Choose your boat

A long-term voyage? It’s now! The choice of the editorial team

Published on 21 june 2017 at 0h00

Create a notification for "Choose your boat"

Broadblue Rapier 400

Convertible or sports coupé, the choice is yours!

Just 5 tonnes on the scales! Enough to boost performance...

An English builder offering a catamaran designed for life in the open air is rare enough for us to be interested... In fact Broadblue Catamarans has of course thought about leisure sailors who don’t necessarily cruise in warm, turquoise waters, with a ‘long coachroof’ version of its model. But it is really the Open version, with the aft end of the coachroof completely in canvas which interests us: a very attractive concept aboard a compact boat, which becomes particularly convivial with its completely open cockpit/bridgedeck. Another original feature is the raised steering position in the middle of the cockpit. From it there is excellent visibility (over the coachroof when standing, through the nacelle portlights when seated) and easy access to all the control lines. Seen from the front, the Rapier 400’s bridgedeck appears relatively low. We expected a few impacts in the waves...but not at all, thanks to a lightweight, carefully executed sandwich construction under vacuum, with a foam core, associated with good weight centering. Below the waterline, monolithic polyester has been adopted to make possible repairs easier. Safety has also been taken seriously, with separate stub keels (no leaks in case of running aground) and watertight bulkheads. A nice surprise from a performance point of view then, with a boat which is faster than most of its competitors of the same size: 10 knots are easily exceeded, which promises good daily averages on an Atlantic crossing. Maneuvers are made much easier by the self-tacking jib. Inside, a large saloon, which can be turned into an extra berth. The builder has opted to open the hulls onto the nacelle; the companionways – made more secure by watertight doors – are situated very close to the cockpit. As a result, the galley is fitted in the starboard hull, the chart table to port. For the best berths?  At the stern, with 1.6 m wide bunks.

This cat’s nacelle is intelligent and several possibilities are being offered by the builder: galley in the hull or ‘galley-up’...


Technical specifications

Builder: Broadblue Catamarans
Architect: Jürgen Peter
Launch year: 2013
Hull length: 11.99 m
Beam: 6.7 m
Draft: 1.1 m
Weight: 5 t
Windward sail area: 86 m²
Mainsail: 58 m²
Self-tacking jib area: 28 m²
Gennaker: 80 m²
Spinnaker: 100 m²
Engines: 2 x 20 or 30hp inboard diesels
Diesel: 2 x 200 l
Water: 350 litres.
Cabins: 3
EC Certification: A
Basic price: € 230,422 exc. tax

Seawind 1260

A new look for a new range

The n°1 in the series has just been launched...

The famous Australian builder Seawind is completely renewing its range of catamarans. Although the builder’s values are still tied to fast, ocean cruising as a family, a very clear effort has been made in terms of the design and the volume. But there is no question of abandoning performance...the builder has tried to keep this catamaran as light as possible – finally, it is only 240kg heavier than the previous model, the 1250. And its jib is 5m² bigger... A sail area/weight ratio just over 10, a common value for cruising type catamarans. It has been studied in the greatest detail – the builder wanted to exploit feedback and reports from its customers to the maximum. Exit the flybridge and the offset steering positions dear to numerous European builders: although the 1260 adopts a radically different design from that of previous models and a much greater nacelle volume, it remains relatively traditional in its deck plan and interior accommodation. Safe movement, easy maneuvers, large water capacity – these are this 1260’s priorities. Note: the galley, traditionally fitted in one of the hulls, can now be incorporated into the nacelle...the builder is thinking of the European market, fond of this configuration.

The Seawind 1260 now offers a galley in one hull, or in the nacelle. 

Technical Specifications

Builder: Seawind Catamarans
Overall length: 12.45 m
Beam: 6.80 m
Displacement: 8.24 t
Mainsail area: 66 m²
Jib area:  24 m2
Gennaker: 66 m2
Spinnaker: 105 m²
Water tanks: 700 l
Fuel tanks: 480 l
Engines: 2 x 56 hp
Launch: 2015
Price : $ 410,000 exc. taxes

Lagoon 42

Still comfortable, but better performance

The 42 caused a stir during its first tests in the Bahamas, with top speeds of 16 knots under gennaker...

After two innovative models with their aft-positioned rigs – the 52 then the 39 – the Bordeaux-based builder launched its 42 a year and a half ago, announcing its new positioning: even more care taken with the design, better performance, controled weight specification. This was the new deal, very quickly confirmed by the Lagoon 40 and 50. The 42’s silhouette is therefore less imposing than that of the 39, with an additional sporty look given by the rib in the hull close to the rubbing strake, and the ever-present ‘diamond’ bows.  Another, less visible effort, weight reduction... No more heavy interior mouldings! The builder has studied new finishing processes to avoid double thicknesses, particularly on the upper parts – top of the coachroof, nacelle uprights, and bimini. In the nacelle, the same unobstructed view of the interior with the big vertical portlights – perfect for effective protection against the greenhouse effect – and a nice U-shaped galley, just next to the cockpit. As a result, the 42 offers two meter headroom, with an uninterrupted view of the sea and 3 or 4 cabins, all XXL size. Stowage space? Everywhere. The very carefully-executed finishing combines light woodwork, white gel-coat and stretched canvas.

From a performance point of view, you will have to count on the square-headed mainsail and the gennaker to boost the averages: the 42 nevertheless weighs 12 tonnes. But this is rewarded by a load-carrying capacity compatible with the demands of a long-term voyage. The steering position, to port on the aft end of the coachroof, is raised for good visibility over the water. Controls are simple and effective; they are all led back to within reach of the helmsman, protected by a raised part of the bimini. To windward, the boat is well-balanced, sails at 50° to the wind, and in 10/12 knots of wind, manages an average of 7 knots. The 42 also guarantees some nice acceleration downwind. A very positive point at sea: the nacelle is well above the level of the sea, so the boat slams very little in the waves. In the first six months following its launch, almost 150 examples of the 42 were sold! An absolute record, which leads us to expect out-of-the-ordinary sales...but to beat that of the 380 and its 800 examples... 

