Gunboat 68

Description

The Gunboat 68 is the first model to launch from Grand Large Yachting- the new owners of the famous performance multihull brand.

The 1 Minute Summary

– The Gunboat 68 has been designed as a green machine
– You order your own boat from a menu of custom packs
– The 2 main options: Cruising Pack and Racing Pack.
– Gunboat 68-01 has clocked speeds in the 30s. Surfing, but still, these are fast yachts.
– A very tidy design with most sail handling done from the forward cockpit.
– Christophe Chedal Anglay’s interior design is luxurious.
– The SA/D ratio on the Regatta set up is 38. Rotating mast is optional.
– Price is over €6 million. It is highly dependant on your options order of course.
– Examples sailing around include Condor, Dash and Sea Tilt.

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Customer Feedback Loop
The COO, William Jelbert, and the new team spent a good deal of time talking to existing Gunboat owners and skippers to find out how to develop the range, and then teamed up with multihull and racing boat maestros VPLP for the new design. They know a thing or two about fast boats having designed the Outremer 5X and Comanche.

The result is gaining plaudits from existing owners and new customers alike. The lines are sleek yet aggressive, with reverse bows and some neat ideas like a modular saloon interior that is fully demountable on race days. This boat is all about attention to detail.

Let’s see how things have moved on from the Gunboat 48 and their other iconic cats shall we?

Pros

  • The Gunboat 68 is probably the fastest performance cruising cat on the water, and it achieves all of this without compromising on comfort.
  • There are 2 main packs to choose from: the Cruising pack or the Regatta pack with a longer rotating mast, boards and more powerful sail plan.
  • The whole boat has been designed so that you can add on options later.
  • If you intend to race the Gunboat 68, the interior has been set up so that you can strip out modules and get the weight down even further. In less than a day, a crew can lighten the ship by almost a tonne.
  • She boasts a huge array of solar on the coachroof – she´s pretty green.
  • There is an option for tillers and bucket seats aft for outside steering as well as Gunboat’s traditional inside steering position. This is a first for the brand and something I am really keen on – you get the best of both worlds here.
  • She will likely hold her value very well if the other Gunboat models are anything to go by.

Cons

  • The price. This is a money no object, expensive yacht. Asking the “How Much Does a Gunboat 68 Cost?” is one of those “How Long is a Piece of String?” questions, because it depends on what options and pack you order, but don´t expect to be phoning the Gunboat sales team without €5-6 million in your back pocket to begin the conversation.
  • Maintenance and running costs. The old adage applies, the more expensive your boat, the more expensive it is to run. You will be spending hundreds of thousands a year on the running costs. But, if you can afford to buy one, you can probably afford to run one. Just bear in mind that you can get a lot of boat for less money in the performance cruising market. The competition includes Kinetic, Ocean Explorer and HH. I doubt those other brands will hold their value as well though….
  • This is no owner-operator boat. Most owners will have a professional crew to run the yacht for them. Theoretically you can sail her single-handed, but if things go wrong, which they do on boats, well… let’s just say there are some big loads involved. The main on the Regatta option is 175m², remember.

Feature Rich Supercat
The fixed bimini will house enough solar panels to make the Gunboat 68 a true green machine without the need for a generator. There are options for tillers and bucket seats for pure adrenaline sailing (a nod to sister ships Outremer perhaps?) as well as Gunboat’s signature inside helm and forward cockpit. For sailing feel, I can only think of the Marsaudon Composites TS5, the Ocean Explorer OE62 or the Outremer 5X for boats that get anywhere close.

Build Your Own Boat
You can customise the performance set up on these boats: choose between asymmetric or symmetric dagger-boards (there are 3 options here: short symmetrical boards for cruising, long asymmetrical boards, for racing or long symmetrical), long or short boom, rotating wing-mast or fixed rig and so on. In fact, there are more than 80 combinations available for the interior during the production process.

Cruising or Racing?
The two main options are the performance cruising set up and the racing set up which has 4m added to the mast for lighter wind speed and a longer boom and longeron (the midships beam and bowsprit). When the wind picks up, you won’t notice much difference between the two set ups as they both use the same template. She’s been designed to add on the extras if you want.

