Technical

Which 40-foot catamaran for cruising?

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For a long time, the most-used long-term cruising boat - at least in multihulls - was a catamaran of more or less 40 feet. The most emblematic of these ocean cruising boats being the Prout Snowgoose. In the anchorages around the world, we also found the Outremers (38 and 40), the famous Edel Cat 35, the Louisiane, Fidji and Athena from Fountain Pajot, the Lagoon 37 then 380, the Catanas (381 – 39 – 40), the Privilege 12 and 37, as well as the Kennex 380s, Azulis and Escale 39s… Boats which are as different as is possible, all created before the year 2000, but all capable of taking (and above all bringing back) their crews, for the most part consisting of families sailing around the world. Today, the 40-foot slot is mainly occupied by the major builders, who all offer a boat which is often at the entry level to the world of multihulls. These catamarans are of course comfortable, and offer 3 or 4 double cabins, 2 heads, and volumes which sailors in the 90s would have dreamed of. As for performance, they remain absolutely convincing, in the framework of a cruise as a family or a couple; what's more, these boats are capable of carrying a good useful load when cruising, and all this for a reasonable budget. So let’s embark aboard the Bali 4.0, Broadblue Rapier 400, Lagoon 40, Leopard 40, Lucia 40, Nautitech Open 40 and Seawind 1190…

Hulls for all tastes

In this family of 40-footers capable of taking you long-term cruising we only find catamarans – there are no trimarans. But these catamarans have distinctive hulls which are very different from each other. We find two schools: the first consists of offering the lowest possible wetted surface area, to offer good performance above all, even if it means offering a more limited load-carrying capacity. The Broadblue Rapier 400 and the Seawind 1190 Sport are clearly in this family.

As for the Lagoon and Leopard, they accept the wide waterline of their hulls, for maximum volume and above all a significant load-carrying capacity (roughly 20% of the displacement) - practically 50% greater than those of the first two boats mentioned. The Lucia, Nautitech Open 40 and Bali 40 can clearly be put in the second family – like the Leopard and Lagoon. They offer volume and load-carrying capacity, but their weight remains moderate, to offer the best possible compromise between performance and load…  We will see later what this really means on the water…

As for the appendages, they are mostly traditional, with fixed stub keels for (almost) all of the boats, and drafts ranging from 1.12 m to 1.35 m. Only the Seawind justifies its 'Sport' label, with the choice of daggerboards, taking its draft to 2.1 m maximum (and 0.60 m with the daggerboards raised).

Sail plans

How to keep a boat easy to maneuver short-handed, while remaining fast and offering plenty of volume for cruising… This is the tricky equation that the architects have to solve, with these boats which have to be able to do everything well! ...

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