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Best Liveaboard Boats (Best Boats to Live On)

best liveaboard boats

The thing about boating is that you don't take it up as a hobby unless you're 100% committed. Once you take that leap, you'll find that boating will quickly become the core of your being. For some people, it even becomes a way of life. And so we have live aboard boats.

Living on a boat might seem like a crazy idea. But liveaboard boat designs have made that lake-top lifestyle a convenient reality. So if you're ready to take your family to the water, here's a list of the best liveaboard boats money can buy.

1. Catamarans

The double hull catamaran makes living aboard a watercraft easy and effortless. Designed with two hulls, these boats tout two-bedroom style floorplans that provide enough room for most families.

And while conditions can get a little crowded under the deck, catamarans offer lots of deck space. Complete with a galley for all of your cooking needs, catamarans are often some of the best selling live aboard boats you'll find on the market today.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Catamarans Category: 

  • Nautitech 44

2. Triple Hull Catamarans

The trimaran is essentially a catamaran with three hulls, as its name so obviously suggests. Unlike the double hull catamaran, triple hull catamarans might not use the hull as actual living spaces. Although there are some models that try to make that stretch.

Nevertheless, the three hull designs come with much wider beam spans, allowing more space on the deck and aft. They're also impressively stable even in relatively choppy conditions. So you can enjoy a peaceful night's sleep even as the waves toss and tumble just outside.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Trimarans Category:

  • Dragonfly 1200

3. Sailboats

Although they might seem a little unstable, sailboats make the best liveaboard boats for usually tethered, moored conditions. The sailboat is great if you plan to live close to the dock and if you only need the boat part of its function when you need to get around to a neighboring marina or shore.

Lots of sailboats also come with an engine and motor so you can still cruise around even when the weather doesn't seem to want to cooperate. Sailboats also have a highly customizable layout, letting you replicate actual home interior designs to make your stay a little more comfortable.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Sailboats Category:

  • Catalina 25 Sailboat
  • Aloha 28 Sailboat

When considering the best boats to live on, the yacht is often the first type of watercraft that comes to mind. Considered the ultimate luxury pleasure craft, the yacht offers a full range of features and amenities to guarantee comfortable living on its wide beam.

Sure, motor yacht and aft cabin designs are worth a ton of money and maintenance is going to cost just as much. But if you want plush, hotel-style living, then a yacht cruiser would be the way to go. The yacht can come equipped with media rooms, buffet facilities, and even built-in pools that can make any land lubber reconsider their choices.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Yachts Category:

  • Prestige M48 Yacht
  • Maritimo M75 Sailboats

See some more of the best liveabord yachts in our guide.

5. Trawlers

Typically used as fishing boats, trawlers might tout a slow forward cruising speed, but they're exceptionally effective at long distance travel. So if you were hoping to mix some adventure with your brand new water-top lifestyle, then a trawler's cruising speed might be help you achieve just that.

These massive vessel comes with loads of deck room that you can customize to match your unique preferences. Complete with a galley, staterooms, lots of storage, and even shower and headroom, the spacious trawler cruiser makes an ideal choice for families with lots of members who plan to live on the high seas full time.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Trawlers Category:

  • Krogen 44AE

6. House Boats

As you might glean from the name, a house boat is essentially a house on water. They're not exactly designed to move so they don't have any sort of motor or even a cockpit. These boats sit on the water and remain moored for the duration of its usable lifespan. A houseboat will also often have a living space that closely replicates the interior layout of a typical house with a master stateroom, a complete headroom, and a kitchen.

You might think that living aboard a houseboat kind of defeats the purpose of lake-top lifestyle because the structure can't move you around. But because houseboats are often cheaper than conventional homes, they make a good choice for families who prefer living a stone's toss away from the fun and excitement on the lake.

Best Picks in the Houseboats Category:

  • Stardust Cruisers Houseboat
  • Gibson Cabin Yacht 5000

7. Sports Fishing Boats

Sports fishing boats can look like yachts, and may even have amenities that resemble that of the luxury boat. They're equipped with loads of deck space, an enclosed cabin, and comfortable interiors that make living on the water a dream.

Unlike trawlers that take their sweet time, sports fishing boats can travel much faster than other boats on this list. They're also fully equipped with all of the features you would need as an angler, so you could say that living aboard a sports fishing boat can have you sustaining yourself quite well.

Best Picks in the Liveaboard Sports Fishing Boats Category:

  • Mikelson 75 SF
  • Boston Whaler 280 Outrage

What to Look for When Buying the Best Liveaboard Boat

Moving from a conventional home to a liveaboard boat is a big change. So before you make any rash decisions, you have to consider all of the intricacies. Here's all of the nitty gritty you'll have to think about before you take the leap.

Type of Boat

Obviously, every different boat option listed here delivers a different experience. Think about your specific preferences. What would you want to be able to do while staying on a boat? Or what kind of activities were you hoping to enjoy on the water? These questions should lead you to the right boat model.

If you were hoping to travel, then a trawler, yacht, or sport fishing boat would be best for you. These liveaboards were designed either for speed or distance performance. For boaters who only want to get cruising within a relatively limited area or marina, the sailboat or catamaran makes a solid choice. If you have no plans of moving around at all, the stationary houseboat makes the perfect pick.

Space Considerations

A live aboard can feel pretty crowded. So it really pays to consider your family's space requirements. If you've lived in a conventional home up until this point, you might find yourself feeling a little claustrophobic with the kind of space available on a liveaboard boat, especially smaller models like the catamaran or sailboat.

While lots of families get by with a converted deck that changes depending on the time of day (like converting from a dining area in the morning to a bed or berth at night), some members of your family might prefer having their own stateroom all together. The cabin also plays a crucial role in providing a shared space for the whole family.

Some liveaboard boats feature spacious master stateroom and secondary stateroom areas that give every member of the group their own private space. Others use areas like the cockpit which they convert into staterooms at night by using temporary modifications.

Storage Availability

Another thing worth considering is storage space. A minimalist lifestyle often becomes the default way of life for people aboard a watercraft. But it's not necessarily by choice so much as is it because of circumstance.

Without a lot of room aboard for personal effects and other paraphernalia, a liveaboard might have you tossing out a bunch of things before making the move. Most often, it pays to have temporary or convertible furniture that you can move around depending on your needs.

Most owners use a dinette that they can fold away when it isn't meal time. Other models have a master stateroom with a berth and cabinets built into the area. And of course, dual-purpose benches that open into storage space is a must-have.

Amenities and Features

You'd be surprised just how much like a house some boats can look on the inside. Depending on the size and design of your boat, you could have a complete kitchen instead of just a galley and dinette, a bathroom, and even a media lounge on board. Yachts are particularly popular for their extensive features and amenities that can even include tennis courts, gym facilities, and a full-sized pool.

Even if you manage to buy a sailboat or catamaran on the cheap side however, there's hope for your hotel-style lake-top experience yet. Most boat owners customize their boats after market, allowing them to execute changes and designs that specifically match their own needs.

For a lot of boat owners, having a shower and toilet or head system on deck is a non-negotiable feature. But others get by with marina shower facilities that they can use by docking their vessel especially if their sailboat doesn't allow it.


If you're going to live aboard a watercraft full time, you have to consider maintenance. Remember that most boats get put into storage during the off seasons, so they're not always on water. This gives owners the opportunity to clean up and perform maintenance on a regular, routine basis.

Living aboard a boat however may significantly limit the opportunities for maintenance. That's because fixing an issue especially those concerning the motor, engine, or parts under the hull, would mean having to surrender your home for a few weeks or months.

Other boats cost a fortune to maintain. Yachts with leather upholstery and polished exteriors will need constant cleaning with specific products and formulations to maintain appearances. Unless you're willing to spend on those cleaning products and on people to do the job for you, the whole liveaboard lifestyle might feel a little expensive.

The Best Places to Liveaboard a Boat

Generally speaking, you're going to want to find a place that legally permits boat owners to live on their boat. Remember that marinas and docks have their own rules in place, and not all of them will gladly let you tether indefinitely. The same goes for lakes and other bodies of water.

Before you start sleeping on your boat moving forward, here are some of the best liveaboard locations you might want to consider calling home:

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean covers the entire west coast, providing you a range of options from Maine to Virginia to Florida. If you're hoping for a more relaxed environment, heading closer to the north for most of the year can help you experience a much less hectic atmosphere.

Of course, that's until winter settles in. When the cold months roll in, it would be best to cruise on down south to Florida where sunny skies and warm weather prevail most of the year.

Pacific Ocean

If you're more of a west coast kind of person, then the Pacific Ocean might be a better address. This location provides easy access to the excitement of California. Cruising through the Pacific also provides more opportunities for water sports and exciting water-top activities throughout the year.

Bordering Oregon, Washington, and California, the Pacific Ocean is home to loads of marinas and boating hot spots for avid boat owners who want a little more adventure during their day to day.

Gulf of Mexico

If you were hoping for a more retirement-like feel, then the Gulf of Mexico would be the place to be. This area boasts beautiful crystal clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and gorgeous sunny weather all year round. A mirror image of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico offers all of the tourist-magnetizing beauty minus the travel requirements.

Local Rivers, Lakes, and Bays

Throughout the country, you'll find rivers, lakes, and bays that make viable spots for living aboard your boat. Remember though that rules and laws change from place to place, so if you were hoping to head down to your local lake and call it home, you might want to check with the authorities first.

Other considerations include accessibility. How easy can you move in and out of the body of water? Access to marinas, shops, and even repair centers can make your liveaboard lifestyle just that much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good sized boat to live on.

Generally, a boat that's at least 30 feet should provide all of the necessary amenities and features for a family of two to three. You could probably squeeze in a fourth member if you don't mind sharing spaces. If you want more extensive features, you might have to consider getting a boat that's at least 50 feet.

Is it cheaper to live on a boat than a house?

In terms of utilities, you can expect to pay just a fraction of what you would while living in a conventional home. A great liveaboard can also come with solar panels that let you save on the cost of powering electronics on your vessel.

However just because it's cheaper, doesn't mean it's cheap. Sleeping and essentially living in a liveaboard boat means spending on maintenance. You'd be surprised just how expensive it can be to maintain liveaboards. Cleaning interior furnishings requires unique cleaning products. There's also the issue of moisture and humidity which can spell serious trouble for your boat.

How much does a liveaboard boat cost?

You'll spend between $10,000 to $30,000 for a suitable liveaboard boat. But prices can fluctuate widely. Depending on how you want your living space to be, you can find yourself spending upwards of $100,000 for a luxury boat.

Spacious stateroom units, a fully functional galley and dining room, and head systems and bathrooms can cost a lot to construct and customize. Not to mention the expense of interior design, which can exponentially increase the cost of your boat. 

