I looked at every multihull
I could last Sunday, though my time was very short: A quick report:
(note I do not recall
all the names and models correctly, I apologize I was not more organized. I didn't expect to see so many and didn't have time to check them all out properly.)
This is what I went to see, and was sorely disappointed. The interior
fit and finish just seems to keep getting worse every year. The larger models were a bit better, but not by very much. The core
design does not appear to have changed an iota
The 380 is a much larger boat than I realized. I can hardly imagine needing or even wanting a 40+ lagoon
, except for reports that cats under 40ft are not as smooth at sea.
Quality aside, Lagoon
still remains king in the layout and liveability realm, but the others are quickly catching up - mainly through flat-out imitation
The leopards are quickly gaining share through a combination of evolving design (becoming more lagoon like in many ways), a slightly better fit-and-finish than their competitors, and being picked up as the catamaran
of choice by the huge Sunsail and Moorings organizations.
The newest leopard
has a very spacious deck
, very large open windows in the main salon
, and an easy comfortable layout borrowing much from and improving slightly on the layouts of the lagoons.
The larger models are featuring a forward deck
, entered through a swinging door in the main salon
. I think time will tell whether this is a forward-thinking feature that becomes well loved, or a great marketing
idea wrapped in a terrible sailing design. I'd be interested to hear from sailors living with this design.
Leopards have a beautifully integrated solar
design from the factory which is nearly invisible to the eye, and easily expanded for more capacity. In general, I found many of it's features to be supremely integrated and carefully considered compared to it's direct competitors. Though the salon is slightly smaller, I find it a superior choice in liveability to the Lagoons and FP's, all else being equal (though I'm not sure that all else is equal - I have not carefully compared pricing)
- The big news in this lot is the newly designed Gemini
. Retaining the original Gemini's core
features, this new Gemini is larger without being wider. It is taller with larger, clearer windows. Though I still love the Lagoon/Leopard layout, I can see this new Gemini as a true cruiser's boat without compromise. The "lookthrough" design is still present, but with much better visibility and with the option to step and "lookover". Larger side windows make the salon area more open and bright with a view to three sides of the boat.
Still in production, to my surprise, the Catalac
was a very nice boat. Unfortunately I came upon it by accident
, and only had a few moments to peek aboard. It looks like a highly liveable design, perhaps a bit more affordable and possibly a little better quality than it's bigger-name cousins. If anyone is interested, I'll rack my brain a little harder for details of the boat and post the results. Actually, I probably need to do that anyway because this boat is heavily used in a certain cruising program that may meet my very specific criteria, which I have so far been unable to match. This may well be my future home.
My first time viewing this boat, I was disappointed. I expected it to be far superior to the fit and finish of the Lagoons, but it didn't really appear to be. Sporting similar features, and a slightly better contrasting color scheme, it appears to be a fair alternative to the Lagoon design
6) Other cats
I saw a few others, names are escaping at the moment. I did not have much time, and did not expect so many unrecognized names and so didn't allocate time properly to see all of them. One stands out in design in that all of it's interior
features were finished in contrasting fiberglass
, Corian, and other artificial materials. While not having quite the warmth of a wood interior, it clearly appeared to be much more durable and capable of standing many years of hard usage.
7) A trimaran
A nice liveable design. I'm not sure the performance of this boat is sufficiently great to justify the purchase
compared to a cat, but the layout was definitely clever and oriented toward long-term liveability. I heard snippets of conversation about performance that suggested it might do something like 25-30% better speeds than a comparable catamaran
8) Shannon (??) monohull
I'm including this here simply because it has many of the livability features of the catamarans - large above deck cabins, spacious living and galley
quarters, and relatively shallow draft
for a boat of it's size. However, they are extremely expensive, being custom built out of what appear to be the very finest materials. A gorgeous boat, a true sailing yacht in the classic sense, but very very costly and (perhaps) more of motor
sailor than a true sailing yacht.