Gunboat are back to their very best with this head-turner. She’s an all-carbon build again, and those reversed wave-piercing bows and the low-profile coachroof, give her an ultra sporty look: this boat looks like she means business.

She´s Faster than the Wind
VPLP design are industry veterans of some of the world’s biggest, fastest multihulls of course. They’ve increased the beam and stepped the mast aft for stability and ease of handling. With or without the longer rig, she’ll go like the wind or even faster in some cases.

You can expect to be shunting along at around 25 knots in a blow, and up to 16 knots in a decent breeze. Condor, which is hull #1, has clocked a 30kt surf.

500 nautical miles per day was the designer’s stretch target in the right conditions: speeds in the high teens and low twenties are not a drama on a 68. This 17.8-ton catamaran has been developed with advanced hydro and aero studies, an area of expertise at VPLP which they have used to develop raceboats such as Macif.

North Sails were also closely involved. A tacking angle of 90° should be achievable in most conditions – pretty unusual for a large cruising multihull.

Interview with William Jelbert on Dash (68-02)

Here´s a chat we had with William Jelbert (the Gunboat COO) at Cannes in 2019 on Dash where he takes us through some of the features of the boat. Dash is set up as a cruising boat.

The interior helm station is pure Gunboat, and she comes with a sunroof (or Moonroof rather) for keeping an eye on the sails and ventilation. The finish matches the quality you’d see on a private jet: she’s lavish with clever details on storage, ventilation and light.

The Classic Gunboat Forward Cockpit
Step through two watertight doors in the front of the saloon and you are into the forward cockpit and the foredeck where all the sailing business happens- and this is an exceptionally tidy area for a boat this size, especially if we are talking the performance cruiser option (such as Dash Gunboat 6802) as you will have opted for the fixed rather than the rotating rig.

Lines run outboard from the forward cockpit, like the daggerboard raise and lower lines and two sets of spinnaker sheets. A lot of planning went in to make sure that lines run as straight as possible to reduce friction  trip hazards. There’s a sealed tunnel through the cabin top from the cockpit to the daggerboard casings for example.

There is also an option of adding a tiller and bucket seats on the aft beam to give you that maximum sailing feel while you are out on the water.

Living Space

Stepping inside the luxurious saloon from the forward cockpit, the galley to port has an island if you wish, and the rear windows can be thrown open to connect the inside and outside into one. Down below, there is space for four, five, or even six full-sized double beds with fantastic views through the long topside windows.

Design Masterpiece
The mastermind behind the interior design is Christophe Chedal Anglay who worked with Patrick le Quément on the exterior of the Gunboat 68. He was hired after his work on a full interior redesign for Gunboat 60 Moonwave. The key to his design philosophy is beauty through simplicity. The attention to detail can be seen in the master cabin, where the super comfortable bed has a U- shaped headboard designed to absorb sound. Much of the lighting is set into recesses to create a chilled mood and the air conditioning surrounds the bed in slow-moving, cool air.

The sight-lines have been well thought through. In all of the cabins, you can sit up in bed and see the horizon. The devil is in the detail, as they say.

The Rig

A Big, Powerful Rig
The 2 options for the rig plan are the Cruising Option with a 142 m2 main or the Regatta Mast (4m taller) with 175 m2 main. The regatta option also has bigger headsails (J1 Jib, J2 Solent and J3 Staysail), and the light wind sails are beefed up. See the full details in our tech specs section below. We calculate the SA/D and D/L ratios using the light displacement and the mainsail + J2 solent. This just allows us to compare the 68 against other boats on the site.

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio
The SA/D for the regatta version comes in at an eye-ball popping 38. As a comparison, a Lagoon 380 has a SA/D of around 21. There´s a lot of power in a Gunboat 68 rig!

The Regatta package comes with a rotating mast, whereas the Performance Cruising option is non-rotating.

All standing rigging is ECsix carbon. The Regatta Rig, if combined with the longer daggerboards should give a 12% boost to speeds upwind and up to 20% downwind in lighter wind conditions.

When the wind picks up and you start to reduce sail, both set-ups offer similar performance.

The traveler line driver winch is inside the aft beam so you can handle the mainsheet traveler lines at source, rather than have them led all the way under the boat to the forward cockpit. So you can ease the traveler from the forward cockpit, helm, or the back of the boat.

