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Rapier 550 Pioneering breakthroughs

Published on 01 august 2014 at 0h00

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For several months now we have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Rapier 550. Broadblue entrusted the design to Darren Newton (and Nick Bailey) who also undertook the build, at the Multimarine yard. This fact, combined with a very advanced specification, has all the makings of an exceptional project. We set off for Portsmouth (UK) for a two-day test, including the famous Round the Island Race (round the Isle of Wight), with more than 1,500 boats on the startline.

Broadblue, re-emerging ambition!

England is part of a very close-knit club of countries pioneering the rediscovery of multihulls. Pat Patterson (Heavenly Twins), Tom Lack (Catalac), the Prout brothers (Snowgoose), James Wharram then Derek Kelsall and Nigel Irens have been the standard-bearers for this adventure, which has cleared the way for many architectural styles in both racing and cruising. By the late nineties this was starting to fizzle out a little, leading to a crisis: most of these “English cats” were running out of steam in the commercial world. Despite this, their replacements were there (Multimarine being one of the leading ones), but were probably overshadowed by the remarkable growth in French production. Mark Jarvis launched Broadblue in the mid-2000s, drawing on his background as a businessman, a sailor and a maritime professional. To begin with, the Broadblue 345 and 385 were built under license in China with technical assistance from Darren Newton, before production being moved to Poland. Next came the very successful and very capable Format 400, (a semi-open catamaran shown at the Multihull Boat Show and the La Rochelle Boat Show in 2009. See the test report...

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