Catamarans have become very popular lately among people going for sailing vacations. Their biggest plus point is their size and wide berth, which makes it possible for large groups to be accommodated. Families, office staff and groups of students prefer catamarans for their sailing vacations as they offer them more space on board along with speed and stability.
The word catamaran is the Anglicization of the Tamil word kattumaram, which literally means logs joined together side by side. Tamil Nadu is a southern state of India, where this craft was originally used by fishermen and river racers in a crude form. Even modern catamarans are two-hulled, with a wide deck connecting them with diagonal panels. This is the reason for the wide space that a catamaran provides. Catamarans are also characterized by huge sails. This gives them more wind momentum and hence, higher speeds. However this is also a disadvantage when making turns.
Catamarans are fast becoming even more popular than yachts at top sailing destinations. The original apprehensions about the catamarans have now dwindled away and many agencies now provide catamarans for sailing and cruises. As catamarans have more space, they can have some rooms and cabins, thus offering privacy to people on board.
There are various types of hiring catamarans. Bareboat catamarans are available if the number of people is between 2 to 12, provided someone among them has the necessary expertise to row a catamaran. A test may be conducted before hiring a bareboat catamaran. Skippered catamarans are also available, with a local skipper on board. The skipper looks after the needs of the catamaran, while the people on board can plan their itineraries. Catamarans can also be hired with an entire crew and cook. This is especially done when catamarans are hired for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or weddings.
Despite that, catamarans have certain demerits. Catamarans, being bulky, cannot be navigated in narrow strips of water like cays. Vacationers use smaller poke boats when they have to navigate such areas. Catamarans on hire may have poke boats bundled with them. Another thing is catamarans are ideal for bigger groups. Smaller groups may lack the sense of privacy on a catamaran vacation.
Catamaran hiring prices depend on the location and the size of the catamaran. Prices could vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Charter brokers can be hired to choose a suitable catamaran for the vacation.