The XXL-size nacelle offers a living area worthy of a boat three feet longer. 

Technical specifications

Builder: Lagoon
Architect: VPLP/Nauta Design
Material: balsa/glass/vinylester sandwich
Hull length: 12.80 m
Beam: 7.70 m
Displacement: 12 t
Mainsail area: 59 or 55 m²
Jib area:  35 m²
Gennaker: 68 m²
Water tanks: 2 x 300 l
Fuel tanks: 2 x 300 l
Engines: 2 x 40hp
Launch: 2016
Price: € 305,000 exc. tax

TS 42

A rocket within everyone’s reach

Even in the standard version with stub keels, the TS 42 sails close to the wind.

The ocean-going express, the multihull Pogo...the nautical press was generous with its hard-hitting headlines when the TS 42 sailed for the first time two years ago. We have to say that the architect/builder duo, Christophe Barreau and Samuel Marsaudon, have mastered the subject of fast multihulls. The previous TS 50 was already very convincing. The same philosophy applies to the 42 – to offer a simple, fast catamaran. Moreover, for Samuel, TS means ‘très simple’ (very simple)! Quite a program in this time of everything electric, air conditioning and more and more sophisticated equipment... But performance is also the obsession of the 42’s designers – they don’t much like slow boats! And as the icing on the cake, the TSs are beautiful. The smallest in the range – before the TS3 announced for very soon – looks really something, with its reverse sheer bows and the flared hulls with a rib under the rubbing strake. The nacelle and the cockpit are positioned well aft, and add another welcome sporty touch. And not overrated: under sail, with a displacement limited to 6 tonnes and 103m² of windward sail area, it is fast. Despite the absence of daggerboards (as standard), the TS 42 displays excellent performance to windward. Without doubt because its keels are relatively deep – 1.5m – and because its high average speed, reached quickly, protects it from making leeway... Pure wake and exhilarating sailing: the 42 quickly takes its crew up to around 20 knots. You have been warned, passages will be short!

The nacelle opens completely onto the cockpit. As a result, the galley is fitted with ‘one foot inside, one foot outside’... Stowage? Simple plastic crates, nothing more effective has ever been found. In the actual nacelle: a saloon, a navigation area and a double berth, perfect for watchkeeping, or...for the children’s games. The cabins are accessible via two watertight doors.

The nacelle, much shorter than that of its competitors, logically offers noticeably less volume.

Technical specifications

Builder: Marsaudon Composites
Architect: Christophe Barreau
Material: Glass/PVC sandwich
Overall length: 12.98 m
Beam: 7.40 m
Displacement: 5.8 t
Mainsail area: 67 m²
Jib area:  36 m²
Gennaker: 80 m²
Water tanks: 2 x 110 l
Fuel tanks: 2 x 90 l
Engines: 2 x 30hp
Launch: 2015
Price: € 355,000 exc. tax

Outremer 45/4X

The replacement for the 45 is assured!

No need to over-canvas a lightweight platform with a low wetted surface area: a self-tacking jib can be adopted without limiting the boat.

Even though the new range has put the first generation out to grass, this best-seller certainly deserved a successor. The La Grande Motte-based builder got down to it in 2014. Compared to the former 45 launched in 2000, there is not much in common...although the overall dimensions remain identical or very close, the new boat has put on a few kilos: 8.7 tonnes on the scales, when its predecessor weighed 6.1. Another major difference, the design: concave hull exterior, inverted bows and sheer line. Here we are therefore far from the ‘jellyfish’ coachroof of the old 45 and its heavily rockered hulls. The new 45 sails fast, with polars which promise speeds of 20 knots. But to get back to the atmosphere of the first Outremers, a bit more sporty even in light airs, Outremer has been offering for almost two years its 4X, a boosted version of the 45, with 500kg less, 14m² more sail area and sugar scoops lengthened by 85 cm. The deck plan favours the steering positions, with bucket seats, wide side decks and a huge trampoline. The interior is accessible without crossing a threshold. Top marks for the panoramic view and the vertical portlights forward. The builder has succeeded in maintaining an astonishing feeling of space. As for the hulls, only the central part is fitted out, in order to centre and limit the weight. Three versions are being offered: ‘Propriétaire’, with a dedicated starboard hull, ‘Club’, with four cabins, and ‘Offshore’, with a cabin/workshop in the starboard forepeak. The Outremer 45 is set to become the builder’s next best-seller... It should soon overtake the 40 examples of its older sister, which remains to date the builder’s most sold model. You could say that 45 is a lucky number...maybe it’s the ideal size for leaving?

Of course the nacelle doesn’t have the volume of other 45-foot catamarans. But nothing is lacking, especially an appealing panoramic saloon.

Technical specifications

Builder: Outremer Yachting
Architect: Christophe Barreau
Hull length: 13.77 m
Waterline length: 13.77 m
Beam: 7.10 m
Draft: 0.85/2.00 m
Weight: 8,700 kg
Windward sail area: 106 m²
Mainsail: 69 m²
Jib: 37 m²
Gennaker/Spinnaker: 90/120 m²
Engines: Inboard, 2 x 30hp
Fresh water: 410 l
Fuel: 336 l
Material: polyester sandwich
Launch year: 2014
Price : € 498,900 exc. tax

Neel 45

The advantages of a trimaran...and of a cat

The sail plan is situated well aft, so as to retain a large foretriangle. The mainsail retains some area thanks to a long boom, a big roach and the square head.

