by Quentin Warren
Blue Water Sailing
Long-range cruising cat from France
Catana catamarans have been a positive fixture abroad for two decades—the company was founded in France in 1984 to focus on the production of composite fiberglass cruising cats. Early on, they were overshadowed in this country by more aggressive marketing campaigns from fellow French catamaran builders such as Lagoon and Fountaine Pajot. Hope sprung eternal, however, when the Catana 471 garnered top honors in Cruising World magazine’s 1999 Boat of the Year event. They were on the map, and the modernistic approach to looks and performance so wrapped up in designer Christophe Barrault’s musings gained immediate familiarity and acceptance on these shores.
Growing involvement in international transoceanic venues such as the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) lends credence to the notion that there is a lot more to these vessels than gulping shorepower at the dock. In the March 2002 issue of BWS, we noted, “The 471, like the smaller and the larger models in the line, is a concept boat developed specifically for world cruising. Every design detail from the shape of the hulls to the natural interior ventilation system reflects the needs of sailors who will be living aboard for extended periods of time and venturing to remote cruising grounds.”
The 471 features radically fine plumb bows and waterline sections kept as narrow as possible for better speed and performance potential. What does this do to buoyancy, you ask? In each hull Barrault has given the form beneath the waterline a subtle tulip-shaped bulge that increases buoyant volume; this reduces pitching at the ends, and limits submersion throughout the hull’s length. It is a clever solution to an issue that has been at the heart of production cruising catama-rans forever—namely, how to keep waterline beam and wetted surface reduced without ending up with narrow hullforms that offer no payload-carrying ability whatsoever.
The construction process emphasizes strength and light weight. The hulls are vacuum-bagged using PVC foam core and include crash zones forward reinforced with the European Kevlar-like aramid Twaron. The whole lot is strengthened further by as many as 21 structural bulkheads and a unique system of unidirectional material reinforcements that effectively wrap the boat. Fixed keels are avoided in lieu of sophisticated hydrodynamic dagger boards. What this means is that the boat sails better with more lift and less drag, yet can be beached on a moment’s notice. Carbon fiber is standard in the rig.
The accommodations plan is conceived for a couple or family looking to cruise far and wide in almost luxuriant privacy. The master stateroom and master head occupy the starboard hull, while guest/children’s cabins are located to port. The master head has a separate shower stall and comes equipped with a washer/dryer. The obvious focal point of the interior, the bridgedeck saloon, features a congenial galley-up arrangement rendered using low-density sandwich-construction furniture to save on weight. It is fully insulated and solar protected.
In sum, we remarked, “The 471 is a dedicated cruising boat that will carry her crew in comfort and at high average speeds just about anywhere on the planet with enough water to float her.” She certainly is an intriguing-looking boat with her imposing bows, high freeboard and commodious footprint. Chances are, let loose on the open ocean those characteristics will only assume a greater role more functional than aesthetic.
LOA 47’0” (14.3 m.)
LWL 45’4” (13.8 m.)
Beam 25’4” (7.7 m.)
Draft (bds up)3’0” (0.9 m.)
Draft (bds dn)7’7” (2.3 m.)
Displ. 22,074 lbs. (10,000 kgs.)
Sail Area 1,625 sq. ft. (151 sq. m.)
Fuel 211 gal. (2 x 400 ltr.)
Water 211 gal. (800 l tr.)
Auxiliary 2 x 50-hp Volvo diesel
Designer Christophe Barrault
Zone technique du port
66142 Canet en Roussillon Cedex
Ph: +33 (0)4 68 80 13 13
Navigator Yacht Sales
Palm Harbor Marina
400-D North Flagler Drive
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
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