Catana began building catamarans in 1984, and are now based in Canet en Roussillon, France. This article covers the history of this famous multihull yard. If you are looking for 2nd hand boats, check out our Catana Catamaran for Sale page.
In their early years, they became the world leader in fast performance cruising catamarans helped by legendary Australian multihull designer Lock Crowther. Following the Crowther era, Christophe Barreau and Frédéric Neuman continued the success with a series of designs that remain popular to this day. Like Nautitech catamarans, they favour a more exposed helm position aft for maximum sailing feel – the sporty helm, if you like.
The two original partners of Catana (Jean-Pierre Prade and Thierry Goyard) employed Lock Crowther to design a range of models from 38′ to 48′. Christophe Barreau started working with Lockie on the deck & interior designs some time between 1984 and the 411 which was credited to both men.
From Cogolin to Canet en Roussillon
From 1984 to 1993, the Catana yard in Cogolin built around 5 to 7 boats per year. In 1986 they started using Twaron for the inner skin of the shell.
Catana moved to Canet en Roussillon back in 1998 and the company was sold in 2000 to a group of investors. Prade left the boat business, but some years later Goyard opened XL Catamarans, also in Canet, selling high performance catamarans (TS50/TS52) designed by Barreau.
The Marsaudon Connection
Before shutting up shop at XL Catamarans, Goyard commissioned Barreau to design the TS42 now built by Marsaudon Composites in Laurent and one of the fastest performance cruising cats on the water. In fact, Marsaudon had collaborated with Catana previously on the 521/522- they built a dozen of them under contract.
Hull #1 of the C411 (now Pelagic) was the first model credited to Barreau, but Crowther´s name also pops up on this design. Maybe Crowther was retained as a consultant with Barreau taking the lead?
The 70 – Designed by Marc Lombard. Image credit Studio Bergoend
Barreau kept up and developed the design DNS of his former mentor with asymmetrical hulls, tulip shaped bows, a narrow waterline, and daggerboards for upwind sailing.
Lately, Catana have set up their own in-house design studio, working with Marc Lombard as a consultant (another of my favourite multihull designers and known for his Nautitech, Neel and Privilege designs).
Lombard is credited with designing the Catana 70, after which they brought the designs in-house, but you can still spot his influence in the shapes of the hulls.
Carbon Infusion Technology
Catana remains a world specialist in fast cruising catamarans ranging from 42-90 feet, all designed for long distance cruising and continues to be unique in that it builds boats using an advanced Carbon-Infusion and Twaron processes.
The hulls, bulkheads, deck and furniture are all built in foam-cored sandwich, which make Catana Catamarans light and fast. Recent models have veered away from the super fast, light cats of their early years (Marsaudon have moved into this space).
Performance and Safety
Catana focus on producing fast, comfortable ocean crossers. Their yachts are still well above average on the performance front though. It’s a segment of the market that is getting more competitive: HH for example have launched their OC50 catamaran which sits in this space.
The latest launch is the Ocean Class, a 52 footer that launched in 2020 with a single raised bulkhead helm.
1991 Catana 47 (Crowther), Catana 48 (8 units built until ´96)
1992 Catana 44, 48R (2)
1994: Catana 411
1995 Catana 381
1996 Catana 531
1997: Catana opens in Canet-en-Rousillon and launched the legendary 471. Also Catana 611.
1998 Catana 431 launched followed by the 432. Also Catana 721
Catana 45 One Off (custom Barreau project)
1999: they launch the Catana 401 which replaced the 381 and 411 (later also built by Phisa as the 42)
2000 Catana Aikane 56 (VPLP design)
2000: the 472 and 581 are launched: these both have more luxurious specs than earlier boats.
2001: launch of the 582, a luxury performance cruiser, later marketed as 58 Ocean Class
2002: the Catana 52 is launched, eg 521, 522 then Ocean Class
2003 Last 471 produced in May #68 “Element”.
2003 Catana is bought by Poncin. They market the 47 footer as the 47 Ocean Class up to 2007
2004 Catana 43 Ocean Class (evolved from 431), 47 Ocean Class
2006: Catana begin to manufacture larger yachts from 82 to 90 feet long.
