The Outremer 51 was developed from the 49. 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.
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 really 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.
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.
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.
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 a boat that competes with the Outremer.
The 51 is still a very comfortable boat, however, particularly when the sun is shining. And she’s one of the safest in her class.