Buying a New Outremer 52
10 minute read
A big thanks to Holly and Stephane from Sailing Awen who helped us with this piece on the Outremer 52. They have bought hull #4, and this is for all of you out there who are interested in this performance cruising catamaran. Let’s take a look at the reasons why they chose the Outremer 52 and the options they went for.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose Outremer for your next boat? Just a quick summary. You had a FP Saona 47 previously, right?
A little about us… Holly is from the US and Stephane is from France. When we’re not cruising we live in the mountains ‘Lake Tahoe’, but for many years we lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We bought a production boat (Fountaine Pajot Saona 47) back in 2020 and after two seasons cruising the Med we validated we were following the right dream but we also concluded we would need a different boat for our long term cruising plans of doing a circumnavigation.
We really liked what Outremer had done with the Outremer 55 so we reached out to them to find out about their plans for the next Outremer 51.
Why did you choose the Outremer 52? Were you looking at other brands?
Yes, we looked at Outremer first given their solid reputation, they are known to produce some of the best catamarans for blue water cruising. We established a baseline from all the information we gathered directly from Outremer and from Outremer owners we met while cruising and before the start of the GLYWO, and then looked at other performance catamaran manufacturers to see if anything could beat the Outremer package.
We did a video on our thought process.
We essentially were looking for a performance catamaran that would keep all of its performance characteristics with a 3T loading capacity.
How are you expecting the performance of this boat compared to the Saona 47? Do you have different plans for your Outremer?
We learned that we liked to sail a lot more and motor a lot less. We wanted a catamaran with a bigger range of sailing in various conditions: in light winds, upwind, in strong winds and in big sea sates. Being able to easily sail at double digit average speeds opens up quite a bit your cruising options. It was also important for us to experience the ‘joy’ of sailing while we cruise and those boats communicate with you.
In our Saona 47, we needed 8-9 knots of wind before we could think of sailing and way too often we would find ourselves putting one engine on to help the boat. On an Outremer, if there is a little breeze you just put the sails up and you start moving almost at wind speed. Our experience comes from sailing on Outremer 45, 4X, 51 and 55 during Outremer Academy weekends and Outremer Weeks.
Our cruising plan to keep sailing around the planet remains unchanged but now we feel confident we’re on the perfect platform to do just that.
When will she launch? Congratulations by the way!
Awen – Outremer 52 #4 will be splashed at the end of May 2023 and be delivered to us at then end of July 2023.
Which configuration did you go for and why? 3 Cabins, 4 Cabins etc. Did you go for the “My Free Space” modular concept?
We opted for the 3 cabin version, same as our previous catamaran. On the starboard side will be the owner’s hull and on the port side we will have 2 cabins: a regular aft cabin and a custom forward cabin with a bunk bed, a wardrobe, a desk/workbench and a multitude of storage. Outremer gives you different options to choose from, like MFS Kids or MFS Desk/Bunkbed, to customize the forward cabin, they call it “My Free Space (MFS)”.
Can you give us an idea of the options you prioritised on the gear? Eg electric winches, engine upgrade, carbon upgrades, tillers
We focused on optimizing the sailing capabilities by selecting a carbon mast, a genoa with 3D sheeting and a staysail with a hook and furler.
We are still looking at different options for our downwind sail plan: Code 0, downwind gennaker, A2… We keep dreaming about the carbon crossbeam but it comes with a steep price tag so for now we keep on dreaming…
The Outremer comes standard with a canting wheel on the starboard side and we opted for the tiller option with the double seat on the port side.
We initially tried to keep the electric winches to a minimum to save weight and cost but we are now planning to add more electric winches to make the boat easy to sail with only one person.
How about options for the living space? Telescopic table? Furnishings etc
We opted to have a convertible table with a mattress both in the salon and in the cockpit. We chose those options primarily to have other sleeping options while the other person is on watch or to simply relax, but that also means we could have have up to 9 people sleeping on the boat if you include the three cabins.
We opted for the ‘sport’ interior design package as we think it’s more modern. The O52 comes with ample storage, lighting, etc.
