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Discussing the Outremer 52

Here are some notes from our discussions and the press conference at the International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte with Matthieu Rougevin-Baville – Commercial Director at Outremer.

This should give you some excellent insights into the development of this performance catamaran.
11 minute read

outremer 52 la grande motte

Top Sellers
“The 51 was our best seller so far with 100 boats sailing. And millions of miles sailed around the world, with families. Outremer is not a boat that you park in front of your house and sail on weekends. It’s usually a life project with your family.”

“And when you finish your project, you sell the boat to another family who will do the same. So the boats have an impressive average mileage, with several yachts with more than 2 million miles already. And to get a better boat, we ask many of our owners: “what could be improved?””

“And they came with a long list of possible improvements. And the experience we now have with Gunboat has also allowed us to bring plenty of improvements. The basic philosophy is that we want to reach a good performance level: not a racing boat, but we feel that being able to reach 10 knots of boat speed in 10 knots of wind is a good target.”

“That is more than enough for for a family project. We keep a huge safety margin because of course, the first thing people are looking, when they’re buying a Outremer, is always safety. That’s always the first request. So we want to be sure that even in a gusting wind, we stay very safe.”

Space
“To improve, the volume, the space, we need to save weight. That is what we have achieved in the last five years. Saving weight, not to fly a hull and be faster, but to hit the speed average that we aim for. We have managed to save almost one tonne from the boat structure that we have put back into the features.”

“Features like this big opening. Such as the taller higher windows: as you know, windows weigh more than composite. So we can soak up extra weight on this because we saved the weight on the structure and that is what allowed us to have such big openings.”

Safety
“The main feature on the Outremer 51 (the previous design) is the feeling of safety.
People wanted to feel safe because most of our Owners are families sailing long distances.”

“One feature, which is very appreciated on the 51 is the closed cockpit “U” shape, which is very secure. It’s easy to have a net behind and you can feel very protected, but the other thing people were asking for was an opening in the cockpit to be able to reach the transom, to go for swim more easily. On the 51 you need to climb on the deck and down on the transom.”

“We have an opening there, similar to the Outremer 45, but we have a moveable seat which is designed to secure the area on passage. So when you are in bad weather, with following seas it’s easy to close the area and you feel more safe with kids or even pets.”

“Of course, when you don’t need it you can bring it inside to have a continuous seating area around the cockpit or you can also flip it on its end and use it as a stool for the bar.”

Visibility
“We also wanted to improve the visibility. When you have a performance boat, it is very important to see what’s happening in front of you because you are covering a lot of distance. We wanted to offer this on all points of sail. The ability to clearly see what’s in front of you.”

“So if you are preparing food, having lunch you have a perfect visibility in front of you. When you are sitting in the cockpit, the sofa is orienteered length-ways. So if you need a 10m nap when you are doing your watch, it’s easy. You have a pillow behind your head and you see what’s in front of you every 10 minutes.
Of course, the forward facing chart table is ideal for visibility, if you need to send emails, or you are downloading the weather, or on watch in bad weather.”

Air-Flow
“Ventilation is also very important. You have four windows which are oriented so that you can direct the airflow in the direction you need. We tested it last week, it’s very efficient.”

Headroom
“We have more headroom: 10 centimetres higher for the entrance door, 10cm higher in the saloon. So there’s plenty of space because our customers are taller and taller.”

Protection
“One of the things that was requested from 51 customers, (and we also experienced that with the 55), is better protection in the cockpit.”

“You have two sets of steps in the 51, which means openings in the bimini top. So you have wind coming in, air turbulence around the coach roof when you are moving. On the 52, you can close this entire space with the sliding window and the clears. And regarding the ability to control the boat, we feel we have reached a very nice compromise.”

Versatile Helm
“So you notice the swing helm on the starboard side? You can use it on the deck, sitting on the bench, when conditions are nice, something that is appealing to Monohull sailors who want a good feeling in the elements with visibility forward. Most people keep it vertical coming into the marina.”

“My favourite position is slightly inwards because there you can control the helm from the cockpit but also from the deck with access to the winches. When you are at the helm, you have all your instruments, the sheets and access to the the controls.”

“And of course, you then can swing in to the fully inside position. You close up and bring the sheets inside: the cockpit can be fully closed with clears.”

“You still control the winches with 360 degrees visibility. I can tell you on the first test sailing in March, it was rather cold and we felt very comfy inside the cockpit.”

“Of course the table is convertible. You can make it into a bed, the same thing is possible inside. Convert it to a coffee table or have a nice home video place with a folding down screen.”

Storage
“When you are sailing far away with your family, you need plenty of storage.
With all the seating areas in the cockpit, you get storage. In the saloon as well, and we added storage under the floor, and you will see an extra bench.”

“In total on the 51 there is 1,100 litres of storage. On the 52, we have 1,700. We have added six hundred litres of storage. Just one of the smaller details that make a difference when you are living on a boat.”

Rain and Winches
“You can collect rain water from the bimini: the water comes down the pole in a pipe. If it’s clean, you can direct it to the water tanks.”

“The winches on the side are lower than the 51, so it is possible to winch manually without using the electric as you are in a better position.”

Accommodation
“The hulls are wider. They are not wider at waterline level, we have the same ratio of length to beam at that level, but they flare to give more space inside the hull. So the bed is lower. On the 51, the bed is higher, and you need a small step to climb in. We lowered it.”

Performance
“Because the structure of the boat is built differently, it’s stiffer. Using carbon we have even more stiffness than the 51 but also more space. It’s impressive on the water.”

“Some people were worried that the new boat would not sail as well as the older model. We are very happy to say that that’s not true.”

First Test Sail on the Outremer 52

“From our the first trip, we covered 89.2 nautical miles with a maximum speed of 24.6. Very easy surfing and that was not pushing the boat, just the first sea trial. So yeah, we are very proud of the way the boat sails.”

