Many would say that Catana hit their high water mark with the 471: we reckon it’s a Classic Catamaran.
Designed by Christophe Barreau, this performance multihull was ahead of her time and still looks the business today. The 471 remains a very popular boat on the second hand market. Barreau is famous for many great fast cat designs from the Windelo 50 to the Outremer 51.
Catana build this model from 1997 to 2007 (although from 2003 this catamaran was marketed as the 47 Ocean Class. They also sold a model called the Catana 472 which was a higher spec’d version).
The difference between the 2 models is mostly down to marketing and the owners of the business at the time.
The 471 was manufactured before Catana ran into financial problems around 2002. Following that, the Poncin Group took over and the 472 was sold as the 47 Ocean Class. They didn’t build much of the lower spec version in the later years.
Photo credit: Lemonade (formerly Plan B), ICan, el Gato.
With the Ocean Class, Catana introduced a self tacking solent and a carbon mast. The 472 disappeared as the OC incorporated some of the aesthetic features of it and disregarded others. This is a classic that has influenced more recent designs such as the Seawind 1370 and the Outremer 45.
Many thanks to Lex & Nancy, from Amsterdam who are on SV Lemonade (formerly Plan B). You can follow what they are up to on SailingLemonade.com.
Just under 90 hulls were built (half of which are the earlier 471/2). An example is SV Escapade: a 2002 Catana 471 (Hull 61).
One of the reasons that these boats are still so popular is that they were built to last. The 471/2 was built with two outer hull molds and one deck mold that were vacuum bagged using vinylester resin and cored with PVC closed cell foam with unidirectional cloth for outer laminate & Twaron aramid cloth for inner laminate over the entire hull. The daggerboard trunks were over engineered to be seven times stronger than the daggerboards. All of the structural bulkheads were cored with Nidacore honeycomb core with carbon fiber on both sides.
A Great Balance
With the 471/2, Catana designed a catamaran that was a great compromise between performance and comfort with high build and finish quality. There are lighter boats out there, but if you know how to sail them, you will be among the fastest boats out on the water, particularly upwind. Designs like this with a mix of performance and comfort have inspired other brands such as Balance Catamarans, (although they have other ideas on the helm position).
The 471 was designed to be a good all round boat. It does everything well, without breaking any outright speed records, and the interior design of the 471 was well thought out and remains popular. These are performance cruisers, certainly faster than most crusing catamarans, and the 471 will point well upwind, but they are heavier than other performance brands such as Outremer. The Catanas slot in between a Nautitech and an Outremer on the performance/comfort scale.
Although Outremers are higher performance boats, a 45 of a similar age is much smaller and more spartan inside.
A Sailor’s Catamaran
Not everyone likes the aft helms on the Catana 471/2, but it does give you an unbeatable view of the sails you can see all corners of the boat from either helm. It’s not difficult to tack or gybe the 471, but let’s face it, those helms are exposed to the sun and the weather.
The mainsheet is managed with a double-ended block mainsheet system. Not having a traveler takes some getting used to, but once you are used to this set up you can accurately trim the mainsail. Again, this is not for everyone. On the plus side, it´s a simple set up with less to go wrong and all of lines lead back to a central main winch. That’s great for safety (you reef from the cockpit), but it does mean there are multiple line direction changes from the leech reef point to the winch which means more friction. Newer performance designs like the Slyder and the ITA 4.99 have followed this set up.
You can manage all of the lines and sail the boat from the cockpit. The only time you need to go forward is to launch or take down the spinnaker.
Most of these boats have a teak table that opens up and doubles up in size seating 8 people. And of course, the helm position is pure sporty Catana, with twin helms set aft. The starboard helm is the “main” helm with engine controls. Both helms have instruments, autopilot controls, and a wheel.
Unlike more modern designs, you step down into the saloon. It’s cosy! A large glass door and window connects the 2 spaces, and they feel like different zones compared to newer open catamarans like the Nautitechs. The saloon has a cosy U shaped sofa and plenty of storage under each of the seats. The table inside also flips open to twice its size.
One thing that you will always get with a Catana is a serious nav station. This is where you will be doing many of your night watches, setting course, monitoring conditions, and operating the boat while underway.
The galley faces aft like newer catamaran designs, with a decent oven, a 3-burner propane stove, a 200-litre refrigerator and a 100-liter freezer.
The port hull is the guest side, with two cabins and a shared head. There is plenty of storage on each side.
The port head is small with a shower head that pulls out from the sink. Pretty basic for the guests in other words! (You don´t want people getting too comfortable I guess).
The aft cabin is a nice design, what Catana call an “office/cabin.” It can be configured as a cosy cabin with a double bed or you can fold up the berth (to twin size) and use the extra space as an office. Again, there is plenty storage behind the berth, under the floor, under and to the side of the bed.
The forward cabin is popular as it has a big escape hatch which you can open at anchor for ventilation.
If you have found yourself a decent owner’s version, you will find the Owners Cabin in the starboard hull. One cabin, plenty of storage and a big head with a full stand up shower (separated from the head and sink by a curtain). There’s lots of space down here in the interconnecting corridor with cabinets for clothes, shelves, another cabinet for my folding cloths, and even room for a washer/dryer.
The 471/472 was one of Catana’s best designs, in our opinion. A good looking, well made, sturdy and comfortable catamaran with decent long distance performance, whatever the wind angle. Since they stopped manufacturing these some time ago, you will need to do your homework if you are buying one on the second hand market, but if you find one that has been well looked after they are hard to beat for the price.
How Much are Catana 471s?
This is going to entirely depend on the age and the condition of the boat. We have seen some nice examples around the $400k mark. These boats hold their value well.