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Marine Electric Engines: How They Work

By François Meyer | January 2024

Last season’s boat shows allowed us to visit and test several electric and hybrid-electric catamarans. It is now a reality: catamarans no longer necessarily have diesel auxiliary propulsion but can be equipped with electric motors.

But how do they work and how do we compare their performance to more traditional power units? Electric, hybrid, power, voltage, charging, autonomy: there are many questions that arise from these configurations.

The aim of this article is to explain the various technologies and see things more clearly. For example, we will take a look at Electric Engines vs Diesel Engines and compare serial and parallel hybrid power systems.

Definitions

Range and Power Density
Range and autonomy play a key role within cruising catamaran capabilities. Diesel delivers a huge range because of the high power density of this fuel.

For diesel, one 20 litre jerrycan of diesel (25 kg including the can) contains 204 kWh energy, which is very substantial compared to a battery bank. If you wanted to store 204 kWh energy in a battery bank, it would weigh more than 1200 kg.

The high power density of fossil fuels is one of the main reasons for the dependence of the industrialised world on this fuel. Conserving power within batteries costs a lot of weight and money and requires powerful inboard charging.

Efficiency

Diesel Engines

Because of the high power density of fossil fuels used in combustion engines, the efficiency of diesel ones, was not such an important consideration, especially in boating.

The average overall efficiency of a diesel engine rarely goes beyond 40%. It means you “lose” around 60 % of fuel within the process. Lots of internal mobile parts generate friction and heat which is the main loss.

Furthermore, most catamarans use saildrives. This transmission choice, saves space inside the hulls, but comes with around 10% more losses (gears) compared to a shaft drive.

So at the very end of the day, from an energy point of view, a catamaran fitted with diesel saildrives is not very efficient.

Efficiency of Diesel Engines

Electric Engines

On the other hand, there are not as many moving parts in an electric engine that uses a low friction magnetic field to operate. Their overall efficiency is much higher, higher than 90% in the case of the Permanent Magnet electric motors used in marine vessels.

Better efficiency means also avoiding waste! For that reason, most newbuild catamarans are choosing shaft drives, not
saildrives, to achieve better overall efficiency. Electric saildrives, like Oceanvolt Servoprop, are mainly designed for saildrive designed boats whose bilges are simply too small to receive a shaft.

Efficiency of Electric Engines

Downsizing : Diesel and Electric Power Engine Comparison

You may have already noticed this, but electric catamarans are commonly fitted with engines whose power rates well below diesel ones. Firstly there is the conversion factor between horsepower and kilowatt. This is just maths, as 1 kilowatt (kW) is equivalent to 1,36 HP.

The big difference is in torque availability. A diesel engine has its nominal power and torque (the ones that are advertised) at high RPM, at a much higher speed than an engine should be used.

On the graph below, we see power and torque of both diesel and electric engines.
For a traditional setup, the power is represented by the dark purple curve at high RPM of a diesel engine (max at 3200 RPM).

power torque curve electric vs diesel engines

If we look at the light purple curve (electric engine), this shows the power of an electric motor is almost constant, after starting.

Let’s now have a look at the torque curves. Torque is the force which turns the propeller and propels the boat.

At 1800 RPM, both motors benefit from 100% of their torque. To achieve 150 Nm of torque, the electric motor needs only 20 kW while the diesel requires 42 kW!

The combination of high torque-low RPM and better overall efficiency mean that you can downsize electric engines when compared to diesel ones. The downsizing sits between a factor of two and three.

System Tension

One of the basic rules of electricity involves the relationship between power, voltage and current.

Power (W) = Voltage (V) x Current (A). The higher the voltage is, the lower the current. Lower amps means, on a boat, smaller diameter cables. But higher voltage also means lethal danger.

There is a physiological limit for a human being (above 120V DC): the heart can be stopped by electrical shock. In wet conditions, this limit goes to 60V DC. That is why most hybrid catamarans are wired at 48V, well below 60.

Some boatbuilders, like Fountaine-Pajot with the Smart Electric Series (Aura 51, Elba 45…) use a 400V DC setup. It is a boatyard choice, but only very educated and skilled tradesman will work on such systems when any marine electrician will be happy to work the more common 48V system.

Electric, or hybrid?

Electric catamaran
An electric catamaran is a vessel whose principal propulsion is provided by the wind and whose auxiliary propulsion is provided by an electric motor. On board a 100% electric catamaran there is no combustion engine and no other energy than electricity.

There are not many 100% electric catamarans around as their range, dependent on battery capacity and onboard chargers, is too low for cruising.

The story of Jimmy Cornell’s Outremer 4.Zero is interesting as the renowned sailor decided to go, against the will of the yard, with a full electric (ie. not carrying a diesel genset). In the end, power consumption and power production were not in balance and the fossil free circumnavigation project failed. Relying only on a small sized solar panel array
(1,3 kWh) and relatively inefficient regeneration, the boat’s energy consumption was simply too high.

