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Buy a cata­ma­ran, but pay the berthing costs of a mono­hull. This is the idea be­hind the vari­able width Fu­tura 49, launched a few months ago at La Grande Motte. But be­tween the the­ory and the prac­tice is a huge gulf, and it has taken de­sign­ers Uli Bullmer and Ger­hard Euchen­hofer more than four years to bridge that.

The re­sult of their labours with naval ar­chi­tects at Judel Vrolijk is a craft with a beam of 7.98m in sail­ing mode, shrink­ing to 4.93m in ‘park­ing’ mode. The key to the sys­tem is the twin car­bon cross beams that pro­vide the sta­bil­ity for the elec­tric mo­tors to pull the two hulls to­gether.

It has some­thing of the true cata­ma­ran to it: the two hulls serve solely as floats, with no ac­com­mo­da­tion inside, while all the liv­ing is done on the plat­form that con­nects them. The Poly­ne­sians would have ap­proved. Re­mov­ing the liv­ing space from the hulls has al­lowed them to be more hy­dro­dy­namic.

Fu­tura has cre­ated a large su­per­struc­ture that runs much fur­ther for­ward than it does on fixed cats. The dark wrap­around win­dows con­tain a space that is di­vided up to form cab­ins at the for­ward end, with a gal­ley and din­ing space at the stern open­ing onto the aft deck. The helm sta­tion is set into the coachroof, to star­board, with the winches mounted be­tween seats, plus a big sun­pad.

Any­thing from one to four cab­ins are op­tional. Note that the chart ta­ble is just a fold-down sur­face in the sa­loon, with no for­ward view and very limited side vis­i­bil­ity. If the 49 proves suc­cess­ful – there is al­ready a char­ter unit avail­able in Croatia with Pit­ter Yacht­ing – Fu­tura plans to ex­pand the range. Price from €629,000 fu­tura-yacht­sys­

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