Just Launched

From foil­ing to cruis­ing, cata­ma­ran de­vel­op­ment is surg­ing. Peter Nielsen looks at three new models

SAIL - - Contents -

Three new per­for­mance cruis­ing cata­ma­rans

As soon as I opened the e-mail bear­ing news of the Ea­gle Class 53, this sporty cat leapt straight to the top of my Boats-I-Want-to-Sail list. The per­for­mance mul­ti­hull niche has grown like wild­fire in the last decade, and this out­ra­geously po­tent­look­ing foil­ing cat takes an­other leap into the outer lim­its of de­sign.

Cre­ated by a top-notch de­sign and build team with deep Amer­ica’s Cup roots for a client who orig­i­nally wanted to con­vert his Gun­boat 90 to a foiler—which would have been quite some­thing to see—the Ea­gle Class 53 brings to­gether the tal­ents of de­sign­ers Paul Bieker, Eric Jolly and An­dres Suar and boat­builder Wolf­gang Cham­ber­lain. They took full ad­van­tage of the open de­sign brief to come up with a boat that will foil on ei­ther C- or T-foils and is pow­ered by a new “Hy­brid Wing,” a cross be­tween a hard and soft wing­sail with a self-tack­ing jib.

Con­trolled by spe­cially de­vel­oped “Flight Con­trol” soft­ware, the T-foil con­fig­u­ra­tion cre­ates a “sta­ble au­ton­o­mous foil­ing plat­form,” ac­cord­ing to Suar. Other fea­tures in­clude seat­belts for the crew when in foil­ing mode, full car­bon fiber com­pos­ite con­struc­tion yield­ing a dry weight of six tons, and com­fort­able cruis­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions from which the lucky own­ers can watch the world whizz by at up to 35 knots.

De­signed by Mor­relli & Melvin, an­other de­sign team with plenty of Amer­ica’s Cup chops, HH Cata­ma­rans’ lineup was per­fectly po­si­tioned to fill the void left by the tem­po­rary demise of Gun­boat. Its HH66 and HH55 car­bon fiber fly­ers pro­vide fast cruis­ing and elec­tri­fy­ing rac­ing, and there are more models on the way. Re­al­iz­ing how­ever that not ev­ery­one wants to go zip­ping around the oceans at break­neck speed, HH is now of­fer­ing a more re­strained line of pure cruis­ing cats.

First in the new Oceans Se­ries is the OC50, an­other M&M de­sign that shares the same aes­thet­ics as the car­bon-fiber boats but is built in con­ven­tional e-glass and foam com­pos­ites rather than ex­otic ma­te­ri­als. It has fixed keels in­stead of dag­ger­boards and an alu­minum rig, but shares many of the de­sign fea­tures of the car­bon boats along with com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tions. It’s good to see an­other con­tender en­ter the sport-cruis­ing arena oc­cu­pied by the likes of Outremer and Catana.

New from that hot­bed of mul­ti­hull build­ing, South Africa, the Vi­sion 444 is a perky-look­ing cruiser that has the at­tributes of a good per­former un­der sail. De­signed by James Turner and fea­tur­ing e-glass/foam sand­wich con­struc­tion, the boat has a con­ven­tional alu­minum rig car­ry­ing a square-headed main­sail, a roomy cock­pit and a clean deck plan. The cock­pit lay­out looks to be very good. The bridgedeck sa­loon fea­tures gal­ley and nav sta­tion aft and a din­ing ta­ble for­ward, while an owner’s suite takes up the star­board hull and there are two spa­cious guest cab­ins to port. s

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