“One of the differences between the 51 and the 52 is the mast was stepped backwards, So the mast is not on the front deck like on the 51, it’s now on the coach roof.”

“Of course, there is a carbon post to transmit the load from the mast to the bulkhead, but it gives you the ability to use the front deck. So, we have cushions covering the space and it’s very nice when you are sailing downwind being protected against the coach-roof.”

Longer bowsprit
“So, you can see that we have a longer bowsprit with a net in front for safer access. The ratio of weight to performance is the same as the 51 and it would be very interesting to see how the boat sails in the next Outremer Cup. We are very confident about the performance.”

Commercial Success
“The boat is a huge commercial success. I told you the 51 sold a hundred boats over ten years. The 52 has already sold more than fifty.”

“Some people were coming to buy a 51. We had to tell them that the 51 was about to stop. And then, the usual reaction was, “Can you show us some some details?”. And yeah, it was very successful.”

Production
“So for the moment, we have a capacity of 12 boats per year. The official delivery time is three to four years. But we plan to increase production to double the production of the boat within two years. So we expect the delivery time to be some time in 2025, with a new factory here, not far away.”

Solar
“How much solar? 2050W at peak times. 800 on the davits and 1300W on top.”

Dimensions
“The 52 is 40cm wider than the 51 and 15cm longer. Basically, what has happened in the last 15 years of boat design? Everything was moved backwards. The mast is slightly aft, the aft transom, the structural bulkhead.”

“So this is gives you the ability to increase the cockpit. But the main difference is in the rocker, the longitudinal curve of the boat to give it more stability at higher speeds.”

“So what we see in light, wind upwind there is not much difference with the 51 but in stronger wind downwind, the boat accelerates for a longer time and you have better average speed sailing downwind with plenty of stability.”

“The transoms are slightly wider in the back, which gives better access but also better buoyancy.”

Payload
“The official empty weight of the boat is 12.5 tonnes. We achieved less than that on the first boat, and of course, you can save weight with more carbon.”

“You have three main carbon bulkheads. They have to be carbon because the opening is so wide. We need a lot of strength in the corner and obviously on the front one, but you could add more carbon in the coach roof for extra weight saving. It’s a balance between saving more weight to get better performance or to compensate for more stuff and cost.”

Interiors
“You can have options like fake teak in the cockpit. We have 3 different options inside: three different types of wood finish and you have a choice of lots of upholstery: there are more than 100 different possibilities inside.”

outremer 52 interiors

“The front cabin options come from the 55. It’s what we call my “Free Space”. There are five different possibilities.”

“So, a standard double cabin, But you could also have an office with a foldable berth. And the upper part: two, foldable berths. Or you could have a walk-in dressing room, skipper’s carbon, kid’s cabin, etc. There are plenty of possibilities.”

“Usually, the owner’s cabin is on starboard, and the owner’s suite and the guest cabin will be on the other side. If you choose the four cabin version, you would have two guest cabins starboard. And usually the owner’s hull would then be on the port side where you could have a dressing room, with even more storage.”

“Of course, heating, air conditioning, gen set are all possible. You have two huge lockers in the front where you could have a gen set, a dive compressor or whatever’s needed. The average payload is three tonnes, which we feel is more than enough for a long distance blue-water sailing yacht.”

A Boat for Racing As Well?
“We always have people coming from both worlds: racing and cruising. And the predicted polars from VPLP are very encouraging.”

“If you want to go for performance, i.e. not having too many options, you will get an even better result that the performing 51. So the boat can be sailing at faster than wind speed until 12, 13 knots. So yeah, it’s very encouraging.”

Is there an option to have wheels on both sides?
“No, just one wheel with an optional tiller on the port side. What we wanted to improve from the 51 is the helm. We have a double bench which is very appreciated on the 55 and it works even better on the 52.”

“Everybody wanted to keep it because the angle is just perfect. If you want to test it, it’s a very comfortable position. Even if you’re not steering, but just to enjoy the view.”

Can you have a tiller on the starboard side?
“Actually, we could in theory have a tiller there as there is the same fitting on that side but the thing is, you have the bench and you have the standing post. So the angle would be very small, it doesn’t really make sense.”

Did you test the reaching angle?
“We beat to wind within ninety degrees on our test sail. The water was flat, wind from the north. We had 15 knots of true wind, we were sailing at 50 degrees, at 10.1 knots. The boat can reach 45 degrees In good conditions. When there’s wind and flat water.”

“We beat almost all monohulls except the real racing ones, of course, we will not compete.”

“We had two clients test the boat on Saturday and both of them have made an order. 100% Conversion! So far, so good.”

“We’re very proud of the result so far. It’s very successful. I think we have the best compromise to please both experienced sailors and people who don’t care about sailing at 20 knots, who want a space that they can enjoy.”

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Best VPN Sites for Sailors, 2023

Intro

sailing vpn

If you are sailing around on a catamaran, or any yacht for that matter, the chances are that you will need a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to help secure your connection on open networks (such as in a marina or airport) and access content from different countries on services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime.

The last reason is the big one for us. Media companies carve out the rights to their content by country and this can get very complicated (and frustrating) if you are moving from country to country.

But it’s important to understand what VPNs can do, and what they can’t do in terms of privacy. In some cases, you are merely handing over the keys to your privacy from your ISP (or mobile network) to the VPN company, so you need to do your research before taking the plunge.

Photo credit: sailing-lavagabonde.com

There are other factors such as price, reliability, content access and speed of course, but we’d recommend that you put privacy and security at the top of your list when making a decision and take the time to understand the limitations of this technology.

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have become very popular in recent years due to concerns over online privacy and security. In a nutshell, VPNs are used to create a private and secure connection between a user’s device and the internet.

In this article, we will discuss what VPNs are, what they do, and our recommendations of the best VPN for sailor’s.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to connect to the internet securely and privately with some caveats. When you connects to a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted channel via the VPN’s servers, which protects your data from third parties.

