50 OF THE BEST BLUE WATER MULTIHULLS
Yachting World|September 2021
TOBY HODGES AND FRANÇOIS TREGOUET CONSIDER THE TOP CATAMARAN AND TRIMARAN OPTIONS FOR SAILING THE OCEANS IN SPACIOUS COMFORT

What’s the best multihull for long term cruising? The one you own, or the one you can afford is the simple answer.

There is a wealth of proven designs to suit bluewater sailing and a variety of budgets. While we have focussed here on those in production, we’ve also included some cracking pedigree multihulls which tour the planet and might occasionally pop up on the brokerage market.

If you can afford to, then pushing towards the 45-50ft length will buy you space, pace and that extra payload capacity needed to take all the items you’d want on your home afloat.

Your choice will come down to that perennial balance between comfort/space and speed/ weight. Choosing a lighter weight performance design will obviously help you cover distance voyages more rapidly and potentially allow you to outrun weather systems. It means you can sail faster, with less sail up and less load and stress. But you’ll have to sacrifice some luxuries and need to be quite scrupulous about keeping weight down and centralised in order to maintain high average speeds.

For the majority of cruisers, however, it is the amount of space multihulls offer once you’ve reached your destination that really appeals. As well as the non-heeling living area and real estate they provide, they’re well suited to typical tradewind sailing.

If you’re considering your first or next multihull, we hope the following will serve as a taster. You’ll also find more online at yachtingworld.com

PERFORMANCE CRUISERS

OUTREMER 51/55 Outremer 55

When you think of multihulls designed for bluewater cruising, Outremer will likely be one of the first names that comes to mind. Its heritage lies in building catamarans that can sail fast and are built strong enough to do laps of the globe.

The 51, the current version of which launched three years ago, is an archetypal example of what to look for in terms of blending speed and space. Weighing a light weight 11 tonnes, it’s designed to take another three tonnes of cruising gear. The option to sit out and tiller steer from the bucket seats and enjoy thrilling performance is a prime draw, while it is configured to manage the powerful sailplan short-handed.

But this also has a light, airy and nicely finished interior with forward-facing navstation, albeit more minimalist than the voluminous family cats from production yards. The dream design for a family circumnavigation?

Meanwhile, the French yard’s new 55ft VPLP design may look boldly different from its past models, but the philosophy behind it remains the same. It is designed to match windspeed up to 12 knots and Outremer reasons that its ability to sail in 5 knots of breeze will allow it to sail for 95% of the time on a circumnavigation. Should you get your routing wrong and actually have to sail to windward, the daggerboards provide up to 15° better performance.

A swing helm pedestal allows you to sit up on the side deck in fine weather, or shelter under the bimini when it turns inclement. And ventilation has been well thought out, negating the need for aircon, which means less fuel and weight.

Prices ex VAT: Outremer 51 €830,000; 55 €1,215,000

SEAWIND 1600/1370

For nearly four decades the Australian Seawind brand and its founder Richard Ward have been gearing catamarans around safe bluewater sailing, including performance, protection and ease of handling. Its Reichel Pugh-designed 1600, which launched three years ago, is an elegant looking cat with relatively low, long lines and some smart solutions for fast bluewater sailing. It has narrow, kevlar-reinforced hulls, combined with below-deck daggerboards and is capable of 20+ knot speeds. The boards and rudders lift to reduce draught to 54cm for accessing shallow anchorages. We were impressed by its attention to detail and safety considerations.

The new Passagemaker version has beamier hulls, increased bridgedeck clearance, larger windows and more ventilation, while carbon boards and rudders come as standard. Seawind also launches its new 1370 later this year, a staggering 60 of which have sold on plans alone. This 45ft model, a contemporary design with higher freeboard, looks like an appealing option for a couple cruising long distance.

Prices ex VAT: US$699,000 for 1370

WINDELO 50

Windelo is a new south of France yard specialising in innovative catamarans which offer an interesting mix of unusual layouts, sailing performance and green technology. This first 50 is built from a composite sandwich of basalt fibre, a cloth made from volcanic rock, and PET foam from recycled plastic bottles, which helps to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 50% when compared with traditional glassfibre methods.

The Windelo cats have forward cockpits just abaft the mast and internal helm stations with all running rigging to hand. This leaves a large one-level main living area designed to be a modular space, with abundant natural light and ventilation. Three versions are offered including a hybrid electric powered Adventure model.

Price ex VAT: €735,000

RAPIDO 50

We have been impressed by the Morrelli & Melvindesigned Rapido range since boarding its first 60-footer in 2017. That model rose to fame recently through vloggers Sailing La Vagabonde, but with its 38ft fixed beam and $1.8m pricetag, it’s a lot of performance vessel to handle or afford. This new 50 is perhaps a more appealing and practical prospect for doing speedy miles, particularly as the amas can fold to reduce beam to 18ft.

Infused carbon foam sandwich construction is used, along with beams, daggerboards and rudder in pre-preg carbon to keep displacement to 8,200kg.

Price ex VAT: US$1.25m

HH OC50

The Xiamen-built HH range found popularity for its high-performance, all-carbon, hull-flying catamarans such as the HH66 and HH55. But this OC50 is designed as a more affordable cruising alternative and one that targets ocean sailing. It’s still stiffened and strengthened by carbon, but built in vinylester composites with a gelcoat finish. This adds an additional 300kg or so over a full carbon HH50, but cost savings are in the region of $400,000.

