Britain's Green Marine, better known as builders of racing multihulls, are the latest to recognise the giant boom of cruising which combines nicely with the explosion of popularity of catamarans for cruising sailors. They have announced that they have a ground breaking 78 foot (24 metre) catamaran currently in build at its facility in Hythe, England.
WallyCento - new designs are non-stop evolution - now wait for the APC78
Designed by renowned multihull naval architect Nigel Irens and designated the APC (Advanced Premium Catamaran) 78, she will be the first of a new breed of catamaran that bridges the current gulf between stripped out racing boats and sedate, heavyweight cruisers. But don't get too excited yet, she is not expected to be finished until 2014.
Very unimaginatively named the APC 78, she is being built in carbon and Nomex and will benefit from the yard’s acknowledged leadership in weight minimisation at every stage of the build.
'Everyone knows that catamarans can offer huge amounts of accommodation,' says designer Nigel Irens, 'but the possibility that they will also look good and sail well diminishes with every cubic metre of luxurious living space that is added.
'With a few notable exceptions catamaran owners have, until now, generally opted to put the emphasis on the living experience option. This may be, for example, the result of the desire to live aboard while engaged in extended cruising. Many catamarans are also sold to charter companies, who wisely choose them so they can offer clients enough space to allow the cost of a charter holiday to be shared by more people.
'All the indications are that this polarisation between ‘strictly racing’ and ‘strictly cruising’ boats could be about to end. Perhaps the efforts made by those who have taken the America’s Cup into fast multihulls has had something to do with a move towards what Tornado sailor Marcel Muller, CEO of Green Marine, has termed ‘Premium Catamarans’.
'Last year we were asked to submit a design for a catamaran that would genuinely out-perform quite seriously refined single-hulled boats on all points of sailing, while nevertheless retaining the comfort of a cruising catamaran - albeit one having an overall length of some 10 feet less.
'There are no miracles in the business of finding a successful blend of performance and living comfort, but the word ‘Premium’ gives a clue as to how the standard blend of parameters can be improved upon. In a nutshell builders Green Marine have been asked to take all the know-how and experience they have developed over the past 30 years in the building of lightweight single-hulled vessels and apply them to a catamaran.
'The result will, it is hoped, be a groundbreaking boat that will sail fast (and upright), and yet will provide a superb living platform – that is just as happy nosing up to the beach for a barbecue at the end of a long day’s racing, then heading for home at 13 knots under power.'
'With the increasing demand for sailing superyachts that are both competitive on the race course and yet fully equipped for cruising, taking the step of extending that concept into catamarans was inevitable,' said Green Marine CEO Marcel Müller.
'Weight optimisation and control are critical for the success of a performance multihull such as the APC78, and these are areas in which Green Marine excels. The APC78 currently in build will, we hope, be just the first of a series that will provide their owners with exciting, sociable racing together with the capability to pack a long distance cruising itinerary into just a week or two of vacation, all in complete comfort.'
You can find out more about the new multihull at www.greenmarine.co.uk and www.nigelirens.com