|Image of a traditional dhow I took off the coast of Zanzibar|
Don't get me wrong - it's a healthy rivalry and, for the most part, friendly - but it definitely exists and almost all of us have gotten into a debate, whether serious or humorous, as to why one hull is better than two or visa versa. We have lots of friends who sail on cats and an equal number who sail on monos and we all get along because at the end of the day we are all after the same thing: freedom.
What surprised us the most during this particular boat search was the amount of blog followers who wrote us suggesting catamarans after I specifically mentioned we were looking for a monohull. While I could go on about the pros and cons of both, here's the deal: We are not catamaran people. It's as simple as that. Are we being closed minded? Maybe. Are we stubbon? For sure.
For us it is probably more about history than anything. Both Scott and I grew up sailing monohulls. And, selfish as it may seem, we want our kids to sail on monohulls too. We grew up heeling over on boats and surfing along on a tilt. That is what sailing is to us. In fact, some of my favorite childhood memories were of my brother, sister and me sitting on the low side of my parent's boat desperately dangling our toes over the side trying to touch the water and squealing with joy when we did. Forts on the bow, halyard swinging while sitting in the bosun's chair underway, lee cloths...We loved life on an angle. It meant we were going places. Heck, it meant we could stand on a slant without falling over (very, very cool to a five year old)! Sure, we had to make little adjustments to accomodate life like this, but we liked it.
At the risk of offending our catamaran friends, I would be lying if I didn't say it is also about beauty. Luckily, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but for us - a monohull wins the contest every time. The aesthetics are hard for us to overlook; we love the lines of a traditional sailboat - they are as breathtaking as those of a thoroughbred racehorse; strong, lean, powerful and elegant. Cats just don't have that same appeal to us. We've been on and sailed catamarans and can definitely see their appeal; they are indeed much roomier, they are (usually) faster, and infinitely "flatter" but not once has one turned our head and made us pronounce "that is beautiful." While there are a million other variables within the catamaran vs. monohull debate (safety, cost, upwind performance, blue-water ability, strength...etc), I will not go into them as I am, obviously, biased. A quick Google search, however, will bring up hundreds upon hundreds of stats and opinions for you to dig through and find out what side of the coin you fall on.
I know that amongst our followers we have devout lovers of both - and that is great. Some of you have only sailed cats, others are purist mono sailors like ourselves and I know many of you started out with one and switched to the other. We all have a right to our opinions and thank god for that! I'm not saying we'll never own a catamaran (I've learned never to say "never") but for now, we like one hull. But here's the thing: whether you sail on two pontoons or one, there is always one thing that will unite us - and that is the call of the sea. And nothing is more unifying and more powerful than that.