Boat Sweet Boat

The best liveaboard boats provide all of the trappings you would expect from a hotel. But if your budget is limited, you can find a suitable water-top dwelling at just around $10,000.

Sure, moving your family into a boat might seem like a big and crazy change. But with the right planning and execution, you might find that life on liveaboards beats conventional housing in more ways than one.

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best liveaboard trimaran

Yachting World

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The best bluewater multihulls of all time: a complete guide

  • Toby Hodges
  • October 6, 2021

Toby Hodges and François Tregouet consider the best bluewater multihulls and look at the options for sailing the oceans in spacious comfort

best liveaboard trimaran

What are the best bluewater multihulls for long term cruising? The one you own, or the one you can afford is the simple answer.

There is a wealth of proven designs to suit bluewater sailing and a variety of budgets. While we have focussed here on the best bluewater multihulls in production, we’ve also included some cracking pedigree multihulls which tour the planet and might occasionally pop up on the brokerage market.

If you can afford to, then pushing towards the 45-50ft length will buy you space, pace and that extra payload capacity needed to take all the items you’d want on your home afloat.

When looking at the best bluewater multihulls, the choice will come down to that perennial balance between comfort/space and speed/weight. Choosing a lighter weight performance design will obviously help you cover distance voyages more rapidly and potentially allow you to outrun weather systems. It means you can sail faster, with less sail up and less load and stress. But you’ll have to sacrifice some luxuries and need to be quite scrupulous about keeping weight down and centralised in order to maintain high average speeds.

For the majority of cruisers, however, it is the amount of space multihulls offer once you’ve reached your destination that really appeals. As well as the non-heeling living area and real estate they provide, they’re well suited to typical tradewind sailing .

If you’re considering your first or next multihull, we hope the following will serve as a taster.

Best bluewater multihulls for performance cruising

Outremer 51/55.

When you think of multihulls designed for bluewater cruising, Outremer will likely be one of the first names that comes to mind. Its heritage lies in building catamarans that can sail fast and are built strong enough to do laps of the globe.

The 51, the current version of which launched three years ago, is an archetypal example of what to look for in terms of blending speed and space is a dream design for a family circumnavigation.

The French yard’s new 55ft VPLP design may look boldly different from its past models, but the philosophy behind it remains the same. It is designed to match windspeed up to 12 knots and Outremer reasons that its ability to sail in 5 knots of breeze will allow it to sail for 95% of the time on a circumnavigation.

Read more about the Outremer 51 and Outremer 55.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Diego Yriarte

Seawind 1600/1370

For nearly four decades the Australian Seawind brand and its founder Richard Ward have been gearing catamarans around safe bluewater sailing, including performance, protection and ease of handling. Its Reichel Pugh-designed 1600, which launched three years ago, is an elegant looking cat with relatively low, long lines and some smart solutions for fast bluewater sailing.

Seawind also launches its new 1370 later this year, a staggering 60 of which have sold on plans alone.

This first 50 is built from a composite sandwich of basalt fibre, a cloth made from volcanic rock, and PET foam from recycled plastic bottles, which helps to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 50% when compared with traditional glassfibre methods.

This new 50 footer is perhaps a more appealing and practical prospect than Rapido’s previous 60 (with its significant fixed beam), particularly as the amas on this new model can fold to reduce beam to 18ft.

Infused carbon foam sandwich construction is used, along with beams, daggerboards and rudder in pre-preg carbon to keep displacement to 8,200kg.

Read more about the Rapido 50

This OC50 is designed as a more affordable cruising alternative, than the HH models which have preceeded it. This model targets ocean sailing.

It’s still stiffened and strengthened by carbon, but built in vinylester composites with a gelcoat finish. This adds an additional 300kg or so over a full carbon HH50, but cost savings are in the region of $400,000.

Read more about the HH OC50

Balance 526

The 526 launched four years ago, designed to suit short-handed sailors and families looking to sail long distances, hence it can carry large payloads and promises easy maintenance. It looks good too.

Berman’s Versahelm design is a key feature. The wheel cantilevers, allowing the helmsman to steer from outboard with clear sightlines or from the hardtop protection of the aft cockpit.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Christopher White

Atlantic 47

The A47 suits short-handed fast ocean sailing at an approachable size. Lengthening it to 49ft allowed for an aft cockpit. It is available as a sloop or with White’s patented MastFoil ketch rig – rotating aerofoil masts designed for easy short-handed cruising without sacrificing performance.

Read more about the Atlantic 47

A combination of sharp design from François Perus and high build quality brings plenty of appeal to this sporty Italian-built cat. The first example launched three years ago with a light displacement of 10.5 tonnes, thanks to an E-glass epoxy-infused build with carbon strengthening. The yard offers semi-custom construction and full hybrid packages.

Catana 53/Ocean class 50

Catana’s performance model from 2017, sports twin aft helms (which may not suit ocean sailors), reverse bows and carbon daggerboards. The high topsides help create good bridgedeck clearance and plenty of accommodation. Its new Ocean Class 50 seems more in the shipyard’s bluewater DNA. The light weight, and dynamic and modern shape with slim hulls and a relatively short nacelle suggests a seaworthy nature and high speeds.

Read more about the Catana 53

Best bluewater multihulls for pedigree performance

Veteran multihull designers Morrelli & Melvin designed this smaller model for the Gunboat range. It was built to be more manageable for an owner-driver yet still capable of up to 300-400 mile days.

The Gunboat 48 is something of a rare breed, just six 48s were built between 2004 and 2009. Oh, to have a spare €1.3m right now… one of them is actually on the market.

Read more about the Gunboat 48

At the start of the Millennium, Catana offered fully equipped boats as standard for long distance cruising. The Catana 471 or 472 (one or two helms respectively), represented at the time the optimum in ocean-going catamarans.


Tony Grainger has been drawing fast multihulls for 35 years, including racing trimarans and the Lightwave and Chincogan cruisers. The popular Lightwave 38 has admirable performance and comfort, and the Chincogan 52 (pictured) has the length to clock high average speeds.

Outremer 45 G. Danson

With its characteristic roof, narrow hulls and daggerboards, the Outremer 45 is a standout design which has become somewhat iconic. Despite a rather spartan interior, it has been a great success with fast cruising enthusiasts. On board, family ocean crossings at an average of 10 knots are the norm.

Best bluewater multihulls for family cruising

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Nicolas Claris

The Lagoon 450 remains the most popular model in Lagoons already popular range. It exemplifies the VPLP/Nauta design partnership which has made these the very definition of modern mid-size cruising catamarans which can appeal to families and charterers alike.

Indeed the 450 marked the modern look of Lagoon and was the first with interior styling from Nauta. It originally launched over a decade ago as a flybridge design with central helming position (450F), before this ‘sport top’ option (450S) was offered with a starboard helm station and lower boom.

Read more about the Lagoon 450

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Guilain Grenier

Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

The 47 has a modern shape, with straight bows and a reverse sheer line. It incorporates significant volume in the hulls below the bridgedeck to create room for the optional athwartships cabins. Cabin space is a prime selling point, particularly the owner’s suite to port, where there is also abundant natural light and headroom.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Tui Marine

Leopard Catamarans, together with designer Simonis Voogd and builder Robertson and Caine, produce the archetypal dual-purpose owner-operator or charter boat in their modern catamaran range.

Key features of the 45 are the amount of light in the saloon and the incredible volume and space on offer in the cabins above the relatively narrow waterlines. Vast social living areas include the flybridge, saloon and dual cockpits.

Read more about the Leopard 45

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: www.jfromero.fr

Nautitech Open/Fly 46

During the 1990s and noughties Nautitech earned a good reputation for its elegant catamarans. The 441 is a timeless example and the 44 can be credited with the ongoing trend in hardtop biminis. While its acquisition by Bavaria seven years ago helped Nautitech implement industrial build techniques, the French brand has retained its DNA at its Rochefort sur Mer yard.

The modern Marc Lombard designs have tall rigs with generous square-top mainsails. Twin wheels in the aft quarters of the Open 46 offer a direct feel on the helm, however those spending long periods in the tropics may prefer the shade of the bimini-equipped flybridge option. The layout is also open, with a saloon more outside than in. Styling is clean, modern and simple, and the standard of build and finish are good.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Olivier Blanchet

First impressions of the Neel 51 are sure to centre on its sheer size and space inside. But as you’ll see from our review of the Neel 43 on page 83, when you sail one overriding impressions quickly centre on its performance.

These trimarans are becoming a popular mass production-built option.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Christophe Launay

The Excess 11 packs plenty of potential as the smallest yacht offered by the big production yards. A little like the Lagoon 380 of old, it presents a good value new entry-level boat for genuine cruising in a more sporty, modern and enticing design. Some may argue against aft helms for ocean sailing, but those coming from monohulls will appreciate the more direct steering they offer.

Broadblue 385S

Broadblue is a UK brand which offers a distinct line of cruising and Rapier performance catamarans. Its staple 385 packs a lot of cruising comfort into its length, including generous tankage, and has been sailed all over the world. Broadblue built its first electric drive catamaran 12 years ago and offers the only all-electric production sailing catamaran under 40ft in Europe.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Christophe Breschi

Bali Catspace

For those looking for maximum volume within 40ft, it’ll be hard to beat the Catspace – although it is more of a holiday apartment than a traditional bluewater cruiser. Bali’s garage style sliding aft door does help offer an enormous amount of enclosed (or open) living space.

Best bluewater multihulls for luxury cruising

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Nico Krauss

Privilège 510 Signature

The 510 is designed to take a serious amount of cruising gear – up to six tonnes of it in fact. The excellent helm station now has a fixed windscreen and all lines lead to hand. Finish quality including the electrical installation is first class and Privilege’s trademark, an admirable full beam (26ft) forward cabin, is sumptuous.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Jérôme Houyvet

Garcia Explocat 52

Garcia Yachts has cornered the market for series-built aluminium monohulls and multihulls in the last decade and this new Explocat 52 is sparking real interest. We ran a full test report in our February issue, describing it as a go-anywhere cat with an enticing combination of space, pace and rugged construction.

Read our review of the Garcia Explocat 52

Built in Argentina, the Antares 44 is the ultimate evolution of a model launched 21 years ago. Entirely dedicated to bluewater cruising, it is the yard’s only model and is constantly being improved according to owner feedback.

Time seems to have no hold on this boatyard and, against the trend, the standard equipment of the Antares 44 is extremely complete

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Richard Langdon

Discovery Bluewater 50

This luxury Bill Dixon design may be a decade old now and into its third iteration, but the concept behind its original appeal remains. For those used to sailing high-end thoroughbred monohulls, here is an option to consider for a comparative level of build quality and fit out when moving to a multihull.