After the Neel 50, the prototype of which was launched in 2009, the 45 offers exactly the same formula: three hulls and an extra-wide nacelle. The result is a machine which is as fast as it is comfortable. A bold wager, which succeeded, as very quickly, 30 Neel 45s were ordered, and the range was filled out with a 65 and a 51. Eric Bruneel, who already designed very idiosyncratic catamarans – along with his colleague Gildas Cornic, he designed the Corneel 18 and 26 – had a long career at the catamaran builder Fountaine Pajot, before starting his own company. From the start, he wanted to build a really comfortable multihull: “trimarans are the best boats for the open sea. And aboard my Multi 50 Trilogic, there was already a transparent dome, I felt the need to be protected,” the sailor points out. Eric put into action a brilliant idea: keeping the three hulls, but instead of just the central hull being fitted out, there was a real nacelle, even wider than that of a cat! The architects Michel Joubert/Bernard Nivelt, used to the strangest ideas in the nautical industry, took up the challenge. The result is spectacular: the traditional crossbeams have disappeared, replaced by an incredible living platform. The central stub keel and the V-shaped hulls of the floats efficiently resist leeway: the 45 tacks through an honourable angle of 100°. Faster than most catamarans of the same size, it offers two cabins on the same level, unlike its competitors with two hulls. Of course in this configuration, the volume dedicated to the living area amounts to the forward part of the nacelle. The other sleeping areas are divided between the bow and possibly in the floats. The builder is offering no fewer than 16 accommodation combinations. Performance lovers will opt for the Racing Line. Lightweight bulkheads, more powerful rig, carbon mast and textile rigging, a Neel with a lot of promise!

The nacelle has an unusual amount of volume for a trimaran. From the saloon, forward, there is an uninterrupted panoramic view! 

Technical specifications

Builder: Neel Trimarans
Architects: Joubert/Nivelt
Overall length: 13.50 m
Beam: 8.50 m
Draft: 1.20 m
Displacement: 8.5 t
Windward sail area: 106 m²
Self-tacking staysail: 20 m²
Roller genoa: 46 m²
Fully-battened square-headed mainsail: 60 m²
Engine: 55 hp.
Fresh water: 600 l
Diesel: 300 l
Construction: glass/isophthalic polyester resin/foam/honeycomb sandwich
Price : € 435,000 exc. tax

Bali 4.5

Ocean the open air

Thanks to its moderate displacement and its generous sail area, the 4.5 sails rather well.

Catana has launched a new range, called Bali, in the leisure sailing field. A less sophisticated construction (but still just as serious), standard materials – hulls in polyester, spars in aluminum, daggerboards and their cases replaced by stub keels attached to the bottom of the hulls: all this to reduce costs. And to enjoy life aboard to the full, the builder’s R & D department has perfected retractable glazed areas both forward and aft. You now have an idea of the open space atmosphere which awaits you... Under sail, the 4.5 proves to be rather lively: it sails well under self-tacking jib, beats at 55° to the wind, and succeeds in tacking cleanly with no hesitation. Good handling overall, the reward for limited weight, a rather generous and above all tall sail plan, and finally hulls with semi-circular sections, for minimum wetted surface area. The architect Xavier Faÿ and the R & D department have also opted for a double longitudinal step in the hull, above the waterline. These ribs act as longitudinal stiffeners, while offering a significant amount of volume over a good deal of the hull. The main innovation concerning the hydrodynamic part is the nacelle tunnel, which starts at the bows, or almost. No crossbeams! The deck therefore starts well forward of the coachroof. This configuration creates a ‘tip’ effect, similar to that of a giant ski. Giving almost a guarantee against pitchpoling, appreciable at sea! And above all, there will be much less spray. The steering position is perched at mid-height. Access is via three routes. The best is via the exterior, to starboard. The builder is also offering a flybridge version, with a boom raised by a few dozen centimetres. All the control lines, with the exception of the gennaker sheets, the jib roller line and the gennaker control, return to two winches and a set of jammers. On deck, the side decks are wide, there is a conventional aft cockpit with a large table, a chaise longue and an aft platform. Forward, the traditional trampolines have been replaced by a rigid cockpit with two tables, a sunbathing area and a stainless steel rail. The builder has of course provided access to the interior on the same level. The saloon adopts a moveable table top, thanks to a cut out for the mast support. The aim is to improve movement around the boat outside of meal times. Three or four cabins are being offered.

The strong point of the accommodation is the possibility of completely opening the front and back of the nacelle, for pleasure under sail and unprecedented ventilation.

Technical specifications

Builder: Bali Catamarans/Catana
Architect: Xavier Faÿ
Hull length: 13.60 m
Waterline length: 13 m
Beam: 7.42 m
Draft: 1.22 m
Weight: 11,600 kg
Windward sail area: 111 or 113 m²
Mainsail: 72 or 74 m²
Jib: 39 m²
Gennaker/Spinnaker: 78/152 m²
Engines: Inboard, 2 x 50hp
Fresh water: 800 l
Fuel: 800 l
Material: foam sandwich
Launch year: 2014
Price: € 384,860 exc. tax

Leopard 45

Two hulls and two cockpits!

The longitudinal ‘steps’ slim down the hull at the waterline, and the sail plan is tall: result, the 45 sails well!

