It’s that time of the year again: the Awards Season where sailing publications around the globe publish their thoughts on the best new boats. We’re not quite there yet, as not all of the winners have been announced. But let’s take a look at the winners so far, and the contenders for the remaining prizes.
The market for catamarans continues to grow, and multihulls are increasing their share of the awards in line with the overall market.
It can be tricky to keep track of all of the nominations and awards, so we have compiled a summary to see which designs are coming out on top in the sailing category. We have also included the 2021 British Yachting Awards as they announced their winners at the end of 2021, part of the awards season.
Below are the sailing catamarans over 40 feet that are competing for the awards with number of entries (in brackets).
In terms of number of appearances, the Balance 482, Lagoon 55, Neel 43 and Windelo 55 top the list with 3 entries each, followed by the Kinetic KC54, Leopard 42 and Outremer 55 with 2 entries each.
The European Yacht of the Year was started by German sail magazine YACHT in 2004, and has expanded to total 12 European yachting magazines from all over Europe who test and judge the boats. Many of the trials were done in our home base: Port Ginesta this year. You’ll find all of the nominated catamarans below:
Bluewater Cruiser HHOC 50 Outremer 55 Windelo 50
Family Cruiser Neel 43
Luxury Cruiser Lagoon 55
Performance Cruiser IC36 Independent Catamaran
Multihull of the Year 2022
Industry awards launched by Multihulls World Magazine and Multicoques Mag, in 2017. Different models have been selected by jury in various categories, and the winners will be decided by votes from their readers.
Under 40 Feet Tricat 6.90 Libertist 703 Marlin 33
40-50 Feet Bali 4.2 Neel 43 Leopard 42 Seawind 1370
Over 55 Feet Lagoon 55 Outremer 55 Majestic 570 Fly Privilege Signature 580 Ocean Explorer 72
Sailing World Boat of the Year 2022
Winners selected by Sailing World’s team of judges. Sailing World is based in Middletown, Rhode Island in the US, 4 hours drive from New York.
Best Multihull Balance 482
Cruising World Boat of the Year 2022
Cruising World is based in Orlando, Florida, in the US. The winners in the following categories were selected by Cruising World Judges.
Best Cruising Catamaran Under 50′ Leopard 42
Best Cruising Catamran (Over 50′) Xquisite X5
Best Performance Catamaran Balance 482
Special Judges Award Kinetic KC 54
British Yachting Awards Multihull of the Year 2021
These awards are organised by UK magazines: “Sailing Today” with “Yachts and Yachting” magazine. The winners are chosen by their readers.
Winner Lagoon 55
Runner Up Outremer 4 Zero
Nominated Windelo 50 Adventure Neel 43
The smart money this year is on Balance 482, Lagoon 55, Neel 43 and Windelo 50 to scoop the most awards. Let’s see how the European Yacht of the Year (Jan 22) and the Multihull of the Year (Apr 22) plays out.
Many thanks to Shane and Carmen, who are building a Fusion 40 in Australia, for agreeing to share their experiences on the project.
Fusion Catamarans design and sell a modular marine construction kit of components: resin infused, gelcoat and fibreglass components that enable you to build your own performance cruising catamaran or outsource the work to a yard.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your plans. Why did you decide to self build a Fusion 40? Are you planning a big trip, for example? We decided to build a Fusion as this will be our home and we want to ensure it will meet our demands of travelling around the world Priorities are that we want this to be a fast and comfortable boat.
Why did you choose the 40? Did you sail a Fusion Cat prior to deciding? No, we have never sailed a Fusion Cat (yes you read that right, we have never sailed one and yet we are building one!) We did a lot of research and decided on the 40 because we thought it looks stylish and it has the design aspects required for an ocean-going catamaran (ie. bridge clearance and beam)
Were there any other brands you considered? Our original plan was to purchase a Dehler mono (42ft). Then we realised we would struggle with the lean factor on lengthy ocean crossings! We looked at Schionning but didn’t like the balsa core and amount of labour involved. Fusions are foam and divinycell. We also looked at Seawind but were put off by the inability to customise the boat and the large capital outlay
Did you consider buying a second hand yacht? Yes. We initially looked at Sonra, a Fusion 40, which was built in 2010. We seriously considered the purchase however due to the engine hours, having to replace the rigging, dated electrical coupled with the capital outlay (when we weren’t yet ready to cruise) it didn’t feel like the right decision at the time
How long will she take to build? Our estimate is approximately 3 years
Can you share some of the challenges you have faced /expect to face on a project like this? There are too many to list here! Some of the main challenges: Fatigue! Being self-motivated means long hours! Moving to a new location without our friends and family close by for support Working with nasty chemicals…boat building is a very undesirable job!
Have you made any significant modifications to the design? Is there a process to do this with Fusion? We have completely rebuilt the bows from the standard kit. Now 13 degree reverse bow adding another foot to the waterline. Increased the cockpit length and hull bridge by 2 feet. We have also modified and extended the sterns by 3 feet, including modified transoms (another 3 feet at waterline) So in a nutshell, we have made 3 major modifications to the original design (bows, bridge, transoms)
How much space do you need for a build like this? We are currently leasing a slab at a local slipway approx 40 x 8 x 25 ft but can’t stress enough the importance of a dome cover for shelter.
In your opinion, what kind of experience is required to successfully pull off a project such as this? Ha! So many things some to mind! – Resilience – Teamwork – Planning – Diligence – Perseverance
Are you completing the build on your own or do you have a team? It’s just us! Shane and Carmen. With occasional help when required. Our mate Mark has been helping us out of late (thanks Mark!)