2007 The Catana 50 Ocean Class is launched
2008 Catana 41 Ocean Class, 65 ,Catana 90
2010: launch of the Catana 42 and a lighter 50.
2011: launch of the Catana 47 and 59.
2012: The Catana 70 is launched
2013 Catana 55
2016 Catana 62
2017 Catana 53 launched at La Grande Motte.
2020 Catana launches the Ocean Class, a 52 footer with a single raised helm station on the starboard bulkhead
(Sorted by Year)
Catana 40, 40S (1984-92)
The Catana 40 was the very first model launched in 1984 when Catana were based in Cogolin in the South of France.
This classic catamaran, designed by Australian architect Lock Crowther, set the DNA of the brand. The boat was not a huge commercial success: only 16 examples were built, but it set the template for the future success of this performance catamaran brand.
There are 2 versions, the 40C (11 built? Hull #11 was launched 1988) and the 40S. The plate above is from a 40S (Hull #15, 1995).
This cat is quick! She weighs only 5.8 tonnes, meaning she sails well even in light winds. The bridgedeck was high for the time, so there was less slamming compared to the cruising cats of the time such as the Prout range.
And upwind, with her fine hulls and daggerboards she was a real performer.
There´s not much space on her compared to modern cats, but the owners didn’t care as they were flying along.
Even so, she came with 4 double cabins- the limited space was well thought out: an excellent design that is very rare on the second hand market.
Later Came the 40S
The later 40S was built with a C39 deck mold and a 42 cockpit mold spliced together. An example is “Avighna” (1992) Hull #16.
The 40S has a narrower beam than the original 40C models which became the 42.
Catana 42S (1988?)
Another Lock Crowther creation, the Catana 42S was slightly longer and sleeker than the original 40C developed from the same molds I believe. A lovely looking catamaran, especially from this angle. Around 20 were made.
The 411 design was credited to both Lock Crowther and Barreau. Shown is Pelagic, the #1 hull. The deck mold was hand built and the boat was transported to the Paris Boat show where it had to be sold to keep Catana afloat.
Catana 381 (1995)
Image Credit: Wildside, Greece
This is a really quirky cat and Catana’s smallest. The big story is that aft central helm. I love it. They don’t make them like this anymore! I believe this model went up to hull #23.
Catana 531 (1996)
A Real Looker
A large, powerful catamaran from Catana´s earlier days (90s). These boats remind me a bit of the early Lagoons – they are really sleek. Nice looking cats.
Catana 471 (1997), 47 Ocean Class (2003)
Image Credit: Dream Yacht Charter.
With the launch of the 471, the Barreau/Neuman design partnership really started to motor. This is one of my favourite Catana designs, they nailed it with this one. an example is “Our White Magic” (2002). Hull #45.
The last Catana 471 hull (#68) named “Element” was delivered in May of 2003. Then this model was marketed as the 47 Ocean Class until 2007.
Launched as a kind of ‘mini 471’, the 431 shares many of the same design characteristics of the bigger boat. The Barreau Neuman team were really finding their feet with these designs. A great balance between performance and comfort.
Like the 471, she is a very pretty design, well proportioned and remain very popular on the second hand market.
431 hull #54 Papillon, for example, was delivered June 2003 with an Alucarbon mast.
After the purchase of Catana by Poncin in 2003, this model was sold as the 43 Ocean Class.
Catana 721 (1998)
Catana 401 (1999)
The Catana 401 replaced the 381 and 411. These are very popular boats. The 401 was an updated 381 with a new cockpit mold from the cockpit bulkhead aft.
When Catana stopped production of the 401, they sold the molds to Phisa, which lengthened them and made some other changes and sold it as the Phisa 42. Worth a look, as the interior finish was upgraded on the Phisa.
Catana 472 (2000)
The 472 is a higher spec´d version of the 471. Shown above is “El Gato”. Aesthetically, Catana hit top marks with these boats
Catana Aikane 56 (2000)
This 56 footer was designed by VPLP
Catana 581/582 (2000/2001)
Incorporating all of the design features that made these Christophe Barreau Catanas so sought after: a high-end performance cruising catamaran with narrow hulls, high bridgedeck clearance, minimal weight forward of the mast, and high-aspect daggerboards instead of low-aspect keels.