On that boat, fitted with 2 x 10 kW Oceanvolt Servoprop saildrives and 17,5 kWh of batteries, the range, motoring, at mid RPM is less than two hours. Regeneration was delivering around 300 Wh, (0.3 kWh), too few to refill the batteries while using all of the electric appliances.

Hybrid Catamarans
A hybrid catamaran is a vessel whose principal propulsion is provided by the wind and whose auxiliary propulsion is provided by different means including an electric engine. Its system uses two or more power sources on board.

Hybrid catamarans can be equipped with an auxiliary main diesel propulsion, assisted by a secondary electric one (parallel hybrid or bi-motorization), or with auxiliary electric engines relying on batteries that can be recharged under way by a generator (diesel, hydrogen, methanol), ie a serial hybrid. This greatly increases the range.

Because of the requirement for a good range, most of the so-called electric catamarans like the Windelo 50, HH44, Fountaine-Pajot Smart Electric Series, O-Yachts Class 66 Eco are hybrid catamarans.

Serial Hybrid Catamarans

serial hybrid

A serial hybrid catamaran is propelled by two electric motors. Those motors get their power from batteries which are being charged while sailing using various means.

Solar (photovoltaic) panels account for an important share of renewable energy in the energy mix. Hydrogeneration does not depend on light and can deliver power at night, when sailing a passage.

Serial hybrid catamarans always have a back-up power generator to fill the batteries when needed. The generator can be diesel, or in the future hydrogen, ammonia or methanol (fuel cells).

The Windelo 50 is probably the most efficient serial hybrid sailing catamaran on the market.

Light and fast, she sails well and her two 20 kW electric engines with shaft drive deliver the best efficiency possible. Wired in 48 VDC, with 53,8 kWh of battery capacity (propulsion, 6 kWh house bank), the boat boasts a 5,5 kWc photovoltaic array.

Under sail, on a passage, the boat produces enough power to cover its consumption and slowly charges its batteries. Solar gives her between 20 to 30 kWh per day (depending on latitude) and hydro regeneration, around 24 kWh per day when sailing 10 knots.

But, if needed, the generator can be started, delivering 17 kWh to the battery bank to replenish it within hours. Or, if they are empty, to provide 6 knots motoring speed, the genset is used.

Combining those three methods of charging, the yard claims a 1100 NM range, which is twice the range of a Lagoon 42 with its two 57 HP diesels.

Nevertheless, the Lagoon 42 still has the advantage of power as it can increase its RPM when motoring against waves and tide to cruise at 7 knots while burning more fuel. The Windelo cannot do that, and, in such conditions, its motoring speed will lower.

The Lagoon retains a second advantage as if one diesel fails, the boat still has the other to
motorsail.

If Windelo loses its genset at night with depleted batteries, she will have to rely on her sails. Some owners choose a 2 genset configuration for redundancy, but that does add weight and cost.

Parallel Hybrid Catamarans

This set-up uses an electric motor mounted on the diesel engine, both capable of moving the propeller. Where the serial hybrid has two functions (moving and regen), the parallel has four.

The diesel engine can propel the boat. While doing that, it can also move the electric engines which will produce some power, acting as a generator.

The electric engine can move the propeller, diesel off. And, in emergency cases, both electric and diesel engines can move the prop, in a kind of boost mode.

The parallel hybrid yachts do not need any generators as their engines behave as powerful ones. This setup fits particularly well for cruising catamarans as you can enjoy the joy of silent sailing or electric motorsailing but you can always rely on your trusty diesels if needed.

The two systems do not rely on each other and offer an interesting case of redundancy.

hh44 sailing catamaran

A catamaran like the HH44, charges 5,4 kWc from solar and has two 30 HP diesel + 2 10 kW electric motors using a 43,2 kWh battery bank. While diesel motoring, the boat delivers 10 kW to charge the batteries. A sunny day can also fully charge the bank.

Those 43,2 kWh can propel the yacht at 6 knots for a couple of hours. Total range (diesel) is around 628 NM, according to the yard, a range which comes with a good dose of redundancy.

Bi-motorised hybrid catamaran

This third hybrid mixes 2 independent propulsion systems, a diesel one and an electric one.

bi-motorisation

O-Yachts offers, in its Class 66 Eco, a bi-motorised setup for example. One hull has a conventional diesel with shaft and the other an electric engine with a shaft-drive.

As the two systems are totally separated, the redundancy is there. The boat can be sailed with one engine, diesel or electric, and a small 5° rudder correction will drive the boat straight. Diesel alternator, regeneration and solar replenish the batteries.