Read more about the Discovery Bluewater 50

St Francis 50 MKII

With this latest version of its original model, this experienced South African builder has optimised a catamaran cut out for the unforgiving seas of the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic. The MKII allows for an increased load capacity, an important point in long distance cruising.

Xsquisite X5

Intelligent features on the X5 include the protected helm station with glass windscreen, integrated rainwater catcher, UV-protective glass and generous tankage.

Best bluewater multihulls for size & speed

Mcconaghy mc52.

The MC50 (now MC52) was the first and promises some high speed sailing, but it’s the open plan main living deck which will attract the majority. It incorporates an intelligent centreboard system, which hardly affects interior space, but arguably its exposed helms at the aft end of the flybridge will not suit serious ocean cruising.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Florian H. Talles

HH in Xiamen is building some really impressive large, luxury fast cats up to 90ft. This was its second model to launch, a high-end, high performance Morelli & Melvin design capable of rapid passagemaking speeds and enjoyable regatta sailing. Features include C-shaped boards and central or aft helms.

best liveaboard trimaran

Photo: Mike Jones/Waterline Media

Ocean Explorer 60

If Nautor’s Swan made catamarans, they may look like this… The Ocean Explorer 60 uses the same designer in German Frers and some of the same builders who worked at the famous Finnish yard to produce this world cruiser. The resultant quality shines through. A new OE72 is due soon.

Kinetic KC54

A young company with plenty of experience, Kinetic produces custom fast ocean cruisers, which can occasionally race. Its 62 is a serious performance vessel with carbon hulls, rigs and rigging, daggerboards or centreboards. With fast bluewater cruising the goal, carbon is used to minimise weight so features/toys can still be added. The swim platform and hardware on the newly launched 54 weighs just 90kg, and the generous sized tanks are all in carbon too. Views from the saloon and forward cockpit also look special.

Best bluewater multihulls for ultimate performance

Marsaudon ts4/orc 42.

Few catamaran builders produce genuine performance cruisers at this ‘smaller’ size: this one is kept minimalist and light weight (around 6 tonnes) – the yard’s philosophy is ‘simplicity, then add lightness.’ The 42 is a cruiser-racer with the ability to outpace most yachts across the Atlantic, win a regatta and still offer some space for island hopping. Standard tankage is minimal however. Marsaudon recently rebranded its TS range to Ocean Rider Catamarans (ORCs) and has an ORC 57 in build.

Dazcat 1495

Dazcat builds fast, seaworthy cats from its Multihull Centre in Cornwall. The 1495 is a true ocean cruiser-racer, which is stiff and rewarding to sail, with direct steering linked to carbon rudders. The 1495 can hit 20+ knot speeds with relative ease, but it is the consistent high average speeds which will attract those looking to cover serious miles. Weight is centralised including engines, tanks, and systems all located amidships to help reduce pitching. Dazcat has a semi-custom build approach and creates all sorts of weird and wonderful craft for all abilities.

Dragonfly 40

Dragonfly trimarans are known for their high quality construction and ability to delight sailors with their ease of planing speeds. For those who can live without the space of similar length cats, the new flagship 40 is large enough to offer cruising space, while folding outriggers and retractable appendages mean you can dry out where others wouldn’t dare.

Looping 45/Freydis 48

These two designs by Erik Lerouge both offer a high-performance vision of ocean cruising. The Loopings were built individually and the Freydis in small series, and on both you can sail as fast as the wind in complete safety. Interior quality depends on whether finished by an amateur or by a shipyard.

Swisscat 48

An attractive combination of luxury, comfort and performance, the S48 is a stiff, go-anywhere premium cat that is easy to manage single-handed. The lightweight build (11t) is in epoxy infusion with carbon reinforcement.

Schionning Designs

Jeff Schionning has catamaran design in his blood. His designs exude performance and seaworthiness with flowing, even aerodynamic lines. On all tradewind routes you’ll find a G-Force (models from 12m to 23m) or an Arrow (12m to 15m) sailing more quickly than the rest. His latest venture is with Current Marine in Knysna, South Africa.

Best bluewater multihulls for pedigree cruising

The long-time best-seller from the world leader in catamarans, with more than 1,000 produced over almost 20 years from 1999. With its characteristic vertical windows, the 380 and its big brother the 410 made the purists scream when they were presented. But the 380 proved a pioneer of its kind. Safe bow volumes and light displacement (7,260 kg) helped its seaworthy behaviour. The high number of boats on the market makes this the most affordable bluewater cruising multihull for its size, even if price range is as wide as condition is variable.

Casamance 44/46

Between 44ft and 46ft depending on the year of construction and the length of its transoms, the Casamance was an impressive catamaran on launch in 1985. The design by Joubert/Nivelt offered good volume and load capacity. Of the 490 units produced, many joined the charter fleets. The exterior of the Casamance is dated, but the interior in grey ceruse oak has retained plenty of charm.

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Better Boat

Home Sweet Boat: The Best Liveaboard Boats to Fit Your Lifestyle

Home Sweet Boat: The Best Liveaboard Boats to Fit Your Lifestyle

Ready to take the plunge into the liveaboard boat life? Or maybe you already live on your boat and want to upgrade?  

Anybody who has ever spent the night on any  recreational boat is likely to agree that while it might seem like any boat with a cabin would make a great liveaboard, that’s not necessarily the case.

Before you hang that "Home Sweet Boat" sign, there are considerations to keep in mind such as: your liveaboard's geographic location , local weather, inside a marina slip versus on the hook (as well as the proximity to businesses). Then there's your own personal preferences and lifestyle. 

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to concentrate on the liveaboard boats themselves - aspects like comfort, layout and sea hardiness.

Featured Boat Care Product

Check Price on Amazon - Better Boat's upholstery brush set comes with two brushes: a horsehair one to gently clean leather and delicate fabric and a nylon one to deep clean heavily soiled fabrics. Use on leather, vinyl, fabric, carpet and more. 

Ocean Liveaboard Boats

Sailboats, catamarans, trawlers and luxury yachts all make excellent liveaboard ocean boats. I enjoy the wide open expanse of saltwater  like the Atlantic Ocean (or Gulf of Mexico) for boating. If you do too, you may want to take a look at the following options.

best liveaboard trimaran

Multi-Hull Boats

Double-hull catamarans and triple- hull trimarans offer stability in rough ocean waters. They also offer separate living spaces in the hulls . Plus, they just look cool.

Bridging the line between boat and insect-like creature, the graceful lines and slender sides of designer Dick Newick’s Custom 51 Trimaran are quite beautiful as it skims across the water. 

While a cat's below-deck space can be seen as cramped, the  above-deck area is nice and wide.

Multi-Hull Boat Brands

  • Lagoon 380   
  • Sunsail 384  
  • Newick Custom 51 Trimaran

You might be thinking a monohull sailboat wouldn’t be the best choice for an ocean liveaboard boat, but consider this for a moment. During calm seas (or docked in a marina), the open decks offer living space for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.  

Sailboat cabins can be quite plush with features like custom cabinets, teak decks and multiple staterooms. Most liveaboard sailboats are available with an engine, which I highly recommend for those times when the wind just isn’t cooperating … or when rough weather is approaching and you need to get to home (to your marina home, that is) or to a safe harbor quickly. Mostly for that last reason.

Sailboat Brands

  • Gulfstar 44
  • Island Packet 35
  • Cheoy Lee Offshore 38

Sport Fishing Boats

In addition to many fishing amenities (like fighting chairs, 50-gallon coolers, in-deck fish boxes and an abundance of rod holders), sport fishing boats offer plentiful room above and below deck for living, dining and entertaining.

They’re built tough to withstand rough seas. Also, those flybridges are awesome features to have when you’re underway.

Interior features include spacious kitchens with full (or nearly full) size appliances, lengthy bench seating, high-tech sound and entertainment systems, comfortable staterooms and  storage space  for things like anchors , fenders , buoys and coolers.

Sport Fishing Boat Brands

  • Albemarle 41 Express

I’ve written on liveaboard trawlers before, and I stand by them as great liveaboards for the ocean. The comfort of wide hulls, hard chines, less draft and below- deck headroom sends trawlers to the head of the liveaboard list.

Noise, maintenance and speed (or lack thereof) put some points on the con side. But, hey, you’re on “island time,” right? 

Trawler Brands

  •   Beneteau Swift Trawler  
  •  Grand Banks East Bay 44

Luxury Yachts

Now, who wouldn’t want a luxury yacht as a liveaboard? As plush and home-like as many of these floating hotels are, the price point is usually the deciding factor. Nonetheless, they make a fabulous liveaboard with multiple staterooms, heads with full-size showers and stylish living areas.

Gourmet galleys, media rooms and designer leather furnishings will make you forget you ever lived on land. 

On the downside (Isn't there always a downside?), luxury yachts are going to be more expensive as far as slips are concerned (if you're on the hook , that won't apply to you).

And, just like a house, you'll probably spend more time with the boat soap , deck cleaner , teak brightener  and other  boat cleaning products and maintanance.

Luxury Yacht Brands

  •   Hatteras 90 Motor Yacht
  • Sunseeker San Remo 53

River, Lake and Bay Liveaboard Boats

Easy access and fresh water make rivers, lakes and bays a popular choice for liveaboard boat anchorages. Since it's not on the open ocean, you won't have the worries of sea hardiness or the wear and tear of saltwater on hulls and your boat propeller . Of course, there's always the option of top-quality  de-salt concentrates  to alleviate that problem.

Houseboats are a common choice for rivers and lakes. Often, they’re moored in a marina and don’t move. They are, quite literally, a house sitting on the water. Think: MacGyver or Sleepless in Seattle .

Houseboat Brands

  • Gibson Houseboat
  • Sumerset Houseboats

Sailboats work as equally well in rivers, lakes and bays as they do in oceans. Like any other boat, you’ll want to consider the size of the boat when deciding where to anchor it. 

Sailboats and sport fishing boats with flybridges also require consideration for bridge clearance. For example, a 49-foot Hunter with full rigging wouldn’t be the best of choices for your local lake (regardless of whether there’s a bridge anywhere in sight).

Sailboat Brands for Lakes

  • Beneteau Oceanis 34
  • Catalina 39

Where to Anchor Your Liveaboard Boat

Technically, anywhere with water seems like it would be a good liveaboard location. But what works for others might not be your cup of tea. You’ll have to decide whether you want to be on the ocean, the bay, a river or a lake. Or, maybe you’ll choose all of them.

