The ITA 14.99 is a sleek looking addition to the performance cruising market from ITA Catamarans, an Italian yard.
The designers and builders of this yacht have done a great job in saving weight across the boat: she´s 10.5 tonnes light, with a bimini top that only weighs 330 kg: pretty impressive. That compares favourably with other catamarans in this category (read our Catana 53 review for example- that yacht weighs 14.5 tonnes light).
Big Design Brains
The 14.99 was designed by Yacht Design Collective, including François Pérus, a graduate of the Christophe Barreau school of multihull design (famous for his Catana designs as well as speedsters like the Outremer 45 and the Maraudon Composites TS42) and Romain Scolari. You get a sense of the design DNA here with her fine lines and devotion to weight reduction.
The boat is epoxy infused and the lamination is mainly glass with carbon reinforcements.
She has some pretty innovative build processes, too. The first mold consists of the inner/outer hulls, bridgedeck, and both foredecks. Mold 2 is the deck, cockpit, aft crossbeam, transoms, and salon floor base and then mold 3 consists of the light coachroof/bimini.
Innovative Build Process
By laminating these packs of components at the same time, they do away with the junctions that would need additional resin/cloth and she needs less fairing which all saves weight. The whole process produces a more rigid and homogeneous structure. She represents that step up from production boats of a similar size like the Nautitech Open 46 and the Fountaine Pajot Saba 50 (the latter being more geared towards comfort).
Sailing / On Deck
The 14.99 comes with a self tacking solent and a Lorima spreaderless rig which adds to her clean look on the water plus a big square top mainsail. A central winch on the aft crossbeam in the cockpit controls the reefing and halyard lines: it´s one of the tidiest setups we have seen on a cat and takes a lot of cues from Catana. It reminds us of the set up on the Slyder 49.
The traveler runs along the aft cross-beam. Board and furling lines plus all of the sheets are run to winches aft: this is a boat that has been well set up for short-handed sailing at speed.
A Tidy Boat
What really struck me about this boat when I saw it in Cannes is just how tidy the running rigging is. It is a very well organised boat with lots of attention to detail.
The ITA 14.99 has twin aft helms that are set back monohull style (here´s where we will get into the usual helm position debate, I am sure!)
I personally love this set up, but it won´t suit everyone. The disadvantages are well known: more exposure to the elements in a blow and visibility to the opposite bow are the main ones, but on the plus side, it is the best place on the boat to see the tell-tales on both sails and feel the wind in your hair.
In any case, if it blows up offshore you´ll be inside at the nav station. You might need to put your Helly Hansen on if it´s raining coming into the marina.
The Open Concept
This kind of configuration also opens up the cockpit and saloon into one huge living space. I also like to see where everyone is on the boat at all times, especially if there are kids on board, but I understand that this is a personal preference.
With her generous sail plan and light displacement, she is a real sailor’s boat.
Both helms have swing out Jefa wheels so you can swing out even further if you like. The only thing I am not too keen on is the simple rests behind the helms on the boat I saw – there´s standing room only here. However, I believe that this is customisable as I have seen plenty of renderings with helm seats- this was one example I saw at Cannes Yachting Festival.
Plenty of Sail Power
In terms of wind power, you have a furling solent (49 m²/527 sq ft) with soft shackles,and a stay sail for stronger conditions. The sail plan is generous (91m²/980 sq ft mainsail) with a code 0 and a code D – furlable asymmetrical spinnaker – for lighter winds.
This is a catamaran that aims to match true wind speeds where she can. The aft steering, being so close to the action, is precise and direct. ITA claim a speed of 22 knots at 115° in 25 knots true in the right conditions – she´s certainly no slow coach.
Living Space / Down Below
Coming into the salon, you´ll notice it’s very light thanks to the big expanse of flat glass giving great views all round. There´s a U-shaped galley (there´s also an option for an island if you wish) to starboard that looks like it’s handy in a seaway, set back from the ample nav station facing forward.
This being an Italian boat, they haven´t skimped on the finishing- the furniture is an attractive teak veneer on foam sandwich (again to keep the weight down). Where they haven’t compromised for weight is on the working surfaces and the glass windows.
The 14.99 is available as an owner’s version (3 cabins) and a 4 cabin version with various configurations (queen, office bunk beds etc). The owner´s version has an enclosed stand up shower forward in the starboard hull and plenty of storage space forward of the owner’s suite. The port hull has a roomy shared head with shower and up to 2 cabins, again elegantly and simply designed. The furnishings feel much warmer than many of the performance cats we´ve looked a, like the Marsaudon Composites TS5 which tend to be more spartan.
I guess that´s the Italian touch and underlines their philosophy of comfort and speed.
ITA Catamarans have a close relationship with Oceanvolt – the electric propulsion specialists, and the first three 14.99s were powered with their kit. So the #3 hull came with 2 x 15kW electric saildrive motors, a 24,5kWh Valence lithium-ion battery pack and a 15kWh DC generator.
You have about 30-45 minutes of power before the generator kicks in. The whole power pack should push you along comfortably at 7 knots.
In any case, this boat has been designed for sailing, so if there´s 5 knots of wind or more you are moving under sail and recharging your batteries with the hydro-generator.
The partnership with Oceanvolt, the Finnish electric propulsion specialists, on the ITA 14.99 means that his yacht is sustainable, clean and self-sufficient. The lithium batteries are recharged during sailing through the propellers and the solar panels and the ITA 14.99 comes with a Schenker disalter which uses an “Energy Recovery System”, which they claim gives a reduction in power consumption of up to 80%.
This is a fine looking boat that slips through the water. The focus is on speed through the water, but done in a way to maximise safety and seaworthiness offshore rather than to break any records flying on one hull. This catamaran has solved the performance / comfort equation with a philosophy that reminds me of the Balance Catamarans range from South Africa. She´s designed to take off and cut through the waves in a gust rather than burying and feeling overpowered.
The idea is not to break records, like you would on other yachts (read our Atlantic 57 review or check out the Marsaudon Composites TS5 if that is more your thing), but to sail fast (at true wind speed where you can), safely and comfortably, away from the nasty weather.
A fine boat!