This setup, although interesting, suffers from a disadvantage. As the two engines are different, they behave differently and this can cause issues manoeuvring in the marina. The skipper will need plenty of experience in different conditions before fully mastering the boat.

o-yachts class 6 power ECO
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Windelo Catamaran Partner with Just Catamarans

windelo catamaran team
The Windelo Team

Windelo Catamaran and Just Catamarans have announced a Partnership for USA Sales & Services.

Windelo Catamaran, based in Canet-en-Rousillon in France, build advanced eco performance catamarans. They have teamed up with Just Catamarans who are based in the US, primarily at their Fort Lauderdale hub.

The Windelo designs are proving popular in the North American market, and Just Catamarans will help the French manufacturer to drive growth of Windelo Catamaran in the US market through their experience in the performance cruising segment.

The new partnership will be officially launched at the International Miami Boat Show with the New Windelo 50 premiering in the US and building on the successful development of the brand in Europe.

Designed in collaboration with the architects Christophe Barreau and Frédéric Neuman and designer Charlotte Schiffer, the New Windelo 50 is a performance blue-water ECO cruising catamaran with an electric propulsion system and a pioneering hull construction method that uses volcanic basalt laminates, a more sustainable alternative to traditional fiberglass matting.

The Just Catamarans Team

Feedback from the New Partners

Thoughts from Just Catamarans:
“Our entire team looks forward to working with Windelo,” says Thomas Chambers, President of Just Catamarans Sales. “Representing a bespoke brand of performance multihulls that focuses more on sustainability and introducing electric-hybrid propulsion in this market is exciting for us and our clients.”

Thoughts from Windelo:
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Just Catamarans aboard the Windelo family, » said Gautier Kauffmann, Windelo’s Founder.

“The reputation of Just Catamarans in the US and their expertise in developing and supporting high-end-performance cruising multihulls will be an undeniable strength for the development of Windelo in the US market.”

“Just Catamarans will be a key partner to the service footprint for all our clients visiting the US & Bahamas with a Windelo”.

“Whilst Just Catamarans will boost the visibility and service of our brand in the territory, we understand how important it is for our customers to maintain direct contact with the shipyard throughout the lifecycle of their boat. This is why, together with Thomas’ team, we have set up a partnership that adds up our teams in a joint approach to Sales & Servicing of our owners’ catamarans.”

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Excess Campus

One of the areas in which Excess Catamarans is working hard to stand out from the crowd is their desire to connect and build relationships with owners and prospective buyers.

The 2023 Campus Team!
The 2023 Excess Campus Team!

This approach seems to be paying dividends – it’s helping them develop their boats with direct feedback from customers and helping people to navigate through the complex process of buying and kitting out a new catamaran.

The end result? Skilful sailors with new friends having fun out on the water.

Getting the main up efficiently

Excess Campus 2023

Just recently, the team ran the first Excess Campus of 2023. This event, organised by Excess Catamarans, a brand of the Beneteau Group took place in Canet-en-Rousillion near Perpignan in France, and was a series of workshops and seminars that aim to help customers learn more about topics such as predicting the weather, navigation, boat maintenance, safety, and lifestyle on board.

There were 21 owners involved (a mix of English & French speakers) for 3 days of theory and practice to learn all about maintaining an Excess and the must-have tips for sailing.

Getting close to the rigging

And of course, the event had a substantial social side, enabling owners and buyers to mingle with other enthusiasts from around the world.

The event is all about learning, sharing, and having fun, a course for experts and novices alike who want to discover the joys of sailing and living on a catamaran.

Coming into the fuel dock

Topics

Some of the topics covered were:

  • Navigation: how to plan your route, use the instruments, read the weather, and handle the sails and engines.
  • Boat maintenance: how to check the systems, perform routine tasks, and troubleshoot common issues.
  • Safety: how to prepare for emergencies, use the equipment, and communicate with the authorities. This includes a session with SNSM: Les Sauveteurs en Mer, whose raison d’être is saving lives at sea around the French coast, including the overseas départments and territories.
  • Lifestyle: how to organise the space, store the supplies, cook the meals, and enjoy yourself on board.
  • Boat Handling – this is probably the most popular part of the course – hands-on training on an Excess catamaran perfecting skills such as docking, anchoring, picking up a mooring buoy, raising and trimming the sails and more.
A beautiful lunch stop with the Pyrenees as a backdrop

Following the success of the 2023 edition, Excess is already planning the 2024 edition of the Campus, so stay tuned!

Deploying the liferaft

Excess Campus 2023 Video

Here’s the summary of the event!

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Lagoon Update, Oct 2023

Lagoon has been designing and building catamarans for almost forty years. They will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2024. We met up with the management team to talk about Lagoon and their plans for the future. Their mission is to remain the world leader, building boats for their customers that are safe, reliable, comfortable and that can travel the world with a respect for the environment.