That’s one of the best aspects of a liveaboard. You can pull up that boat anchor  and line whenever you want and take off for somewhere new.

best liveaboard trimaran

Atlantic Ocean

From Kennebunkport to Key West, the Atlantic Ocean offers a wide array of liveaboard locations - Bar Harbor, Maine; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; and the Outer Banks of North Carolina - to name just a few.

The main downside is winter time in the northern regions. Year-round sunshine, warm temps and blue skies make Florida a prime liveaboard boat choice. With its peninsula-like shape, the state was practically created for boat lovers. Maybe that’s why so many of them live there.

Florida also has the distinction of having two coastal choices, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic side has Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and the Keys among many more. See below for Gulf Coast ideas.

Pacific Ocean

Thanks to movies like Sleepless in Seattle , we all wanted to move to Seattle and live on a houseboat. What? You didn’t? Okay, maybe that was me. The point is, even in areas typically considered too cold, or not conducive to the liveaboard life, you can live on a boat. Thanks for that, Tom Hanks. And, yes, technically, it was Puget Sound, but you get the idea.

San Francisco, Long Beach and San Diego are a few coastal California liveaboard locations you might consider. Let’s not forget Astoria, Tillamook, Pacific City and Yachats, Oregon.

Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is my absolute favorite body of water. Sorry, Atlantic and Pacific. Warm waves, soft sand and shades of turquoise and sapphire…it’s the Caribbean without the passport hassle.

Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete and the Gulf side of the Keys make up this idyllic area. Then, you’ve got Gulf Shores, Alabama; Pascagoula, Mississippi and the Texas Gulf Coast.

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Rivers, Lakes and Bays

Many rivers and lakes flow through well-known cities, making them a prime spot to drop an anchor . Baltimore, Maryland is an anchorage choice for the Potomac River, while several areas in Virginia and Maryland offer liveaboard life on the Chesapeake Bay.

New York and New Jersey have the Hudson River. Chicago offers the urban waterfront of Lake Michigan. Even though the word “lake” is in the name, the Great Lakes are more like oceans, in my opinion. Perhaps that’s why they put “great” in front. 

Just a few areas include Grand Haven, Michigan; Egg Harbor, Wisconsin and Two Harbors, Minnesota on Lake Superior and Lakeside, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania on Lake Erie. 

These are locations where you’ll have to decide how much winter weather you can take in a boat, but I’ve heard that the summers are amazing. In conclusion, a few factors you'll want to consider before diving into liveaboard life are:

  • Number of people living on board
  • Boat size (related to the number of people living on board)
  • Where the boat will be docked
  • Conveniences you (or the rest of your party) can't live without (though you may find that you can) - for example, a separate shower stall rather than a wet head

best liveaboard trimaran

  • choosing a selection results in a full page refresh

13 Best Liveaboard Catamarans (For All Budgets)

If you want to enjoy long-term living on the water, a liveaboard catamaran can provide the perfect combination of comfort and adventure. However, buying and owning a catamaran can cost you a fortune. If you're not sure which one suits your budget, here are 13 of the best liveaboard catamarans on the market today, covering a range of budgets and lifestyles.

The 13 best liveaboard catamarans for different budgets are:

Nautitech 46 Open

Lagoon 450f, nautitech 46 fly.

If you're on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the liveaboard lifestyle, the Leopard 40, Lucia 40, and Lagoon 400 are some of your best options. If you have a slightly higher budget to live up to your dream life aboard, let's see which of these catamarans will suit your needs best.

  • Low-budget liveaboard catamarans cost anywhere from $350,000 to $450,000, while high-budget options range from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.
  • The living space of the best liveaboard catamarans ranges from 77 sqm to 215 sqm, with the higher-budget options generally offering more space.
  • Most catamaran models come equipped with one galley and multiple heads, with the number of heads ranging from 2 to 4.
  • High-budget catamarans like Lagoon 52 and Catana 50 are built with advanced safety features such as a self-tacking jib and an automatic reefing system.

best liveaboard trimaran

On this page:

Best liveaboard catamarans for all budgets.

When choosing the best liveaboard catamaran, there are questions you need to ask yourself such as:

  • Are you planning to live aboard full-time or just part-time?
  • Will you be traveling extensively or staying in one location?
  • Do you plan to fish or engage in other water activities?
If you plan to sail around the world and are not sure what catamaran size is perfect for your goal , you can get some tips from this article.

You may also need to check your budget. Keep in mind that the purchase price is just one aspect of the cost of owning a catamaran. See how much it actually costs to buy and own a catamaran in this article.

best liveaboard trimaran

You may also need to factor in ongoing maintenance, repairs, and other expenses, such as docking costs. Docking costs depend on the location of the marina and the actual size of your catamaran, but to give you an idea of how much it costs to dock a catamaran , here's an article that can help you.

The best liveaboard catamarans have these most important features :

Living space Look for a catamaran with an open layout, large windows, and plenty of natural light to create a spacious and inviting living area.

Galley and heads Choose a catamaran with a well-designed galley that is easy to use and has plenty of storage space. The heads should be spacious and comfortable, with a separate shower area if possible.

Performance and handling You might want to opt for a catamaran with a good sail plan and sailing controls that are easy to operate. If you plan to do offshore cruising, perhaps consider a catamaran with a shallow draft and good seaworthiness.

Safety and seaworthiness Choose a catamaran with sturdy construction and good safety features, such as handrails and lifelines. You might want to make sure also that the catamaran is designed for single-handed sailing if you plan to sail solo.

Estimated price range: $400,000 - $500,000

Living space inside Leopard 40

The Leopard 40 has a spacious interior with a modern and stylish design. It features four cabins and two heads, providing ample living space for up to 8 people.

The cabins are well-ventilated and well-lit, with large windows that offer panoramic views of the sea. The saloon is also spacious, with comfortable seating and a large dining table.

Galley and heads of Leopard 40

The galley is well-equipped with a large refrigerator, freezer, gas stove, oven, and plenty of storage space. The heads are also well-designed, with separate shower stalls and electric toilets.

Performance and handling of Leopard 40

The Leopard 40 has a sleek and streamlined design that allows it to move smoothly through the water. The twin engines provide plenty of power, and the boat is easy to maneuver even in tight spaces.

The boat also comes with a range of performance features, such as a large sail area, a self-tacking jib, and a full-batten mainsail.

Safety and seaworthiness of Leopard 40

The Leopard 40 is built to the highest standards of safety, with a strong and durable hull, high-quality rigging, and a range of safety features such as lifelines, handrails, and safety harnesses.

The boat also has excellent stability, which makes it very safe and comfortable to sail in rough seas.

Estimated price range: $450,000 - $550,000

Living space inside Lucia 40

The Lucia 40 is a spacious catamaran that offers plenty of living space for a family or a group of friends. It has a large saloon with a U-shaped sofa and a dining table that can comfortably seat six people.

The saloon is surrounded by large windows that provide plenty of natural light and a great view of the surroundings. The catamaran has four cabins and two heads, which provide ample sleeping space for up to eight people. The cabins are well-appointed and offer plenty of storage space.

Galley and heads of Lucia 40

The galley on the Lucia 40 is located in the saloon and is well-equipped with a three-burner stove, oven, fridge, and plenty of counter space for food preparation.

best liveaboard trimaran

The two heads are located in each hull and are equipped with a shower, toilet, and sink. They are spacious and provide plenty of privacy.

The Lucia 40 is a performance-oriented catamaran

The Lucia 40 is a performance-oriented catamaran that is designed for cruising in comfort. It has a sleek and modern design that allows it to sail efficiently in a wide range of wind and sea conditions.

The catamaran is equipped with a full batten mainsail and a furling genoa, which provide excellent sail performance. The helm station is located on the flybridge, which provides excellent visibility and allows for easy handling.

The Lucia 40 is a safe and seaworthy catamaran

The Lucia 40 has a solid fiberglass hull and a structural bulkhead that provides excellent strength and rigidity. The catamaran is equipped with all the necessary safety equipment, including life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and a first aid kit.

It is also equipped with a comprehensive navigation system, which includes GPS, radar, and an autopilot, to ensure safe and accurate navigation.

Estimated price range: $350,000 - $450,000

Living space inside Lagoon 400

The Lagoon 400 offers ample room for passengers to relax and socialize. The main saloon is located on the same level as the cockpit, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience.

The saloon features a large dining table and comfortable seating, while the cockpit provides additional seating and a table for outdoor dining. The cabins are also spacious and comfortable, with plenty of storage space.

Galley and heads of Lagoon 400

The galley is well-equipped with a stove, oven, refrigerator, and sink, making it easy to prepare meals while underway. The heads are also well-designed, with separate shower stalls and electric toilets.

The Lagoon 400 has good sailing performance

This boat has a generous sail area, a powerful rig, and a light displacement, which allows it to sail well in a variety of conditions. The boat's twin hulls also help to reduce drag and increase stability, which makes it easier to sail in choppy seas or high winds.

The Lagoon 400 is also equipped with twin engines, which allow it to be easily maneuvered in tight spaces or when docking. The boat's shallow draft, which is one of the advantages of sailing a catamaran , also makes it suitable for exploring shallow waters or anchoring in secluded bays.

The Lagoon 400 is designed to be safe and seaworthy

The boat's twin hulls provide excellent stability, which reduces the risk of capsizing. See a detailed comparison between catamaran and monohull in this article.

The boat is also equipped with a range of safety features, including a solid fiberglass hull, watertight bulkheads, and a high freeboard, which helps to keep the boat dry and reduce the risk of swamping.

The boat is also built to withstand rough seas and strong winds, with a reinforced hull and high freeboard. It also features a range of safety features, including lifelines, safety harnesses, and an emergency tiller.

The Bali 4.0 is a catamaran that offers ample living space

The cockpit and saloon are on the same level, which creates a large open-plan living area. The saloon has a U-shaped seating area, which can comfortably seat six people, and a large table that can be lowered to create a double berth.

Galley and heads of Bali 4.0

The galley of Bali 4.0 is located aft of the saloon and is well-equipped with a three-burner stove, oven, refrigerator, and sink. The boat has four cabins, each with its own en-suite head and shower. The cabins are spacious and comfortable, and the heads are modern and well-designed.

Performance and handling of Bali 4.0

The Bali 4.0 has a self-tacking jib and a fully battened mainsail, which makes it easy to sail short-handed. The boat is also equipped with a Code 0 sail, which provides additional downwind performance. The boat's helm is responsive and easy to control, and the boat is stable and predictable in a variety of conditions.

Safety and seaworthiness of Bali 4.0

The Bali 4.0 is a seaworthy boat that is designed to be safe and comfortable in a variety of conditions. The boat has a high freeboard, which provides additional safety and protection from waves and spray.

best liveaboard trimaran

The boat also has a solid foredeck, which provides additional safety when moving around the boat. It is also equipped with a full suite of safety equipment, including life rafts, life jackets, and safety harnesses.