You will struggle to find a better long distance blue water cruiser than this boat.
Catana 521, 522 (2002)
Another Barreau/Neuman design from their “Purple Patch” years. If you are looking for a bigger version of the legendary 471, this is it. Marsaudon built a dozen of these fast cats under contract. They look like they could weather a storm, don´t they?
The Marsaudon Connection
The last one was built in 2005: “Chaton”- this is a very fast boat with a carbon mast, that averages between 220 and 240 miles on longer passages: a true luxury performance cat. Another example is “O2” which was built by Dominique Marsaudon in Lorient in 2003.
Catana 50 (2006)
Catana went through some financial difficulties after the dot com crash in the early noughties, but they came roaring back with the Catana 50. This cat was well received thanks to its stable ride through the waves. The defining feature was that bulbous bow: a wave-piercing profile that minimised hobbyhorsing and provides extra buoyancy.
The Catana 50’s boards are angled slightly inward to maximize lift under sail- she performs well upwind.
Catana 41 Ocean Class (2008)
This is the #1 hull, “Piratical”. Built in 2007 but launched in 2008.
This is very similar to the newer 42. The saloon layout is different to the later boat with the galley port forward.
Catana 65 (2008)
The 65 was one of the last Christophe Barreau designs for Catana. They were making some big catamarans at this point.
Catana 90 (2008)
The largest yacht that the shipyard have constructed is the Catana 90, like the example above: Orion. This is a sleek looker despite its length.
Catana 42 (2010)
The 42 is basically an updated version of the the 41 launched 2 years earlier. The galley was moved to the aft of the salon and they improved some of the sail handling. Then they renamed her the 42, maybe in honour of that great early Lock Crowther design?
Catana 82 (2010)
Launched from Catana´s large yachts division that was set up in 2006. The 82 is not the prettiest in the range (in my opinion, I am sure the owner would disagree). For me, it looks like they just stretched the smaller boats.
Catana 47 (2011)
Image Credit catana.com
The 47 is no longer part of Catana´s current line up. We were hoping for her to get the new look like the 53, but the yard have moved direction to the newer Ocean Class range with a bulkhead helm. They seem to be moving more towards the comfort end of the spectrum, probably influenced by the success of the Bali range.
She is a very solid, seaworthy catamaran that is infused with carbon, evolved from the 471 but doesn’t look as pretty.
In 2013, the Catana 59 was designed by Catana’s in-house team with Marc Lombard retained as a consultant, and it caused something of a stir, as the 47 and 42 foot models were the only remaining Christophe Barreau designs.
The design philosophy later extended to the 53 and a modernised stretched version: the 62.
She has lovely lines: a high free board, good bridgedeck clearance, and a generous sail plan. The new muscly look is definitely an indicator of this cat’s performance.
Catana 70 (2012)
A very sleek design for such a big large yacht, the 70 was designed by Marc Lombard. After this, Catana brought the design in house, but you can still see Lombard´s influence in the later designs such as the 53. He was retained as a consultant.
Catana 55 (2013)
Image Credit: Curie via Samboat
Catana 62 (2016)
Photo Credit: Manuel Gubbins. Hull #1: Wampuo.
The big sister to the 53, the 62 evolved from the earlier 59.
With its maxi hulls with inverted bows, foil-type daggerboards, Carbon Infusion and Twaron Impact technology, the C62 is one of the safest and highest tech catamarans in its class.
Catana 53 (2017)
Image credit: Catamaran Center.
The 53 is the only remaining model in Catana’s current line up apart from the Ocean Class. The living space is huge thanks to those twin aft helms and the Open design between the saloon and cockpit.
Read our Catana 53 review in the performance cats section.
Ocean Class (2020)
The new Ocean Class is a 52 footer. This design is quite a departure for Catana as she has a single raised bulkhead helm.
This design looks like it is heading further down the comfort end of the scale and away from performance, but we will have to see how she performs on the water.
A big thank you to the members of the Catana Catamarans Owner´s Group on Facebook for helping with this history.
If you enjoyed this page, take a look at our other catamaran brand histories:
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