Lagoon shared some remarkable numbers at the Cannes International Yachting Festival.

First of all, with the 51 and 55, the last two new models, they have reached a milestone in September 2023 of 250 units sold. Both boats are built in Bordeaux, where they are increasing production capacity. And in August they delivered the 500th Lagoon 46 to Australian clients.

What is the Top Seller Ever in the Sailing Catamaran Market?

It used to be the Lagoon 380 which was later overtaken by the 450. Now the best-seller, the world champion is the Lagoon 42. In October 2023 they will deliver the 1000th Lagoon 42 to French owners who joined them for the party on Friday night in Cannes.

And more than forty-two Lagoon SEVENTY are sailing worldwide with orders to come, a much bigger number than Lagoon was expecting in their initial business plan for this luxury market segment.

Every year, Lagoon shows a SIXTY & SEVENTY at the Cannes Yachting Festival and every year the boat is different: these are fully customised yachts. They have a dedicated team for this luxury market segment, working closely with the captains and crew to continuously optimise the boat.

The luxury charter segment has been very successful, with these yachts commanding a one-week charter price of between $70k to $80k in high season.

7000 Lagoons Sailing

In the coming month, Lagoon expects to hit another milestone: seven thousand Lagoons sailing worldwide. Their ambitious goal is to be in touch with all of these owners through the Club Lagoon with a lot of services for all clients. This is a key service they want to develop over the coming years.

With the SIXTY and SEVENTY, each boat has a dedicated after-sales team, a point of contact, direct with the factory and owners can follow the construction of their boat online.

1) Customers have direct contact with Lagoon’s SIXTY 5, SIXTY 7, SEVENTY 7, SEVENTY 8 Specialists: a Premium Service
2) They follow their boat in production
3) Customers have a dedicated after-sales team

Lagoon Furling Boom

One of the latest innovations to be offered on Lagoon catamarans (46′ and 51′) is the mainsail furling boom. This has been developed by the Lagoon team with Incidence Sails and Groupe Wichard.

One of the main advantages of the Lagoon system is its simplicity: the furling spindle is not enclosed in a housing, so it is easy to monitor and control hoisting, reefing and furling manoeuvres. And it’s lighter than a standard set-up.

To use it, the main sheet must be eased, the topping lift employed, you must be headed into the wind (or at least a 30-degree TWA), and you must keep a fair tension on the luff while adjusting the sail. The system has been thoroughly tested over 2 years and has proven to be very reliable. On the 46 and 51 which have the flybridge, this system makes a lot of sense with their higher booms. This will help owners to use their sails more often.

This is an exclusive system, installed by Lagoon and covered by their warranty.

Reducing their Footprint: Lagoon – Awarded ISO 14001

What Is ISO 14001? ISO 14001 is a set of standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

It aims is to define the best practices for organizations that wish to reduce their environmental footprint by adopting an effective environmental management system (EMS). They have also been awarded ISO 50001, a standard intended to help organizations develop and implement an energy management system.

What does this mean in practice? The resin used on Lagoons is becoming more and more bio-sourced, the kitemark looks at the raw materials that Lagoon uses, with a target to use 100% recycled materials on the upholstery and work on using recycled materials for the sails continues.

Hemp fibre is replacing fibreglass in many panels on the boats. They are replacing teak with a new type of wood from sustainable forests. A water purification system will be installed on all Lagoons, helping people to move away from water in plastic bottles as you can drink the water from the tank.

Lagoon delivers with every boat launch a pack of eco-friendly cleaning equipment, to help educate clients on the best eco-friendly products that are available in the market.

Other areas they are working on include black water treatment, solar panel efficiency, wind turbines, hydro-generators, and more efficient A/C.

They continue to test electric power and hybrid power extensively to develop a system that is very reliable and safe.

The Future is Bright

So, the future is bright for this market-leading French catamaran manufacturer and they continue to grow responsibly across many different market segments.

We are looking forward to seeing the new Lagoon 60 on the water in 2024, the year that they celebrate their 40th anniversary. The next target? 8000 yachts on the water, all active members of the Lagoon Club!


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A New Excess Catamaran in 2024!

One of the big announcements at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival was from Excess Catamarans who announced a new addition to their range of sailing yachts. The new model will slot in between the Excess 11 and Excess 14.

Helping them on the next stage of development of this increasingly popular brand will be Lombard (MLYDG) – in charge of the naval architecture and Jean Marc Piaton who will design the interiors. Following the Excess Catamarans philosophy, this will be a collaborative process involving the Excess team and the “Tribe”: their owners, clients, dealers and industry experts. We are looking forward to seeing the design in more detail in early 2024!

