European and South African builders and designers dominate the ever-increasing multihull presence at Annapolis, but it was interesting and encouraging this year to see some creative US designs. One aimed squarely at serious long-distance ocean voyaging stood out: the Balance 526. The brainchild of broker Phillip Berman, owner of The Multihull Company, the design is the embodiment of his ideas and long experience with multihulls.
“The challenge was to balance room for cruising with racing-type performance,” he says. For a design, Berman turned to South African designer Anton Du Toit and builder Jonathan Paarman.
In simple lightship trim without watermaker and generator fitted, the Balance 526 displaces 10 tonnes. All high load areas including beams and longeron are in carbon. The rest of the structure is of E Glass epoxy and in the quest for weight reduction, almost all parts, including the cockpit doors are foamcored and built in house.
Hull No 3 is to be launched in January and Berman says hulls four and five are on order. The appeal of this capable cruiser, and others in the Balance range from 4575ft, is easy to appreciate first-hand.
Base price: US$1.3M www.balancecatamarans.com eldest son. “It does some of the same things as the J/105 but is bigger, faster and more focussed on cruising than on short-handed racing,” he adds.
Although lively performance was a priority, it has not come at the expense of solidity or ease of handling. There is a simple sailplan with main, jib and a spinnaker tacked to a carbon bowsprit and set with a furler or snuffer.
Price: £152,000 + VAT www.jboats.com · www.keyyachting.com