Estimated price range: $500,000 - $600,000

Living space inside Bali 4.3

The Bali 4.3 has a large saloon with panoramic views, plenty of natural light, and a modern design. The saloon is equipped with a large U-shaped sofa, a dining table, and a chart table. The cockpit is also spacious and features a dining table, a sunbathing area, and a helm station.

Galley and heads of Bali 4.3

The galley and heads on the Bali 4.3 are well-designed and offer plenty of space and storage. It is located in the saloon and features a 3-burner stove, an oven, a large refrigerator, and plenty of counter space. The heads are located in each hull and feature a separate shower, electric toilets, and plenty of storage.

The Bali 4.3 is a fast and agile catamaran. It features a self-tacking jib and a square-top mainsail, which make it easy to handle and maneuver. The boat is also equipped with twin engines, which provide good speed and maneuverability.

The Bali 4.3 is a very safe and stable catamaran

The Bali 4.3 features a solid construction, a high freeboard, and a wide beam, which make it very stable and comfortable even in rough seas. The boat is also equipped with a number of safety features, including lifelines, safety harnesses, and life jackets.

Living space of Catana 42

The Catana 42 has a spacious interior layout with plenty of natural light and ventilation. The saloon and cockpit are integrated into one living area, which provides a comfortable and functional living space.

Galley and heads of Catana 42

The galley is located in the port hull and features a three-burner stove, oven, refrigerator, and ample storage space. The heads are located in the starboard hull, with one head serving as the owner's suite en-suite and the other serving the remaining three cabins.

The Catana 42 an excellent performer

The catamaran is designed to be fast and stable, with a high bridge deck clearance and a narrow hull-to-waterline beam ratio. It also has a large sail area, which provides good speed in light winds.

The Catana 42 is built with safety and seaworthiness

The boat is designed to be self-righting in the event of a capsize , and the hulls are foam-filled for added buoyancy. The boat also features a robust construction with a reinforced keel and rudder, making it suitable for offshore cruising.

Estimated price range: $600,000 - $700,000

Living space of Nautitech 46 Open

The Nautitech 46 Open is a spacious and comfortable catamaran that offers ample living space, a well-equipped galley, and multiple heads for convenience. The living area is open and airy, with large windows and plenty of natural light.

Galley and heads of Nautitech 46 Open

The galley is fully equipped with modern appliances and ample storage space, making it easy to prepare meals and entertain guests. The heads are also well-appointed, with modern fixtures and plenty of space for comfort.

Performance and handling of Nautitech 46 Open

The Nautitech 46 Open is a capable and responsive catamaran that is easy to sail and maneuver. The boat's twin hulls provide excellent stability and make it easy to handle in a variety of conditions.

The boat's rig is designed for performance, with a large sail area and a well-balanced design that allows for easy handling and excellent speed.

Safety and seaworthiness of Nautitech 46 Open

The boat is built to the highest standards of safety and durability, with a strong and sturdy construction that can withstand the rigors of offshore sailing. The boat is also equipped with all the necessary safety features, including life rafts, life jackets, and safety harnesses, to ensure that you and your crew stay safe on the water.

Estimated price range: $700,000 - $800,000

Living space inside Lagoon 450F

The Lagoon 450F is a spacious catamaran that offers plenty of room for living and entertaining. The saloon is large and open, with plenty of natural light and ventilation.

The cockpit is also spacious and comfortable, with a large dining table and seating for up to eight people. The cabins are well-designed and offer plenty of storage space, and the bathrooms are modern and well-appointed.

best liveaboard trimaran

Galley and heads of Lagoon 450F

The Lagoon 450F has a well-equipped galley that is perfect for preparing meals while at sea. The galley features a large refrigerator and freezer, a three-burner stove, an oven, a microwave, and plenty of counter space. The heads are also well-designed and offer plenty of space and privacy.

Performance and handling of Lagoon 450F

The Lagoon 450F is a fast and stable catamaran that is easy to handle. The boat is powered by two Yanmar diesel engines, which provide plenty of power and speed.

The boat is also equipped with a high-performance sail plan, which allows for easy and efficient sailing.

The Lagoon 450F is designed to handle a variety of weather conditions

This boat is built to the highest standards of safety and quality and is equipped with all of the necessary safety equipment, including life rafts, life jackets, and emergency flares.

The boat is also designed to be self-sufficient, with a large water tank and generator, which allows for extended periods of time at sea.

Living space inside Helia 44

The Helia 44 has a spacious and well-designed interior that maximizes living space. The saloon features large windows that provide plenty of natural light and offer stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

The seating area is comfortable and can accommodate up to 8 people. The cabins are also spacious and well-appointed, with plenty of storage space and en-suite bathrooms.

Galley and heads of Helia 44

The galley on the Helia 44 is well-equipped and designed for easy use. It features a large refrigerator, a 3-burner gas stove, an oven, and a microwave. The heads are also well-designed, with separate shower stalls and plenty of storage space.

The Helia 44 is designed for excellent performance and handling

The Helia 44 has a powerful rig and a high aspect ratio sail plan that provides excellent speed and maneuverability. The boat also has a shallow draft, which makes it easy to navigate in shallow waters.

The Helia 44 is built to the highest safety standards

This boat has a solid construction that provides excellent stability and strength. It also features a range of safety equipment, including life rafts, EPIRBs, and fire extinguishers.

Estimated price range: $700,000 - $1,000,000

Living space inside Leopard 48

The Leopard 48 features a spacious saloon with a comfortable seating area and a large dining table. The saloon is surrounded by panoramic windows that provide plenty of natural light and stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

The catamaran also has a large cockpit area with a dining table and comfortable seating, perfect for outdoor dining and relaxation.

Galley and heads of Leopard 48

The galley on the Leopard 48 is well-equipped with modern appliances and ample storage space. It features a large refrigerator, a freezer, a three-burner stove, and an oven. The catamaran also has three heads, each with a shower, sink, and toilet.

Performance and handling of Leopard 48

The Leopard 48 is a high-performance catamaran that is easy to handle and maneuver. It has a powerful sail plan and lightweight construction that allows it to sail smoothly and efficiently even in light winds.

The catamaran is also equipped with a powerful engine that provides excellent speed and maneuverability.

Safety and seaworthiness of Leopard 48

The Leopard 48 is a safe and seaworthy catamaran that is designed to handle even the toughest ocean conditions. It has a sturdy construction and a stable platform that provides excellent stability and safety.

The catamaran is also equipped with modern safety features such as a GPS navigation system, a radar, and an autopilot.

Estimated price range: $600,000 - $900,000

Living space inside Nautitech 46 Fly

The Nautitech 46 Fly is a spacious catamaran that offers plenty of room for living and entertaining. The interior is bright and airy, thanks to large windows and an open floor plan.

There are four cabins and four heads, making it a great option for families or groups of friends. The salon is comfortable and features a dining area and a well-equipped galley.

Galley and heads of Nautitech 46 Fly

The galley on the Nautitech 46 Fly is well-equipped with a refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, and plenty of counter space. There is also a double sink and a dishwasher. The heads are spacious and comfortable, with separate shower stalls and electric toilets.

Performance and handling of the Nautitech 46 Fly

The Nautitech 46 Fly is a pleasure to sail, with good speed and handling. The boat is responsive and easy to maneuver, even in tight spaces. The twin engines provide plenty of power and make docking and maneuvering a breeze.

The Nautitech 46 Fly is a safe and seaworthy vessel

The boat is designed to handle rough seas and strong winds, making it a great option for offshore sailing. There are also plenty of safety features, including lifelines, safety harnesses, and a well-equipped first aid kit.

Estimated price range: $1,000,000 - $2,000,000

The living space of Catana 50

The living space is designed for comfort and entertainment. The spacious saloon offers panoramic views and ample seating for guests.

The interior is finished with high-quality materials and features modern amenities such as air conditioning, a fully equipped galley, and plenty of storage space. It also has four spacious cabins and four heads, making it ideal for families or groups of friends.

Galley and heads of Catana 50

The galley on the Catana 50 is well-equipped with a large refrigerator, freezer, oven, and stove. The countertops are made of durable and easy-to-clean materials, and there is plenty of storage space for food and cooking utensils. The heads are spacious and feature modern fixtures and finishes.

The Catana 50 is designed for performance and speed

The catamaran's lightweight construction and high-tech materials make it fast and agile, while its twin daggerboards and rudders provide excellent maneuverability and control. The boat is easy to handle, even in challenging conditions, and offers a smooth and comfortable ride.

The Catana 50 is a safe and seaworthy vessel

The catamaran's hull design and construction are engineered to withstand the rigors of offshore sailing, and the boat is equipped with all the necessary safety equipment, including life rafts, EPIRBs, and fire extinguishers.

Need a complete list of safety equipment for your boat ? Here's an article that might be helpful for you.

The vessel also features a high freeboard, wide decks, and a sturdy rigging system, making it a stable and secure platform for sailing in all conditions.

Living space of Lagoon 52

The Lagoon 52 is known for its spacious interior and exterior living areas. The main salon is located on the bridge deck and features a large dining table, comfortable seating, and panoramic views.

The cockpit is also spacious and has plenty of seating for outdoor dining and lounging. The cabins are well-appointed and offer plenty of storage space and natural light.

Galley and heads of Lagoon 52

The galley on the Lagoon 52 is equipped with modern appliances and ample counter space, making it easy to prepare meals for large groups. There are also multiple heads on the boat, each with a shower and toilet, making it convenient for guests to freshen up after a day of exploring.

Performance and handling of Lagoon 52

The Lagoon 52 is designed for optimal performance and handling. It has a powerful sail plan and a lightweight construction that allows it to move swiftly through the water

The boat is also easy to handle, even with a small crew, thanks to its user-friendly design and advanced technology.

Safety and seaworthiness are top priorities on the Lagoon 52

The boat is built to withstand rough seas and harsh weather conditions, with sturdy construction and advanced safety features such as a self-tacking jib and an automatic reefing system.

The boat also has a spacious cockpit and wide decks that make it easy to move around and handle the boat in all conditions:

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Best Liveaboard Bluewater Catamarans

Best Liveaboard Bluewater Catamarans | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Catamarans are known for seaworthiness, but what sets a run-of-the-mill recreational cat from a full-blown liveaboard blue water cruiser?

The best production blue water cruising catamarans are the Manta 42, the Lagoon 42, the Leopard 45, the Lagoon 450, and the Prout 45. These vessels have excellent living accommodations and great sea keeping abilities.

In this article, we’ll cover five of the best liveaboard cruising catamarans, along with what sets them apart from similar vessels. Additionally, we’ll go over what to look for in a catamaran that functions both as a home and an offshore adventure cruiser.

