45 feet is the sweet spot for most cruising catamaran manufacturers. This length of boat gives you a relatively smooth ride without having to go too crazy on marina fees, and for longer passages it’s the point at which you get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of comfort.
The Prout 45 was probably the high water mark for the famous British catamaran manufacturer. It’s a good looking, solid and seaworthy boat that remains popular today on the second hand market.
Prout catamarans have probably completed more ocean crossings than any other brand, primarily with the Snowggose 37. The Prout 45 was introduced in the mid 90s after the launch of the Quasar 50. Like many Prouts, the saloon stops aft of the forward bulkhead, leaving space for a master cabin in the forward center of the boat (Privilege and Lightwave continue this design feature today). You might also want to check out our Prout 45 Owner’s review.
Prout 45s are galley down and were built in both owner and four-cabin versions.
Like many Prout designs, the 45 has a nacelle that runs fore and aft creating more space and headroom in the interior and maximising buoyancy. This helps to dissipate wave energy, but with a relatively low bridgedeck clearance compared to more modern designs, the Prout 45 is susceptible to slamming going into the weather.
The rig is set aft giving you a smaller, more manageable mainsail and great access to all of the halyards and sheets. For a short handed crew, this boat has few equals. Prouts are very well made boats. The sail plan is pretty conservative and the displacement is on the heavy side, so you won’t be beating any speed records, but she is a comfortable boat that will take you anywhere safely.
Like most original Prouts, the 45 was set up with a cutter rig with the mast set well back for easy short-handed sailing and most of the lines running down the mast into the cockpit. With a smaller mainsail and a larger genoa, this makes her very easy to handle with a short handed crew or even on your own. I have seen some aero-rig set ups on the market.
With the mainsail, genoa (the main power provider) and staysail for upwind sailing, and a spinnaker you can fly off the bow for downwind sailing in lighter winds, she moves very competently and you should see some nice speeds off the wind. The main is generally fully battened (slab reefed). All the other major control lines are led back from the base of the mast (accessible from the cockpit) through a block of clam cleats to a single bulkhead mounted winch.
There are additional Genoa sheet winches mounted in the cockpit plus an additional Genoa furling line winch.
The running rigging has been designed so that everything can be done from the safety of the cockpit without having to venture out onto the deck.
There were various set ups offered by Prout (see below)
The aft cockpit follows more traditional lines than many newer designs. There is a raised helm to starboard and plenty of space aft, but you don’t get the open platform you will see on more modern designs. But she feels safe in a big following sea.
Step down into the saloon and you will find a big wraparound sofa (convertible into a large bed) around a dining table facing port. There is a big nav area with a nice chart table opposite on the port side (one of my favourite features of these boats). The galley is down in the starboard hull leaving space for a guest cabin with an ensuite starboard left (athwartships): the berth size is 2100 x 1450 mm. On the Owner’s set up, the forward port hull houses the master head with a wash basin, separate shower room and dressing area.
The set up varies from boat to boat, as Prout marketed various versions:
With a large private forward cabin in the nacelle.
Open Plan Version
Three double cabins
Bigger Saloon area
A combination of the above two, with a queen size double in the nacelle forward
Four Cabin Version
2 cabins forward of the saloon and 2 athwartships aft
Prout 45s are sturdy boats. They were moulded with a lay-up consisting of:
2 x 300 g powder-bound mat, (hand laid up with Isophthalic resin)
600/300 Bi axial material
9mm end grain balsa
450 g chopped strand mat with additional reinforcing below the waterline and keels, with certain key areas reinforced with kevlar.
Very solid in other words!
Original boats came with a 5 year osmosis guarantee.
When Prout went bankrupt in 2001, they sold the 45 molds and the brand to a company called Prout International who were owned by a Chinese-Canadian consortium called the Winfair Group. The boats were manufactured in Thailand and later China before they ceased trading.
They developed the 45 into the Prout 45S with the mast further forward and a different sail plan. It’s a different boat to the original Prout 45.
Prout 45s are very rarely available on the second hand market and when they do come on, they seem to sell fast. Still a very popular long distance cruiser for those wanting a sturdy, seaworthy and value for money ocean crosser.