This “tunnel” provides a secure connection between your device and the VPN server, which is usually located in a different geographic location. VPN companies normally operate from servers in multiple countries, so that you can grab an “IP address” from that country.

This helps when accessing content from overseas, as many media companies restrict access to some content to certain countries (we are back on that media rights conversation again).

Our Favourite VPNs for Yachties

1. NordVPN: the most features

NordVPN has very quick server speeds, and privacy add-ons like their like ‘Double VPN’ encryption, PLUS an independently audited no-log policy.

It is more expensive, but you can save money on the annual and multi-year plan. Also has a s 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try NordVPN

2. Surfshark: another Value for Money VPN

With a name like that, I guess it is no surprise that Surfshark have been focusing on the sailing market recently.

They have improved their speeds and latency, it’s packed with features and very good at unblocking restricted services in 100 countries.

The cost is less than US$2.40 USD – great value for money with thirty day money-back guarantee for new users to test the service out.

Try Surfshark

3. Atlas VPN: for Value

Atlas is a global service (hence the name) that represents excellent value compared to the competition. The surfing speeds are good too. Good for yachts in other words.

They offer “Unlimited VPN” which means that they do not limit the number of simultaneous connections in different devices you make.

This VPN operates a strict no-logs policy, meaning no personal data is stored.

Plus, the Atlas VPN apps have a kill switch, so it ticks off a lot of our boxes.

Try Atlas

4. ExpressVPN: the biggest?

ExpressVPN is probably the most popular VPN out there, so that counts for something.

Their strapline is “a VPN that just works”, it we can’t argue with that. It is famous for its performance, reliability, and user friendliness. You even get a password manager and free cloud backup. Again, on the higher end of the price scale, but you get a very well developed product. Test it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Express VPN

What Does a VPN Do Exactly?

A VPN have several functions, including:

– Privacy Protection: A VPN protects your privacy by hiding your IP address. This prevents ISPs, governments, and other entities from tracking user activity and monitoring your online behaviour.

– Security: A VPN provides an extra layer of security by encrypting internet traffic, which prevents hackers and others from intercepting sensitive data.

– Bypassing Censorship: In some countries, governments censor certain websites or online content. A VPN can help bypass these restrictions by routing internet traffic through a different geographic location. You can’t access Twitter in China, for example, unless you are on a VPN.

– Access Media Overseas: similarly, by assigning you an IP from another country, VPNs can help you access content that would otherwise be unavailable from overseas. This is probably the #1 reason for sailors using VPNs, as they are on the move so much.

Can VPNs Protect Your Privacy? What Can’t They Do?

VPNs won’t protect against all types of online tracking. For example, if you log into a website with your name and address, a VPN won’t prevent the website from collecting this information.

Also, remember that the VPN can see your activity. However, t is not in their interest to track you from a commercial perspective, and many companies make this a selling point (destroying records of user behaviour), but be aware that some VPN providers may log user activity and data, which could compromise your privacy. Choose a VPN provider that has a strict no-logging policy and takes user privacy seriously.

How To Select the Best VPN for Sailing

There are several factors to consider when choosing a VPN, including:

– Essential Features: Look for a VPN with strong encryption, a strict no-logging policy, and a kill switch, which disconnects the user from the internet if the VPN connection is lost.

– Types of VPN Services: There are several types of VPN services, including Personal VPN, Site-to-site VPN, Mobile VPN, Cloud VPN, and TOR over VPN. For sailing, we’d prioritise the Personal VPN, the Site to Site service and Mobile VPN. They should provide a desktop app for your laptop and an Apple or Android app for your mobile.

Make sure that you can use the VPN on multiple devices. If you have a Smart TV, make sure there are apps for that device as well. Then you can log into the same VPN server on your phone and TV and even cast stuff onto the bigger screen (from Netflix, for example). Very convenient!

– Server Numbers: generally, the more servers a VPN provider has, the better. This allows you to connect to different geographic locations and access content that may be restricted in your location. But focus on the countries that you are most interested in. If you like BBC iPlayer, that would be the UK. People from the States might need access to a US server to watch their favourite Netflix shows, and so on.

– Speed and Performance: Choose a VPN service with fast speeds and low latency to ensure a smooth browsing experience. Ultimately, you are still dependant on the speed of your local connection, but you have less control over that. The VPN speed will ensure that that is the only connection you need to worry about.

– Cost: Consider the cost of the VPN. Search around for the best deals. You may find you can save quite a bit of money going for an annual plan, but we’d recommend a shorter time period to begin with so that you can properly test the service.

Essential Features of VPNs for Sailors

Other than speed, reliability and cost, the other essential to focus on is the encryption. Services that are strong in this area will ensure that your data is protected and cannot be intercepted by hackers or other malicious actors.

A strict no-logging policy gives you confidence that your user activity and data are not recorded or stored by the VPN provider.

And a kill switch ensures that if the VPN connection is lost, the user’s device is immediately disconnected from the internet to prevent data leaks.

Types of Services

There are several types of VPN services, each with their own features and benefits including:

– Personal VPN: A personal VPN is designed for individual use and provides a secure and private connection to the internet.

– Site-to-site VPN: connects multiple locations and allows you to access resources and data from different geographic locations. This is a key feature for sailors.

– Mobile VPN: A mobile VPN is designed for mobile devices and provides a secure connection for your phone. Make sure that you sign up for a service that allows you to connect multiple devices (laptop, mobile, TV etc).

– Cloud VPN: A cloud VPN provides secure and private access to cloud-based resources such as applications and data.

TOR over VPN: TOR over VPN combines the privacy benefits of the TOR network with the security benefits of a VPN, creating an extra level of security. It may slow your browsing and streaming speed down though, so we’d focus on the services above.