Can you give us an idea of the rough price differential between a self-build and a comparable manufactured cat? Differential – It’s hard to say as we are capitalising on some unique items such as the rig, sails, electrical etc. At a guess we would say the rough saving of building (as we are owner builder) vs a production boat is approx. 20%.
What are the main advantages of a self-build catamaran like this over a production cat? The main advantage is we have had the ability to modify and we have been able to increase the structural integrity of the boat to suit harsher ocean conditions
Are there any disadvantages? Physical labour has been very taxing on our bodies! Being in a rural area has restricted our ability to secure qualified labour This build journey has meant Shane has stopped working in his trade We are always itchy and sometimes we have questioned why we are even doing this! 😂
What is the best thing about the design? You can make it what you want by being able to customise and modernise to suit current and modern designs and trends (which we have done)
Is there a design feature you don’t like? What would you change if anything? We think the hatch behind the mast looks cumbersome. It breaks up the flush look of the windows. The installation of a flush hatch is a consideration if the area is not required for the mast rotation system. This is “Pie in the Sky “ and applicable to an extended version only. If we could change the design we would alter the underwater profile from the mini keel aft to the sterns to have less camber (turn) and more width (fatter and flatter). The aim would be to provide greater volume and a smoother release.
What are the “Must Have” options for the boat over and above the essentials? eg electric winch, engine size, folding props, heating, water maker, inverter, solar, gen set etc…. 12Vdc, 24Vdc and 240Vac systems 24V High output alternators coupled with Lithium-Ion Batteries
What are the “Nice to Haves”? – Rotating carbon fibre wing mast with a Harken Split track car system – Reefing Hooks – OneSails carbon sails – 39HP (vs standard 29HP) Yanmars – Harken Electric winch – Beautiful sports steering wheel – Coffee machine and a kick ass stereo
Which features are not worth bothering with? Integrated air-conditioning! Expensive! Washing machine (says Shane 🤣)
How will you configure the helm? Single helm station port side Hydraulic steering
How will you configure the living space – is there room for personalisation here? Galley up No gas (full electric) Full domestic appliances including induction cooktop Customised feature coffee table Swinging chart plotter No navigation table 3rd bedroom will be interchangeable to a workshop
What kind of average speed on passage are you aiming for? 11 knots. Maximum 20+ ⛵️
How is the market for second-hand self-built Fusion cats? We hear good things! We have already got brokers ringing us
What kind of finish are you aiming for in the interior? Clean, light and modern. Neutral colours and soft textures.
How is the Fusion Owner’s community? Do you get good support from Fusion? The Fusion community of owners has been amazing. Very grateful – Call out to Nev and Amanda from Bossanova. Thankyou!!
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of building a Fusion 40? Research research research and research some more. The kit is only the beginning. There is a lot of work to consider on top of assembling the kit itself. Would seriously consider buying a Fusion already semi built and refit/modify as required to save time (and frustration!)
Have you purchased a new catamaran within the past 5 years? We’d love to hear from you. How was your experience? You can find some initial results HERE. We would like to try and continue to build the sample size, so please contribute or share with someone you know who has recently bought a catamaran to help.
Please answer this short questionnaire to help us all understand the differences between the different manufacturers. It shouldn’t take you more then 5 minutes. All feedback is anonymous, the only information we require is the catamaran brand and year of launch. You can also access the questionnaire HERE if you are having problems scrolling the embedded form on your phone.
We’d love to hear from people who have had a good experience as well as those who have experienced issues to balance the feedback. Feedback can be subjective, of course, but this should give us a steer on which companies perform well in this area and will help us to develop a more scientific approach in the future.
Higher volume manufacturers will of course have higher volume feedback than more bespoke manufacturers which we will take into account when making any comparisons.
We recently ran a Catamaran Manufacturing Survey on Katamarans.com. You can still contribute to the survey – please help us to build up an accurate picture of the industry.
We have received 32 responses so far from owners who have purchased new catamarans within the last 5 years. This is a modest response so far, but there are some interesting pointers coming out which are worth sharing.
We’d just qualify the results with the fact that the smaller the sample size, the larger the statistical volatility. In some cases, we have left out the data from the survey as there was just a single respondent for that brand (eg Knysna)
Brands in the Survey
Overall, the responses were positive and constructive. Not all, though, there were plenty of issues were reported across the brands
However, the majority of respondents would recommend the brand to another buyer
The After-Sales experience is more polarised with some brands doing well, but with over one third of respondents scoring 5 or less.
Most of the Issues were Minor-Medium (non critical). However, 2 respondents logged over 10 significant issue in the first year.
Performance of the Brands
Here we would repeat our qualification that this is a small sample size.
HH, Seawind, Outremer score the highest. Higher volume manufacturers score lower. Lagoon gets good feedback.
These are my take outs from this modest survey, but remember, the sample size is small so the results are likely to be volatile. However, this has been an interesting exercise, a “work in progress” if you like if there is further interest in getting this kind of information recorded.
In general, positive feedback. Seawind, HH, St Francis and Outremer in particular attracting good feedback across the board.
Despite their recent press, Lagoon scoring well on build quality and after-sales
The other higher volume manufacturers score more modestly on build quality. Those that do the after-sales win their customers over in the end anyway.
After sales performance is more polarised.
