Bal­ance 526

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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.bal­ance­cata­ma­ 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.keyy­acht­

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