Server Numbers

The number of servers a VPN provider has is a key factor to consider when choosing a VPN. More servers means more options on geographic locations, which can help you bypass geographic restrictions and access content that may be blocked in a particular region.

Content providers are continuously upgrading their services, so you need a VPN that stays ahead of the game and frequently updates its access points. Having more servers can improve connection speeds and reduce latency.

Speed and Performance

Photo: ocean-rider-catamarans.com

Look for fast and reliable VPNs for the best streaming and browsing experience. VPN speed can be impacted by several factors, including the number of servers, geographic location, and encryption strength. Pick a VPN with fast speeds and low latency.

Test the speed as soon as you sign up for the free trial by going to Google’s page speed page or speed test sites like Ookla.

Latency

Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from your device to the VPN server and back. High latency can result in a slow and laggy browsing or streaming experience (the dreaded Wagon Wheel), which can be frustrating.

How Much Does a VPN Cost?

The cost of a VPN can vary widely. You can get some for free (the quality is not great as you can imagine), while most charge a monthly or annual fee. The cost can range from a few dollars per month to over $10 per month.

Factors Affecting VPN Cost

Several factors can impact the cost of a VPN, including:

– Features and Services: a VPN with more servers and advanced security features may cost more than a basic VPN.

– Server Locations: you will pay more for VPN providers with servers in more geographic locations. Focus on the countries that you will be using. You may not ever use the server in Mongolia.

– Bandwidth: Some VPN providers limit the amount of bandwidth users can use, which can impact the cost of the VPN.

What’s a Fair Price for a VPN?

A a good price for a VPN is typically between US$5 and US$10 per month. This should include a decent number of servers, fast speeds, and advanced security features.

How To Minimise the Cost of a VPN

You get what you pay for, as the saying goes, but there are several ways to reduce the cost of a VPN, including:

– Annual Plans: check for discounts for users who sign up for annual plans. We’d recommend that you test the service first over a month though. You can always upgrade to an annual plan later.

– Coupons and Discounts: look out coupons and discounts. Many sailing Youtubers have been offering special discount codes. Just be aware that they are getting a cut!

Free Trials: Some VPN providers offer free trials, which allows you to try the service before committing to a subscription.

Test the VPN Speed

It’s important to test VPN speed is important to ensure a fast and reliable connection. Search Speed Test on Google and use the service (once you are connected to the VPN). Ookla is good too.

Summary

VPNs are a key tool for sailors who want to access their favourite content globally and in fact for anyone who values their online privacy and security on a yacht (using the free Wifi at an airport, for example).

They provide a secure and private connection to the internet, protecting users from hackers, cyber criminals, and online surveillance.

When making your choice, consider factors such as server numbers, speed and performance, and cost. With the right VPN set up, you can enjoy a fast and reliable connection to the internet and access content and media globally while keeping your online activities private and secure.

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Win Tickets for the 2023 International Multihull Show!

This prize draw is now closed. Thank you to all the participants, and we hope the winners enjoy the show!

We have 10 tickets to give away for the 2023 International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte, France!

Here’s how to enter

  1. Join the Katamarans Club: subscribe to our newsletter at katamarans.com/newsletter/
  2. Follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already @katamarans and like the post
  3. Send us an email at the address below to confirm your entry, email address and Instagram handle.

That’s it! We will be holding a prize draw and announcing the ticket winners by the 5th April 2023.

Terms and Conditions

You will be automatically entered into a free prize draw when you subscribe to our newsletter at katamarans.com/newsletter/, follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already @katamarans and send us an email to confirm your entry, email address and Instagram handle.


By entering, the participant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
– There are 10 tickets to the 2023 International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte to be won.
– The winner will be selected at random from all entries received.
– The free prize draw is ongoing until Katamarans notifies
– The draw will take place on the 5th April 2023.
– Winners will be notified by e-mail or Instagram.
– The winner can chose a single day of visit from the 12th to the 16th April 2023.
– The prize is not transferable and no cash alternative is available.
– Katamarans will not take responsibility for any lost tickets – replacements cannot be issued.
– The Promoter is Baraca Planet SL, C/Diputacio 297 2-1, 08009 Barcelona, Spain.
– The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw this offer or amend these Terms and Conditions at any time without notice.
– In the event of any dispute regarding the Terms and Conditions, the conduct, results and any other matters relating to this prize draw, the decision of the Promoter shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

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La Grand Motte Show 2023 Coming Up!

We are fast approaching the International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte (2023 edition). We’ll be there again as official media partners, so please look out for us and come and say hello if you are visiting!

The International Multihull Show is an annual event held in the south of France, dedicated to the world of multihull sailing. It is one of the biggest catamaran and trimaran shows in the world, attracting visitors and exhibitors from all over the globe. The show is held in the town of La Grande Motte, which is located on the Mediterranean coast between Montpellier and Nimes, the home of Outremer and Gunboat.

The history of La Grande Motte Multihull Show dates back to 2010, when it was first organized in partnership with Lorient on the Atlantic which hosted the show in even years

La Grand Motte is the home of Outremer – here’s how the locals park!

Over the years, the La Grande Motte Multihull Show has grown in size and popularity, becoming a major event in the world of sailing. The show features the latest multihull models and technologies. It is a platform for sailors, enthusiasts, and industry professionals to network, share ideas, and discuss the latest trends in the industry.

The Boats to See

This year, the main attraction will be the unveiling of the new Outremer 52, the Bali Catsmart and the upgraded Nautitech 40. The Excess 14 will be there, along with a healthy selection of Lagoons (42, 46, 51, Sixty 5), Fountaine Pajot, Marsaudon and Bali, plus the Catana OC50. You’ll be able to take a look at the Rapido 40 as well.

Unique Setting

The Show is known for its unique atmosphere and setting. It is held in the heart of La Grande Motte, known for its buildings designed by French architect Jean Balladur who was inspired by lost civilizations of the past. His designs draw on the design of grand Mayan ruins with an added touch from the sixties. Balladur spent almost thirty years developing his vision, which now attracts over 2 million tourists every year.

