There is a number of reasons why a trimaran makes a great choice of sailboat. As a Trimaran manufacturer we are obviously biased towards three hulls however we will do our best to provide unbiased fact to help you in your decision process.
Lets get started, in no particular order with the features that make a trimaran stand out among a crowd of potential options for you and your family.
On all boats, power-to-weight ratio and wetted surface area are two of the most important factors influencing a boats performance. This equation is most noticeable in multihulls. Every additional kilogram is a potential speed loss. Thus, trimarans are kept at absolutely minimal weight requirements. On a monohull this is less critical as the monohull required a huge amount of lead weight in the keel just to keep it upright! any additional weight is therefore of a lesser % to the total boat weight. Expect to achieve speeds similar or greater to monohulls 30-40% larger than you in your trimaran.
Trimarans usually have retractable daggerboards and rudders, All Corsair trimarans combine these features which allows most models to float in as little as 300mm (1'). You now have the ability to explore bays and coves your monohull loving friends have had to avoid. This also gives you the ability to beach your trimaran, no need for a tender, just back up to that sandy beach and step right off. If you're away from home and bad weather is approaching, this gives you the ability to get the boat safely to shore to avoid damage.
(folding trimarans only) All Corsair Trimarans fold on and off the water, a feature which enables them to be picked up on a trailer and stored at home. This ability gives trimaran owners the option to easily explore entire continents. The advantages of trailerability need not be expanded however it is important to consider the ease of trailerability. Some catamarans in the 20-35' range are trailerable however require a day, sometimes more
A trimaran uses buoyancy in one of it's two amas to keep the boat sailing level, in contrast to a monohull which uses ballast in its keel. The result of using positive buoyancy and a wide beam is an incredibly level sail. You can comfortably sit around the cockpit, out on the ama or lounge around on the nets, the available deck space is huge. You also see similar stability benefits in cruising catamarans, racing catamarans however tend to be light and flighty, a design intent to reduce wetted surface and increase speed.
Not planning on trailering your boat? A trimaran also offers advantages of reduced marina costs when folded. A Corsair trimaran is completely stable when folded and can not only be stored folded but can also be motored out into clear water before unfolding and going out for a sail. The folding is so easy all this can be managed in under 2 minutes.
A trimaran when unfolded offers a huge amount of usable space. With wide amas and nets in between the boat offers a nice open and comfortable space for your friends and family to enjoy. No to mention the increased safety for young ones. You also get a similar amount of deck space in a small catamaran however usually on catamarans under 30' you do not have any accommodation.
This is one area where you can argue a trimaran is outdone by a similar sized monohull. And you would be right, IF you are comparing length for length. But you owe it to yourself to look into this comparison more closely and compare the cost based on the features that matter most to you. EG, if speed is the most important factor for you then you should be comparing the pricing of monohulls approximately 40% larger. Having done this then start to review some of the other features, would this mono hull now be trailerable? Would i have comparable stability and accessibility?
So, should I choose a Trimaran?
Unfortunately it's not a question we can answer for everyone, everybody has different tastes and requirements and needs to make their own assessment of what is important. We will however give you our opinion based on the features and abilities above. We believe that the type of sailboat that will best please an owner differs with the size of boat being offered. Of course there are some exceptions to the rule but for simplicity sake lets brake it down like this:
Sailboats <14' - Monohulls are a great choice in this size with many cheap training and small single handed dinghies available.
Sailboats 14-20' - Catamarans are the winner in this size range, they are lightweight, easy to trailer, cost effective and great for lakes and protected waters.
Sailboats 20'- 32' - Trimarans are the clear winner here, in this size range a trimaran offers good space in the main hull with berths, storage and protection. It also has a large unfolded platform and power to boot, these are fast boats capable of being easily trailered or cheaply berthed.
Sailboats 32' - 35' This is a bit of a cross over area, trimarans are starting to get a bit too big to trailer and catamarans too small to best utilize their space, if you are not planning on trailering a trimaran is probably still the standout option here.
Sailboats 35' > Catamarans are the clear cut winner on anything over 35', they offer a great use of space, good performance and simple sailing systems. There are a number of catamarans on the market which range from floating apartment blocks to outright race boats. Do your research and make sure you are not buying something that fits your requirements, far too many people go and buy one of the first brands they hear and are disappointed by the boats performance, thus giving catamarans an image of slow and heavy. Catamarans actually can perform very well you just need to do your homework. Check out the range of performance cruising catamarans from Seawind Catamarans HERE>>