Building on the Success of the Excess 14, shown below:

The Next Generation

These two experienced design teams will evolve the design from the Excess 11 and 14 which were created with VPLP design and Patrick Le Quément for the first generation of Excess catamarans.

The brief for the designers is to build on the brand’s strengths by creating a catamaran that’s fun to sail and comfortable to live aboard. It’s this balance and a growing reputation for after-sales and relationship building that has defined the essence of Excess so far.

Marc Lombard Yacht Design Group

A word from Eric Levet, Marc Lombard Design

“For the Lombard team, integrating the Excess Catamarans brand with this new project is a challenge we’ve been delighted to take on!”

“In partnership with the Excess design office, we were keen to develop the design of this new catamaran to reinforce the brand’s strengths.”

“The brief was simple yet ambitious: to create a catamaran that’s evolving and balanced, solid, and offering great sensations, all combined with the comfort and interior volume that has made Excess such a success.”

“The form of the hulls, the weight, the composite structure, the layout, the ergonomics, the efficiency of the sail plan, everything about this new Excess is designed around the pleasure of easy sailing and comfortable living on board.”

“Following several months of design and rewarding exchanges with the Excess team and Jean Marc Piaton, we’re taking the time to refine the design in detail and in manufacturing optimization. We can’t wait to see the boat sail!”

Jean-Marc Piaton

A word from Jean-Marc.

“We heard from around thirty people who spoke to us about the brand (in-house people, dealers, owners, and charter companies, among others), and what emerged was a very positive and, above all, highly identifiable perception.”

“This is both very rare for such a young brand, and very interesting when considering its design.

Hervé Piveteau, Product Manager at Excess, had high expectations of lightness, both real and perceived, and wanted this new model to fit in well with existing models, without creating too strong a break.”

A New Model in 2024

We’ll keep you posted with the latest news on this new model.

In January 2024, at the Düsseldorf boat show, Excess will be revealing the name and the first 3D images of
the new yacht.

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New Windelo 50

The Windelo 50 has recently been upgraded with a fresher, sleeker look and a further upgrade of sustainable energy.

The first of the new catamarans, a 50 Yachting, splashed in July 2023 and will be making an appearance at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2023.

Katamarans.com are joining the Windelo team on their delivery trip from the Windelo Base in Canet-en-Rousillion near Perpignan, capital of the capital of Pyrénées-Orientales region, to the Côte d’Azur. We can’t wait to see the new design in action firsthand!

The New Windelo 50 has had a substantial design upgrade thanks to a team effort from her naval architects (Christophe Barreau and Frederic Newman), designer (Charlotte Schiffer), and the Windelo engineering office.

The new design represents a move upmarket, with upgrades to the decks, superstructure, and roof and a reworking of the layout.

Full Windelo 50 feature.

Even More Solar

The New Windelo 50 design accommodates even more solar on a longer roof without compromising on weight thanks to the simplified composite assembly manufacturing process. And this ECO yacht now boasts a racy, stylish look.

The aft deck has been enlarged to provide a more comfortable living space, even better protected from the sun and weather.

The New Windelo 50 Yachting can now accommodate up to 5,680 W solar panels for even greater autonomy and zero emissions while motoring on her electric engines.

Launching at Cannes Yachting Festival

The Windelo team will be presenting the New Windelo 50 Yachting at the Cannes Yachting Festival from September 12 to 17. We’ll be closely covering the show and the trip to Cannes on the Katamarans network, so stay tuned for more information from the passage!

Key Features

  • The Windelo 50 is manufactured from an innovative environmentally-friendly composite sandwich consisting of Basalt fiber and PET foam from recycled plastic bottles, reducing the boat’s carbon footprint by 47%.
  • Two electric motors, 5,680 W solar panels, and a hydro-generation system that recharges the battery bank every day provide up to 4 hours of autonomy using solely green energies when motoring at 6 knots.
  • A forward cockpit at the foot of the mast centralises all catamaran manoeuvres. The new cockpit can be completely closed, so you can sail close to the action, protected from the elements, whatever the weather.
    A nacelle offering incredible interior/exterior modularity allows you to make the most of your surroundings and enjoy XXL space, whatever the weather. You can transform your living room into an incredible terrace with a simple turn of the winch.
The unique forward twin helms

Contact Windelo

More information on the Windelo 50.

For more information, or to visit the New Windelo 50 Yachting at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival, contact Windelo at the email address below

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Lagoon Reaches the 500 Milestone on the 46

Lagoon recently passed the 500 mark for their 46 footer. This popular cruising catamaran continues to attract strong demand thanks to those ocean views from the flybridge, the open sundeck and high levels of comfort in the Interior. They have also launched an option for a furling boom.