The marina itself is a work of art, with its geometric shapes and colourful facades. The town’s location on the Mediterranean coast also adds to the show’s appeal, with visitors able to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand while attending the event.

Marsaudon 57 at the 2022 Show

In addition to the exhibitions, the La Grande Motte Multihull Show also features live demonstrations, test sails, product launches workshops, conferences, and races. The show is also a great opportunity for visitors to get on the boats on display, and even head out for a sail.

The La Grande Motte Multihull Show is a unique event that celebrates the world of multihull sailing. It has a rich history and has grown in size and popularity over the years, becoming one of the biggest multihull shows in the world. It’s a must-visit for anyone with an interest in sailing or the marine industry.

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Cruising Cat 44-45′ Poll

Which is your favourite cruising catamaran from the list below? These photos illustrate the compromises that designers have to make when thinking about comfort, space, performance and cost. You can’t have it all.

Tap or Click on an image and then the “VOTE” Button.

Which is your favourite?
Fountaine Pajot Elba 45
Excess 14
Bali 4.4
Nautitech 44
Aventura 45
Created with QuizMaker

Poll was featured on our Instagram feed on 9th Jan 20023.

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Can you Make Money Chartering a Catamaran?

Can you Make Money Chartering a Catamaran?

We recently sold our catamaran after 3 years of ownership. Can you make money chartering your own boat? Read on to find out.

We bought Gecko, a Nautitech 40 Open, in November 2019. The plan was to enjoy sailing her around Barcelona and the Balaeric Islands (we did plenty of that) while offsetting the running costs and maintenance with skippered charters managed through a small company in Port Ginesta, our closest marina.

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t quite work out. Despite Dream Yacht Charters posting a record year for rentals in the 2022 season, we only managed one 2 week charter in August. From a personal perspective, the project was a success. We’ve improved our sailing skills, logged many miles and explored Mallorca, Menorca and the Costa Brava.

But from a commercial perspective, not so successful. So what went wrong?

This article is a summary of our experience over the last 3 years. If you are are thinking of doing something similar, hopefully this will help you do the numbers.

Year One, 2020

The project started pretty well, despite the onset of Covid in early 2020. There are quite a few costs to absorb in the start up phase of a project like this to get the boat ready for charter. There’s the cost of the boat of course, plus mooring fees, insurance, maintenance and so on, and you’ll need to spec’ out the boat over and above the standard levels so you can charter with the appropriate safety kit (life rafts, life jackets, radar reflector, EPIRB and so on).

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to spend between 5% & 10% of the value of the boat on running costs every year, depending on how much you do yourself. So let’s say the boat cost you €500k, you are looking at spending €50k a year. Now, if you are also enjoying the boat yourself, you can’t allocate this all to the business. Let’s call it €30k to break even on a cash flow basis (ignoring asset depreciation, more on that later). If you can cover more of the maintenance yourself, this cost comes down.

In year one, the operation paid for the running costs, and we even had a bit left over for contingencies. All good! So effectively, we had use of the boat for the cost of depreciation of the asset (the yacht). As second hand values remained strong, this wasn’t a big number.

Year Two, 2021

Covid pressure were starting to ease, but we ended the year with fewer bookings than the year before. This was a warning signal and we should have switched rental companies at this point.

We lost a whole week with a dispute with one of the bookings: a group of guys in their early 20s who were kicked off the boat by the skipper for excessive partying and dangerous behaviour. I’ve nothing against party boats, just not on Gecko, and these clients should have been turned down in favour of families early on in the booking process.

But again, we just about managed to cover our costs (the main aim) and missed the end of the contract period in September. I found a few professional looking companies offering charter management at the Barcelona Boat Show (Salon Nautico), but the timing didn’t quite work out, so we decided to press ahead with our current supplier.

The relationship started to deteriorate in the back end of 2021. Let’s just call it a difference in opinion on how to run the charters.

Morale of the story: if there is a problem, fix it fast or move on to another supplier immediately. We should have done the latter.

Year Three, 2022

The final year was not great on the numbers front. The charter agency only managed to sell two slots, one 2 weeker and a 10 day slot in August. Unfortunately, the skipper on the first charter collided with something hard on the way back into Port Ginesta, smashed the bow and damaged the starboard hull and keel. We had to cancel the second booking to fix the boat and any money we made on the first was swallowed up by the excess on the insurance and an additional paint job.

We’d enjoyed some fantastic trips on Gecko over the year (Mallorca, Costa Brava, Costa Daurada) but the rental side of the business wasn’t bringing in enough money and was taking up a large amount of time. We decided that, unfortunately, the model wasn’t working. On the positive side, boats weren’t depreciating much and the market was strong. We decided to sell. The silver lining was that the boat hadn’t depreciated much since our purchase due to lack of supply in the market.

So What Went Wrong?

The Partner

There are a number of reasons why things didn’t work out, but the main one was the deterioration of the relationship with the rental company. There are advantages to working with a small company (more flexibility for using the boat for example), but we experienced many disadvantages too, such as lack of maintenance resource, inflexible and inconsistent pricing, ineffective marketing, and surprisingly no repeat custom and no existing customer base.

We weren’t impressed with the standard of skipper that they were able to supply, and they were getting terrible reviews from customers.

The company we worked with also ran charters on their own catamaran. This took priority of course and I think they just lost interest in chartering Gecko. They were trying to do too much with not enough resource and we were last on the priority list for marketing, sales and maintenance.

Location

Port Ginesta isn’t ideal for running skippered charters either. Port Ginesta is close to some great sailing areas, but it’s still a 95 nm sail to get to Soller in Mallorca. We’d have been better off sending the boat off to the islands for 3 months for charter. Or basing her in Barcelona for more day-trip charters. The original plan was to send the boat over to the islands during the high season. It turned out that the charter company didn’t have the connections to make this happen.

