An innovative cruising and motorsailing cat is born in Australia as a luxury escape machine for experienced sails with a big family. (Published Fall 2009)
It’s called the Beach House, but its more than a holiday house, it’s a five star escape machine and that’s exactly what the owners of this Perry 57 catamaran plan to do—escape. Bill and Joan had been talking with Perry for some time about a Perry 43, but it wasn’t quite big enough—they have nine children and grandchildren in their extended family and they wanted room on the boat for the kids when they visited.
They went to all the boat shows and still couldn’t find what they were looking for. But about two years ago the couple met Allan Barnett who had just bought the Perry yard at Coomera. Allan is a noted builder of workboats in Tasmania and is well known in that state for his excellent refits of cruising boats. He introduced them to the Perry 57 and they were sold.
Beach House was launched at Coomera, Australia, almost a year to the day after Bill and Joan signed up, and is the first Perry Prestige catamaran built from the first mold by the new yard owner. It all started when Bill and Joan took a trip from Darwin to Broome. There they met a fellow taking three years to sail around Australia in a catamaran. They looked at each other and said, “That’s us.”
The couple are semi-retired and plan to spend about three months away at a time. Beach House is off to Gippsland Lakes in Victoria early next year and will head for the Whitsundays later in the year. And then, of course, the big trip is planned when they eventually retire.
With a length overall of 57 feet and a beam of 28 feet there is more room on board than some high rise apartments. Joan has a galley that is certainly bigger than most suburban kitchens with a gas cook top and oven, microwave, dishwasher, freezer, deep double sink and a watermaker—the upright fridge was custom made at the yard because a commercial one to fit the space couldn’t be found—and with washer and dryer on board what more could you want?
Bill has his toys as well—an Internet connection, satellite TV, a Bose sound system and a satellite telephone. There is even a Playstation for the grandkids.
The sleeping accommodation has been configured into four cabins. The owner’s stateroom with a double bunk is set athwartship in the port hull with an en suite head and a guest double in the opposite hull. The kids’ accommodations are five single bunks in two cabins aft.
The 57’s interior finish is impressive with South American myrtle timber and a teak and holly sole throughout. The saloon is bright and airy with plenty of light filtering through the windows in the front and sides of the cabin.
Most of the time at anchor will be spent in the aft cockpit, which has a big entertaining area under a hardtop. The afterdeck can be enclosed with clear plastic screens that fill in the space between hardtop and the gunwales to keep the weather out and there’s a barbeque out the back.
Those wanting to catch a few rays can laze on the trampoline up front between the hulls or take in the view from the dolphin seats in the bows. The deck gear is simple with all the running controls running back to the cabin top in front of the helm station. There are two helm stations, take your pick which one to steer from depending which tack the boat is on. The main controls are on the port side where the Raymarine E120 and the engine and sailing instruments are housed.
The 57 is a big boat with big sails to handle, so all of the winches are electric. The winches take a little time to raise the main or to furl the headsails, but for a cruising couple with all the time in the world, who cares? The mainsail is lowered with another winch that hauls the sail down into the boom. Even the mainsheet traveler car is operated electronically.
Brisbane’s David Lambourne built the mast and rig and it looks solid with double diamond spreaders. As well as the fully battened mainsail, the boat carries a furling genoa, screecher and an asymmetrical spinnaker.
Under sail, the 57 balances up well with a little tweaking of the sheets, and it’s easy for a couple to sail, although on a cruise at sea, more often than not, the autopilot would be switched on and the person on watch would just sit back and let the boat trip along. And if the wind drops out altogether, there are two 110-horsepower Yanmar shaft-driven diesels to power the boat along. The shallow draft of four feet allows the Perry 57 to go where other boats can’t and the integrity of the hull is such that it can be beached and sit dry on her keels.
Perry also gives owners the option of converting their 57 sailing catamaran into a 59 motorsailer. This modification is made by altering the underwater hull shape to allow extra buoyancy aft, facilitating up to 320-horsepower motors, which will propel the boat to 23 knots under power alone while maintaining excellent fuel efficiency and the sailing performance Perry is renowned for.
A myriad of other options from a hot tub on the foredeck to state-of-the-art entertainment and communication systems really make each boat a personal travelling companion or as someone said, “A Perry 57 is an island resort – with no fixed address.”
For more information log onto www.perrycatamarans.com. The Australian-based builder has five representatives in North America.
Perry Prestige 57
Displ. 30,000 lbs.
Fuel 800 gals.
Water 220 gals.