Let’s take a look at the boat in more detail:

Naval architects VPLP have achieved a great balance between the different living spaces aboard the Lagoon 46.

With her front and aft cockpits, cooking area at the back, and a salon that is a home away from home, there are plenty of zones to hang out in.

The Views

Up top, the Flybridge has a double access port and starboard, and is another zone for relaxation as well as being the control centre when sailing.

Choose between a folding cabriolet or an automated Bimini for sun protection

Head forward, and you have the forward lounge tucked in behind the nets for sundowners.

Aft on the Lagoon 46, you can choose between classic stainless steel davits or an electrical hydraulic platform for your tender. The platform allows for easy access to the water at anchor.

Interior Comfort – a Home Away from Home

Nauta Design were in charge of developing the elegant interior. The owner’s suite is generously furnished and has an island berth. It’s spacious down here, with a sofa, desk and ample storage. The bathroom is huge with a separate shower.

The other cabins aboard are also roomy, especially the forward cabin which also has a large bed.

Up top, the saloon area runs through to the aft cockpit and is light and airy.

Sailing

VPLP are known for designing boats that sail, and they have done a great job evolving the Lagoon 46 from her predecessors.

She’s a seaworthy, forgiving boat.

Boom Furler Option

Lagoon recently announced that they are offering a boom furler option on the 46.

This is a simple, robust solution designed to make the Lagoon 46 even easier to sail.
One of the main advantages of the Lagoon boom furler is that the furling mandrel is not enclosed in a housing. So you can watch and control hoisting, reefing and furling manoeuvres.

Summary

The Lagoon 46 is a bestseller in the cruising catamaran segment and it is easy to see why. This is a very comfortable, seaworthy boat that has been optimised for easy sailing with many different relaxation zones to enjoy at anchor, including that iconic flybridge.

Next production target, 1000 hulls?

Specifications

  • Architects: VPLP design
  • Exterior design: Patrick le Quément
  • Interior design: Nauta Design
  • Length overall: 13.99 m / 45’11”
  • Beam: 7.96 m / 26’10”
  • Draft: 1.35 m / 4’5”
  • Mast clearance: 23,21 m / 76’2”
  • Light displacement (EEC): 15,77 t / 34,773 Lbs
  • Sail area: 123 m² / 1,323 sq. ft.
  • Self tacking jib: 46,5 m² / 500 sq. ft.
  • Square top mainsail (opt.): 80,5 m² / 866 sq. ft.
  • Engine – 2 x 57 HP
  • Fuel capacity: 2 x 520 l / 2 x 137 US gal
  • Fresh water capacity: 2 x 300 l / 2 x 79 US gal
  • Berths: 6 to 12
  • CE certification: A12 / B14 / C20 / D30
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Windsurf Sail Size Chart

We have recently got back into windsurfing. The gear has changed! What’s the right windsurf sail size for the wind strength these days?

The Windsurf Sail Size Chart

The main variable when choosing a sail for windsurfing is its size. There are all sorts of types of sail of course, but this post just deals with the size aspect.

Head out with the wrong sized sail, and you lose control, or you won’t go anywhere.

Choosing the right sail for windsurfing comes down to:

Skill level
The better you are, the larger sail you will manage.

Average wind speed
The stronger the wind, the smaller sail you are going to need.

Your Weight
The heavier you are, the larger the sail you will manage before becoming overpowered.

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Excess Sensations or Excess Cruising?

Excess Catamarans have worked hard to develop cruising yachts that are fun to sail and comfortable to live aboard.

The Excess 12 and 15 were launched in 2019.

excess 14

Then, in 2020 the French manufacturer launched the Excess 11 and the first Excess 14 splashed in 2022.

This 46 footer was designed by VPLP with feedback from customers and Excess owners via the Excess Lab, a forum to gather feedback and design ideas.

The Excess 14 strikes a good balance between performance and comfort in a cruising package. It’s a catamaran that has carved out its own space in the cruising market.

Let’s take a look at some of the features that they have developed.

Excess Sensations

One thing I have noticed about this catamaran manufacturer is that the team, led by Thibaut de Montvalon, is very focused on what they want to be and how they want to get there.

Having a clear vision and communicating it well is half the battle for organisations, and you’ll hear Excess often talk about “Sensations” – it’s a key driver for them. They want their owners, dealers and employees to enjoy sailing Excess yachts. It’s one of the reasons why this brand is attracting many monohull sailors.

Sailing feel is a key design element in the 14. She has a sporty, low slung boom, asymmetric hulls, refined keels and is built with lightweight materials.

If you opt for the Pulse Line package, you can boost the upwind sail area by 10% to 135 m² (1,453 sq.ft) from 123 m² (1,323 sq.ft).