We associate Leopard catamarans with boats built for the charter market...not false, as the South African builder is linked to the charter company Sunsail/Moorings by a contract. Yes, but these boats, built for intensive use – easier maintenance, robust construction, choice of tried and tested technical solutions – also appeal to private owners! As a result, Leopard is now providing specific versions with a hull dedicated to them. And this has been a success, as today a third of Leopards are intended for private owners. As for these models’ seakeeping qualities, don’t worry: most of them are delivered by sea – a full-scale test! But the major innovation from Leopard is the forward cockpit, accessible directly via the bridgedeck. This arrangement, inaugurated in 2010 on the 44, caused a stir – was it safe at sea in rough conditions? The builder has obviously prepared it well, with an ultra-strong watertight door and large diameter scuppers to empty the ‘bathtub’ almost immediately in case of such a point that the forward cockpit has become standard on all the models. The 45, presented at the last International Multihull Show at La Grande Motte, is moreover the replacement for the 44. We find again the ease of movement in the nacelle, a very functional galley, comfortable cabins, but still no sunbathing area on the coachroof – judged by the builder to be too dangerous. Another of the 45’s distinctive features: the coachroof is extended by a rigid bimini aft and a ‘cap’ forward, so that the relaxation areas are always protected from the sun and the bad weather. As for the steering position at mid-height, it brings together all the control lines, thanks to clever return systems integrated in the coachroof moulding. From a design point of view, a clear effort can be seen, both inside and out. And under sail, thanks to its tall sail plan, the Leopard is rather fast for a pure cruiser. In short, a convincing catamaran in which to go cruising, especially as there are a lot of well thought-out stowage areas.

The accommodation offered by the builder appeals to more and more private owners, with top quality finishing.

Technical specifications

Builder: Robertson & Caine
Architects: Simonis/Voogd
Construction: balsa/glass sandwich
Length: 13.72 m
Waterline length: 13.07 m
Beam: 7.35 m
Draft: 1.42 m
Unladen displacement: 14,500 kg
Windward sail area: 123.4 m²
Mainsail: 73 m²
Jib: 50.4 m²
Asymmetric spinnaker: 140 m²
Engines: 2 x 45hp
Fuel: 700 l
Water: 780 l
Price: € 389,000 exc. tax

Bavaria Nautitech Open 46

An Open available with a flybridge

For a compromise between slim hulls at the waterline and volume above it, the longitudinal ‘steps’ are an excellent idea.

Boosted by the success of its 40, Nautitech is extending its Open concept to a bigger model. The nacelle and the cockpit are thus just one unit, but there is an incredible increase in volume! And this 46 now enjoys a new flybridge version. You gain an incredible view over the water, and a sunbathing area, but at the price of 400 kg extra up high, and a mainsail with 6.5m² amputated – you can’t have everything! Historically, Nautitech has always defended their vision of a catamaran which is seaworthy above all – yes, comfort is important, but performance and ease of sailing are the first concern. And for the moment, the takeover of the Rochefort-based company by the giant Bavaria is not going to change anything: the yard has been enlarged and production has doubled. The 46 therefore remains faithful to the company’s first models – even though freeboard is higher and the hulls are fuller...but only in the upper part, as a longitudinal step succeeds in slimming down the beam at the waterline. Aboard, the point of the Open concept is immediately confirmed; in the cockpit there is not a breath of air or a drop of rain. The protection provided by the wraparound bimini and the long coachroof edges is perfect. And the cleverly studied blurredness between the exterior and the interior offers an incredible feeling of space, but in reality the nacelle is very compact. The saloon is therefore moved aft to the cockpit. On the big (1.76m by 0.79m) table, ten people can share a meal, by using the three stools present aboard. As for the galley, it doesn’t attempt to be as close as possible to the cockpit – an arrangement chosen by most of the Open 46’s competitors. On the contrary, the work surface is almost next to the trampoline.  With the U-shaped configuration, a nice area and numerous stowage areas are gained, and the cook is well isolated from the movements of the crew.

The six extra feet - compared to the Open 40 – have allowed a mini-saloon to be fitted to starboard (Nautitech have called it the lounge). As an option, it converts into an extra double berth in a few seconds. During long passages, it is ideal for the watchkeeper. Here is a catamaran which is unusually pleasant to live aboard, with its cockpit connecting directly with the bridgedeck. An excellent choice indeed for a long-term voyage. In the Open concept the long coachroof overhangs and the wraparound bimini protect the cockpit effectively, even in bad weather; as a result, the border between interior and exterior (almost) no longer exists. 

Technical specifications

Builder: Bavaria Catamarans
Architect: Marc Lombard.
Overall length: 13.79 m
Waterline length: 13.79 m
Beam: 7.54 m
Draft: 1.45 m
Displacement: 10.8 t
Windward sail area: 112 m²
Self-tacking jib area: 38 m²
Mainsail: 74 m²
Gennaker: 98 m²
Asymmetric spinnaker: 150 m²
Engines: 2 x 40 hp Yanmar diesels
Fuel tanks: 2 x 300 l
Water tanks: 2 x 300 l
Construction: polyester/foam/PVC sandwich
CE Certification: A, for 12 people
Price: € 387,700 exc. tax

Saona 47

The temptation of an uninhabited island?

The generous sail plan guarantees good performance, even in light airs.

Do you know Saona? It’s a little island in the Dominican Republic. Fountaine Pajot, after having been tempted to use more classic, international names – it could have been FP47 – has finally remained faithful to distant destinations, often islands, the ones that have us dreaming... And so much the better, as that’s what most Saona owners will hasten to do: set off, cross the oceans, discover heavenly shores. And there seems to be a lot of them: during the International Multihull Show, the builder announced that 60 examples had already been sold! So, what are the keys to this immediate success? To begin with, a very modern look with reverse sheer bows, a hull rib which incorporates the portlights, slightly reversed sheer and coachroof portlights lightened by a gray color. Another decision, that of a bit more bias towards performance, with a superb carbon mast as an option. A glance at the ratio will allow you to see that the Saona really belongs in the fast/comfortable group of catamarans.

