Which catamarans have daggerboards?

After researching catamarans we have made a list of catamarans with daggerboards. Performance means a great deal for us, so we are looking at the pros and cons of daggerboards, and would like to share our knowledge in this article. If you know of any boats that should be included in this article, please let us know.

Why choose a catamaran with daggerboards?

Daggerboard catamarans are usually higher performing than those without. Not only because of the daggerboard itself but due to the specific focus on performance on especially these types of vessels. Usually, that focus also makes them lighter as the shipyards have tweaked the materials used to make them light. Often they are designed by the most renowned experts to make the best hulls.

The most important reason to choose daggerboards is performance. They sail closer to the wind when sailing upwind, and they are usually faster than those who focus more on comfort. Not that daggerboard cats are uncomfortable, but the daggerboard compartment takes up a bit of space from the living area inside the hulls. And you will have to decide if it is worth the decrease in comfort compared to the enhanced performance. 

Another reason for choosing daggerboards are the possibility to anchor on shallow waters, as when the daggers are lifted, the draught is often around 3’ or 1 meter or even less. 

Catamarans with daggerboards

A list of catamaran models with daggerboards:

  • Catana
  • Outremer
  • Dolphin 42
  • Sud Composites
  • Soubise / Freydis – Tournier Marine 
  • Havcat
  • Scionning
  • Catana

French built catamaran. Well sailing and luxurious.

  • Outremer

Also French catamaran. Reviews are pretty good. Easy sailed.

  • Dolphin 42

Brazilian built catamaran from 2013. Only this model has daggerboards. 

designer Philipe Pouvreau. 30 of them were built before 2008, and after that a dozen more were built in various custom shipyards. One should therefore be aware of eventual modifications or deviations on the design of the later models. 

But the quality is still great, also on the late models, and they have successfully circumnavigated, and are still.

  • Sud Composites

Founded by Alan Adés in 1990, and in 1999 they signed with VLPL, a group of Architects specialized in multihull designs for competition. This resulted in the Switch 51, a very well-performing catamaran, which amongst other are known for very decent speed in even moderate windspeeds. They did however not built that many, before switching into building custom catamarans.

  • Soubise / Freydis – Tournier Marine 

Three main models, which are still in production:

Soubise 49
Croiseur Soubise 56
Soubise 70

  • Havcat

Is not very well known, 27 feet

  • Scionning

    Known to be very high performance.

Benefits of having daggerboards on a catamaran

High performance (speed and efficiency in various wind directions. Especially in upwind directions.)

Can utilize shallow waters, with the boards raised. Typically 3 feet or even less, which means that you can anchor away from the crowd and walk ashore.

Generally you will have much more anchorage space to choose between.

Disadvantages of daggerboards

More work, more to know and learn, their place in the boat may limit the comfort. 

Costly. Adds around 30.000 $ to the construction price.

Why choose daggerboards over fixed keel?

The choice of having daggerboards is mostly a compromise between comfort and performance. Daggerboards make the cat able to sail closer upwind, and the boards are made to enhance the speed. Boats with fixed keels are sometimes slower, usually also heavier, but also more comfortable, as they have more living space. And if you are sailing short passages, the heavy boat is a good choice. But if you are going to cross the oceans, the difference in performance is remarkable. It can be several weeks longer crossings compared to higher performing cats.

Daggerboards are for sailors who expect to make longer passages, and who have some experience sailing.

Author profile

Ane Boa was born in 1971 and has been sailing ever since. She got her license in 1984 and her first boat in 1989. Today she owns a Contessa 28 from 1980
Ane is a creative soal who also likes to play music and holds two degrees as an architect and a nurse.