”

Horizon PC60
The PC60’s Open Salon layout has a galley with an island bar and wraparound lounging real estate that’s forward and beneath semi-panoramic windows. Courtesy Horizon Power Catamarans

Catamaran builders are seeing substantial increases in customer demand. Darren Henn, VisionF Yachts and Silent-Yachts sales broker for the United States, says that before the pandemic, Silent-Yachts sold four or five vessels a year. Since 2020, the builder has sold 15 or 16 hulls a year at an average price of $3.8 million to $7.6 million, he says.

Prestige Yachts, which launched its M-Line of catamarans with the debut of the M48 at the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival, has sold more than 20 of the hulls and recently launched a new flagship for the line, the 65-foot M8.

The Silent VisionF 82, which made its global debut at the 2023 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, has a 32-foot-6-inch beam with an open-layout flybridge that, alone, could comfortably host upward of 20 guests. The 581-square-foot salon is dedicated entirely to socializing.

Aquila catamaran
The wide-open, performance-centric design is much different from the first cats that came onto the market years ago. Courtesy Aquila Power Catamarans

“I think it comes back down to usable space on the boats,” Henn says. “People want to be able to host parties. They want to be able to have friends. If you’re on any other vessel of similar size, you’re going to be able to put a fraction [of the] amount of those people. Once you see the bow of this vessel, you’re going to be like, ‘Man, you can put 100 people up in the front.’”

Other boatbuilders are designing catamarans to appeal to even more styles of boating. Aquila’s 47 Molokai, for instance, is a center-console sport-fisherman that can reportedly top out at around 62 knots and cruise at about 42 knots. It also has a cabin belowdecks for a couple to use on a long weekend. The wide-open, performance-centric design is much different from the first cats that came onto the market years ago.

“Traditionally, catamarans are boxes on the water, rectangles on the water,” says Alain Raas, Aquila brand manager for MarineMax. “You’re starting to see the more sporty look, the swept lines. And then you’re also getting up in speed now. All of our models, we’re really focused on semiplaning or planing hulls. We’re not just focused on going slow. We want to have the option to go fast for our clients.”

Aquila 42
The 42 is Aquila’s diesel-powered entry point. Outboard models to 47 feet are also available . Courtesy Aquila Power Catamarans

Another factor driving catamaran popularity is charter bookings. The Moorings now offers close to a dozen power and sail catamarans as part of its charter fleet. MarineMax Vacations specializes in power cats, and Regency Yacht Charters says it’s seeing broad demand for even bigger cats, such as the Sunreef 80.

Some of those charter clients, like the Price family, go on to buy power catamarans. They took delivery of Nauti Cat in January 2023. Its stability makes for an easy cruise from South Carolina to the Bahamas, they say, and its 2-foot draft allows for shallow-water approaches with family and friends aboard near Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

The Traylors say they’re not going back to monohulls. As of this writing, they were preparing for their first Abacos season aboard a new Horizon PC60.

“The catamaran charter market is just exploding,” says Bob Denison, president of Denison Yachting. “We’re going to continue to see the growth in the catamaran segment of the market take off, and it’s never going to be a trend. This thing is here to stay. I think in 50 years, catamarans are going to be just as common as monohulls.”