What did you prioritise on the electrical equipment? Watermaker, extra fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, A/C, heating, electric heads (fresh/seawater)
Induction stovetop and electric convection/microwave combo, 12V watermaker, fridge, freezer, A/C in salon and owners’ hull for the times we have to be in a marina or to dehumidify and cool off the boat before going to sleep, electric heads, water filter for drinking water between tanks and sink, and a small washing machine.
How about the power system? Invertor, service battery upgrade, lithium upgrade? Solar, genset, lighting options, Nav Pack, radar. How much solar will you have on the boat, for example?
Early on we decided to go with no generator for weight, maintenance and cost reasons. We also decided to go with no propane or butane so we chose all electric cooking appliances.
The Outremer 52 comes with 2,000 Watts of solar: 800 W on the davits and 1,200 W on the coach roof. We wished Outremer would increase the amount of solar on the davits but they have good reasons to keep the solar array all the way at the back of the boat light and small given these boats are also designed to sail in strong winds and big seas.
We maximized our energy storage with 2 big lithium batteries for a total of 12 kW or 920 Ah.
We will have a Watt&Sea hydrogenerator to charge the batteries while sailing at night and during cloudy days. We opted for the racing version as it is equipped with a variable pitch propeller, which is important for boats with significant accelerations like Outremers.
We’re going to do some energy consumption simulations with Outremer’s design office but we feel pretty confident about our setup. Plus we also have 2 diesel engines with high output alternators as backups. Those calculations are also going to help use define what inverter(s) we need.
What sail options did you go for? Gennaker? Spinnaker? Genoa or self tacker? Hydranet?
The sail selection is a big decision when you buy a performance boat. The first big decision is to decide between the self-tacking solent / code 0 or the genoa / staysail setup. There is no right or wrong decision as your Outremer will be plenty fast regardless.
We have decided to go with the genoa with 3D rigging and staysail setup because Stephane is a former racer and enjoys tweaking the sail trim, because we want to have options to improve our sail trim over the years to become better sailors but also because we expect to sail in stronger winds during our circumnavigation and wanted to have that staysail setup to have a well balanced boat in strong winds.
We also expect to use the staysail on some sailing angles with the downwind gennaker. We’re not racing but why not optimize your sail plan if it is an option, plus it makes for great pictures 😉
We have decided to go with North Sails for our flat sails as they have an awesome reputation for building great sails but also because we got to visit their Minden, Nevada (USA) facility as we happen to live only 30 minutes away. Who knew the biggest and baddest sails in the world were built in the middle of the Nevada desert?
We were truly impressed by the level of technology, plus it will be really cool to go see our sails being fabricated this winter.
We have opted for 3Di Ocean for the material as it has been developed for cruising projects like ours.
We still have to make a decision about our downwind sail plan but what we know for sure is that we won’t have a symmetrical spinnaker on board when we leave La Grande Motte. We want to sail angles with this boat to optimize VMG and take advantage of wind shifts.
As we cruise around the world we intend on becoming better sailors. It makes sailing more interesting and knowing how to optimally sail our boat might become helpful if we ever have to escape some bad weather.
Are there any options you think are better to source yourself after the purchase? eg anchor, chain, dinghy, lithium upgrade, solar etc. What kind of anchor/chain set up will you go for?
With our previous production boat it was definitely the case. We had a commissioning phase after the boat left the factory and even a post-commissioning phase as some of Fountaine Pajot options are not satisfactory for liveaboards: limited solar, no lithium batteries, low watermaker output, setup for downwind sails…
When you buy an Outremer you buy a semi-custom boat so you have a lot of leeway on how to customize your boat to your needs and desires. You could obviously decide to source and install some options yourself after the purchase and save some money but is it worth it in the end? What you would save in money you would lose in time and after-sales service.
There is one item we’re considering installing at a later time: cork flooring in the cockpit.
We still need to make a decision about our anchor setup. The 2 options offered by Outremer are:
- 30 kg Spade anchor + 50 m galvanized chain 10 mm diameter + 50 m rope
- 35 kg Ultramarine 316 stainless steel anchor + 50 m Force 7 chain 8 mm diameter + 50 m rope
On one side you want to keep the boat light, especially on the bow, but you also don’t want to compromise with your anchoring system so you can sleep better at night. Boat option selection is all about trade-offs.
