Flybridge or no flybridge?

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The flybridge has become available from almost all the catamaran builders, and even on boats of under 50 feet. We therefore wanted to know a little more about the advantages of the various deck plan options and take stock of the market trends.

First remark: the flybridge is gaining ground on the ‘smallest’ cats – the architects who for a long time refused to offer the flybridge on boats of under 45 feet, for aesthetic and practical reasons, now start at 40 feet (Bali 4.0). Our subject therefore now concerns catamarans of from 12 to over 16 meters, no less! In this category, most of the builders of performance-oriented catamarans (Outremer, Catana, Seawind, TS...) retain a steering position at cockpit level (and/or two tillers). Their reasoning: less weight up high and reduced windage offer better performance. For these models, the flybridge doesn’t seem to be close to being accepted. Other more comfort-oriented catamarans opt for the flybridge from the start, as can be seen on the forthcoming Dufour 48.The advantages are a perfect view over the water from the steering position, but above all, in addition to the cockpit and the trampoline(s), a third exterior living area, more often than not called the sun deck. A few builders, such as Fountaine Pajot, have reached a compromise which must have made the designers think hard about the optimization and fluidity of movement around the deck: aboard the Saona 47 and the Saba 50, the steering position is raised, certainly, but it remains directly connected to the cockpit. And a large sunbathing area is fitted on top of the bimini. But the models which interest us most are those which are available in the two versions. Firstly because they are more and more numerous - Lagoon 450 and 52, Bali 4.5, Bavaria 46 and the coming Leopard 50 – even though the flybridge version of this last model is quite close to the Fountaine-Pajot arrangement. Then because their specifications allow us to understand the extent of the differences in the two deck plans. The weight first of all. Depending on whether it was designed from the start (Lagoon) or afterwards (Bavaria), a flybridge means an extra 200 to 700 kilos. And not very well positioned… It also means a higher boom – less sail area (5 to 15%) and potentially some acrobatics when it’s time to furl the main. And finally, it costs more – 10,000 euros exc. tax more for a Bavaria 46 Fly; 16,000 for a Lagoon 450F. However the fly obviously offers, in addition to the advantages mentioned above, a new living area.

So, which to choose?

Couples and performance addicts remain more readily faithful to the classic deck plan, whereas large crews, Epicurians and…charter customers vote for the flybridge.

The professional’s opinion

Alexandre Dauberville, marketing and communication manager at Lagoon:

Advantages of the S version:

 “For me, the advantages of the S ...

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