Ready to Sail

Cruising World - - Contents - By Mark Pills­bury

New­comer to the mar­ket Xquisite Yachts’ X5 is packed with cruis­ing gear.


et’s be­gin by say­ing the X5 cata­ma­ran from Xquisite Yachts, with its soar­ing cock­pit arch, sweep­ing curves in the cabin top and ar­ray of win­dows, is at first glance, well, dis­tinc­tive.

But af­ter spend­ing an hour or so dig­ging through the South African-built blue­wa­ter cruiser while it was tied to the dock at the U.S. Sail­boat Show in An­napo­lis, Mary­land, and an­other sail­ing it in a de­cent breeze on Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, our team of Boat of the Year judges came up with a bet­ter de­scrip­tion of the X5: Most In­no­va­tive.

“It’s just re­ally, re­ally im­pres­sive the num­ber of seago­ing de­tails built into this boat,” said judge Tim Mur­phy. His col­league, sys­tems spe­cial­ist Ed Sher­man, was smit­ten as well. “In terms of sys­tems, I mean, we’ve got one of the best ap­pli­ca­tions of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy that I’ve ever seen on a boat ap­plied on this yacht — with triple re­dun­dancy, which is air­craft-grade, for all in­tents and pur­poses,” said Sher­man.

In­deed, the X5’s Master­volt Czone elec­tri­cal sys­tem, in­te­grated with a full suite of Garmin elec­tron­ics, is im­pres­sive. But more so are the touches added by Xquisite founders Ta­mas and Sarah Hamor, who brought their ex­pe­ri­ence from 10 years of cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing to bear in the fea­ture-rich de­sign of the boat. De­tailed main­te­nance sched­ules for ev­ery me­chan­i­cal de­vice, owner man­u­als and even the serial num­bers of all equip­ment are stored on an ipad that comes with each ves­sel. And from that ipad, an owner has com­plete con­trol of all on­board sys­tems.

BOTY judge Carol Hasse ap­pre­ci­ated some of the Hamors’ more prac­ti­cal knowl­edge. Ac­ces­si­bil­ity to things such as through-hull fit­tings, shaft seals and other mis­sion-crit­i­cal gear

Lis ex­cel­lent, some­thing Ta­mas in­sisted on, hav­ing fixed just about ev­ery­thing on his own boats. At the helm sta­tion, raised to port, all con­trol lines are led to a cen­tral bank of elec­tric winches con­trolled by foot ped­als rather than but­tons so the skip­per’s hands are free for other work. Over­head of the fixed-glass wind­screen, a clever bat­tened bi­mini can be eas­ily slid open so you can view the sails above, or closed with the sweep of an arm if the weather turns.

The rig on the X5 is made of alu­minum rather than car­bon fiber be­cause, says Ta­mas, the for­mer is more for­giv­ing in elec­tri­cal storms. And the sail plan — square-top main, work­ing self-tack­ing jib set on an in­ner forestay and furler, and big genoa for­ward on a sec­ond Harken furler — is de­signed to be eas­ily han­dled alone while the other half of the crew sleeps be­low.

The X5’s lin­eage, like its de­sign, is closely linked to the Hamors. Cross­ing the Pa­cific on a Leop­ard cata­ma­ran, they lost their mast in French Poly­ne­sia, re­placed it and car­ried on un­til they ar­rived in Aus­tralia, where the boat was sold. Look­ing for their next cruis­ing cat, they pur­chased a Ru­dolf Junker-de­signed Dean cata­ma­ran, but the South African builder went out of busi­ness be­fore the boat was fin­ished. Even­tu­ally, the Hamors fin­ished the boat them­selves and sailed off; in the mean­time, a group of work­ers and fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests re­grouped to form Phoenix Marine, which builds the X5 ex­clu­sively for Xquisite Yachts.

Con­struc­tion of the boat ap­peared to be top-notch. Vinylester resin is used through­out. Hulls are solid glass be­low the wa­ter­line and cored above; the deck and cabin top are also cored, as is all of the fur­ni­ture.

The boat we tested fea­tured an own­ers cabin with en suite head and shower that filled the star­board hull, and dou­ble cab­ins with en suite heads and show­ers to port (a four-cabin char­ter lay­out is also of­fered). The X5, listed at $1.2 mil­lion, comes loaded with a wa­ter­maker, a genset, a well-pro­vi­sioned gal­ley and the afore­men­tioned elec­tri­cal and elec­tron­ics sys­tems — in essence, ev­ery­thing you’d need to step aboard and go cruis­ing.

With North sails set in 8 to 10 knots of breeze, we made 7 knots close­hauled and watched the speedo jump to 7.9 on a reach. “That Xquisite sure sailed beau­ti­fully,” said Hasse. “I mean beau­ti­fully.”

Mark Pills­bury is CW’S ed­i­tor.

For more photos and model spec­i­fi­ca­tions, go to cruis­ing­­tex5.

A solent rig with a self-tend­ing stay­sail and a big genoa pro­vides lots of sail-plan op­tions. The cock­pit arch an­chors the main­sheet trav­eler and also is home to a killer shower.

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