We sourced the specifications listed in this article directly from boat design guides and the manufacturers themselves.

Table of contents

‍ Characteristics of Liveaboard Cruising Catamarans

Generally speaking, blue water catamarans that are suitable for offshore cruising and living aboard are between 40 and 50 feet in length. Some well-designed catamarans between 25 and 39 feet in length can also be used.

A good liveaboard cruising catamaran should have adequate berthing and galley facilities, along with an enclosed cockpit. Catamarans without enclosed cockpits, especially smaller vessels, aren’t spacious enough in the hull to accommodate good liveaboard facilities.

As far as cruising is concerned, the best Bluewater catamarans are designed for durability and seaworthiness. A vessel’s sea keeping abilities rely on more than just smoothness and speed. These vessels should be water-tight in key locations, positively buoyant, and equipped with all the right extras.

Factors that Increase Catamaran Seaworthiness

There are several additions that manufacturers commonly include with sea-going blue water catamarans. These include water-tight hatches, radar units, a backup generator, and a berth close to the cockpit.

The latter is particularly important, as the captain and crew need to be able to grab the controls in the event of a nighttime emergency.

Other add-ons, such as automatic winches and controls, are extremely beneficial to blue water catamarans. These devices allow the sails to be controlled remotely without the crew needing to walk on deck.

Cruising Catamaran vs. Bluewater Catamaran

Fundamentally, cruising catamarans and ‘blue water’ catamarans are one and the same. When companies classify a catamaran as a ‘cruising’ catamaran, they usually do so because of a few notable design features.

These include cruising accommodations such as large-capacity water tanks, large fuel tanks, onboard power supplies (like a generator and a battery bank; sometimes solar panels), and long-distance communication systems. Radar is another perk, and it’s available on most cruising catamarans.

Best sea-going Liveaboard Catamarans

We searched the market, researched specifications, and listened to the owner’s opinions to find the best sea-going catamarans on the market.

These vessels are also spacious and comfortable enough to live aboard, both at sea on extended voyages and in a marina. Here are our top picks.

1. Manta 42

The Manta 42 is a well-known and popular cruising catamaran with a reputation for seaworthiness and exceptional comfort for its size. This vessel, while on the smaller end for cruising catamarans, is quite seaworthy and handles well in all conditions.

The Manta 42 is powerful—it has a large sail area for its size, which gives it incredible speed in both low and high wind conditions.

The Manta 42 has an unconventional design feature that makes it stronger than the competition—and technically, more seaworthy than many larger and fancier catamarans. The feature we’re referring to is the Manta 42’s fixed crossbeam, which is stronger than typical designs.

The Manta 42’s interior is really well-designed and ideal for living aboard. The hulls feature large berthing areas, and the center cockpit area features a full-size marine galley and sitting areas. This vessel is popular with families, as there’s plenty of room for parents and one or two kids.

2. Lagoon 42

Here’s another 42-foot cruising catamaran with exceptional seaworthiness, shallow draft, and spacious accommodations. The Lagoon 42 is a modern and advanced sailing catamaran with numerous cruising features, such as a self-tacking jib and a flybridge.

This model has extensive sleeping capacity. Standard versions can sleep up to 12 adults, which is much more than many catamarans in the 40 to 45-foot range. The vessel also features four separate heads, which ensures privacy for guests and family members.

This vessel is designed for comfort, and therefore it's a bit beefier than some slimmer and less spacious models. It’s a heavy boat with a 25-foot beam, and it has excellent sea keeping abilities.

The primary drawback of the design is that its size and hull shape limits speed. But this isn’t as big of an issue on long voyages, and it’s still much faster than an equivalently-sized monohull.

3. Leopard 45

This premium catamaran is a bit larger and more comfortable than the vessels we’ve discussed so far. It’s a luxury catamaran with everything you’d expect for the half-million-dollar price point.

 This vessel shines on the open water where it can let out its sails and stretch its legs. The vessel is lightning fast in the right conditions, and it has an astounding 700-gallon fuel capacity for when the wind isn’t blowing. You can sail it, motor it along, or do both at the same time for even greater speed.

From the factory, the Leopard 45 sleeps around 12 adults at its maximum capacity or four couples in separate staterooms—each with its own bathroom and shower. The center cockpit is also quite spacious, and the vessel can be navigated from the flybridge above the central living area.

4. Lagoon 450

Here’s another 45-foot catamaran that comes from one of the world’s most respected catamaran builders. Lagoon, which is currently producing several catamaran models, is known for its high-quality material choice and construction.

The Lagoon 450 is a flybridge sailing catamaran. Its design is based on the best-selling Lagoon 440—a slightly smaller model that proved itself over years of use and countless miles sailed between owners. And though it’s only 45 feet long, this catamaran is massive both inside and out.

The vessel is fast and nimble, and it has excellent sea keeping qualities. Below decks, the surprisingly wide hulls have room for full-size staterooms both fore and aft. But what the Lagoon 450 is known for is its deck space. There’s a ton of room on the decks for hanging out, living activities, and entertaining guests.

The center cockpit of the Lagoon 450 is like something out of a luxury condo. The styling is impetuous and airy, and there’s more than enough room to prepare a full meal for ten people or more. The settee can double as a sea cabin, with more than enough room for a small crew.

5. Prout 45

Here’s a sleek and fast catamaran that’s a superior choice for cruising and living aboard. The Prout 45 debuted in the 1990s and was a huge success.

Impressively, over 2,000 individual Prout 45 cruising cats were eventually produced. That’s a lot for a production catamaran—especially a large 45-foot model with a hefty price tag.

This sea-going catamaran has unconventional features, including pointed monohull-like bows and a nearly flush cockpit.

The interior arrangement of the vessel is unconventional as well, but many owners eventually learn to prefer it. For example, oddities include a galley in one of the hulls instead of the center, where catamarans often keep such facilities.

This is a fast cruising catamaran with a very shallow draft. Three feet six inches of draft, to be precise.

This means that the Prout 45 is ideal for sailing in shallow locations, such as around tropical coral reefs and in areas known for sandbars. The draft of this vessel is much closer in depth to that of a 20 to 25-foot displacement monohull than to a full-size 45-foot catamaran.

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How We Chose the Best Liveaboard Catamaran

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close up of anchored Lagoon 380 catamaran

It was eye-opening when we began our preparation to shop for a cruising catamaran. We didn’t have many clues as to what to look for. We did know that we needed to research (a lot) and rely on others’ knowledge and experience.

We listened and learned throughout our six-month process of buying a sailing catamaran. We also figured out which advice to take to heart.

Here are the five important things to look for and take into account when choosing the best liveaboard catamaran and the perfect boat for you and your crew.

1. What Size Catamaran Do You Need?

The most common advice we found was to buy the smallest sailing cat we could comfortably live aboard.

Here are a few tips for deciding on your catamaran’s length.

  • The smaller the boat, the less boat to maneuver, dock and maintain. As new boat owners, this didn’t go unnoticed. We would pay for any gluttonous purchase with more sweat, tears, and cash later.
  • The layout of the saloon and galley can play a part in how big a boat feels. Getting inside different catamarans, whether at a boat show or by other means, will give you more knowledge of your preferred interior space layout.
  • Sailing on a catamaran generally becomes more comfortable on larger models. If you are planning to do a lot of offshore sailing, things like bridge deck clearance, beam-to-length ratio, and other performance indicators will become drastically more of a priority when purchasing your boat.
  • Another significant factor for us was the ceiling height of the boat. At 6’3, Ross could step on a boat and know almost immediately if it was a contender. (Ceiling height can vary in different models and isn’t always correlated with the length or size of the catamaran.)

Sunnyside crew demonstrating the height in a catamaran cabin

Ross still has to watch his head, but he’s getting better at subconsciously ducking.

WHAT WORKED FOR US: As a two-human, one-feline family that was planning to do mostly coastal cruising, the ideal catamaran length for us turned out to be in the 37-40 foot range for most production catamaran lines.

2. the fixer-upper catamaran sailboat.

Learning the ins and outs of our first boat, including learning to sail a catamaran, was already overwhelming.

Considering also needing to fix many major working parts made my eyes cross. We would have our hands full even with almost everything in working order.

Replacing rigging right away? No, thank you.

Sunnyside crew inspecting the main sail on a Leopard 38

We found other experienced sailors agreed, at least for our first boat.

Yes, we’d miss out on the attractive cost savings. But we would be able to spend our precious time getting to know the boat, its systems, and this new lifestyle.

NOTE: There are a lot of opinions about purchasing a charter boat (a boat that has been retired from the charter market). These can be good sailboats, and the average price is often lower than a boat that hasn’t been chartered. Just be aware there could be additional wear and tear, and of course, hire a reputable surveyor.

What worked for us: there will always be things that need to be fixed when you buy a boat, even a new catamaran. we found a pre-owned catamaran that needed minor repairs but was overall ready to set sail., 3. what systems do you need onboard.

At first, we found ourselves looking for a catamaran with all the systems (we thought) we needed. Insert watermaker, generator, air conditioning, etc., here.

There is a wide range of what is said you “need” on a boat. Every sailor is different. Some people live without refrigeration; some consider a washing machine essential.

Lagoon 380 under sail with Sunnyside captain on the bow

The only way to know what sacrifices and trade-offs you’re willing to make is to live the sailing life. Cruise how you plan to in the future, and see what works. Then you can start answering questions.

How frugal do you want to be with water? How conservative with energy? How do you want to handle the heat?

Changing your mindset to buy a boat capable of living off the grid but without all the additional comforts can be a good idea.

When you start cruising more remotely, you can decide if you want the convenience of a watermaker, more solar, or a generator for backup power.

Sailing legends Lin and Larry Pardey are famous for their sailing quote , “Go small, go simple, go now.” And although I don’t believe they were referring to a 40-foot cat, I still think we can take away a reminder to keep things simple and get on the water – especially newbie sailors.

WHAT WORKED FOR US: We landed on the most important system to us – solar, and went from there. We found that by getting started cruising, we could live without many of the conveniences we thought we needed. In the meantime, we were able to enjoy not having an overabundance of systems to learn and maintain.

4. owners’ version catamaran.

Whether you choose a charter version or an owners’ version catamaran will have a big impact on the boat’s cabin layout and purchase price.

What is an owners’ version catamaran? This desirable catamaran layout has three cabins instead of four cabins (referred to as a charter version because this layout is the standard for charter companies). Meaning there is a spacious bathroom (head) in the place of the fourth cabin in the owners’ hull.

Layout of a Lagoon 380

These sailing catamarans are a little scarce and come at a premium, but it’s one a lot of folks are willing to pay an additional cost to have, including us.