A spectacular innovation? The aft platform, fitted on hydraulic rams, supports the dinghy, allows it to be launched (and recovered of course) with no effort, and then turns into a submersible bathing platform... Your children will love it! Following the example of the 50, the 47 adopts three distinct relaxation areas: the cockpit, of course, the forward sunbathing area, and the flybridge, which is just next to the steering position. Inside, we find a lot of light, an overhang, to protect from the most vertical of the sun’s rays, and an incredible galley... The only criticism concerned a few sharp angles on the furnishings, which are always detrimental in rough seas. Finally, you can count on some nice cabins with athwartships berths in the forward cabin(s). And above all, this is an elegant catamaran with a good pedigree! Full test in an autumn edition of Multihulls World.

The nacelle puts the emphasis on the galley – too much perhaps? 

Technical specifications

Builder: Fountaine Pajot

Architects: Berret/Racoupeau
Hull length: 13.94 m
Beam: 7.70 m
Draft: 1.30 m
Weight: 13,800 kg
Windward sail area: 147 m²
Mainsail: 75 m²
Genoa: 52 m²
Material: polyester.
Water: 700 l
Diesel: 2 x 470 l
Engines: 2 x 40 or 55 hp
Price: € 950,000 exc. tax

SwissCat S48

Even better optimized for ocean cruising

With its slim hulls, its daggerboards and its carbon mast, the S48 certainly is a fast cat.

At Swiss, the catamarans never stop improving... The proof, with the latest boat from the builder, the 48. The first of the company’s catamarans to be built in the south of France (previously they were built in Turkey), caused a sensation at the last International Multihull Show, where it was presented to the public for the first time.

A catamaran which remains faithful to the builder’s basic principles: up-market construction in glass fibre (epoxy under infusion and post-cured, with carbon reinforcements), performance and safety in heavy weather, and of course, comfort aboard. The 48 shouldn’t therefore disappoint the company’s regular customers. Its design is both modern and discreet, with a coachroof equipped with a generous glazed surface area. The hulls are slim, guaranteeing good average speeds. And as the icing on the cake, the 48 has a moderate displacement (11 tonnes unladen) and a nice sail area on its carbon mast, its long boom and its impressive bowsprit...and the daggerboards will guarantee excellent pointing ability. Designed for shorthanded use, the S48 is cutter rigged, and has just one steering position, against the coachroof. All the control lines converge there. On deck, an effort has been made to ensure fluid movement between cockpit/side decks/trampoline and cockpit/nacelle. Steps have been cut out of the front of the coachroof, for easy access to the mast foot and the boom. Pleasure at anchor is ensured by wide aft sugar scoops, and the possibility of stowing a good-sized dinghy on the davits. The galley is arranged so that it connects with both the cockpit and the bridgedeck – on the same level, and with 2.14m headroom. In the hulls, there are three or four cabins, and a lot of stowage space. Care has been taken with the berths, which are arranged longitudinally, to reduce noise when under way. As for the interior finishing, the builder offers the owners the possibility of choosing their accommodation lay-out, as well as the colours, wood types, taps, Alcantara headlining, fabrics and even the lighting. The Swisscat S48 will certainly be your cat, not someone else’s...

And as the icing on the cake, its price is rather low.

The accommodation has been designed to satisfy a demanding owner – and moreover it can be customized. 

Technical specifications

Builder: Swisscat Yachts
Architects: BYD Group & Seb Schmidt
Hull length: 15.00 m
Beam: 7.50 m
Material: Glass/epoxy sandwich with PVC Divinicell H80 foam under infusion, and carbon reinforcements.
Displacement: 10.40 t
Draft: 1.10/2.90 m
Engine: 2 x 45hp
Fuel tanks: 2 x 320 l
Water tanks: 2 x 240 l
Mainsail area: 71 m²
Genoa area: 52 m²
Staysail: 23.20 m²
Gennaker: 103 m²
Cabins: 3 or 4
Launch: 2017
Price: € 810,000 exc. tax

X5 Sail

A gantry and lots of clever features

The X5 is a clever boat: the coachroof is equipped with a rainwater collection well as robust handrails.

This boat particularly appealed to the magazine’s testers. It must be said that it is particularly well-designed.  The hull allows the nacelle, situated a good meter above the surface of the water, to sail without ever slamming in the waves...

The X5 offers very up-market services. The aim? To offer a very luxurious ocean cruising catamaran, built for sailors by sailors who know what living aboard means. The X5 is therefore full of equipment, such as a generator, air-conditioning and electric winches with foot controls as standard. This is what sets the tone. The X5 is full of clever features, such as the integrated anchor, the large windshield and sprayhood for the raised steering position, the central island facing the galley (and its huge amount of stowage space), the emergency hatch fitted into the bridgedeck floor – it’s great to watch the water flowing past, or the fish when at anchor! -  the extra little table in the cockpit, or the cockpit shower integrated into the structure. From a safety point of view, the all-stainless rail surrounding the deck (72cm) is appreciable. Finally, it’s no surprise to learn that the couple who own the yard have the experience gained from ten years spent living afloat...

The galley, provided with lots of stowage space, adopts a very attractive central island. 

Technical Specifications

Builder: Xquisite Yachts
Material: foam/glass/epoxy sandwich
Hull length: 15.44 m
Beam: 8.00 m
Displacement: 18 t
Draft: 1.35m
Windward sail area: 133 m²
Mainsail area: 100 m²
Self-tacking jib area: 33 m²
Reacher area: 83 m²
Spinnaker area (Parasailor): 214 m²
Engines: 2 x 80 hp
Launch: 2016
Price: US$ 1,200,000 exc. tax, equipped for blue water cruising


On the second-hand market...

Catalac 12 M

A vintage cat...which has something good about it!

