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2 x 57HP
The MC50 might be the smallest multihull in the McConaghy range, but this boat is no kitty cat. She´s pretty striking with some unique features that have been made possible thanks to the composite engineering design skills of McConaghy. Compared to older 50′ designs like the St Francis 50 catamaran, this boat feels positively space aged.
The MC50 catamaran is the first in a line of performance luxury cats by McConaghy. They also offer a 50, 60, 77 and 90-footer with larger custom sizes up to 145 feet. With engineering and manufacturing centres in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and China, the McConaghy brand is well known to racing yachtsmen. They have around 50-years of experience in building advanced composite projects such as submarines, racing cars, racing yachts, superyachts and America’s Cup boats. They are now turning their hands to luxury multihulls, inspired by classic yachts like the Gunboat 62 and other performance brands like HH Catamarans (also built in China).
McConaghy commissioned naval architect Jason Ker, famous for his racing yachts and BAR America’s Cup design, to come up with this range of luxurious and safe performance multihulls. She competes against the likes of the Kinetic KC54 and the HH55.
Let´s take a look, shall we?
The main deck is one huge interconnected area of around 40 square metres. The saloon extends right back to the hydraulic swimming platform aft (an option: where your tender goes when you are under way) and folding doors at the rear of the saloon gives this yacht a Manhattan Apartment feel.
All the sailing is done on the flybridge which you access via steps from the back of the saloon. The lines feed back to the twin helms which have impressive views forward and aft. You´d be pretty exposed up here in a blow, however- I worry what it would be like in a big sea. Read our Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 Review for an idea of what a protected Flybridge helm looks like. You can see all around the boat from up top, however, and you can imagine that sailing this catamaran at 21 knots from up here must be quite a thrill.
The main traveller is positioned forward of the helms which leaves space for a big bench seat that spans the boat at the back of the flybridge, so this can be a pretty social area too, especially when you´re on the hook.
Of course, with that flybridge, the downside is that the boom is higher up the mast compared to other performance cats which makes it more difficult to access the mainsail and it means the MC50 CAT has higher centre of gravity and centre of effort than other performance catamarans.
The coachroof covers the whole of the interior, so there is plenty of space for solar panels and there is a big skylight running the length of the roof creating a light interior with great visibility of the sails from inside.
The MC50 comes fully loaded with a rotating carbon rig, a self tacking jib and plenty of head sail options to hook onto the end of the longeron, like an overlapping genoa, code zero and gennaker. The chined hulls set this boat up for speed through the water while giving you plenty of space above it. You´ll also notice that the MC50 does not have a forward crossbeam. With its carbon construction providing the structural rigidity, there is no need for one.
The galley area is enormous and is centred around a big island. Opposite is a saloon chill out area with a big L shaped sofa around a coffee table. Forward in the saloon is another (smaller) sofa and a forward facing nav station on the port side. Electric sliding windows open the whole area up aft to the breeze. The whole feel is light and area with a modern stylish design.
The sofa to starboard and the table will extend to accommodate up to 8: you can convert it into a lounging space by dropping the table and filling in with the cushion.
With an Axxon carbon mast with a single spreader, and a giant square top mainsail, the MC50 certainly looks like she moves. She will consistently sail at 75 to 100% true wind speed, so yes she moves alright. Polars from the manufacturer point to speeds of over 10 knots in 25 knots of wind at 30° off true. Come off the wind onto a broad reach and she´ll manage 21 knots-plus if handled well. Performance on a close reach is helped by those 3.5m hydraulic centreboards that swing into the hulls: a cleverly engineered solution to leeway.
The MC50 comes equiped with a square-top 104 m2 mainsail and a 50 m2 self-tacking jib. With Ker’s sculpted hulls and all that carbon, this translates into serious speed on the water. Owners have reported that this flybridge-equipped luxury cruiser exceeds true wind speed from time to time.
Even fully loaded with a washing machine, air conditioning, generator, aft hydraulic platform, icemaker and all the other toys, this yacht has been designed to soak up the weight and still move at ease through the water. How do they do it? Well, McConaghy have used around 60% carbon in the construction for weight savings, and prioritised stiffness in the build. McConaghy´s skillset is constructing high-end racing yachts – it´s part of their DNA to save weight while maximising strength (the aft bulkhead is almost two inches thick and solid carbon for example).
The designers have set a new design benchmark in luxury cruising with this catamaran: it´s a cleverly designed yacht. As a living space, it is more luxury apartment than boat with all of that natural light and fresh air you get with the sliding doors and windows.
That view from the helms on the superb, but there is a drawback here. They are very exposed and the flybridge means that the boom is high on the mast. I worry about those steps up from the saloon in a seaway as well- you would need to watch your step around them.
However, there is no doubt that this luxury catamaran is something of an engineering marvel- from the bowsprit longeron with no cross-bar to the hydraulic centreboards that swing up into the hulls. These have fail-safe pins that break on impact. This is a boat that will turn heads. But I can´t help thinking that is more targeted at customers blasting around the Mediterranean, rather than setting off on long distance trans-ocean passages. Although it does hold a Bureau Veritas classification for blue water sailing – the highest global rating. Having said that, I´d probably be happy enough in my oilies up there in a blow