Examples of Issues
Here are some of the Issues that were reported
Heating, noisy steering, bilge pumps, batteries only lasted 18 months, B&G Nav disconnecting, sliding door jumped out of tracks, sun damage on coach roof
We had a faulty watermaker. This was not the builder’s fault. The watermaker co did fix it but it was a difficult thing to get done while traveling.
Salt water in engine compartment, engines not working
Bad windows seal. Factory fixed it.
Minor flaws in construction
Gel coat repairs. Corrosion. Water leak
Electronics issues, Engine rpm sensor, poor wiring connections, locker latches, fridge/freezers fail, stearing cable pullies were not tightly bolted, etc. etc…
Saildrive leak, bilge leaks, interior issues, plumbing issues, AC issues, dirty fuel tank from factory, missing parts
Gray water tank leak, tilt door failure
Gel Coat cracks (not structural), ceiling panel clips not strong enough, poor manuals
Crossbeam corrosion and furniture creaking
Window delamination. Roller Furling failure
“Shroud /back stay terminal failure
Garage door hydraulics failure”
Holding tank dump valve handle was put on backwards. Bad solar panel
Salon entry door deformation.
Rudder disconnected, wrong installtion of 12v, wrong installtion of power winches, loose pipes connections of thruhulls, artificial teak deck need to be replaced
Poor quality water maker
Toilet holding tank issues
Sea water in the engine compartment / autopilot disengaging randomly
Micro cracks on the side deck due to tolerances around the bulkheads. Wrong positioning of the transducer.
Mainsail getting stuck up the mast, unable to get down. Had to get up the mast and open the clip to drop it. Luckily it never happened in high winds.
Forestay pin coming out, generator failings
Overall moulding issues particularly on nonskid surfaces, engine vibration
Spanish version below. Versión en español a continuación. Many thanks to Port Ginesta for this sponsored feature.
Port Ginesta, a Marina that Specializes in Catamarans
Port Ginesta, is a marina located 15 minutes south of Barcelona, in the heart of the Garraf Natural Park. It has established itself as an important port of reference throughout Europe and the most important in Spain, with an enviable geographical location in the western Mediterranean, as a mandatory stop for vessels navigating the waters of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the South of France.
A Commitment to Catamarans
Port Ginesta’s commitment to multihulls has been underlined with the extension and improvement of the ramp at the slipway that is now able to haul catamarans up to 20 meters in length onto the hard plus the acquisition of a self-supporting amphibious hydraulic trolley and Boat Lift, especially designed for Port Ginesta, with the capacity to haul catamarans up to 45 tons in weight and 12 meters in beam.
With this new equipment, Port Ginesta has positioned itself as the first and only marina in Spain with fully adapted facilities that provide a wide range of exclusive services to all types of multihull vessels: cleaning, repair and painting, mechanical interventions or wintering of catamarans of small and large length, both sailing and motor.
In addition, Port Ginesta has focused on meeting the needs of multihulls, with moorings designed for catamarans that are strategically located at the end of the pontoons and in areas of the port with more space that facilitates maneuvering when entering and leaving the port, as well as ease of access thanks to lateral fingers.
International Nautical Center and Sea Trial Base
Port Ginesta has experienced significant growth in recent years and has positioned itself as an International Nautical Center of reference throughout Europe.
A good example is the success of the International Sea Testing Base of the French shipyard BENETEAU, the largest shipyard in the world, with moorings for sailing and motor monohulls. Other important yards are represented in Port Ginesta through their distributors in Spain, with a total of more than 300 leading brands represented, including Beneteau, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Excess, Aquila, Outremer, Bavaria, Bali, Catana, Sunrise Yacht, Licia C42, and others, specialized in both monohull and catamarans.
Port Ginesta is the scene of sea trials festivals of various brands, including Beneteau, Lagoon, Excess, Nuva Yatchs, Sasga and Capelli.
Croc Lift 45t, the self-supporting amphibious lift for multihulls.
The CROC LIFT 45T, designed for Port Ginesta and unique in Spain, is an amphibious machine capable of launching or hauling out catamarans up to 20 meters long, 12 meters wide with a maximum weight of 45 tons dry.
It has unmatched characteristics that give it high maneuverability, comfort and safety for catamaran work:
– It has a system that allows progressive acceleration and deceleration. This prevents the boat from being subject to oscillations during transport. – It is also equipped with a self-leveling system that provides extra stability of the load in any situation. – The Lift has been designed for the hauling out and launching both motor and sailing catamarans. – It has been conceived, designed and manufactured for use in the marina, allowing great versatility and communication between the port and the dry dock. – The amphibious machine incorporates a traction control and self-leveling system that ensures a good grip on the ground.
Port Ginesta stands out for its geographical location, the beauty of its surroundings and the quality and variety of services it offers to catamaran owners.
Please contact Port Ginesta who will be happy to provide more information about their services for multihulls.
Versión en español
PORT GINESTA, UN PUERTO DEPORTIVO ESPECIALIZADO EN CATAMARANES
Port Ginesta, es la marina deportiva situada a 15 minutos al sur de Barcelona, en pleno corazón del parque natural del Garraf. Se ha consolidado como un importante puerto de referencia en toda Europa y el más importante de España, contando con una envidiable situación geográfica en el Mediterráneo occidental, como parada obligada para embarcaciones navegando por aguas de Cataluña, Islas Baleares y Sur de Francia.