There’s definitely a market for skippered charters on a 40 foot cat, but it’s not as big as the bare boat market. That wasn’t an option with this company as they didn’t have a team to sort any issues out mid charter. Again, we’d have been better off sending the boat out to the islands with a larger, professional yacht charter company in the islands for 3 months.

Learnings

I don’t regret buying Gecko as we have had some great times on her, and I also have to factor in the fact that she has helped us grow our online business: katamarans.com.

So what would I do if I did it all again? Here are some of my main learnings:

  • Think hard about where you base the boat to maximise annual revenue. In our case, that should have been in the Balaeric Islands (at least for 3 months of the year) or in the city for the day-trip market.
  • Partner with a larger company with a good reputation that has the resource for maintenance, customer service (in multiple languages) and the marketing skills to make the project a success. Book a boat through them- how was the marketing? How was the state of the boat? What was the pricing? Were there “extras” which wouldn’t generate commission for you? How was the customer service? Aim for a company that has the resources to manage at least 5 boats.
  • What are their processes like? Do they have any? For example, do they run a prioritised maintenance schedule? How do they support the skippers? (with technical questions for example). Do they have a Renter’s manual? What’s the support like off-base?
  • For smaller boats (40′), then bare boat is the bigger market. You can succeed with skippered charters, it’s just harder. Hand the boat over for 3 months and request it back in the same condition (this will increase wear and tear though which may increase your depreciation).
  • If you just want to do skippered, you are better off with a 45′ boat and bigger. I would even go Owner’s Version and go for less, higher quality rentals.
  • For skippered charters, go with a company with a large pool of professionals and make sure you meet them before you hand the keys over. Ideally, go for a sail with them beforehand to check them out.
  • Run the business through a company.
  • A realistic aim is to cover the running costs on your boat. If you can cover the running costs and the depreciation you are doing really well. If you can make a profit, you are smashing it!
  • If you are in a relationship that isn’t working, make the decision fast and switch companies. Otherwise another year rolls along.

Summary

It is possible to make this work if you keep your expectations modest and just aim to cover the running costs on the boat (we managed this for 2 years). Then you are getting to use the boat for just the cost of the depreciation. In our case, the depreciation was pretty low although we did have a one off tax bill to pay initially as we registered the boat with a Spanish flag.

If you can cover the depreciation as well, even better. The silver lining for us was that the boat didn’t go down in value much due to the strong market.

It is very hard to turn a profit on one boat, but not impossible: you probably wouldn’t have much personal use out of it.

Main points:

  • Spend time researching and getting to know your business partner before signing. Book a charter through them.
  • If the relationship goes sour and you can’t fix it, move on quickly.
  • Base yourself inside the cruising area to maximise your revenue potential.
  • Remember to enjoy the boat!

If you have further questions, contact us, we’d be happy to help.

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Designing the HH44 Interiors

Paul Hakes (CEO & Co-Founder of HH) and James Hakes (HH Naval Architect) in the second video of the series: how they and the team at HH Catamarans developed the all new HH44 Interiors. Welcome to “Yachting Evolved.”

Luxury Living Spaces

“The interior is where our clients live and as well as being inviting and comfortable they’ve got to be open and functional. I would like to think that after starting from the 66 seven years ago with all the models that we’ve done in between we’ve really cracked it with this one”.

“We’re quite fortunate in that all our boats are semi-customized. Despite us being an in-house design office, compared to a high volume production, we need to talk to the customer first to find out what they want, and design a functional space that suits them. That is how we developed the 44.”

“The 44 doesn’t have as much room for customization due to the price point so we had to design an interior that we could set in stone. The choices had to be limited on décor rather than arrangement and equipment.”

How it’s Arranged

“Let’s dive into the arrangement itself. On the port side as you enter the salon is the galley and it’s U-shaped. We’ve found this works really well on the 50. We’ve rotated it on the 44 but it is still fantastic on a fast moving boat that can move a bit and so you have room to brace yourself all around you.”

“It’s a very functional space for cooking. It’s important when you’re on passage, when even on a comfortable boat like this if you’ve got a meter or two meters of swell, the boat’s moving around.”

“Having a U-shaped galley is is a tremendous asset. We all love open spaces but on a boat, open spaces can be dangerous. There is a fine balance, a line that we had to walk when designing the interior. How much space do we offer? Lots of space looks great at a boat show but it’s not so good when you’re in the middle of the ocean when you’re trying to walk from one side to the other.”

“On the opposite side of the salon you have an L-shaped settee, two meters by two meters so you can lie down either side of it. The table even lowers into a pilot berth day bed”.

Work From Home

“One of my favorite areas in the salon is the nav station. You’ll notice it’s larger than on the HH50 in terms of surface area but we always seem to fill it up. I’m sure a lot of us experienced in 2020 a fair stretch of home working, and many wish they could have been working on a yacht somewhere at anchor.”

“A lot of our clients are buying boats for this very reason, so we paid a bit more attention to the nav station to make it functional not just as a navigation desk but also as an office desk, so you’ve got room for your laptop or a big screen, there’s storage and plenty of console space if you want to fit different electronics.”

Ventilation

Also in the salon, we should mention that the two forward windows swing open and that will create great ventilation. They swing forwards so when there’s light rain, you don’t have to close them. Also just behind the mast there are port lights that that actually open inwards.”

Keeping Cool

“One of the fantastic benefits of the hybrid is that in order to power it you need quite a large lithium battery bank to push the boat. In comparison to the power it takes to push the boat, air conditioners don’t use very much so, in a hypothetical scenario, if you weren’t using anything else but an air conditioner you could run it for a week non-stop.”

“Living on the boat every day you’re getting solar energy and if you are sailing the you’re charging. So you can run air conditioning all the time if you want and not have to worry about draining the batteries.”