Not that heavy, but undercanvassed, the Catalac needs a good breeze to express itself…

Launched in 1983, the Catalac 12 M – also called the 41 – is a catamaran which is typical of what the British were producing in the eighties. At the time, the platforms were still narrow (that of the 12 M is moreover monobloc, with no crossbeams) and the rigs quite squat, so as to limit the risks of a capsize. The 12 M was very quickly adopted by long-term cruisers and this success is unfailing 35 years later: most of the boats offered on the second-hand market are in amazingly fresh condition and over-equipped. To the Catalac 12 M’s credit is an exceptional build quality: there are numerous reports from cruisers who have suffered storms of incredible violence...and come out of them with no damage. Of course the short mast has a lot to do with it; the 12 M is definitely better equipped for sailing in strong winds than in light weather, where it suffers. Not to mention the pointing angle, approximate... Like most British catamarans of that period, the central nacelle spills over into the hulls, which provides an unusual amount of volume, given the modest beam of the platform. The galley is therefore logically positioned in the port hull. Other distinctive features: ‘glass’ portlights which can be raised half way – perfect when it’s raining – or completely in the case of very hot weather. And the famous interior wheelhouse with its complete steering position. A concept which seems outdated in the age of Open catamarans, but is still a good idea in high latitudes. And we use the autopilot a lot when cruising. In the same spirit, the well-closed cockpit ensures remarkable protection. Capable of accommodating up to seven people in a good level of comfort, the Catalac 12 M is a good boat to leave in, given its price…just don’t be in too much of a hurry to arrive, that’s all! 

 The nacelle is remarkably bright and well-lit, but the style is…dated!

Technical specifications

Builder: Lack
Architects: Tom Lack
Production: 27 examples from 1981 to 1986
Hull length: 12.19 m
Beam: 5.40 m
Material: polyester.
Draft: 0.91 m
Engine: 2 x 25 or 34 hp
Fuel tanks: ??????
Water tanks: ???????
Sail area: 63.70 m²
Mainsail area: 31.20 m²
Genoa area: 32.40 m²
Price: from 45,000 euros exc. tax.

Farrier F 41

The Australian rocket

A catamaran which favours performance…yet remains easy to manoeuvre!

The builder/architect Ian Farrier is well-known above all for his folding trimarans…but in 1998, he decided to think about a big catamaran. Inevitably a fast one, like all his productions. The construction chosen, a foam/epoxy sandwich, guarantees excellent rigidity of the structure and very light weight. All of which was auspicious… The first model was launched in 2002 – in Australia, obviously – and during its first tests hit top speeds of 21 knots. Featherweight, and with a mast 16.5 metres from the surface, it’s fast! The hulls are slim at the waterline, and the nacelle is very high above the water. An even faster version, called the 44 R, benefits from lengthened sugar scoops, for higher average speeds. This Farrier was offered in several versions of appendages and engines; be careful before you visit one: daggerboards or stub keels, diesels or outboards, the choice is yours. Note: as blue water cruisers, the F 41s are spread out all over the world… The deck plan is functional, with a cockpit that is easy to protect, thanks to the gantry which serves as a support for the mainsail. The volume offered by the nacelle is indeed inferior to that of more recent production boats of the same size, but the two storey superstructure offers a good compromise – there is no feeling of confinement. As for the galley, it could be fitted in the nacelle or in the starboard hull. The builder in fact offered some very varied possibilities for the accommodation. It remains that all the Farrier F 41s are cruising catamarans which are very exciting to helm…

 The saloon is pushed to the very front of the nacelle; with three extra stools, 7 or 8 people can be accommodated.

Technical specifications

Builder: Farrier Marine
Architect: Ian Farrier
Production: around 50 examples since 2002
Hull length: 12.70 or 13.10 m
Waterline length: 12.00 m
Beam: 7.04 m
Material: foam/epoxy sandwich
Draft: 0.56/2.24 m
Sail area: 85 m²
Engines: 2 inboard diesels or 2 outboards
Price: from 200,000 euros exc. tax.

Orana 44

A major classic which has got everything right – or almost!

Nice proportions…and real potential under sail: what more could you ask of a cruising catamaran?

The Orana 44’s challenge in 2007? To try and do as well as its predecessor, the Belize 43, 174 examples of which had been sold in 7 years. With 100 boats in 4 years – rather difficult years from an economic point of view – this classically designed boat has done rather well. The Orana 44 is built using injection techniques. By controlling the quantity of resin, the boat’s displacement is limited. The Joubert/Nivelt designed boat adopts a discreet interior chine so as not to widen the waterline too much, a squat sail plan with a roached mainsail and an overlapping genoa. Giving 110m² to propel an 8-tonne catamaran. This ratio, 13.75 m²/t, guarantees decent performance in all conditions. From 15 knots of wind upwards, the speedo displays 10 knots off the wind. Under the hulls, the stub keels are stuck on. No risk of a leak in the case of a violent collision with an unidentified floating object. The deck plan adopts a coachroof with a significant overhang, which has become the builder’s trade mark. Protection against the strongest of the sun’s rays guaranteed! The deck plan also favors comfort, with a fabulous steering position which seats three, and a huge sunbathing area. Thanks to its well thought-out deck plan, the Orana can be sailed perfectly easily by a singlehander. The accommodation, on the same level as the cockpit, offers perfect privacy for one or two couples with children. There is a choice of three or four cabins. The only reservations – the lack of stowage for those who live aboard, and the saloon, whose settees are a bit too short to accommodate the whole crew. Stools or folding chairs welcome. Well equipped, the Orana is definitely aimed at ocean cruising.

 Three or four nice cabins, but a saloon which is a bit small for the full crew.

