If you want a fast catamaran, there are plenty of production boats that will get you across oceans at above average speeds. Outremer is probably the most famous brand, but there is plenty of competition in this market from the likes of ITA Catamarans, Balance and Slyder to name 3.
But want if you want a really fast cat and you haven’t the budget for a Gunboat? Well, then the Australian kit supplier Schionning Designs has to be on your list. They supply the high quality composite materials including as much carbon as you want, and you either build the boat yourself or you outsource to a recommended yard like Noosa Marine. For a fraction of the price, you’ll have a catamaran with a similar sail area to displacement ratio as a Gunboat. This is a catamaran brand that moves in the same circles as the Marsaudon Composites ORC57, a real mover.
The G-Force 1400 was the first of the new G-Force range. These are their high performance designs, (following on from the Waterline Series). It´s quite a bit faster than a production cruising cat like the Lagoon 42 but that does come with an interior volume trade off of course.
Photo credit: Andrew Rogers.
The standard G-Force cats are ultra-slim lightweight racers, and the ‘C’ Cruising variants are designed to carry more weight, though you will still need to keep them light.
The G-Force 1400 Cruise has a higher displacement and can carry more with more space for the cruising toys. This is the only 1400 design available now and it comes in a Balsa and Foam kit.
- Can be a much cheaper way of owning a fast performance catamaran, particularly if you build it yourself
- If you keep the weight off, these boats will sail very well, at true wind speed and even over.
- You can customise the build to suit your requirements.
- A self build like this may take around 25,000 man hours to complete. The official build time is 6,500 hours, but it will depend on your experience and budget. You´ll need a team ideally, and a big space to build the boat!
The big draw with Schionning cats is the way that they sail, they really do move as long as you keep the weight off. Going upwind, with both daggerboards down, you should sail at 45 degrees to true (90 degree tacks) at a speed of 9 knots in a 15 knot breeze, depending on the sea state of course. In calm conditions, you can probably squeeze this boat into 80 degree tacks.
Off the wind, reaching, you should hit 12-13 knots in similar conditions. When the wind is beam on (beam reach), the apparent wind will move nicely forwards and you may even see boats speeds matching true wind speeds and over on the surfs. Both daggerboards should be raised progressively as you bear off onto a reach. They come right up when running downwind, although on these cats it´s often quicker to tack downwind.
The weight is kept down and centralised as much as possible on this design. An example is the use of shaft drives instead of sail drives which allows for the engines to be placed further forward. Because these boats are light, they don’t require as much sail area or mast height to get them going. This lowers the mast Centre of Gravity and thus the pitching moments.
Most Schionning Cats you will see are pretty spartan and that’s because most owner’s like to keep the weight off. Ultimately, as each build is pretty much a custom once we are talking interiors, it’s up to you how you configure the boat.