Multihulls World n° SP21

Multipowers have got the wind in their sails!

Reading that almost predictable title, you’re probably thinking I’m going to tell you all about the irrepressible rise in popularity of power multihulls. Because, yes, it’s a fact: over the past five years, this market has become incredibly buoyant, whereas nobody, apart from a few visionary shipyards, was betting even a kopeck on this sector in the early 2000s. But it’s really in the literal sense that I’d like to draw your attention. Let’s take a look at the evolution of multipowers: In the 1990s, we were introduced to Jeantôt Marine’s highly (overly?) innovative Euphorie powercats, which were deliberately disconnected from the world of sailboats. For practical and cost reasons, many builders then tried to adapt sailing catamaran platforms, though success with this was mixed. The current marketing approach is to stick to the spirit of motorboating - with the notable exception of models over 60 feet, most of which share a common chassis with a sailing version. The Catana Group’s new YOT brand and Makai are good examples of this pure motorboat trend. And yet, at the opposite end of the spectrum, we have LEEN Trimarans, who had the audacity to moor their 56 right in the heart of Port Canto, the location reserved for sailboats, during the recent Cannes Yachting Festival. But on what pretext? Well, the powertri was fitted with a Seakite, and there were photos to prove it! With the launch of the LEEN 51, the La Rochelle-based builder has taken a step further, creating a direct bridge to its iconic and recently withdrawn NEEL 51 - under sail, of course. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What if electric power could get us all to agree?

Here at Multihulls World, we wanted to take this somewhat binary “power vs. sail” debate up a notch. Rather than sulking over which of the two formulas is best, usually on principle let’s be honest, we compared a powercat and a sailing catamaran on the same trip. Give it a try: you too will realize that the most important thing is to be out there on the water. Obviously on two or three hulls!

Enjoy reading!

Emmanuel van Deth

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