Fast cruising is the theme this year, says Toby Hodges, who looks at some of 2021s exciting new multihull launches
2021 looks set to be a bumper year for new catamarans as the trend for fast cruising yachts, which deliver plenty if living space continues. This year there are set to be several new catamarans on the market, here’s our selection of those about which we are most excited.
Marsaudon Composites has quietly built an enthusiastic following for its TS42 and TS50 catamarans since the smaller boat was launched six years ago.
That these have been the first boats to cross the Atlantic in the last two ARCs has also done its reputation no harm.
The yard is based at Lorient La Base, at the heart of the French offshore racing scene, so it’s perhaps no surprise these designs are lightweight and offer plenty of performance.
The direct tiller steering, which gives a responsive feel to the helm, is an example of the thinking that sets these boats apart from other multihulls and makes them sought after models. Yet they also have enough space both on deck and below to offer very comfortable living.
A 57-footer from the board of Marc Lombard will be the third design to join the stable. It shares the same hallmarks as the existing models, although a wheel steering option will also be offered.
In suitable conditions this is a cruising yacht that can be expected to hit speeds of well over 20 knots.
The hull shape is clearly a progression from the earlier models, while following the same light displacement principles with fine hull shapes. Lombard drew a new shape for the bows to increase efficiency and reduce the tendency for bow-down trim. He told us: “The bows are shaped so that, when the boat is powered up and starts to heel, the lee bow will generate extra lift to push the bow up.”
The additional size makes the interior spaces of this boat significantly larger than those of the 50-footer, especially in the hulls. Much thought has also gone into ergonomics and weight saving, stripping out and simplifying anything that is not essential. CEO Damien Cailliau likes to draw on a quote from Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars: “Simplify, then add lightness.”
As an example, there are no hull linings, which saves weight and complication, but requires extremely neat moulding. “A core competency of Marsaudon Composites is that we produce excellent mouldings,” says Cailliau, “so we don’t need to hide our work.”
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As a low volume builder – only 28 of the smaller boats have been built in total – Marsaudon Composites can offer semi-custom interior arrangements, providing they don’t add unnecessary weight. The boat can also be built with varying amounts of carbon to reduce displacement further.
At the same time as announcing this design Marsaudon launched a rebranding of the range, which will now be known as Ocean Rider Catamarans (or ORC). The new name is a better fit with the qualities with which owners identify than the Très Simple concept that led to the original TS designation.
To underscore the difference between these boats and the majority of catamarans in this size range a tiller has been incorporated in the logo.
Tooling for the ORC 57 is under construction and the first boat is scheduled to be unveiled in September 2021.
Base price ex VAT: €1,085,000
Current Marine CM46 & CM52
The founder of RS Sailing, Martin Wadhams, is a racing sailor who now spends more and more time cruising.
Martin and his wife, Amanda, enjoy sailing fast boats and have spent some time looking to upgrade from their Pogo 12.50 to a multihull. Their search for a true performance cruising catamaran – and one that wouldn’t cost seven figures – turned out few viable options.
Australian-based designer Jeff Shionning put them onto some fresh designs he has done for Current Marine, a new South African brand formed from an experienced team of composites experts at Knysna, between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the south coast.
It has been set up to build the new CM46 and CM52 in low-volume semi-custom production. On visiting the yard a year ago, Wadhams was impressed enough with the high tech builds to order the second CM46.
He reports that the joinery is all laminated in, there is plenty of opportunity for layout customisation (in three or four cabins) and, owing to the lower labour costs in South Africa, pricing is keen.
Shionning’s CM designs are lightweight, efficient catamarans that should be able to sail well in light breeze and outrun weather systems in the open ocean.
Key features include daggerboards, fine bows, centralised weight of engines and tanks, and high bridgedeck clearance. The rig is also positioned amidships for optimum weight centralisation, while also helping to create a large foretriangle for flying a range of furling headsails. Aluminium or carbon spars and diesel or hybrid propulsion are offered.
Wadhams says there is good stowage space and payload capacity for comfortable liveaboard cruising. “They’re built using post-cured epoxy, carbon, E-Glass and PVC foam-cored laminates – a level above mainstream brands,” he insists. “This brings the construction found in a few larger, high-end boats into smaller-size catamarans.” The first CM46 is a full carbon racing version destined for an Auckland-based owner and is due to launch early 2021. The second boat (for Wadhams) has a more cruising-oriented spec.
Prices ex VAT: CM46 €635,000, CM52 €787,000
Is this the most popular new design of 2021? Although the first of this new 45ft model is not due to launch until later in the autumn, there has already been a phenomenal uptake in orders.
Publicity has been helped by vloggers Sailing Ruby Rose ordering one of the first boats, but a staggering 49 deposits have been taken already. This has led to the Australian/Taiwan yard establishing a new technical department that is separate from the production department.
European sales manager Jay Nolan says this 13-strong team is tasked with working up every system on the boat and looking at hybrid solutions.
Price ex VAT: €599,000
A contemporary fast cat set up for short-handed world cruising, Outremer’s exciting new 55 launches this winter.
We previewed this VPLP design in our September issue and hope to test it during the spring. Much focus has been placed on weight and stiffness to help increase performance and ensure the boat can sail in the lightest breezes and therefore rarely need engine power.
Price ex VAT: €1,215,000
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