COMPROMISO CON LOS CATAMARANES
El compromiso de Port Ginesta con las embarcaciones multicasco ha quedado patente con la ampliación y mejora de la rampa del varadero para poder varar catamaranes en seco de hasta 20 metros de eslora y la adquisición de un carro hidráulico anfibio autoportante de la firma Boat Litf, especialmente diseñada para Port Ginesta, con capacidad para poner en seco catamaranes de hasta 45 toneladas de peso y 12 metros de manga.
Por esto, Port Ginesta se consolida como el primer y único puerto deportivo de España en disponer de unas instalaciones plenamente adaptadas para prestar un amplio abanico de servicios exclusivos a todo tipo de embarcaciones multicasco: limpieza, reparación y pintura, intervenciones mecánicas o invernaje de catamaranes de pequeña y gran eslora, tanto a vela como a motor.
Además, Port Ginesta ha sabido cubrir las necesidades de los multicascos en toda su extensión apostando por unos amarres para diseñados para catamaranes y estratégicamente situados al principio de los pantalanes y en los lugares del puerto que otorgan un mayor espacio y facilitan las maniobras en las entradas y salidas de puerto. Así como su facilidad de accesos gracias a fingers laterales.
CENTRO NAUTICO INTERNACIONAL Y BASE INTENACIONAL DE PRUEBAS DE MAR
Port Ginesta ha experimentado un relevante crecimiento durante los últimos años donde se ha posicionado como Centro Náutico Internacional de referencia en toda Europa.
Destacamos el éxito de la instalación de la Base Internacional de Pruebas de Mar del astillero francés BENETEAU, mayor astillero en producción del mundo, con amarres para monocascos a vela y motor. Otros importantes astilleros tienen representación en Port Ginesta a través de sus distribuidores en España, llegando a un total de más de 300 marcas líderes dentro de la náutica. Destacando BENETEAU, JEANNEAU, LAGOON, EXCESS, AQUILA, OUTREMER, BAVARIA, BALI, CATANA, SUNRISE YATCH, LICIA C42, entre otras, realmente especializadas tanto en monocasco como en catamaranes.
Port Ginesta es escenario de festivales de pruebas de mar de diversas marcas entre las que se encuentran BENETEAU, LAGOON, EXCESS, NUVA YATCHS, SASGA o CAPELLI.
CROC LIFT 45T, LA MÁQUINA ANFIBIA AUTOPORTABLE PARA MULTICASCOS.
La CROC LIFT 45T, especialmente diseñada para Port Ginesta y única en España, es una máquina anfibia capaz de botar o poner en seco a catamaranes de hasta 20 metros de eslora, 12 metros de manga y un máximo de 45 toneladas.
Posee unas características inigualables que la dotan de una alta maniobrabilidad, confort y seguridad para los catamaranes:
• Está provista de un dispositivo que permite la aceleración y deceleración progresiva. De ese modo se evita que la embarcación sea sometida a oscilaciones durante el transporte. • Además está equipada con un sistema de auto nivelación que le aporta una estabilidad extra de la carga en cualquier situación. • Ha sido diseñada para el arrastre y botadura de catamaranes tanto a motor como a vela. • Ha sido concebida, diseñada y fabricada para su uso en la marina permitiendo gran versatilidad y comunicación entre el puerto y el varadero. • La máquina anfibia incorpora un sistema de control de tracción y auto nivelación que asegura su buen agarre al suelo. En definitiva, Port Ginesta destaca por su privilegiada situación geográfica, la belleza de su entorno y la calidad y la variedad de servicios que ofrece a los amantes de los catamaranes. En Port Ginesta estarán encantados de ampliar la información sobre su oferta de servicios para embarcaciones multicasco.
I have had problems stripping the reefing lines on our Nautitech Open. Here is an extract from the Nautitech Owner’s Group on Facebook, mostly for my benefit, but just in case anyone has the same problems.
Topping lift on
Lower main sail and take in slack on reefing lines
Put the strap in
Tighten the reefing line via the block and winch. Leave the line on the winch
Raise main halyard
Topping lift off
At this point put the clutch on if you want to prepare for the next reef.
Remember to take the clutches off if you are shaking out reefs.
I keep stripping my reefing lines (Nautitech Open 40). Any ideas? I am coming down to the block before going around the winch at the mast. Is it the quality of the line? Issued by Nautitech at launch. Or technique? Topping lift. Release halyard. Clip in strap. Raise halyard. Tighten reefing line. Put in jammer. Release topping lift. Help! 😉
Steve You could try a Velcro strop pass it around the boom and through the reefing clew needs to wrap around a couple of times, takes the load directly off the reef and transfers it to the strop, ask your sailmaker to fabricate one for you, I have had reef l… See More
Graham Weird had two and not had this! Pulling too tight?
Kata Marans Graham maybe, I am going to start filing my teeth (jammer), getting expensive! Does that sequence sound right? How much tension do you put on the reefing line?
Steve Graham , possibly but your strategy for reefing sounds right, are you doing a lot of down wind sailing in strong wind conditions?
Kata Marans Steve not especially. Lots of helpful tips on here though, thanks to all
Jason Can only think it might be your last step – tighten reef line. Could possibly be a lot of tension given the raised halyard in the previous step. Maybe try marking the reef line with a pen: lock it off then raise the halyard ✌️
Scott Releasing and raising halyard is always the first and last step for me. I take the tension off the reefing lines to tighten them.
Kata Marans Scott so going from 1 to 2, you release tension on the first reef, then drop the main, tension up 2 and then halyard, did I get that right? I am pretty sure the problem is with the jammers, too sharp
Rowan In the end, filing the jammer proved to be the only solution for us
Kata Marans Rowan I will do this for sure, thks. Teeth and front of casing where the lines come in?
