Is a Monohull (AMEL) the right choice?

Gary Wells

I did tons and tons of research before deciding Cat vs. mono.  My reasoning was bouncing back and for for several months but ultimately came down to a couple of safety considerations and a couple of financial ones.
The safety ones were Amel specific; stainless steel lifelines, water-tight compartments, center cockpit, hull-to-deck fusing and the rigging itself. Couldn't find any brands that were built the same as the Amel in those regards.

Financial considerations were resale and docking and fuel.  Resale is pretty much always good on the Amel, but I couldn't find a consistently true pattern on the Cats, except at the very high end.  Docking almost always costs 1.5x to 2x for a Cat because you take up two slips and with the benefit if two engines comes the fuel expense, increased maintenance and shortened range of running them.  

The cats are all over the monohulls for spaciousness and an easy-going ride in easy seas. It's true they are generally faster on the runs and faster under motor.  It's also true that (generally) the rigs are taller, the sails are higher off the water, and (as mentioned before) that comfortable rode goes away pretty dramatically in choppy water when one hull strikes a wave differently than the other one.
I guess I also hold the belief that, generically, you cant load a Cat like you can a monohull without the risk overstressing the structure.  That's an un-researched opinion, but I believe it to be true.

Of course, I'm going to vote for a monohull because I chose one and I want you to be like me :)  Joking aside; we've done 4 rally crossings and he cats all made it just fine.  It did seem as though they had some bigger 'adventures' than we did though.  It's a tough thing to quantify ... best let a bit of feeling into the equation as well; ... unless you're planning to sail solo; how does your most important crewmember/Admiral feel about it? 

Best of luck!  Regardless of how you decide, hope to see you cruising around some day.

Gary W
SM 209, Adagio
Fethiye, Turkey

Sv Garulfo

Hi Porter, 

As others have said, it depends on the details of your cruising project. People will defend their own choices, so it's important to relate their point of view to their own project (which sometimes is not actually clear in the various online forum discussions). You will find more people advocating cats there because of simple demographics. There are a lot more people planning island hoping in the tropics than circumnavigating. 

Statistics tend to show it: cats are getting more common in the Caribbean, for chartering locally in particular. The boats you will find cruising in farther corners of the world (NZ, SA, Northern Europe, Mediterranean, South America) are more often monohulls. 

Another aspect is the crew. A lot of parents prefer Cats for the space they offer and the expected flat-sailing. On the other hand there are plenty of families cruising monohulls. I think kids will adapt anywhere so it's more the parents' choice for their own comfort.

Our choice for an Amel 54 was done long before we pulled the trigger a few months ago. We did plenty of research and read extensively online and we felt they were the right boat should we want to go anywhere in the world. 
We (2 of us) just spent 3 months in wintery Mediterranean with rougher weather and the boat handled it beautifully. Fast, not that much healing (thanks to the ketch rig), and a lot of momentum to go through the seas. Boat movements were rather predictable depiste the typical confused sea state in the med. I would think a cat would have been tossed around a lot more. The protection of the centre cockpit is fantastic and we could spend night watches there in high winds, big seas and cold temperatures, managing canvas easily. I wouldn't have wanted to be at the backend of a cat, planning to go reefing the main in those conditions. Do-able, of course, and maybe fun the first and second time, but not so much when it's bound to happen again and again for months or years.

In conclusion I would rather sail an Amel around the world and would rather live on a Cat at anchor in the Caribbean.

Hope that helps,


Amel 54 #122
Hyeres, France

Alan Leslie

Porter, I don't think you can wrong with a good Amel.
Catamarans by the time they are loaded down with all the cruising stuff are no faster than monohulls.
Sure they don't heel, but they slam, skid and judder down wave faces - ask anyone who has crossed an ocean on a cruising catamaran.
In any cruising port when getting ready to leave, the cat owners are very concerned about significant wave heights and wind direction - they don't go to windward at all well.
If all you want to do is sail around the islands, a cat could be ideal, but if you are serious about crossing oceans safely, I'd be thinking twice about it.
Ultimately YOU have to decide what suits you, your plans and to be comfortable with that decision.
I am very comfortable with my decision to chose Amel. I now cannot imagine owning any other boat!
Elyse SM437

John Clark

No Amel has ever sunk on the high seas.   The redundancy of critical systems and true reliability sold me. Porter I give you my word that any Amel is better that a Cat.  If all you want to do is sail to the Bahamas then buy a Cat.

I know you are smart.......   ;)

Mohammad Shirloo

Hello porter;

The monohull vs cat discussion is a lengthy one that has been well argued on both sides of the fence on several forums and online articles.

In regards to The AMEL brand and specifically AMEL 54, which we have owned and sailed for the past 2-1:2 years, we are unconditionally sold on her and would not change her for yachts double her size or cost. I think you will find that whoever owns an AMEL is fiercely loyal to the brand, for very valid and time proven reasons, in our opinion.

It is a well proven design with over 3000 of the same design concepts that have travelled all the worlds oceans for over 30 years. This plus many many other design considerations is what made us select an AMEL among a list of other well known reputable brands.

In our opinion you cannot go wrong with an AMEL. However I think you need to resolve the monohull vs CAT for your purposes.


Mohammad And Aty
AMEL 54 #099
B&B Kokomo

W Porter McRoberts <portermcroberts@...>

Let me start by again thanking you for all your help along the way.

I’d set to purchasing an AMEL54  and am quite committed, researched the brand and boat for a long time now.  

Recently a friend and long time sailor also professional captain of a 200’ private yacht commented after i showed him the AMEL 54:

Having lived on my own sailboat and worked for years on other owners sailboats, I highly recommend you looking into a Catamaran!  Like the one the listing broker has like a Lagoon 500!
You get twice the space, 2 engines, they are faster and have a shallow draft for anchoring in many places you will not get into with a mono-hull.  The salon and aft outside seating area are very roomy so you don't get cramped.  Mono-hull's you are always sleeping at a angle and cooking too.  I would never run one again just because of not being able to relax more like you can with a Cat hull.  The only down-side is that you usually need to be docked on the end or T-head of the marinas because of how much wider their beam is.    The best part of sailing is getting to the next destination and relaxing and enjoying the freedom of where you are.  The Cat-hull lets you stretch-out and really enjoy where you are with much more inside and outside space.  
If you have not tried one, I think you should go charter for 2-3 days a Catamaran in the BVI's then a Mono-hull and see what you think!  
You are about to spend a-lot of money and do a major life change.  I just don't want you to jump into it without trying all the options available. I have spent years and thousands of miles on Mono-hull sailboats and would never do it again with the great Catamaran options that are out there. 

I am about to pull the trigger, am I making the right choice?
I was pretty certain i was until the above response.

Could you lend me your thoughts?

Were a family of four with plans for an around the world cruise for at least 4 years.  
Am i making a mistake?  I am the kind of person who once he makes a decision then makes certain it's the right one and goes with it.  

Its very much appreciated.

Thank you again Porter