Technical specifications

Architect: Joubert/Nivelt
Material: glass/polyester sandwich
Builder: Fountaine Pajot
Production: 100 examples from 2007 to 2011
Hull length: 13.10 m
Beam: 7.35 m
Draft: 1.20m
Displacement: 8 t
Sail area: 110 m²
Engine: 2 x 30hp
Second-hand price: 250,000 € exc. tax

Dean 441

A really strong cat!

With the bridgedeck extended a long way towards the voluminous bows, the architect has favored excellent handling in rough seas.

Dean Catamarans, run by the two Peter Deans, father and son, no longer exists and this is a real shame; their boats were renowned for their very good seakeeping qualities. Not really surprising when you are based in South Africa, where the winds can go from 0 to 60 knots in a few minutes, and where 17-meter waves have been recorded, just a few miles from the coast… In short, just like the builder’s other models, the Dean 441 is tough. With the bridgedeck which extends a long way forward – reducing the trampoline considerably – it acts like a large ‘ski-tip’, which reduces any tendency to pitchpole. A concept shared nowadays with the Balis. In the same spirit, the bows become very wide in their upper part. The hulls are built in glass cloth/monolithic epoxy below the waterline – 12 to 22mm thick, whilst everything above the waterline is built in a balsa sandwich, 25mm thick. On the other hand, it would seem that some structural defects have been noted on the last models built (n° 41 and above). As for the design, this Dean can be recognized from a distance, with its very pronounced sheer line. On deck, the cockpit gantry makes it easy to fit a mixed bimini – rigid and textile. Movement is easy, even in bad weather. You will be thinking that the 441 is just a heavy weather boat…and you wouldn’t be completely wrong: the boat has trouble sailing in less than 10 knots of wind. Its laden displacement, somewhere around 16 tonnes, associated with a modest sail plan is the cause… Inside, we find noble wood species, and above all, an incredible palette of possible accommodation arrangements.

 Old-fashioned varnished woodwork…but certainly some good work.

Technical specifications

Builder: Dean Catamarans
Architect: Peter Dean
Production: 61 examples from 2008 to 2010
Material: foam/epoxy sandwich
Hull length: 13.3 m
Waterline length: 13.1 m
Beam: 7.2 m
Draft: 1.1 m
Unladen displacement: 13 t
Sail area: 125 m²
Mainsail area: 70 m²
Genoa area: 55 m²
Engines: 2 x 42 hp diesels
Fuel: 550 litres.
Water: 2 x 335 l
Second-hand price: from 230,000 euros exc. tax.

Privilège 48/51

The trade winds in luxury

The Privilège 51 really gets going from a force 3 upwards. A good cat for crossing the Atlantic!

A big 50-footer – second-hand – for the price of a little 35-footer, new: admit that it’s tempting! Especially as the two hulls are designed by Marc Lombard and the comfort is irreproachable. Er, is it actually a 48 or a 51? The second is the more successful version of the 48, launched in 1990. With two sugar scoops lengthened by one metre and more powerful engines, this version is to be preferred, even if its displacement is noticeably superior and the price higher. Although the overall design is starting to date a little, the structure is very strong, well-suited to the intensive use of a long-term cruise. The Privilege ‘signature’ – it is still topical – is the famous central ‘spur’, almost a third hull, which houses the crew cabin.

But the sail area remains too modest with regard to the displacement to turn our catamaran into a jet plane in light weather. The 48 finally comes to life in over 15 knots of wind, and displays a constant eight knots. And full sail can be retained in up to 20 knots of wind. The average speeds are attractive once the wind is present. With its relatively short stub keels, we have to be content with 55° to the true wind, no better. The architect had the good idea of positioning the bridgedeck very high above the water: even to windward in rough seas, the boat slams very little in the waves. The deck plan proves to be very attractive, with two trampolines and the embryo of a central hull, ideal to lean against. The cockpit, equipped with two big tables and a huge sunbathing area on each side, is also very convincing. The accommodation uses varnished cherry wood – a very American touch – of top quality. Although the coachroof itself is a bit shorter than current standards, it nevertheless incorporates two very practical tables – you can easily sit on the settee – and a comprehensive navigation area. We must point out that the reason the rather modest nacelle is so welcoming, is that it no longer houses the galley. The cook is in fact moved to the gangway, in the starboard hull. There is 1.93m headroom in the four cabins. They are very comfortable forward, but the showers are smaller aft. In addition to the crew cabin, certain boats are equipped with single berths in the forepeaks. 10 or 12 people can therefore sleep aboard…and live in comfort. Length has its good points! 

 The saloon is equipped with two big tables. The sloping portlights provide a lot of light…but they must quickly be covered when the sun is scorching.

Technical specifications

Builder: Jeantot Marine/Alliaura Marine
Architect: Marc Lombard.
Production: 46 Privilège 48s from 1990 to 1994 and 14 Privilège 51s from 1994 to 2000.
Hull length: 14.7 or 15.72 m
Waterline length: 14.2 m
Beam: 8.05 m
Draft: 1.37 m
Unladen weight: 11 or 12 t
Mainsail area: 74 m²
Genoa area: 58 m²
Engines 2 x 50 to 75 hp
Diesel capacity: 540 litres.
Water capacity: 750 litres.
Second-hand price: from 150,000 euros exc. tax.


Lagoon 440

The one which started the flybridge

The 440 proves to be pleasant under sail, and offers good performance, from 8/10 knots of wind.