David Leave the reefing line on the winch. This will stop chafing by the jammer
Kata Marans David thks for that. I did end up doing that, only problem is I need to switch lines on the snatch block to get ready for number 2 reef in case the wind blows up. Maybe a triple block would solve this then I could just ignore the jammers?
Martin I agree with David. The outhaul tends to be set and left. The other three clutches are locked open and also left like that. Just use the winch. As regards reefing I recall Paul Hayes telling me, when he handed the boat over – when you need to reef go straight to reef 2 (the difference in wind strength between reef 1 and 2 is only 5 knots anyway). Then when it’s too windy for reef 2, take the main down altogether. That way you just leave the reef 2 pennant on the snatch block. Switching it to another reefing pennant, with cold hands and strong wind is not easy!
Kata Marans Martin that’s pretty good advice actually, especially on a night sail. I am also thinking of putting a triple block in and just leave the clutches
We recently attended the Lagoon 55 press conference (online of course: thanks Covid!)
Despite the limitations of doing a Zoom call to launch a new catamaran, Lagoon did a good job of showcasing their new model.
The new 55 is a special boat for Lagoon as their first ever launch was a 55. This boat represents decades of development from the French manufacturer.
One of the key features of the new curvy Lagoon is the design of the transoms which bring you closer to the water at anchor. They have opened up the back and extended the living space at anchor with an innovative hydraulic aft platform. The steps up from the sugar-scoops flow up diagonally rather than fore-aft.
In the saloon, big windows and two skylights help to bring the outdoors in with lots of natural light and all round views from the living spaces.
Length overall: 16,56 m / 54’4” Beam: 9,00 m / 29’6” Draft: 1,55 m / 5’1” Mast clearance: 29,43 m / 96’7” Light displacement (EEC): 26.5 t | 58,433 Lbs Sail area: 186 m² / 2,001 sq ft Fully-battened mainsail: 107 m² / 1,151 sq ft Self-tacking jib on furler: 74 m² / 796 sq ft Engine – standard: 2 x 80 HP / 2 x 80 CV Engine – option: 2 x 115 HP / 2 x 115 CV Fuel capacity: 1100 L / 290 US gal Fresh water capacity: 960 L / 254 US gal No. Of berths: 8 to 16 EC certification: A: 14 / B: 14 / C: 20 / D: 30
The Lagoon 55 has some innovative design features while keeping close to the Lagoon DNA of recent years. With the huge aft cockpit extended with the swimming platform, the flybridge, the saloon and the forward cockpit, this is not a catamaran that is going to feel cramped.
This yacht should be another top seller for the Bordeaux firm.
3 ½ minute read Windelo, the French performance catamaran yard who are based in Canet-en-Roussillon, have announced the sale of their third boat, a Windelo 54 catamaran. It will be available for charter in the Îles de Hyères Bay.
The new customers are two couples who were drawn to the Open design and the eco credentials of the Windelo brand and have made the decision to invest in a catamaran business together. Production of the boat has started and it is due to be launched in the summer of 2021.
This will be the first Windelo to be put into Charter Management, so if you fancy a week long test of this cat, now could be a good time to book!
The Windelo 54 Yachting will be managed by APACA Catamaran, a charter management company, who will rent her with a skipper around Îles de Hyères Bay.
The owners are planning to explore the western Mediterranean, heading to the islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros, Corsica, Sardinia, the Balaerics and along the Italian and Catalan coasts. You might spot her in Cadaques.
Windelo and their new customers will be working together to promote the Windelo range, chartering the yacht and organizing sea trials for new customers interested in the brand.
They have yet to decide on a name for their new Windelo 54, but she will be fitted with 4 cabins with double beds, two shower rooms and two separate heads. The skipper will have a cabin with an ensuite shower and heads in the starboard hull. The nacelle will be fitted with rear tilt-up door, opening the space up to a 360° view, maximising the space between the interior and exterior and making a great living platform at anchor.
She will come with an electric power unit with extended range. The coachroof of the Windelo 54 offers plenty of space for 3326W solar panels.
She will be powered by two 24kW electric engines, capable of charging via hydrogeneration, and will have a solid cruising range. The batteries can be recharged when the catamaran is under sail. The power from hydrogeneration unit will be supplemented by solar panels: generators will only be used as a last resort back-up, after several hours of running the electric engines for example.
The generators will bring the boat’s range to about 1,100 nautical miles, but the idea of this boat is to get the sails up in light winds to minimise your fuel bill and carbon footprint.
The catamaran’s winches are also fully electric.
The Windelo 54 was designed by Christophe Barreau and Frédéric Neuman, who are famous for their high-performance catamaran designs.
This 54 “Yachting” version is the most luxurious Windelo model available, kitted out with high-spec materials and equipment and higher comfort levels.
The 360° Windelo Modular Space
The architects have created an open cockpit and living space combined with a helm station, opening fully onto the sea. It’s an innovative solution that give you lots of living space.
In the words of Christophe Barreau: “The team really welcomed new ideas with regard to how space was organized and this helped us to develop a really original concept that leverages all the positive features of the catamaran.”
The result is a single, interconnected space including the cockpit and galley, with a 360° view of the sea, and retractable bulkheads opening the interior up to outside at anchor
Open Day – Every Friday by Appointment
The build has already started. If you would like to to see the first Windelo 50 Adventure, you can arrange to see one that will remain in Canet until the summer of 2021. And, of course, the current Windelo 54 Yachting build is available to see: you just need to make an appointment and Windelo will show you around the factory and design office where you will be able to meet the design and production teams to get a deeper understanding of the innovative design and build process and the high level of quality.