Sleeping Well

“Another important aspect of the HH44 of course is luxury. We spend 30 percent of our lives sleeping, so we use proper sprung marine mattresses with plastic springs and memory foam on the top so you sleep well.”

“Even our cushions in the salon and cockpit we’ve developed over many generations to get the right combination of open cell high density and foam with a lighter density foam on top so that it feels nice to sit in for an extended period. This is what luxury is about: beautiful sculptured foam cushions!”

Headroom

“An important one because the human race as a species has got taller quite dramatically over the last 40 years, and Americans are particularly tall. In the hulls you have between six foot eight and six foot six clearance.”

“Despite the good looks of the boat, with clever design we can provide great head room. In the salon it varies from six foor eight to six foot ten. That in itself creates the feeling of luxury.”

Room for your Kit

“Storage space I consider another luxurious thing and we’ve got really big lockers at the front where we can house scuba gear and a dive compressor thanks to the hybrid electric engines.”

“Instead of the engine room, we’ve got a an empty space (well it’s got some steering gear in there and some other functions) but it’s another good cockpit storage space with a big deep locker.”

“The lockers at the front of the boat have plenty of room for all your sails and toys and if it were just a couple aboard and storage was the primary consideration we do have the option for the forward starboard cabin: you can take out the double berth there and fit it out with a workshop space with additional refrigeration.”

“And you’ve still got the aft cabin on the starboard side for your guests to come aboard with a vip double queen bed. And you’ve got overflow into the salon should people need to sleep there. So whether that space is a pantry, a workshop with lots of storage and a big working bench surface is up to you.”

Lighting

“Also adding to the luxury feel of the boat we’ve paid special attention to the lighting because that’s an important part of any environment: the feeling and being able to set the mood. A harsh spotlight makes the space feel smaller so we’ve used indirect lighting wherever possible with rope lights hidden in the furniture.”

“One of the features of this that I really like is that there are RGB lights so when you’re night sailing you can set all the rope lights in the boat to red to help with your night vision.”

“That’s form and function coming together beautifully. It’s one thing to design a beautiful interior but it’s another thing to keep the design as a performance boat.”

“And you know, we have a proprietary system of making our furniture panels. They’re all foam cored and weigh just over three kilos a square meter.”

“Well I think we have touched over everything beautiful about the inside of our boats, thanks for joining and welcome to Yachting Evolved on the HH44!”

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Win Tickets for the 2022 International Multihull Show!

Note: this promotion has now ended.

We have 10 tickets to give away for the 2022 International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte, France.

Here’s how to enter

  1. Join the Katamarans Club: subscribe to our newsletter at katamarans.com/newsletter/
  2. Follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already @katamarans
  3. Send us an email at the address below to confirm your entry, email address and Instagram handle.

That’s it! We will be holding a prize draw and announcing the ticket winners by the 10th April 2022.

Terms and Conditions

You will be automatically entered into a free prize draw when you subscribe to our newsletter at katamarans.com/newsletter/, follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already @katamarans and send us an email to confirm your entry, email address and Instagram handle.


By entering, the participant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
– There are 10 tickets to the 2022 International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte to be won.
– The winner will be selected at random from all entries received.
– The free prize draw is ongoing until Katamarans notifies
– The draw will take place on the 10th April 2022.
– Winners will be notified by e-mail or Instagram.
– The winner can chose the day of visit from the 20th to the 24th April 2022.
– The prize is not transferable and no cash alternative is available.
– Katamarans will not take responsibility for any lost tickets – replacements cannot be issued.
– The Promoter is Baraca Planet SL, C/Diputacio 297 2-1, 08009 Barcelona, Spain.
– The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw this offer or amend these Terms and Conditions at any time without notice.
– In the event of any dispute regarding the Terms and Conditions, the conduct, results and any other matters relating to this prize draw, the decision of the Promoter shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

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Designing the HH 44

Paul Hakes (CEO & Co-Founder of HH) and James Hakes (HH Naval Architect) on how they and the team at HH Catamarans developed the all new HH44. Welcome to “Yachting Evolved.”

As part of our deeper dive of HH Catamarans, we’re going to cover their five-part mini series on their new, groundbreaking and disruptive performance catamaran: the HH44. HH are calling this “Yachting Evolved”.

We’re going to go take an in-depth look at some of the design features on this boat.

The HH44 has been designed as standard with electric propulsion and a Diesel Hybrid backup, 3,190 watts of solar, hydro power generation, swing helms, folding transoms, forward opening windows, 48 volt deck systems, shaft-drive folding propellers, pre-preg carbon fiber C-shaped daggerboards, and near wind-speed sailing performance.

Innovation

This performance cruising has been designed from the ground up as an ECO yacht with electric hybrid power and has many new features: folding transoms, swing helms, great ventilation, gorgeous finishes, great sailing performance (being part of the HH catamarans family it has that racing pedigree).

These are no compromise boats built from carbon fibre which makes them light, comfortable and safe.

No Compromise Yacht Building

This no compromise philosophy has been evident at HH from the very start of their builds and goes right through the range which started with the HH66, then the HH-50, the HH55, a 77 and now even an 88 in construction: a true superyacht

All these boats benefit from strong lightweight construction and a race pedigree. The 50s and the 55s are the most popular to date because they can be owner operated while being great boats for a family who want to cruise around the world.

But the the 50 is still a big powerful boat. There is a market out there for people who want something a little smaller.

James Hakes, Naval Architect: “..the conversation turned to, well, how small should it be? It still needs to maintain the performance characteristics of an HH catamaran but we really needed to decide what goes into it. It still has to be a world cruiser. So we started with a couple or a small family. What do they need and what do they demand of an HH catamaran in terms of luxuries, amenities, space, the features and the equipment?”

This defined their starting point and then they looked at:
– How much weight does that mean?
– What sort of hull shape are we going to need to support that payload?