In 2004, the 440 caused a great stir with its flybridge… For or against, the debate was heated. Because at that time only boats of 55 feet or over were sometimes equipped with one. Today, most builders have adopted it – though Lagoon is now offering classic versions of its 450 and 52, called Sportop. The 440 had its world premiere at the Miami Boat Show in February 2004. Coming directly from motor boating, the famous steering position perched on the coachroof was not the only outstanding innovation on this model: although the 440 respects the Lagoon ‘charter’ with its vertical portlights, its rigid bimini and XXL volume, it has a gullwing shaped bridgedeck, large hull portlights – almost invisible from the exterior – and a forward cockpit. And all that, thirteen years ago, was really new! But it’s on the water that the 440 reserves its best surprise for you. It actually sails well, and doesn’t drag its heels to windward, even compared to more sporty models.  Another advantage of this relatively heavy displacement is that it offers an excellent load-carrying capacity, a plus which is appreciated by ocean cruisers. And the coachroof? The vertical portlights, as well as protecting from the greenhouse effect during the hottest hours of the day, offer maximum volume; it would be hard to do better on a 44-footer! This nice living area offers an L-shaped galley next to the cockpit – plates can be passed directly – a large saloon and a forward-facing navigation area. No surprise, the builder is offering two options: the private owner’s version dedicates the whole starboard hull to the owner, with a desk, a settee and an XXL-sized heads as a bonus. To port, two more classic cabins with shower and WC share the available volume. The four cabin version has identical accommodation in each hull. 

 An XXL-size nacelle, where it is never too hot; what more could you ask for in the Tropics?

Technical specifications

Builder: Lagoon
Architect: VPLP
Production: 423 examples from 2004 to 2009
Material: balsa/polyester sandwich
Hull length: 13.61 m
Waterline length: 12.75 m
Beam: 7.7 m
Draft: 1.3 m
Unladen weight: 12.15 t
Mainsail area: 74 m²
Genoa area: 42 m²
Number of cabins: 3 or 4
Engines: 2 x 40 hp
Water tanks: 600 l
Diesel tanks: 750 l
Second-hand price: from 190,000 euros exc. tax.

Nautitech 44

The right speed/comfort compromise 

Thanks to its relatively slim hulls, the Nautitech 44 sails well.

The Nautitech 44 appeared in 2006 and filled the gap between the 40 and the 47. True to the spirit of the range, it retains rather slim hulls, a rigid bimini and a sober, tasteful design. On the water, its moderate wetted surface area associated with a reasonable sail plan results in good performance, except in light airs. But on an Atlantic crossing, pushed along by the trade winds, the 44 can keep up double figure average speeds. It’s a shame it isn’t equipped with daggerboards to improve even more its potential when sailing close to the wind. The deck plan favors relaxation in the perfectly-protected cockpit and on the big trampoline. The sugar scoops, with their big steps, are a model of ergonomics. The control lines are concentrated around the steering positions. Nice: the steps for climbing the coachroof and the numerous hull portlights. They provide a lot of light without the greenhouse effect and their small size is a guarantee of robustness when the fenders are pounding against a quay. The well-finished accommodation includes three or four cabins, and as many heads. In the charter version, in addition to the four double berths, the 44 offers two berths in the bows, bringing the sleeping capacity to 10 people. This model was then made available as the 441 and 442. The difference? One steering position for the first, two for the second. A cat which is always appreciated by prospective cruisers.

The cockpit, sheltered from the sun and the bad weather, offers a huge relaxation area, which incorporates a table and some long settees. 

Technical specifications

Builder: Nautitech
Architect: Mortain/Mavrikios
Production: around a hundred examples from 2006 to 2016
Material: glass/polyester sandwich
Hull length: 13.47 m
Waterline length: 12.20 m
Beam: 6.81 m
Draft: 1.20m
Unladen displacement: 9.20 t
Sail area: 96 m²
Engine: 2 x 40 hp
Price: from 210,000 euros exc. tax.

Catana 471

Cut out for transats

471, 472 or 47: these are the same well-honed, well-protected hulls designed by Christophe Barreau.

This model is Catana’s best-seller! It owes its success to the numerous voyages accomplished aboard it. What better visiting card than a log which displays tens of thousands of miles? Because the 471 doesn’t fear the ravages of the years and the miles; certain boats have completed their third round the world trip and…are ready to set off again. This Catana made the company’s reputation. The 471 is undeniably a safe, fast, comfortable, easy to sail ocean cruising catamaran. It’s a boat which is also sought after for its exceptional seakeeping qualities. The typical profile of a purchaser? A family ready to set off! The 471’s career doesn’t just amount to the nice phase of production from 1997 to 2006:  this model was also available in an overequipped, private owner’s version – the Catana 472. The 471 also carried on its career under the name 47 OC (Ocean Cruiser) until 2009, before being replaced once and for all by the 47. The plus points on deck: the offset steering positions and the well thought-out fittings for a shorthanded crew, the uncluttered side decks and the gentle angle of the coachroof which allows easy access to zip up the lazy bag. The only (minor) reproach: the cockpit is higher than the nacelle. Inside, the impression of volume is good, even though it is well below current standards. 1.95m headroom, a lengthways galley close to the cockpit, a well laid-out, forward-facing chart table with lots of stowage, and a comprehensive electrical panel – the overall framework of the accommodation is convincing. The saloon table, in two panels, forms a 144 by 88cm table top. Six people can eat at it by squeezing up a bit. The most-sold version is the four-cabin boat, but you may discover a private owner’s version – the starboard hull is yours – and another version with six cabins, dedicated to the charter market, of course.

The saloon may disappoint large crews: six people can be accommodated, no more. 

Technical specifications

Builder: Catana
Architect: Christophe Barreau
Production: 86 examples from 1997 to 2006
Overall length: 15.70 m
Hull length: 14.30 m
Waterline length: 13.80 m
Beam: 7.70 m
Draft: 1.20/2.50 m
Unladen weight: 12 t
Mainsail area: 78 to 91m²
Genoa area: 28 to 52 m²
Gennaker: 82 m²
Engine: 2 x 50 or 55 hp
Second-hand price: from 220,000 euros exc. tax.

Share this article