APACA Catamaran (Agence Pasquier Catamaran) was the first company to sell and charter cruising catamarans in the Mediterranean. Since 1985, this company has been well known for its professionalism. Its headquarters are on the port of Hyères les Palmiers in the Var department. www.apaca.fr
Windelo Catamaran has been based in Canet-en-Roussillon since 2019. It is a recently established boatyard, building comfortable, innovative, high-performance ecological catamarans. After many years of research on eco-friendly materials with the Ecole Nationale des Mines d’Alès and guided by strong family values, Olivier Kauffmann and his son Gautier Kauffmann, who are both passionate about sailing, founded Windelo to build comfortable environmentally-friendly recreational craft.
5 Minute Read We recently caught up with the crew of Moonwave, a Gunboat 60. A big thank you to Sophie and Seb for this fascinating insight into sailing one of these beautiful luxury performance catamarans. Do we have job envy? You bet! You can also read our Gunboat 60 review if you are interested in this yacht.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Moonwave. It must be a pleasure to work on the boat, how long have you been sailing on her? She’s 60-03 right? When was she launched? The answer to this question will probably surprise many in the yachting industry as almost 9 years on the same boat is a long time. I (Sophie) joined the project back in spring 2012 and Sebastien came on board about a year later.
Moonwave was launched in 2012, she was the first of the series to go in the water. Since that date she has never stopped improving: we have done many upgrades and modifications over the years. This has ranged from improvement readily available on the market to the design of specific custom projects & parts. The most spectacular has been the hybrid system, of course but others like the steering system have been well deserved successful projects. You can follow up on all of these improvements on moonwave.com
Do you both tend to sail her or does the owner take over when on the boat. How does that work? How did you end up sailing Moonwave? The owner of Moonwave loves the boat and what she represents, and so it is natural that he loves to sail and take the helm when he is onboard. Moonwave is so much fun to sail that we love to share this.
We always try to involve the guests, they get their turn at the helm going full blast and the resulting smile is always a great reward for us. And then there are those times when only the 2 of us have to sail Moonwave: 2020 was unfortunately a long year where no-one could join us on board due to the restrictions. So only the 2 of us crossed oceans.
This is nothing to brag about as we meet lots of cruisers who do this all of the time, and right now there is this race called the Vendee Globe where they sail single handed in the high latitudes at insane speeds! But people often ask this question: “Can you sail this boat with only 2 of you?” And the answer is simply: “Yes!”, but we have to be modest about it because really Moonwave is doing it all.
We just have to feed her with some wind and make sure she is in good shape at all times, and off she goes.
What has been your most memorable crossing. Do you have a favourite anchorage? That’s a tricky question. We have lots of great memories on board Moonwave. We love to anchor in the turquoise blue water of the Bahamas. Recently we have fallen in love with French Polynesia. Thailand was also a highlight… As you can see, it’s hard to choose, there are just so many beautiful anchorages around. A good anchorage from our point of view is quiet, with good holding, a nice breeze and warm clear water. Lots of places fall into this category 😉
How does Moonwave sail? Is she a difficult boat to manage?
In short, a performance catamaran like Moonwave needs a lot of attention but she is easy to sail. There are 2 different aspects to consider.
The first one is preparation and maintenance, and this part requires constant attention, involvement, effort, organization and finance. This is why these high end cats, despite what the builder/sales team will tell you, require a full time presence and if you do not have this kind of time you are going to need crew.
The second aspect is the pure sailing/navigation, and this entirely depends on the program. A racing program brings its own difficulties, but if we are only talking cruising and simple navigation, she is the easiest thing to sail.
With the level of technology available today you could easily fool a beginner into thinking he knows how to sail after spending few hours onboard Moonwave.
Can you talk us through some of the sails that you have in the locker. What is your favourite sail? Our ‘motto” is to keep things simple and versatile. We are not racing and therefore we try to keep the number of sails to a minimum as sails are heavy and take a lot of space. Our furled Solent is always ready to be deployed and it’s our work horse when things get complicated: it comes out. We have a J1 and a A3 that are also furling sails. And an A2 (300 sqm) in a sock and soon a new smaller storm spinnaker in a sock as well. The main sails has 3 reefs with hooks and we also have a lock system for the main sail from Rigging Projects.
Have you ever flown a hull? Is she easy to sail safely? Yes, we have flown a hull but often avoid doing it. As we are mostly in full cruising mode with toys, tender, wine, food and lots of amenities on board, we don’t want to stress the boat too much. But in light mode, it’s not that difficult to fly a hull.
What’s the best thing about Moonwave? The fact that Moonwave became “easy” through all the development we put into her. This breaks down in different aspects: sailing performance (also in light winds), comfort and the hybrid propulsion system (bringing a level of comfort that a standard propulsion system would have difficulties to match at the same weight). Reliability and all the maintenance on board so as to have easy access to systems with good build quality and choice of materials has resulted in a massive improvement in reliability and she is a pleasure to operate.
What would you change if anything on the basic design? Maybe you wouldn’t change anything? Moonwave has gone through a lot of modifications in recent years and the layout works really well. It’s interesting as the design of the Gunboat 60 was an evolution of the previous models (Gunboat 62s and 66) and they nailed the ergonomics and the use of space and volume very well. It’s a pity that they threw a lot of “working” concepts overboard with the new designs. I guess the logical next thing to do is go up in size.