A world cruiser needs a good payload: that defined the waterline length they were looking at. The beam to length ratio sits roughly between 50% and 55%. So they took the HH50 and and shrunk it down, a natural design process to follow but it didn’t work out: it was too top-heavy.

Aft Swing Helms

The HH50 has the most spectacular helm stations you could want on a cruising boat, but that design just didn’t work on the smaller model.

So they started playing around with moving the helms into the aft cockpit and this morphed to the swing aft helms. Interestingly this is something that HH launched in 2014 with their very first HH66 swing helm and it worked well. It’s interesting that many competitors have claimed it as their innovation (!)

What they’re putting in the aft cockpit of the HH44 is an off the shelf product from Jefa that really works. It’s tried and tested and many monohulls and trimarans use it: essentialy a pedestal that can swing from side to side.

Why do it? Swing it inboard to get out of the weather, swing it outboard to look down the side deck with a clear line to your sails.

Profile

Moving the helms aft gave HH a lot of freedom and flexibility to restyle. They looked at sharp windows that fully open to maximise ventilation when needed. Since they lowered the helms into the aft cockpit they decided that they needed to make things really safe so one of the most striking features of the exterior of the boat are the transoms: something not seen before on other catamarans.

This is a big part of the design. For a 44 footer, the boat actually looks a bit bigger, a bit longer and a bit sleeker. HH noticed on their other boats that washboards across the transom were a popular option. These keep the cockpit safe for children and pets and keep out following seas. When Huson Marine (who own HH) were building the Gunboats 60s it was a popular choice back then.

So for the 44, they have designed something permanent that looks great and is functional. It effectively extends the boat. Typically in a 44-foot boat sailing in the ocean you’ve got your stern and your transom steps and while sailing that’s not usable space. On the HH44 you have livable, usable space all the way to the back of the catamran. It’s almost as if you have the space of a 48 footer. Fold down the transoms at anchor and the overall length does become 48 feet. It’s a unique design in the market

Solar Power and Low Boom Power

Also moving the helms into the aft cockpit opened up the coach roof for a world leading solar installation. The HH-44 comes with 3.2 kilowatts of solar power as standard. It allows them to lower the boom, lowering the center of effort of the mainsail, so you can put more power safely into your sails without heeling. They’ve lowered the boom so that you’re getting all this power down low, which is exacltly where you want it driving the boat.

Paul Hakes (CEO): “We set about it with the design philosophy that we’re creating a boat for years to come. This isn’t a boat that that is is going to be next year’s fad, this is going to be an industry leader and that’s why we I call it highly disruptive. It’s highly disruptive in its style, its design and its technology and will be a leader in the marketplace for many years to come”.

Eco Drives

On groundbreaking technology, the biggest part of that are the eco drives. The HH44 has a parallel hybrid system: electric, quiet, fume-free propulsion at a good speed that piggybacks on reliable, trusted diesel technology. You just flick on the hybrid system giving you all the advantages of electric motoring with the reliability of diesel.

You get instant torque for maneuvering, hydro regeneration, so you’re generating electricity while you’re sailing and a big area to generate solar power.

HH are already building the first boat, infusing carbon into the first mold. Stay tuned for the next episode in the series.

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Building HH Catamarans

We had a chat recently with HH Catamarans to get an idea of how this performance multihull company has grown since the launch of the first HH66 back in 2016. It’s been quite a ride as their range and customer base has expanded.

Let’s take a look at where they have come from and where they are heading to by taking a look at some of the yachts they are building in their yard.

hh66

In the Spring of 2016 HH Catamarans launched HH6601 R-SIX, the first in its new line of full carbon, luxury performance cruising catamarans. The stunning 66’ clear-coated carbon hull set a new benchmark for the segment. Fast forward six years and 15 launches later, HH continues to raise the bar and redefine what’s possible in a performance cruising cat.

Expanding the HH Range

Over the past several years HH Catamarans has expanded its range of offerings to include models from 44-88’, introducing a new model every two years.

The newest design, the Parallel Hybrid Eco-Drive HH44, is set to become the brand’s most successful model, with 14 hulls sold on spec. HH4401 will launch in early 2023, with subsequent hulls launching bi-monthly.

HH44 Outer Hull Mold Gelcoating

The refined and performance optimized HH60 which sits neatly between the 55 and the 66 is set to launch later this year, along with the world’s largest all carbon performance cruising catamaran, the HH88, complete with enclosed flybridge and jacuzzi. Those are options by the way.

HH60-01 and HH55-07 Heading for the Paint Shed

With 16 boats on the water, 10 currently under construction, and an additional 15 on order, it’s safe to say the brand is securely positioned as one of the world’s strongest builders in the semi-custom category.

Hudson Yacht Group

HH Catamarans’ parent company, Hudson Yacht Group employs 250 people and 600sqm between three main production halls.

HH50-06, OC50-02 with HH88-01 at the far end

The newest shed alone is 200m long by 60m wide, with three mezzanine floors, four 5 ton gantry cranes, 2 industrial elevators and a 40m long EPA compliant spray booth. Plans for further expansion are underway, including an onsite marina.

Scaling Up

You can get an idea of the scale of the operation from this shot below of the deck of HH50-07 with HH88-01 in the background.

Launches

Launches to-date and boats currently under construction include:

  • HH66: 5 boats launched
  • HH55: 5 boats launched, 5506 underway (photo below)
  • HH50: 5 boats launched, 5006 and 5007 underway
HH55-06 Looking Good Sleek with her New Bimini Design

OC50: 1 boat launched, OC5002 and OC5003 underway

OC50-02.

HH60: 6001, 6002, 6003 underway
HH44: 4401 underway
HH88: 8801 underway

With a proven track record, an eye for innovation, and the ability to adapt and evolve, HH Catamarans have the wind in their sails.

More Information

To learn more visit hhcatamarans.com or contact sales@hhcatamarans.com.