Herding the Cats. (Published Fall 2013)
This year is certainly the Year of the Cat with the America’s Cup in full swing and the gathering of so many cats at the Miami and soon the Annapolis sailboat shows. They say you can’t herd cats, but we are seeing them herd themselves into boat shows so the world can see them (and maybe buy one) all together.
This fall the biggest herd of cats will be found in Annapolis at the show in October and if you are the slightest bit interested in multihulls you should be there. But you will also find a smattering of cats at the Newport, RI and Norwalk, CT shows in September, the new Long Beach, CA show in October and the St. Petersburg show in December. We hope to see you at the shows.
In alphabetical order, here are many, but not all, of the multihulls that will be at the fall shows:
Alpha 42: A new American-built cruising cat that is being brought to market by multihull maven Gregor Tarjan who owns Aeroyacht. The Alpha 42 is a thoroughly modern design that has wave piercing hulls, a powerful rig and sumptuous accommodations. Tarjan is a dealer for some of the world’s premier multihull brands and has created the Alpha to be an affordable family cruising boat with many of the amenities of luxury, mega cats. (See our longer review in this month’s On the Level section.) www.aeroyacht.com.
Antares 44i: The current generation of the Antares 44i is being built in Buenos Aires, Argentina by veteran, boat building craftsmen with generations of experience. The company is owned by an American-Canadian duo, Jeff Woodman and Rob Poirer, who have elevated the quality of the boats to high-yacht finish. The 44i comes extremely well equipped for offshore sailing and world cruising. Built to order, the Antares cats are great couples cruising boats with true blue water pedigree. www.liveantares.com.
Catana 47: Catana has long had a reputation for innovative design, elegant interiors and great sailing performance. Several Catanas have made successful circumnavigations. The Catana 47 is a fine example of what this line of boats is all about. With a powerful rig, the 47 has the horsepower to make miles at good speeds. With dagger boards, the boat will be able to sail upwind with the monohulls. And, with an elegant, roomy interior, the 47 will be a joy to live aboard and cruise the world. www.catana.com
Fountaine-Pajot: The big news from FP this summer is the launching of the new FP Victoria 67, the new cruising flagship of the company’s fleet. (They also build 80-foot day charter, or head boats.) The V 67 is a flying bridge family cruiser that will be a magnificent floating home, a hugely capable world cruiser and a fine crewed charter boat. It will make its North American debut at the Annapolis sailboat show. If you are looking for the ultimate family cruising cat, the V 67 should catch your eye.
Also on display at shows this fall will be the whole line of FP cats from 38 to 57 feet, including the innovative Helia 44 and the new-last-year Sanya 57. FP has build a worldwide reputation for delivering excellent quality production boats at very fair values and have many hundreds of boats in charter fleets because they hold up so well. www.catamarans-foutaine-pajot.com.
Gemini Legacy 35: Redesigned last year and brought to the public at the 2012 Annapolis sailboat show, the Legacy 35 is a complete renovation of the classic Gemini 105MC that is the most popular cruising catamaran ever built. The Gemini does many things well and has a proven record as a coastal cruiser with offshore capabilities. Plus, it has a fairly narrow beam for a cat so it will fit into most marina slips. (See our longer review in this month’s On the Level.) www.geminicatamarans.com.
Gunboat: Gunboat, like all cats, seems to have nine lives. Originally built in South Africa, the new line of gunboats, designed by Nigel Irons, are being built in China and, wait for it, in North Carolina of the great U.S.A. Both the Gunboat 60 and the Gunboat 55 are scheduled to be at the Annapolis show, so if you have a need for speed and a desire to have the next great boat that will take you to the edge of the cruising envelope, then you have got to come to the show. (See our longer review in this month’s On the Level section.)
Lagoon: A world leader in production catamarans, Lagoon is bringing two new boats to the fall shows. The Lagoon 39 and 52 are innovative family cruising boats that have been given the essential look and qualities of the Lagoon family of boats but with a distinct modern twist. For example, the boats have hard biminis over the cockpits that flow elegantly into the line of the cabin top. And, with higher topsides, the boats have been given beveled edges along the bow and hull-deck joint that make the hulls look sleeker and more modern. A completely new rig for both boats, with the mast stepped well aft, will make them easier to sail and fast.
MQ sailed both boats last winter and came away impressed by how well they sail and how comfortable they are underway and at the dock. The 39 is a compact family cruiser that is amazingly roomy. The 52 is a flying bridge design that the Lagoon staff had just sailed across the North Atlantic. It is a huge and luxurious cruising boat that will suit a family or be a great platform for running a crewed charter business.
