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Festival of Sails 2017

Multihull Central- For when two or three is definitely better than one

by Brendan Maxwell on 27 Sep 2013
The new high performance Outremer 51. Gilles Foucras
One does not have to look too far to see the impact of cats and tris. Whether you are talking about the absolute pinnacle of inshore or transoceanic racing, short-handed cruising or the ultimate seaborne entertainment vessel, the multihull is as recognisable as it is varied.

Equally, the two-way traffic and sharing of ideas between racing and cruising, such as furling headsails, lazy jacks, composites and lightweight construction or rotating carbon rigs are part of the multitude of visible items, too.
Brent Vaughan of Multihull Central is all about making multihull ownership both easy and possible. ‘There are three main areas to Multihull Central. We are the Australian Distributor for the hugely successful and immediately identifiable Seawind range of catamarans and also offer the Outremer (pronounced Oot-Tremor) collection of high performance cruising cats.


‘Secondly, Multihull Central is the fastest growing specialist brokerage for pre-loved cats. We sold the 47’ performance cat, Ricochet, as part of the 17 vessels we have found new owners for since the beginning of 2013, alone.’
‘Finally, our Annandale facility is also the only dedicated and purpose-built multihull marina in Australia, Vaughan concluded with.


‘Just as we have multiple areas of operation, we also provide several ways to get into your next craft. Whether you’re interested in outright purchase, placing your boat into the Queensland charter fleet or being part of syndicate, we have the options ready and waiting for you to investigate. Indeed we have a syndicate for new Seawind already two-thirds subscribed right now’, Vaughan went on to add.

So apart from two of the best and most popular brands of new cats with ownership options and a selection of used multihulls on offer, Multihull Central also assist with the practicalities of boat ownership with things like the Seawind Sailing School, where you can learn all your skills via hands-on tuition.


Apart from their sailing and visual statements, you do not have to look too far in any marina or anchorage to see that multihulls are the growing segment. Owners come from different points of life, backgrounds and budgets. Part of the buffet that multis have brought to the market and why so many are attracted to them are their ease of sail, minimal heel, ability to run short-handed, and almost tardis-like space offering.

Brent commented, ‘We find around one third of all our buyers have had a cat before. Another third come from monohulls and the remainder are crossing over from power or have had no boat before, whatsoever. This latter group are the fastest growing segment of this expanding market, without any doubt.’


Multihull Central has seven sales agents around Australia, a Marketing Coordinator and a service team. The sales team are all very experienced in the industry, with most having been part of the Seawind team, before that organisation moved offshore. Those boats are now made in Vietnam to the same sort of exacting standards that earlier Aussie boats were constructed. If you have toured plants in SE Asia, you will know that it is well and truly possible to build and launch good quality vessels from these locations. Indeed, Multihull Central sold some Seawind 1250 Platinum 41’ craft at the recent Sydney International Boat Show. Around 15 of these have been built already, with a retail price of around AU$600,000.

Next down the line is the 38’ Seawind 1160 Trans-Tasman, which comes in at AU$500,000. 105 of these craft have been built to date in various guises. At 35 feet, the Seawind 1000XL2 is the latest expression of this exceptionally popular model. 225 of the 1000 and 1000XLs preceded the XL2 with its large cockpit, tri-fold doors and open saloon. Many are still cruising Australia and around the globe.

In a lot of ways this craft is the sailing equivalent of the Bertram 25 (now Caribbean 27). Like all Seawinds, the XL2 is over-engineered, so being effectively bullet proof means there has been no loss of rig on these craft, which is important, as cats are a different kind of breed when it comes to boats - they get used! Making a choice for a lifestyle change means people go cruising and at AU$320,000, the XL2 is the most affordable multi of its type on the market.
Twin helms with all controls going back to the helm stations, a self-tacking jib and galley hatch from the starboard hull are the kinds of attributes that continue to set this icon of the market apart.


‘The pen may be a little more expensive, but then you get a bigger boat, so it is all commensurate. A 7.5m beam is about the limit of a travel lift, which takes care of most multis under about 45 feet. Larger cats will require a ship lift with trolley/dolly, or under bridge deck inflatable pod. Insurance is on par with other types of craft at around 1% of the purchase price’, said Vaughan by way of covering off some of the not-so-often-spoken-about items.

So just what is it with the French and their fascination with multihulls? It is as identifiable and real as the track many of them leave on the ocean between their Atlantic or Mediterranean homes and the South Pacific isles they arrive at. Many then get sold there and one of these has just arrived in Sydney. It is an example of the 2010 European Yacht of the Year, the Outremer 49.


This particular model has now been modified to become the 51 and there is a new 45 sitting below her in the Outremer range. At the top is the 5X. Don’t get too caught up on the nomenclature, however, for this 59’ vessel is the 2013 European Yacht of the Year. This is a great achievement for a company that has been building vessels for 30 years and has launched 200 craft in that time.

Whilst being fully functional and kitted out for cruising, the Outremers are designed to be express passage makers and fast, trans-oceanic craft. Relatively low displacement, resin-infused hulls, daggerboards, optional rotating carbon rigs and outboard steering via carbon fibre tillers, should be enough to convince you of their intention. They are the M Series or AMG sailing equivalent for the buyer who appreciates the performance difference and has enough skill to extract it. You are talking more speed and therefore more miles, as the Outremers will rarely be below 10kn and will make 20kn SOG. Perhaps not quite the complete Thomas Crown Affair style of outing, but certainly on the way and without the expensive ending, too.


By way of example, a 5X will do 11 knots of boat speed in an 18-knot breeze at just under 30?Apparent Wind Angle. Normally, a 50’ cruising cat would be in the order of 15 metric tonnes and some 52’s are more like 26 tonnes. In contrast, the Outremer 51 is around 10 tonnes. Part of the DNA is not to have massive hulls with huge wetted surface areas and to utilise materials for the interior fit out that still provide all the tactile and aesthetic requirements, but do so with an ulterior motive of saving mass. Brent commented, ‘At the recent Outremer Cup, I was on the 5X and we were barrelling along at 16 knots, right on 30? apparent, in a lovely 22 knot breeze. Got to love that sort of sailing!’
Yes, there will be a price differential to gain access to this realm, but it seems there is enough budget left for bets with owners. The whole production team scrutinises the process to ensure they meet or beat weight targets and add to customer satisfaction.

Now whether you’re interested in a Territory or ML63 of the sea, Multihull Central would certainly be the command post worth checking in with. See www.multihullcentral.com for more information regarding your multiple options.


X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 1Sail Port Stephens 2017 660x82Henri Lloyd 50 Years

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