Built to Sail
The low boom, lower freeboard with reduced windage and sleek lines gives the 14 distinctive look. She has aft-set coach-roof, a forward-stepped mast, a composite bowsprit as standard and inverted bows.

The fins have been optimised for beating to windward, and the rudder blades have been extended.

VPLP and Excess have designed the 14 with a forward-set rig, a square-top mainsail, and a large overlapping genoa as standard to optimize the sail area to displacement ratio.

Bridgedeck clearance has been increased for better passage through the water, and the hulls designed asymmetrically to reduce drag. The low boom moves the centre of effort of the mainsail down and she has been built with foam sandwich and carbon reinforcements.

With a full complement of lighter wind sails flying off the bowsprit, this is a catamaran that should keep the smile on your face when the wind is blowing.

Sail Close to the Water
The helm stations are set aft with optional biminis, so you have a direct connection with the rudders and a good view of the sails.

Visibility has been optimised though untinted saloon windows.

The direct steering system uses textile lines, for a better helm feel.

The aft helms have an important safety aspect as well – all of the crew are forward of the skipper in his or her line of sight.

Performance Summary

VPLP, Excess and their customers have worked hard here to develop a good balance of performance and comfort with:

  • A low boom and low centre of effort from the wind.
  • A sporty sail area to displacement ratio particularly on the Pulse Line (26.5) which approaches some performance cat ratios. The overlapping genoa and composite bowsprit all help.
  • Asymmetric hulls and optimised keels and rudders for upwind performance.
  • Aft helms mean you sail close to the water with full view of the sails connected directly to the rudders.
  • Construction from foam sandwich with carbon reinforcements results in a stiff, strong boat.

Excess Cruising

This is only half the story though, as the Excess 14 has been designed to deliver a decent performance level without compromising on comfort.

Comfort and Flexibility
This cruising catamaran offers high levels of comfort and flexibility in its living spaces. Volume and good headroom are priorities in a warm and bright environment.

Down below, in the hulls, you’ll find wide, comfortable beds, and bathrooms with a separate shower. Large and subdivided storage spaces have been designed to store your gear efficiently, with some great touches like the retractable chart table.

Optimise your layout
Everyone’s needs are different of course, so they have designed this catamaran with plenty of layout options.

3 Cabins
In the 3-cabin version, the main features are :

-A central bathroom
-A large private dressing area
-Extra bunks as an option

4 Cabins
-Up to four cabins, four heads & four separate showers
– An optional skipper cabin in each hull

The Skylounge
An innovative solution on the coachroof – a spot for sundowners at anchor that does not compromise the low boom height.

Dressing Room
An option for a walk-in dressing room allows you to store both sailing gear and clothes.
You can configure this with additional twin berths, for a family configuration.

Comfort Summary

There is no denying that this a a very comfortable boat, particularly if you opt for the owner’s configuration (3 cabin). The aft helms allow for a large, connected living space up top, and down below the cabins and bathrooms are roomy and there is plenty of storage.

With the flexibility offered with the dressing room and the sky lounge on the coach-roof, it’s an appealing package.

Specifications

Sails
Square top mainsail
83 m² | 893 sq ft

Overlapping genoa
40 m² | 430 sq ft

Code 0 (option)
72 m² | 775 sq ft

Upwind sail area
123 m² | 1323 sq ft

PULSE LINE
Upwind sail area
135 m² | 1453 sq ft
Code 0 [option]
86 m² | 926 sq ft

Dimensions
Length overall (depends on options)
13.97 to 15.99 m | 45’9’’ to 52’5’’

Hull length
13.34 m | 43’9’’

Light displacement [EC]
12,8 T | 28219 lbs

Beam
7.87 m | 25’9’’

Mast clearance (std/pulse)
19.78 m | 64’11’’ / 21.54 m | 70’8’’

Draft
1.48 m | 4’10’’

CE certification
A : 10 – B : 12 – C : 16 – D : 20

Other
Fuel capacity
2 x 200 L
2 x 53 US gal

Engines
2 x 45 HP
2 x 57 HP (option)

Fresh water capacity
300 L (standard) + 300 L (option)
79 + 79 US gal (option)

Holding tank capacity
2 x 80 L
2 x 21 US gal

Berths
6 to 12

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Lagoon SIXTY 5

We had the pleasure recently of spending some time recently with Pierre-Eric Fremaux from Lagoon at the International Multihull Show. Pierre project manages the SIXTY operation for Lagoon (SIXTY 5 and SIXTY 7 Power), and gave us a fascinating insight into these semi-custom luxury catamarans and the kinds of requests that he gets from owners and people buying the yachts.

Designed by VPLP, the SIXTY 5 and SIXTY 7 are part of the new 5th generation design from the famous French manufacturer, and along with the SEVENTY 7 their most luxurious yachts to date. The SIXTY 5 is the successor to the 620, and represents quite a step up in terms of performance and refinement.