In one hull, the forward cabin is replaced by an expanded bathroom. This allows for a more open layout and storage space. On catamarans under 40 feet, the 2-cabin, 1-bath hulls can be especially tight.

WHAT WORKED FOR US: This was our most inflexible condition. If we were going to live in this tiny floating home, we wanted to maximize the hull’s limited living space better. A larger bathroom, a more open layout in the hull, and more storage space would let us do that.

Also, I can’t imagine the fiasco of Ross trying to shower in a wet bath where you shower with the toilet. I would most likely end up living with a very smelly guy! Lucky for my nose, with a little patience and persistence, we were able to find our three-cabin home.

5. Choosing a Catamaran Manufacturer

One of the big questions I find future cruisers have is, ‘What is the best cruising catamaran?’ There are a ton of opinions out there about the right catamaran to purchase. Remember, the answer will depend on your cruising style and the price range of your budget.

How much offshore cruising do you want to do? Will you be sailing single-handed? Balancing your needs and budget will be a big part of the process.

Production Sailing Catamarans

Many people asked if we were looking for a Lagoon catamaran when we were shopping.

The truth is, we didn’t know what we wanted, so we looked at as many boats as we could. From the popular South African-built Leopard Catamarans to the smaller U.S.-manufactured Gemini, we looked at various makes, models, and years of catamarans on the used market.

In the end, we found purchasing a highly-produced boat would make our lives easier as new sailors.

Catamaran sailboats are not cars. They are made on demand. For many models, 100 (or fewer) boats might be manufactured.

However, catamaran manufacturers, such as Lagoon , Leopard, and Fountaine Pajot, may design and produce quite a few more.

Lagoon 380 with the jib out

Our Lagoon 380 is hull number 322, which was a lot when it was built in 2005. I recently saw in a Facebook group that the tally is creeping up to 900.

Whoa, that’s a lot of boats. Or, as I like to call them, my newfound sailing friends whom we can inquire about how to fix this or get to that.

From forums and Facebook groups to people we meet, someone out there has already done what we are trying to do on our model boat.

WHAT WORKED FOR US: For us rookies, access to more information and the comfort of knowing a certain model production boat had been tested could save us oodles of time and money. Ultimately, the Lagoon 380 layout and availability of a boat that ticked all our other boxes made this the right choice for us.

Buying the best liveaboard catamaran.

Buying a catamaran came with many hard decisions because, let’s face it, it’s a lot of money for something you keep putting money into.

Things like how you want to cruise, how long you want to cruise, and other circumstances will help you decide what catamaran is best for you.

sailboat crew watching the sunset from the dock

Ultimately, given our knowledge, personal preferences, market climate, and many other factors, we sought to make the most informed decision possible.

Our Lagoon might not be the biggest or fastest boat out there. But so far, Sunnyside has been the right boat for us. She got us out cruising and living this sailing lifestyle, which makes her the best sailboat we could ask for.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Our post featuring 5 Important Tips to Remember When Buying a Catamaran .

For more about our Lagoon 380 catamaran, check out the link below.

Want more tips on how to start cruising on a boat?

View our guide to get a real look at life on a boat, including the cost of cruising and priceless tips for learning how to live aboard.

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Morgan, the founder of The Home That Roams, has been living nomadically for over five years. She began her journey traveling across the U.S. in a motorhome and cruising on a liveaboard sailing catamaran. Currently, she lives full-time in a travel trailer, sharing resources on RV living and boat life to help others downsize their lives and thrive in an alternative lifestyle.

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2022 Boat of the Year: Best Cruising Catamaran (Under 50’)

  • By Cruising World Editors
  • December 15, 2021

During and in the four days immediately following the US Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland, the  Cruising World  judges inspected and sailed on 27 boats vying for recognition. Learn more about the boats in our  2022 Boat of the Year  »

The sweet spot for cruising catamarans, for most multihull sailors, is right there between 40 and 50 feet: manageable by a couple, not so large that finding a place to park or dock is prohibitive, and with lots more room to spread out and bring the toys and kids than a monohull of similar length. This year’s set of nominees features industry stalwarts Leopard and Fountaine Pajot—both of which have enjoyed plenty of success in previous Boat of the Year competitions—and a pair of relative upstarts from Bali, the cruising offshoot from French builder Catana. The former are all-around cats with plenty of versatility; the latter aim to cater more toward the cruising/liveaboard part of the equation. Choices, choices! It proved to be a challenging quartet of cats for the judging panel to evaluate and sort out. 

The larger sibling of the two Bali cats entered for BOTY 2022—all the Bali offerings feature an innovative “garage door” separating the saloon and cockpit, which when raised creates a seamless indoor/outdoor living space that has proven to be highly popular—was the 46-plus-foot 4.6. It’s yet another one of this year’s catamarans with the ever-popular flybridge that has become a design staple for many cat builders. Judge Tim Murphy found it a pleasure to sail. “On some of the other cats, you felt you were fighting the sail controls,” he said. “Not here. It’s laid out nicely. It has a double-ended mainsheet system with no traveler but control at both ends, so you’ve got a port and a starboard sheet, and I think that’s a fine way to control the mainsail. It’s arguably easier to jibe with that system than a standard traveler; you have good athwartships control throughout the maneuver. Bali cats are known for comfort, but this one sails well too.”

At 40 feet, the Bali Catspace—the second of two boats from the brand entered in the 2022 BOTY contest—is the smallest offering in the Bali line, but judge Murphy found the open floor plan particularly alluring: “The living experience of being able to open up the back end of these cats so you create an indoor/outdoor platform is terrific. I didn’t give it much thought until I chartered a Bali, and it was totally delightful. The sailing performance was actually fine, but it was that back porch that made the trip.”

Dream Yacht Charters has added more and more Bali cats to their fleets, and it’s easy to see why. With their vast interior space; plenty of amenities including air conditioning and multiple fridges, including ones that would not be out of place in any well-equipped household kitchen ashore; and surprisingly effective sailing prowess given their systems and accommodations, these boats are almost synonymous with the word “vacation.” Take the interior layout of the Catspace: It has four staterooms with private heads, the forward pair with berths aligned athwartships and the aft set laid out in a fore-and-aft configuration. It’s hard to imagine a better use of space for four couples or a family in 40 feet of waterline.

Yes, a 40-foot catamaran is a design challenge; it’s fairly easy to accommodate loads of features in a 50-foot multihull, but it’s quite another to include all the creature comforts and niceties in considerably less real estate. But Murphy felt that the Isla 40—another 40-footer like the Catspace, but this one from longtime cat leader Fountaine Pajot—pulled it off well. The Isla also had a tall order to fill in that it replaced a previous cat of the same size in the builder’s lineup, the highly successful Lucia 40. “The mission for this boat was described in thirds,” Murphy said. “Bareboat charter, crewed charter and private ownership. I think they’ve created a boat that accomplishes all those missions. The boat sailed well, but it was also laid out well. In fact, the owner’s cabin to starboard was superb, one of the nicest places on any boat we inspected. We toured a lot of much bigger boats that didn’t have that sort of space.”

But when all was said and done, the Bali Cats and the Isla ran into a juggernaut with the Leopard 42, which proved to be a powerhouse BOTY entrant. It’s pretty clear by now that the relationship between South African builder Robertson and Caine; their lone client, the Moorings; and naval architects Simonis and Voogd, who bring the Leopard brand to life, is strong and fruitful. And they have a wall full of BOTY award-winning plaques to prove it. It’s time to make room for another. The judges found much to like about the latest Leopard, including the offset steering station to starboard and the lounge space forward accessed via a front door in the saloon. But the Leopard sealed its victory with an awesome sea trial in which it overhauled and passed a popular new monohull that shall remain nameless. Cats can’t point? Wrong!

What put the boat over the top wasn’t just the sailing performance, which was obviously terrific, but also the tools with which to sail the boat, and its overall deck layout, all of which optimized the experience. Murphy said, “With the Leopard, you have visual eye contact from the raised helm station to starboard down into the cockpit, you’ve got a visual line of sight into the saloon, and you’ve got a pretty good visibility over the top of the cabin top everywhere. You had access to your main sheet right there where you needed it. This was one of the boats that had no traveler, but instead had a windward and leeward block on the mainsheet. I think that’s a fine system, I like the control you have. Jibing works fine and is easily controlled.”

It was one little thing in a series of them, all of which added up to a boat—the Leopard 42—that was the unanimous winner in the 2022 category of Best Cruising Catamarans (Under 50’).

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Timeless design, meticulously crafted, great performance, hybrid & gt virtual tour.

Welcome to the NEW Antares design.  It is best to view this virtual tour in full-screen mode.  After pressing play, select the top right brackets to enlarge.

New Interior Color Option!

We have a new lighter-colored wood interior, with a new layout option for the port aft cabin.  This is another example of Antares listening to our customers and creating enhancements that make the Antares the ‘Wold’s Best Liveaboard.’

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We completely redesigned the cockpit, increasing space, increasing window sizes, adding streamlined seating that is easier to lounge, without compromising our excellent helm position or the ability to manage all lines in the cockpit easily.

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Whether you are buying a monohull or catamaran, understanding the difference between shaft drives and saildrives is important!

Join us as we discuss the pros and cons of performance catamarans and dive into research done by the Univerisity of Southhampton, UK, about why multihulls capsize. Topics covered include catamaran stability, 2021 World...

Watch this short video to learn about safe cockpit designs for cruising catamarans. All too often, buyers overlook key safety considerations when buying a catamaran.

In this episode of "All Things Antares," we discuss performance ratios, boat polars and hear from Antares owners about their sailing experiences in diverse conditions around the world.

Losing steering at sea is a potentially severe issue. Mechanical systems can be selected, and consistent maintenance schedules must be used to protect the safety of crew and vessels under challenging situations.

In this episode, we detail how the Antares hybrid catamaran is designed and demonstrate the hybrid systems on the water with our special guest, the CEO of Hybrid Marine.

Learn about Hybrid Catamaran design, the failures, and successes over the past 15 years. What are the design considerations for a global cruising hybrid catamaran? Are hybrid catamarans ready for world cruising?

In this episode, learn how to rig, deploy and trim a parasailor on an Antares Catamaran.

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“I love the comfort and dependability of our Antares. As we’ve sailed the world with our family, it has allowed us to be safe at home wherever we are.”

“Of all the catamarans available on the market, there is no other catamaran available in this size range we would choose at this time. All boats have pros and cons, the Antares provides a great balance in design, comfort, livability, sail capability, and crew safety.”

“The design of the Antares is well thought out, from the ease of maintenance, to comfort at sea. The contemporary design, wood throughout, large galley, and panoramic salon views make it more than a boat we live on. It makes it our home.”