Summary

The Gunboat 68 sits at the very head of the Top Table of Multihulls – this boat sets new standards in design and construction. The primary target market is for sailors who want the ultimate performance cruising catamaran and are prepared to pay for the privilege. Many owners will race their boats once or twice a year, but most will be blasting off to skinny water destinations like the Bahamas.

She’s well worthy of the marque: Grand Large Yachting have relaunched the brand with a starting gun bang with this rocket ship.

If you are looking to gauge her against the competition (and there´s plenty in this market segment), then I´d recommend you check out our Ocean Explorer OE60 review which is produced in Finland, the KC62 from Kinetic or take a look at some of the HH Catamarans (like the HH66).

Gunboat 68s

6801 – Condor – Jan 17 2019
6802 – Dash – Jul 3 2019
6803 – Sea Tilt – Jul 2020
6804 – Tosca – Jan 2021

FAQs

How much does a Gunboat 68 cost? What is the price?
Well, it´s “Price on Application” and it will depend on the pack you choose (regatta? cruising?) and the options you go for, but have around €6 million tucked into your back pocket when you phone them. Gunboat has offices in Newport RI, (USA )and La Grande Motte, France.

What versions of the Gunboat 68 are available?
There is a cruising version with a 25m mast and symmetric boards. The other option is the regatta version with a 29m mast, longer boom and longeron  and asymmetric boards. There are a whole range of options between these end cases.

How does the 68 compare to previous Gunboat designs?
The Gunboat 68 has more salon seating and volume than the Gunboat 60 and 62, but less than the 66. The aft cockpit is bigger than the 60, 62 and 66’s. All 4 VIP cabins are bigger than the cabins on all the other Gunboat models apart from the the Gunboat 78 (Nigel Irens) and 90 (Morrelli & Melvin). The 68´s hulls are narrower than her older siblings and the bridgedeck is shorter than a 66. The bows are longer and the sterns are longer, too. The mast is further aft.

Does the Mast Rotate on a Gunboat 68?
Gunboat offer a rotating mast on the regatta rig version for extra power from the main. The standard rig is lighter (non- rotating). So for most owners, the complexity and cost of a rotating rig, plus the extra weight is not worthwhile. If you are racing Tribe (6201) in the BVI, however, it could come in handy.

Is the new Gunboat built by Outremer?
No. Gunboat is entirely owned by Grand Large Yachting which also owns Outremer, but it is neither owned or controlled by Outremer. Gunboats are produced in a yard across the road from Outremer and the engineering department are all together at the Gunboat site. Gunboat has dedicated engineers for Interior, Structure, Deck/Rig and dedicated process/production engineers. They do share engineering resource with Outremer for systems. The production team is completely dedicated to Gunboat.

What’s the Top Speed of a Gunboat 68? How fast does she sail?
Condor (68-01) has clocked 30 knots. OK, there was some surfing involved, but you wouldn’t call her a slow boat.

Tech Specs and Video

We calculated SA/D and D/L based on light displacement and the mainsail + solent (J2). This is to enable a meaningful comparison across katamarans.com

Technical Specification

Length

20.75m/68ft

Beam

9.1m,/29.9ft

Draft (Boards Up)

1.2m/3.9ft

Draft (Boards Down)

3.76/9.84

Bridgedeck

1m / 3'3"

Disp. (standard)

17,800Kg

Disp. (Max Load)

23,800Kg

D/L

56

Rig 1

CRUISING

Mainsail (C)

142m² / 1,528 sq ft

J1 Jib (C)

90m² / 969 sq ft

J2 Solent (C)

66m² / 710 sq ft

J3 Staysail (C)

49m² / 527 sq ft

SA/D (C)

31

Rig 2

REGATTA

Mainsail (R)

175m² / 1,884 sq ft

J1 Jib (R)

110m² / 1,184 sq ft

J2 Solent (R)

77m² / 829 sq ft

J3 Staysail (R)

54m² / 581sq ft

SA/D (R)

38

SA/D*

Calc with mainsail + J2

Fuel

2x378L

Water

2x378L

Architect

Power

2 x 80 HP Yanmars