Outremer 51

Description

The Outremer 51 was developed from the 49, of which more than 20 were built. The new styling includes axe bows to keep the bouyancy high up front and a refresh of the profile and interior. She’s a very pretty cat, sleeker than some of her competitors like the Marsaudon Composites TS5 which has a more ´muscly´look.

Designed by the Christophe Barreau and Frederic Neuman, this boat is the most popular model in the Outremer range. It’s a great performing cruising cat with daggerboards for upwind performance. There is an option for a rotating carbon rig like the sportier 5X – but many owners just opt for the static rig.

One of the signature features of the design are the huge trampolines and large freeboard that sets the superstructure further back and helps to centre the weight. This helps to give the 51 her smooth, comfortable ride which is something that the French manufacturer prioritises over living space. She’s a star performer downwind offshore with all that bouyancy in the hulls: she cuts through the water, a real sailing boat.

Read Seth Hynes’ Outremer 51 Owner’s Review for some interesting insights on this blue water catamaran.

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Pros

  • Fast with a comfortable ride. If you want to get from A to B safely at Speed, the Outremer 51 has to be on your shopping list. An average of 9-10 knots should be your target on long passages and you will see speeds well in excess of that
  • These boats are very popular on the second hand market and hold their value.
  • Those bucket seats and tillers – a must have option for any Outremer owner!
  • She will sail upwind as well as a monohull
  • Excellent finish quality in the interiors
  • This yacht will get going quickly in light winds.

Cons

  1. The trade off for that performance is reduced space down below. The extended bows give you lots of buoyance, but the flip side is that you lose living space. You will also lose some width with those boxes that house the daggerboards.
  2. The helm position can feel exposed. Many owners install a dodger and bimini
  3. Once you start adding options, the 51 can get expensive.

On Deck

She has a self tacking jib and all the lines are straight back to the helm as standard, which is situated on the bulkhead- visibility is excellent from here. Electric winches are a must for short handed sailing- raising the main and reefing are that much easier with a short crew.

There’s an option for a helm canopy to protect yourself and of course you have those Outremer bucket seats behind so that you can sail with a tiller for maximum feel of the boat. You can also opt for twin helms if you want, but most people free up some space with a single helm – particularly if they have gone for the tiller and bucket seat option.

The tillers make a good back-up system, a nice safety feature as well as giving you the boat feel.

It has to be said though – in really rough weather you’ll be inside the saloon at the navigation table. Those helms are pretty exposed.

We also have to give a big thumbs up to the life raft location which is positioned forward in the nets away from any potential fire hazards in the engine bays and galleys – again, showing that the priority for Outremer is safety.

Walking down from the bulkhead helm on the starboard side, you drop into the big cockpit with its wrap around sofa around a dining table. Once you drop down curtains and clears, you can extend your saloon all the way back aft although this won’t include the helm.

Living Area

Moving into the saloon, which is on the same level, you have a nice galley to starboard facing aft with a hatch for ventilation above, a nav station looking forward to starboard with good visibility all around and a rectangular lounge area with another table that can telescope down for a night watch berth. The fridge is opposite on the port side.

The views are panoramic with a couple of opening hatches for ventilation.

Down below, the cabins are light and airy with a queen sized berth aft with big long windows, a hatch at the stern and a hatch above. The headroom is good, although the hulls might feel narrow with that daggerboard box and the slim, fast hulls. The owner’s version has a separate shower (easy to stand up in!) forward in the port hull and a head. It feel a lot more spacious than the 45, her smaller sister.

On the starboard hull there is a guest cabin up forward (with an option for fold down bunks). Aft, the guest cabin has a queen sized bed going athwartships if you went for that option (you can choose fore and aft if you wish)

Outremer are famous for their build quality and attention to detail- you’ll notice some clear water between this boat and cruising cats in a more modest price range.

Sailing

Well, this is where the Outremer 51 scores tops marks – all of those sacrifices you made on space in the hulls means that this catamaran moves, even in a light breeze. You´ll be frequently sailing at 10-14 knots and hitting the high teens if you are up for the ride. Or reduce sail and back off a bit for more peaceful sailing.

With all the lines coming back to the helm, she´s a well organised boat is safe to sail with limited crew. With those high freeboards and generous volumes in the hulls, she sails well in confused seas. And once you are in those bucket seats with a tiller in hand, you´ll have a smile plastered all over your face.

If you are cruising, you will see more light winds than heavy on average, and the Outremer 51 will sail fast in light air. And she will sail well with reduced sail area which reduces the stress levels on longer passages. Those narrow hulls and the smaller saloon means that the side decks are wide, so moving around is safe. Sail handling is just plain easier on that huge foredeck.

Summary

This is a fantastic blue water cruising boat – it’s probably the out and out leader. For all of that performance, you are going to have to trade off space and comfort though, so it depends on where your priorities lie.

Competitors include the Catana 47 and the Marsaudon TS5. They all have there pros and cons of course. You might also want to take a look at our Seawind 1600 review which is another boat that competes with the Outremer.

The 51 is a very comfortable boat, particularly when the sun is shining. And she’s one of the safest in her class.

FAQs

Why did Outremer add 2 feet to the 49?
By lengthening the sugar scoops by 60cm, Outremer improved the sea-motion of the yacht and smoothed out the wake. This allowed them to power up the rig.

How much is an Outremer 51? What´s the price range
This will depend on the options you go for (a carbon rig will increase your costs significantly, for example). You can expect a reasonably spec´d new boat to cost around €850-900k. They do hold their value though. You will probably pay €700-750k for a decent second hand boat. They don´t come oto the market very often.