Also at the shows this fall you will be able to see the Lagoon 450 and the 560. Both boats have flying bridges that offer great visibility while sailing or maneuvering around the dock and large areas for sunning. These boats are both great family cruisers that can take you anywhere. In fact, like the 52, they come to the States by sailing across the Atlantic. www.cata-lagoon.com.
Leopard by Robertson & Caine: The South African builder Robertson and Caine is also a world leader in build volume annually. It is interesting that the company builds only for Tui Marine, the parent company of The Moorings, Sunsail and the Leopard brand. The R & C boats that go into the charter fleets are branded by the charter company name, the Moorings 5800, for example, while the boats that are sold to private owners are branded under the Leopard name.
This fall you will be able to see the Moorings 5800 at some of the shows and will be amazed at her size and the comfort of her accommodations, with up to six cabins available in some models. If you want the boat as a private yacht, then you would go with the Leopard 5800 and have it built with an accommodation plan to suit your needs. In either case, the 5800 is a large and commodious cruising boat that had no trouble hitting 10 knots under sail when MQ tested it on the Chesapeake Bay.
Also on display this fall will be the Leopard 44 and 48. Both boats are Morelli & Melvin designs and built to a very high standard in R & C’s Cape Town facility. The 44 has proven to be a winner in the charter fleets and has been equally successful as a family cruiser for private owners. The new 48, introduced last year, is a huge 48-footer that has shown excellent sailing characteristics as well and wonderfully comfortable living accommodations. For Leopard log on to: www.leopardcatamarans.com. For boats in charter log on to: www.tuimarine.com.
Nexus Balance 60: Built in the beautiful South African town of St. Francis Bay, the Nexus 60 debuted in North America at the Annapolis boat show two years ago and caught the eye of a lot of diehard multihull enthusiasts. One of those was the founder of The Multihull Company, Phil Berman, who stepped forward to partner with the builders to bring the boat to America under the new name Nexus Balance 60. Berman has created a line of cats under the Balance banner and will be introducing the new Balance 421 in the months ahead.
MQ tested the 60 on a light day in Annapolis and found it to be a fine sailing cruising cat that is set up for real cruising and living aboard. Everything about the boat is sensible, useful and dedicated to simplicity. Yet, it has all of the modern systems you might want and the capability of being self sufficient for many weeks on end. www.multihullcompany.com.
Outremer: Outremer is a boutique, semi-custom builder in France that is known for its high performance cruising cats with big rigs, sleek hulls and daggerboards. The boats are engineered to sail well, first, because the builder knows that the more fun you have sailing the more you will enjoy your boat, and the faster you can sail, within reason, the safer you will be at sea.
Yet, given the gift of speed, the modern Outremers are also comfortable, luxury cruising boats with pleasant accommodations and all the conveniences of home.
The new 5X is the latest generation cat from the company and has earned rave reviews from European sailing magazines and the public. The 5X will be on display at the Annapolis show and if you are looking for a cruising cat with a thoroughbred sailing pedigree, you will want to stop by for a look. www.catamarn-outremer.com.
Prout: The Prout brand has a long history in the multihull world and is now in the capable hands of a Chinese yacht builder who has introduced a whole new line of luxury Prout cats. The Prout 63SF will be at the fall shows and is a good example of the design philosophy and build quality that is making the new boats successful.
A flying bridge design with four to six staterooms, the 63SF is a luxurious private yacht that will be great for cruising, entertaining or even chartering. Built on a semi-custom basis in China, the boats can be configured to meet your needs. www.proutinternational.com.
St. Francis: The St. Francis 50, built in St. Francis Bay South Africa, is a proven, world class cruising boat that has taken many owners around the world. The builders are constantly evolving and enhancing the basic model with new infusion techniques, design improvements and new standard equipment.
MQ visited the factory a few years ago and found that the small shop was manned by veteran craftsmen who have been with the principals for many years. It’s a family run operation that is dedicated to building great cruising boats and to the happiness and safety of their owners. If you are looking for a fine couples cruising boat to make fast comfortable passages, the St. Francis 50 will fit the bill. www.stfrancismarine.com.
Seawind: The Seawind brand has proven worldwide to offer cruising sailors good, sound cruising boats that sail well and have the legs and stoutness for blue water voyaging. Long built in Australia, the boats now are being built in a brand new facility in Viet Nam. The Seawind 1250 is the flagship of the fleet and at just over 40 feet is a great size for a couple or family of four.
The living spaces in the Seawind cats all flow together for indoor-outdoor living while the sleeping cabins offer good private spaces for sleeping or reading. Proven at sea, the 1250 and her smaller sisters are boats that will get you there quickly and safely. www.seawindcats.com.