We ended up combining the 2 options suggested by Outremer into 1 ‘upgraded’ package:
– 35 kg Ultra Marine anchor
– 10 mm galvanized chain (instead of 8)
– 70 m of chain + 50 m of line.
Now we need to select a secondary anchor. Standard is Fortress 16 kg but never been a fan of this type of anchor.
What size dinghy will you carry?
We really wanted to get another OC Tender with our Outremer but in the last couple years the shipping costs have really increased so we opted to buy an inflatable locally and probably get a new OC Tender when we get to New Zealand in a few years.
Outremer offers the Highfield 340 with a Honda 15 hp as an option but we opted for the 3D Tender UL 330 (Ultra Light) with a Honda 10 hp. That’s a total weight saving of 17kg (or 37.5 lbs) all the way at the back of the boat. It will also make dragging the dinghy up the beach a little easier.
We initially considered going electric with the outboard but finally decided to revisit this decision to when we will change dinghy.
How was your experience with Outremer?
No dealer! That was a requirement to select our next boat. It is so refreshing to work direct with Outremer and meet the key individuals in the company face to face.
With Outremer you work with a technical project manager who follows your project from the beginning until delivery. We’ve been super happy working with Eloi.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying an Outremer 52
We would strongly advise people to figure out a way to test sail any boat they plan on buying. If Outremer is on your short list you should definitely plan on coming to La Grande Motte in the south of France for a test sail, to visit the factory and to meet some key individuals face to face.
It is truly amazing how a short sail on an Outremer, either in light air or strong winds, can tell you so much about those boats.
As an alternative, reach out online to some Outremer owners to get some answers to your questions. That’s kind of how we started, by talking to Outremer owners we met while cruising the Mediterranean Sea.
Can you give people who are looking at a Outremer 52 a rough price range for a sensibly optioned boat?
The base price with carbon bulkheads is EUR 1.2M. Because they’re semi-custom boats the final price will vary quite a bit based on how much carbon you add (mast, boom, crossbeam) and what high-tech sail material you select. The rest of the option prices are fairly standard to the boating industry.
All Outremers we’ve sailed on have been plenty fast regardless of options selected but you definitely have ways to move the cursor along the performance spectrum. It’s really a personal decision in the end.
Are there any key areas you are keeping a close eye on in terms of quality checks?
We believe the Outremer team and their direct sales/service model is unprecedented in the boating industry. Their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is beyond anything we have seen or heard from any other vendor.
That alone is worth its weight in gold. As part of your contract, you are asked to bring the boat back after you do a shakedown for a month or two so they can fix anything that comes up in the punch list.
They want you to ultimately leave with everything in order and fixed by the boatyard directly. They do a series of their own quality checks before they hand the boat over to you initially, but then they ask you to come back so they can address anything that comes up in the first couple months of use.
Is there anything else that attracted you to Outremer? eg After sales, training, resale value and so on.
Outremer has a commitment to making its customers successful in their project so they offer training courses (for free if you purchase a boat), not only to learn how to sail these boats but for weather, navigation, maintenance, diesel mechanics, safety at sea, medical, etc.
We have gone to many of these and they are invaluable! It is a completely different experience from buying a production boat with a dealer in between you and the boat manufacturer.
Carbon bulkheads laminated to the hulls (not glued)
With Outremer you get all the training you are willing to take across all the topics you would want to prepare yourself for, plus, you get a week during the handover process to learn your boat and its systems and you get access to coaches and teachers for any questions you might have.
This is absolutely a game-changer for couples where one person has more experience than the other person, or where both people are new to sailing.
Outremer boats are also scarce to find used, therefore the resale value is quite good. Also, because of the quality of the boats, they can last decades so many different families can enjoy sailing the same boat around the world.
Outremer offers the same training and service to their second hand boat owners as their first-time owners if you purchase a used boat through them, a huge benefit!
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You can find more information on the 52 at Outremer.
Did you enjoy this article? We hope so! You might also like our History of History of Outremer.