LagoonSIXTY5
The Lagoon SIXTY 5 at LA Grande Motte Boat Show

Powerful Rig

At a length of 20.55m or 67.5′ and a beam of 10m (32.1′) at the beam, she spans three levels with a big flybridge. With the fully battened mainsail and furling genoa, the sail area adds up to 268m2

The new boat shares many of the features that have made Lagoon so successful, particularly the ease of handling.

For her size, she is an easy to use yacht that can cruise far and wide under sail, a seaworthy boat like her big sister, designed for extended trips. She has been designed to eat up the miles, and provide superior comfort at stopovers.

This is a sleeker design direction from Lagoon, a beautiful boat able to accommodate quality rigging and powerful sails.

Step inside, and you appreciate the design evolution: open and uninterrupted spaces that link the interior and exterior with open views all around.

Semi-Custom Yachts

One of the benefits of the SIXTY 5 is the scope for customisation. Pierre informed us that on one build, he received over 700 emails from the customer with ideas and questions. If the work has previously been scoped out and the plans drawn up, then these changes are relatively easy.

If not, a project is needed to analyse the request, calculate the cost and draw up the plans, but essentially anything is possible for a price unless it affects the overall structure of the boat.

Options

Galley Options

The Lagoon SIXTY 5 can either be configured galley up or galley down. In the Down configuration (or Lateral Galley), there is double access from either the cockpit or the crew cabin, and includes a dining area with a cozy area to enjoy
an early breakfast, or for the crew to meet and prepare meals away from the guests.

Lateral Galley Configuration

With the galley down below, the living space is opened right up in the Saloon. In this layout, the 30sqm saloon has two huge sofas on either side, with a coffee table to port and a dining table to starboard. Forward is a nav station including a chart table, and to the right is a well-equipped bar area with ice maker, wine cooler and refrigerator.

The galley in the aft port hull leaves room for either 4 en-suite cabins (one master suite with access to the deck aft) or 5 ensuite cabins.

Central Galley Option

The other basic option is to configure the yacht with a galley up top in the saloon, know as the Central Galley Version.

With the galley up, on the port side of the saloon and with an island bar, there is room down below for six cabins, three on each side, or five, with the owner’s suite located aft in the starboard hull.

Stand Out Features

So what are the features that make the SIXTY 5 stand out from the crowd? Here’s a few of them

  • Configure the yacht galley up or galley down with up to 6 cabins down below.
  • The luxurious Owner’s Suite has direct access aft to the sun and sea
  • With options for an Owner’s Suite and a VIP cabin.
  • Access to the forward lounge through the saloon
  • Wide transoms with a platform bridge opens up the space further aft. This platform lowers to sea level.
  • A huge flybridge with twin helms. Options for a sunbed & dining area or sofas and dining area up here
  • Carbon fiber boom
  • Carbon mast is an option for our performance-focused owners.
  • A powerful rig flies 268 m² / 2,884 sq.ft of sail. A Code 0 or gennaker can be added to the base sail plan.

Performance

The Lagoon sails well in a breeze with that powerful rig. Expect to see 8-9 knots in 15 knots of wind with that almost 100sqm genoa.

The standard power unit is twin 150hp Volvo D3s with a cruising speed of nine knots or there is an upgrade available to 180hp Volvo D4s for a cruising speed of just under 10 knots. The range on the bigger engines is around 800nm at 1,500rpm.

Summary

The SIXTY 5 is a striking looking catamaran from Lagoon, a real step up from the 620. There’s an abundance of space on this semi-custom yacht, form the cool forward cockpit for lounging and reading, through the saloon to the aft cockpit with seating and a dining area and the flybridge up top.

And this is a yacht that can sail, with an integrated bowsprit allowing you to shifting sails easily depending on wind strength and direction. Lagoon are successfully carving out a new market for themselves with the SIXTY 5 and SEVENTY 7, and I can see some of these features filtering through to the rest of their range in the future.

Technical Specs

Length overall
20.55 m / 67’5’’

Beam
10 m / 32’1’’

Draft
1.55 m / 5’1’’

Mast clearance
33.80 m / 110’11’’

Light displacement (EEC)
40 T / 88200 Lbs

Sail area
268 m² / 2,884 sq.ft

Fully-battened mainsail
170,5 m² / 1835 sq.fr

Furling genoa
98 m² / 1054 sq.ft

Engine – stardard
2 x 150 HP / 2 x 150 CV

Engine – option
2 x 195 HP / 2 x 195 CV

Fuel capacity
2 x 650 l / 2 x 172 US Gal

Fresh water capacity
2 x 500 l / 2 x 132 US Gal

Berths
8 to 16

CE certification
A14 / B18 / C24 / D40