“We were essentially non-sailors when we purchased the boat. Our first season, we sailed 8,000 miles. Then proceeded to spend the next 7 seasons exploring the Caribbean. I cannot imagine we would have found a boat that would have better served our needs. A truly special chapter in our lives.”

“The Antares is a versatile boat that can be used for various purposes, including ocean crossing, anchorage, scuba diving, ICW exploration, marina residency, and Bahamas home. It is easy to maintain and dock, making it suitable for new cruising owners. The Antares community aims to help make dreams come true without drama.”

“We have had a fabulous experience cruising on our PDQ Antares 44i. We purchased her in New Zealand and have enjoyed 5 years cruising around the South Pacific. We had had great support from the Forum and the Antares company over the years.”

“After owning the Antares 44 for 6 years, I still have not found another cruising catamaran that I’d rather have.”

“Antares is unique and special, and we love showing off our beautiful home!”

“The longer we had our boat, the more we appreciated the design, particularly in terms of safety and efficiency.”

“The safest, most well-designed couples / liveaboard cruising catamaran on the market – period.”

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What Kind of Boat Is The Best Liveaboard? Trawler, Monohull, or …?

best liveaboard trimaran

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may also earn commissions if you purchase products from other retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Living in a boat can be a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience; however, knowing how to choose the right vessel to sustain the lifestyle you want to achieve can be crucial in making the most out of this unique living situation. In this article, I’ll be taking you through several of the most popular alternatives. 

The best kind of boat to live on are catamarans. Catamarans are stable, spacious, and reliable; however, they’re one of the most expensive alternatives. Cabin cruisers and trawlers are best suited for inshore or lake liveaboards, while adventure-seeking enthusiasts might prefer a sailboat such as a monohull or a catamaran.

If you’re interested in learning about the cost of living on a catamaran , I’ve got you covered with another article that provides a detailed summary.

In the following sections, I’ll dive into the best-suited alternatives for any given lifestyle , taking time to explore each of their characteristics, advantages, and drawbacks. Additionally, I’ll take you through some of the most important considerations to keep in mind throughout the decision-making process.

The Best Kinds of Boats To Live on Depend on Your Lifestyle

As I briefly mentioned, the best kind of boat for you to live on will depend on your needs, preferences, and lifestyle choices. While some family-friendly options are bigger and designed for calmer waters, others offer the thrill and excitement that adventure-seekers require. The best types of boats to live on include:

  • Cabin Cruisers

What Is a Catamaran?

best liveaboard trimaran

A catamaran is an engine or sail-powered vessel that features a double hull. Due to its wide beam, the craft provides significantly more stability than other similarly-sized vessels.

For this reason, catamarans are an all-time favorite among liveaboard enthusiasts. Their ability to maintain optimal equilibrium even in the roughest waters makes them an excellent choice for those trying to build a living space but also go cruising.

The feature that sets these boats apart from their counterparts is their unique double-hull structure, these support structures are the reason why the vessel offers unparalleled stability to its sailors. 

Furthermore, most catamarans are pretty spacious, a quality that makes them excellently suited to sustain a living experience. Not only will you have plenty of storage space and comfy rooms, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a sizable outdoor area that allows you to take in the beauty and thrill of the experience.

In comparison to the monohull, the catamaran “sits” on top of the water allowing for better views of the scenery from within the cabin.

Moreover, these vessels’ highly efficient sails are backed up by two engines as well, providing you with exceptional control in the marina. 

Overall, catamarans are one of the best choices for those looking for a liveaboard vessel. They’re spacious, durable, reliable, and can be navigated through difficult waters. While they can be a pricey investment, for those determined to pursue a water-based lifestyle, they’re more than worth it.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Catamaran

  • They offer stability
  • They are fast
  • They have spacious interiors and exteriors
  • They provide ample storage space
  • They offer good views from inside the cabin
  • They’re expensive
  • They take up much dock space
  • They’re unable to handle a lot of weight

What Is a Cabin Cruiser and How Does It Differ From Catamarans?

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A cabin cruiser is a type of powerboat designed to provide comfortable accommodation to its occupants. While catamarans feature two hulls, cabin cruisers only feature one, making them sleeker-looking, but also less spacious.

Cabin cruisers are probably the first option that comes to your mind when it comes to liveaboard boats. The flat-bottomed vessel is stable, safe, and a great investment for families or quiet-seeking enthusiasts looking to enjoy the peace and calm that only a serene body of water can offer.

These boats are also an excellent alternative for those looking to establish a long-term residency. Cabin cruisers are designed to accommodate your day-to-day living needs.

However, keep in mind that these types of vessels are not made to go offshore, or into heavy weather. Since they are engine-powered they and therefore quick to change location, they are perfect for those looking to explore new locations or who get bored staying in one place for too long.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Cabin Cruiser

  • Cabin cruisers have a sleek design
  • There’s a full range of amenities
  • They’re very comfortable
  • Cabin cruisers have that luxurious-feeling
  • They’re easy to dock
  • They’re an excellent option for long-term residency
  • There isn’t a lot of storage space
  • They don’t do well in rough waters

What Is a Monohull?

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Monohulls are a type of vessel that features one hull. Their bottom can be round, flat, or v-shaped, and they’re usually larger and heavier than other types of boats.

Unlike catamarans, monohulls , as their name suggests, only feature one hull. They often get a bad rep that they tend to be unstable at anchor. However, as technology has progressed, engineers have been able to design exceptionally balanced monohulls through the strategic placement of the vessels’ center of gravity. This limits the rolling motion that otherwise can disrupt a beautiful night at anchor.

in comparison two the catamaran, the monohull is also easier to maintain, it only features one engine, one rudder, and has a lot of less underwater surface that needs to be cleaned.

Pricewise the cat is usually half the price of the same length mono.

As far as looks go, you won’t find a more striking, good-looking option than the monohull.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Monohull

  • They’re cheaper
  • They’re easier to maintain
  • They’re durable
  • They have a striking aesthetic
  • They can be difficult to dock
  • They’re not spacious

What Is a Trawler?

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A trawler is an engine-powered vessel that can accommodate a liveaboard lifestyle. The craft was originally designed as a type of fishing boat, and while it’s an excellent choice for shipping expeditions, it can also be used as a simple cruising vessel.

Trawlers are another excellent liveaboard alternative. They’re somewhat stable, comfortable, spacious, and can handle excessive weights effortlessly. Therefore, they’re a perfect liveaboard vessel for families or those looking to establish a long-term residency.

These boats are designed for long-range leisure cruising, meaning those who find thrill in a vessel’s speed and agility might be better off choosing another alternative. Additionally, due to their size, trawlers can be noisy and challenging to maintain.

However, these drawbacks don’t take away from the vessel’s attractive features that have quickly turned it into a favorite among liveaboard enthusiasts. Even though trawlers might not be the best choice for those looking to circumnavigate the globe, this doesn’t make them boring.

From fishing to night cruising, the range of experiences you can enjoy in a trawler is endless. Not to mention that you’ll be able to do so in a spacious, comfortable space that never lacks loading capacity.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Trawler

  • They’re comfortable
  • They’re spacious
  • Trawlers are well-suited to a wide range of water-based activities
  • They can handle excessive weights
  • They’re easy to handle
  • They’re not very agile
  • They’re not very fast
  • They can be noisy
  • They can be challenging to maintain

Sailboat vs. Motorboat

Both sailboats and motorboats make for excellent vessels when it comes to pursuing a liveaboard lifestyle. However, they each provide a different set of advantages and disadvantages you’ll want to consider before making a choice.

Sailboats (whether cat or mono) offer the ability to almost completely eliminate your fuel cost and potentially a very environmentally friendly way of traveling.

On the other hand, powerboats are faster and easier to operate and require significantly less maintenance, making them a better choice for people strapped on time.

Here’s a comprehensive table that might help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative:

What To Look For in a Liveaboard Boat?

It’s best to look for a liveaboard boat that is adequately sized, has the proper amenities to fit your needs, and is practical to use.

Now that you’ve learned more about some of the most popular liveaboard alternatives and how each of them fit within the context of different lifestyles, it’s time to dive into some of the considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when browsing for the vessel that would fit your unique needs and requirements best.

A Liveaboard Boat Should Be Adequately Sized

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As you might’ve already guessed, size is the most crucial factor to consider when choosing a boat to live on. Throughout the decision-making process, you should keep in mind that you’ll be building a life within this vessel, and this is especially important to consider if you’re contemplating long-term residency.

Pro tip from a liveaboard: You’ll be able to enjoy yourself in far less space than you think!

Most popular liveaboards usually range between 30 and 50 feet. Depending on the number of people occupying the vessel, you’ll want to adjust your budget and expectations accordingly.

This might seem like a vast range to choose from, making your decision-making process feel even more overwhelming. However, each individual’s needs, along with their definition of what constitutes an “adequately-sized liveaboard vessel,” can widely vary.

While some prefer spacious rooms, others tend to look for boats with fishing platforms and outdoor space. Those looking to build a living area for their families might have to make room on their budget for both.

A Liveaboard Boat Should Have the Proper Amenities

Given that you’re thinking about creating a life experience within a vessel, its amenities are an essential factor to consider. How can you expect to enjoy your thrilling adventure without proper temperature control or a non-functional galley?

First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that the vessel you choose is equipped with a heater and air conditioning. Maintaining a comfortable temperature within your living space is non-negotiable in traditional homes, and it doesn’t have to be any different in a liveaboard, of course this is very dependent upon where in the world you are.

best liveaboard trimaran

Living on a boat is different from standard life on shore .

Other than the basics such as air conditioning, running water, etc., each individual should also think about their personal requirements and features without which they feel their life quality would suffer. Take the time to think about what you need from your living space and make a list to refer back to throughout the decision-making process. 

For example, if a large freezer or two (heads) toilets are of importance to you, don’t forget to bring up these needs throughout your decision-making process. These are the details that can ultimately make a difference between a failed project and an excellent one.

Here are some additional amenities you might want to look out for:

  • Fully functioning kitchen
  • Ample storage space
  • Comfortable showers
  • Laundry facilities
  • A comfortable eating area

Ultimately, treat finding the right liveaboard with the same importance as you would finding a house; after all, they’ll both be serving the same purpose, having the same significant effect on your quality of life.

The best kind of boat to live on will depend on each individual’s needs and lifestyle preferences. Generally speaking, catamarans are the most popular liveaboard vessel due to their ability to also travel the world.

However, if your budget doesn’t allow for a pricey catamaran, you’ll still be able to choose between a wide range of excellent, easy-to-handle vessels, each of which will fit a unique type of lifestyle.

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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