Does she carry weight well, or do you have to be careful to not overload her with gear? Moonwave is a performance catamaran and so “weight” is not a good thing. We managed to remove 3.5 t during the big refit in France in 2017/18 so she is nicely floating on her lines. But, here comes the “but”: we still need to keep an eye on not to overload her too much. At the moment we are sailing around the world in more or less remote places, so we have a lot of spare parts and tools on board. We can feel the difference when all the tanks are full and we are fully loaded with food for a long passage.
What are some of the features of Moonwave that you really appreciate compared to a more “run of the mill” catamaran? The list is too long to start answering this question. And it is also not a fair question towards production catamarans as all of this comes at a price.
If you were to pick one Nigel Irens piece of design that you admire the most, what would that be? We love the “hull lines” of Nigel and he did some great boats. IDEC is one of them – a record breaking trimaran.
Is she easy to maintain? Servicing engines, standing rigging etc During the refit in France, we put a lot of effort into making all the systems easily accessible and invested into quality and simplicity over redundancy. It’s much better to have one big water maker where you can change the filters in less than 5 min than having two water makers and you need to take the boat apart to get to them.
Simplicity is actually more difficult to achieve on a boat than complexity. Everything is accessible on board and maintenance times are cut down by the fact that you can reach all the components. Most boat yards only keep their installation time in mind but not maintenance and use of the systems through out the life of the boat. We managed to redesign all the systems and install them strategically – that’s a big change and one of the reasons why we love to work on board Moonwave.
Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Is the running rigging complex? How do you like the helm position and forward workspace arrangement? How is the feel at the helm? I guess the best answer to this question is the fact that we just sailed 15000 nm double handed in 2020. We really like the forward working cockpit as it “safe” and well arranged.
We also have some Hydraulic systems which make handling the mainsail almost a push button job (not our favorite part). Reefing is a two person job, could be done alone but I always make sure that the mainsail is not caught in the reef locks and that it nicely arranged in the boom. We have great walky talkies for these occasions, and they help a lot. Other than that, it’s fairly easy to reduce sail.
We have powerful electric winches so you need to know what you are “doing” and be attentive to each manoeuver as the loads are impressive. The feel at the helm is great. It might take some time to get used to the indoor helm but it’s great once you figured out where to look and get the information from. The recent upgrade of the rudder bearings did a great job in smoothing the feeling at the helm and Moonwave is very reactive. We actually have been contacted several times on the rudder systems and the last time was a naval architect office. We are really proud of the work achieved there and the fact that it is recognized.
What’s she like in heavy weather / a blow / big seas? We have been through very few strong storms. We are still here with Moonwave to talk about it, so that must be a good sign. The storm subject is so relative to the circumstances it is difficult to say. In any case Seb has been in very large storm and for him it is unacceptable to be in a storm with all the technology and tools available onboard that allow us to avoid them.
How does she sail in light winds? Amazing, she just need 5 knots of wind and you are going 6.5 to 7 knots of boatspeed in a lot of configurations. One of the main reason we rarely motor as the light wind performances are really great.
Typically, what’s your average speed on passage? What´s the top speed you have logged surfing? This question is always tricky as it all depends on the wind and conditions. Our recent passages in the Pacific and Indian Ocean have been very light in wind so the fact that we didn’t have to motor is already great. But during the first part of the Pacific we had days above 300NM. For the top speed, we have hit the 30 knots before and she easily sails in the high 20’s without effort [also short handed].
What’s she like under power? Speed, manouevrability? The electric propulsion helps for maneuverability with its high torque. The electric engines are powerful but quiet. We only ever use the engines to get on or off the dock and for anchoring or channels (when sailing is not allowed) but other than that we mostly sail. Moonwave gets moving easily in light winds so why bother using the engines when you can use the sails and wind?
Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like? Sebastien, the captain, is a very experienced and so docking looks easy when he does it 😉 The electric engines are a big advantage for docking as they can turn very slowly if necessary and have a lot of torque. No need to “shift into and out of gear” like with a conventional propulsion system. The visibility from the indoor helm is very good and Sebastien often prefers to go in reverse as he can see both transoms from the helm. A nice feature is the hull window just below the step into the hulls. It is perfectly aligned to see the dock from the helm – not sure if this was actually planned or just a very lucky design feature.
What is she like at anchor? Where do people tend to end up on the boat? What´s your favourite spot? The advantage of a catamaran at anchor is the space and the stability. From the salon there is a 360 degree view which makes it very nice. Most guests spend their time in the aft cockpit or the salon area. We also spent countless nights sleeping on the spinnaker bags/trampoline.
What´s she like when it´s raining hard? In fact this is a funny question as we just made ourselves an awning over the forward cockpit. Here in Bali it is rainy season, and I mean rainy!!!! And we had the issue that facing the wind we had to close the forward cockpit doors to avoid the rain inside. And as it is very hot here it was unbearable, hence the idea of the forward awning, so now it is DRY and VENTILATED. It can rain cats and dogs now it will only go through the drains. (we had not planned to be in South East Asia during rainy season but we adapted our plans). When sailing we just keep the doors shut and stay by the indoor helm.
Is she comfortable down below? Cabins/saloon/galley/heads. From our perspective yes but we notice that most of our guests and ourselves love to live “outdoors”. The salon gives you also an “outdoor feeling” with the doors and the big windows opened in the back and the 360 degree view. And it has the advantage of being protected from the sun, same for the aft cockpit.