Solid glassfibre fixed keels with winglets are used instead of daggerboards, which are independent of the hulls and are designed to take the weight of the boat. The OC50 comes with a self-tacking staysail and genoa. Sail controls are led to a single raised helm station, which has a fixed bimini and canopies for full enclosure.

Practical features for bluewater cruising include plentiful deck stowage, generous tankage, removable transom washboards and tech spaces in the forward cabins. There is a spacious forward-facing navstation and a U-shaped galley with deep drawer fridges and freezers.

Price ex VAT: US$1.3m

BALANCE 526

Balance is a shrewd name for these catamarans, which target that elusive balance of comfort, speed and space. Founded in 2013 by Phillip Berman, Balance has its headquarters in Florida and shipyard in South Africa. After selling hundreds of brokerage catamarans, Berman found most cruising catamarans too sluggish, yet felt performance catamarans lacked the suitable liveability for long term voyaging – hence Balance was born.

The 526 launched four years ago, designed to suit short-handed sailors and families looking to sail long distances, hence it can carry large payloads and promises easy maintenance. It looks good too.

Berman’s Versahelm design is a key feature. The wheel cantilevers, allowing the helmsman to steer from outboard with clear sightlines or from the hardtop protection of the aft cockpit. The helm seats and platforms also adjust for optimum views forward.

Builds involve infused or vacuum bagged epoxy, carbon reinforcements, foam composite bulkheads and foam cored furniture. The 526 is available with retractable daggerboards or fixed keel options. The first Balance 482 is due for launch this autumn.

Price ex VAT: US$1.54m

TURBO PERFORMANCE

MARSAUDON TS4/ORC 42

Few catamaran builders produce genuine performance cruisers at this ‘smaller’ size: this one is kept minimalist and light weight (around 6 tonnes) – the yard’s philosophy is ‘simplicity, then add lightness.’ The 42 is a cruiser-racer with the ability to outpace most yachts across the Atlantic, win a regatta and still offer some space for island hopping. Standard tankage is minimal however. Marsaudon recently rebranded its TS range to Ocean Rider Catamarans (ORCs) and has an ORC 57 in build. Price ex VAT: €418,000

DAZCAT 1495

Dazcat builds fast, seaworthy cats from its Multihull Centre in Cornwall. The 1495 is a true ocean cruiser-racer, which is stiff and rewarding to sail, with direct steering linked to carbon rudders. The 1495 can hit 20+ knot speeds with relative ease, but it is the consistent high average speeds which will attract those looking to cover serious miles. Weight is centralised including engines, tanks, and systems all located amidships to help reduce pitching. Dazcat has a semicustom build approach and creates all sorts of weird and wonderful craft for all abilities. Price guide for complete spec £1.1m

DRAGONFLY 40

Dragonfly trimarans are known for their high quality construction and ability to delight sailors with their ease of planing speeds. For those who can live without the space of similar length cats, the new flagship 40 is large enough to offer cruising space, while folding outriggers and retractable appendages mean you can dry out where others wouldn’t dare. Price ex VAT: €509,000

ATLANTIC 47

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

MY ORCA TERROR

Skipper tells how two killer whales rammed yacht for 25 minutes

1 min read
Daily Mirror
October 01, 2021

Going loopy – making a continuous splice

Roger Hughes declutters the cockpit by splicing his furling lines end-to-end into a continuous loop

6 mins read
Practical Boat Owner
October 2021

ITAMA 45S

LOA 45ft 4in (13.8m) BEAM 13ft 0in (3.95m) ENGINES Twin Cummins QSB6.7 550hp TOP SPEED 34 knots PRICE from €756,400 inc VAT CONTACT Ventura +44 (0)20 7495 2330; www.itama-yacht.com

1 min read
Motor Boat & Yachting
April 2021

‘The boat was slammed over and water poured in'

Randall Reeves leaves the storm jib in its bag while braving the Southern Ocean to prove that speed is safety in heavy weather

10+ mins read
Yachting Monthly
January 2021

The night the hurricane hit

Roger Hughes prepares his schooner for 150mph winds

10+ mins read
Practical Boat Owner
January 2021

DIY navigation lights upgraded with LEDs

Roger Hughes upgrades his 42-year-old navigation lights with LED lamp replacements and is delighted with the result

4 mins read
Practical Boat Owner
January 2021

LUKE CHAPTER 9

Pellew is Luke Powell’s 9th pilot cutter replica, and his biggest... by far

10+ mins read
Classic Boat
September 2020

JUTE FIBRE SPINNING PROCESS

The jute fibre is a natural fibre. The fibre which is obtained from the bast layer of the plants Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius is called jute. It is one kind of cellulosic fibre.

4 mins read
Textile Value Chain
July 2020

TECHNICAL FURLING MAINSAILS

Some sailors swear by furling mainsail systems, others swear at them. Graham Snook looks at ways to keep your furling mainsail in check.

10+ mins read
Yachting Monthly
August 2020

STANDING Rigging developments

Racing yachts and cruisers place different demands on their standing rigging, yet, there’s much that each camp can learn from the other. Rupert Holmes reports on the latest developments

8 mins read
Sailing Today
August 2020