Though the construction of catamaran is based on the same principles as those of a conventional mono-hull, there are few main differences that make the former more stable and speedier.
The salient feature of catamarans is that they are lighter than the conventional mono hulls, mainly because of their thinner hull cross-section. Moreover, the absence of keel counter-weight makes a catamaran lighter in weight. The higher stability of catamaran is provided by a wider beam that allows carrying of more sail area per unit length than that provided by a conventional mono hull. The greater stability allows the catamaran’s sail to stay erect in the wind, thus acquiring more power from it; whereas in conventional mono hulls the sails bend over, reducing the amount of wind power acting on them.
The main drawback of the catamarans is that as they are lighter in weight, it is difficult to turn them when they are directly heading towards the wind direction. This mainly happens because the catamarans are lighter in proportion, which doesn’t allow them to get the right momentum to turn through the wind. However, the right usage of jib sail can tackle the problem easily.
Catamarans because of their designs are also less likely to capsize in the traditional manner; however they have a tendency to trip over forward if the bow moves excessively inside the water because of the downward wind. Though mainly driven by sails, catamarans can be propelled by both diesel engines and wind power.