Is she good for entertaining and preparing food? Yes, the galley is in the salon and it is really well set up. We have a big induction stove, an oven/microwave combo, two double drawer fridges and all the nice amenities to have (coffee maker, toaster, blender, kettle). There is sufficient storage and we have optimized the available space over the years and it’s a nice set-up for preparing meals. Washing dishes is an other topic 😉
Can you tell us a bit about Moonwave´s luxury features – entertainment, communication systems for example. Moonwave has a nice audio system (Sonos), Sat internet (Certus) etc. and these items get changed a lot as the owner likes to test the latest technology on board. The next thing we will want to try is OSCAR (collision avoidance).
What kind of modifications have you done and why? Can you tell us a bit about the hybrid propulsion system? The list of all the modifications would take too long. Some of the big items are the “daggerboards” (so much better in performance, handling, maintenance, weight than the original centerboards), our lighter fishbone boom (instead of the heavy original park avenue), the titanium rudder bearings and the several upgrades of the hybrid system.
Moonwave has always been fitted with a hybrid system but we did a lot of research & development over the years and especially with Torqeedo. The actual Deep Blue Hybrid System works great and give a lot of comfort for the boat handling but especially for life on board. Lots of battery power is available for the watermaker, cooking, washing machine etc. which adds to the efficiency at anchor and offshore. We “tested” the self efficiency in 2020 by being at sea and anchor for 116 days in a row without touching land. Have a look in the news section of the website to learn more about this time on board. (Lifeaboard, Lockdown & Autonomie, March to July 2020) & ABC of Quarantine at Anchor (March to June 2020).
There are also a couple of blog entries that explain the Hybrid System in details and if they are further questions, please don’t hesitate to come back to us.
Are there plans for further customisation? For the moment we are cruising in more or less remote areas and no big modifications are planned.
Would you swap her for another Gunboat? Or maybe you wouldn’t swap her? We really “love” Moonwave so we haven’t thought about this…
How is the Gunboat Community? The Gunboat Community is very a nice crowd, some are more competitive (racing) than others. The community has definitively changed a lot over the years. It’s always a pleasure to spot an other Gunboat and they are sailing all over the world. We are even docked next to one in Bali right now 🙂
More Information To follow Moonwave, head to Moonwave.com. They have a great news section.
You can also follow them on Facebook (search “Crew Moonwave”) and Twitter @gunboat60.
The G-Force 1400 is one of the best known of the Schionning Designs with many of them racing in Australian and Asian regattas. The design is available in a Cruise variant (G-Force 1400 C) which carries more payload and has more space for cruising toys. If you are interested in building your own catamaran, you might also want to read our Fusion 40 article with Shane and Carmen.
Interview with Andrew Rogers
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your plans. Why did you decide to build a Schionning catamaran? I’m a Professional Boatbuilder who has built 6 Schionning cats and been involved with 3 more, also built 2 of his mast designs.
Which model did you last build? The last cat I built was a Schionning G-Force 14C which was set up for single handed sailing with electric drives
Were there any other brands you considered? An Outremer catamaran, but I decided it was too heavy and slow.
Did you consider using a yard for the build? Any you would recommend? Yes, Noosa marine or myself.
Did you consider buying a second hand yacht? No.
How long did she take to build? 2 1/2 years because of complications, I wasn’t there at the start and had to pick the projects up after someone that was not able to finish the project.
Can you share some of the challenges you have faced /expect to face on a project like this? Building the boat under staffed and short on good Boatbuilders in an isolated community.
How much space do you need for a build like this? We had a 18 metre x 16 metre insulated shed that could have been 3 metres wider to make life a little less cramped
In your opinion, what kind of experience is required to successfully pull off a project such as this? Attention to detail and a drive to succeed
Are you completing the build on your own or do you have a team? Completed with a team…it’s a long road, it’s about a 25,000 man hour job to complete successfully.
Can you give us an idea of the rough price differential between a self build and a comparable manufactured cat? That’s a hard question for me, I have never priced a manufactured boat directly against a totally self built one.. but a professionally built boat that is customised for the owner will start at about 20% dearer and go up in my experience
What is the best thing about the design? If the weight is kept out of these boats they sail remarkably well, we can sail over 20 knots in 15 knots true with code 3 and main reaching and in 5 to 8 knots we achieve 6 knots up wind, production boats don’t even come close without motoring
What are the main advantages of a self-build catamaran like this over a production cat? Customisation.
Is there a design feature you don´t like? What would you change if anything? We widen the cabin top to get better access into the holes and widen the decks to make it more user friendly.
What are the “Must Have” options for the boat over and above the essentials? eg electric winch, engine size, folding props, heating, watermaker, inverter, solar, gen set etc…. Keep things simple and light and don’t get caught up with all the bells and whistles as you will be way too heavy. A heavy boat means a slow boat. Also forget about electric winches, We use an electric winch handle made by Milwaukee Tools….This saves a lot of weight and expense and turns every winch into an electric winch
How did you configure the helm? Twin outboard homes so we can see the sails and ease of docking. Was configured with dynema to quadrants each side with a link bar between, which gives you nice light responsive steering.
How will you configure the living space – is there room for personalisation here? Keep it simple, light and airy, and don’t fill it full of lockers to store excess stuff for the sake of it that you will never use
What kind of average speed on passage are you aiming for? Over 10 kts
How is the Schionning Owner´s community? Good.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of building a Schionning? Don’t get conned into going too big!
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