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Old 26-11-2015, 06:37   #1
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Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Hi,

I'm trying to get more information about performance cruiser catamarans (still lots of living space, but daggerboards, etc.), but unfortunately I don't have any first or second hand knowledge of these boats. There are a few that have caught my eye: The Outremer 51, the Catana 50, and the Swiss Catmaran 55.

Purusing online magazine reviews, doesn't really tell me what I want to know, or obvious considerations (catana = exposed helm). They are usually overly positive reviews about a single test sail. I want to know about longer-term owner thoughts. Which one is reliable. At the end of the day, I want to sail the boat without it constantly falling apart which is all too common in the sailboat world. Swiss Catamaran, while I particularly like the design, I see almost zero information out there as it is a newer brand.

Anyone have any first or secondhand information about these boats? Which one was built with long term integrity in mind and owners have been happy with vs which ones had the most problem after paying and leaving the dock and waving goodbye?
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Old 26-11-2015, 07:11   #2
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

You should have a talk with this fellow who has some extensive experiences with a number of cats, including a recently completed tour around the world in a 46 Fountain/Pajot cat that is similar to that Swiss boat you mentioned. His name is Stefano Piviali.
I'll try to find his blog on that extensive trip, but meantime I found this
https://plus.google.com/u/0/114416312626996427432/about

....ah ha, here is that blog
Novae the cat
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Old 26-11-2015, 07:15   #3
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

A FP 46 is not really anything like a Swisscat 55. More like the Catana, which I would not consider a performance cat anymore.
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Old 26-11-2015, 07:46   #4
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Swiss Catamaran

Their website is a bit of a pain to navigate, keeps jumping back and forth with language, and photos, etc.

catamaran de grande croisière

And I don't see that much outstanding design/material?
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Old 26-11-2015, 07:55   #5
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

From the Swiss Cat website;

Design : Sebastien Schmidt
Length of the hulls : 17,0 m
Width : 7,65 m
Construction : Sandwich glass-epoxy carbon reinforcements
Airdraft : 24,3 m
Under water clearance
[Dagger-boards down] : 1,1 m
Under water clearance [
Dagger-boards down] : 3,2 m
(Poids a vide) : 14,0 t
Light displacement : 16,45 t
Total displacement : 17,5 t
NAVIGATION
Double steerind station
Navigation Furuno
Fittings : Harken
Engines : 2x Yanmar turbo diesel
saildrive 75 cv.
Generator : 10 kW
Fuel: 2x 400 L
RIG
Grand – voile : 90 m2
Genois : 75 m2
Trinquette : 31 m2
Gennaker : 95 m2
Carbon mast and boom, kevlar rig
COMFORT
Interior : Comfortable lounge with
two, three or fours on-suite bedrooms
with showers Table seating
8 people
Chart table
U shape Kitchen
Oven with four gas cookers
Refrigerator 190 L
Freezer 90 L
Cold-warm air conditioning
Water : 2 x 250 L
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Old 26-11-2015, 07:57   #6
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Wonder how far back that 'central rib' extends?
Click image for larger version

Name:	Swiss-catamaran-S2C-55-sailing-061, ps640.jpg
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ID:	113874

I included a more aggressive central nacelle on one of my designs.
Click image for larger version

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Old 26-11-2015, 08:15   #7
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Its an aside, but how do you think a nacelle affects pounding? O Yachts have a 55' cat with a sharp nacelle so big its almost another hull. Designed by Laurent Bourgnon. They say it parts the seas and reduces pounding. I am not sure but it is interesting. O-YACHTS - Class 5
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Old 26-11-2015, 08:49   #8
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O-YACHTS catamaran

That's interesting, I had not seen that before. I will have to take a closer look thru their site, and get back to you.

Thanks, Brian
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Old 26-11-2015, 10:07   #9
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by uslafcid View Post
Purusing online magazine reviews, doesn't really tell me what I want to know, or obvious considerations (catana = exposed helm).
Not 50-55, but I've owned a Catana 471 for 9 years. Since you specifically mentioned the dual outboard Catana helms, these are essentially the same on all Catanas having them, so I can give you first hand info. Ask away. For me and my 5 foot Admiral, the outboard helms are a terrific feature for visibility, rudder feedback, and a better sailing sensation. The "exposure" concern is overblown in our experience. If it's snotty at one helm, often it's quite comfortable on the other - assuming you want to hand steer. Not usually appreciated until you see the set up is the direct, solid mechanical linkage using Whitlock rack and pinion hardware. No cables, wires, slop, smoke or mirrors between your hands and the rudders. There's real feedback that likely isn't duplicated on any other wheel helm cats, with the possible exception of the tiller option on some Outreamers.

Dave
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Old 26-11-2015, 10:56   #10
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Not 50-55, but I've owned a Catana 471 for 9 years. Since you specifically mentioned the dual outboard Catana helms, these are essentially the same on all Catanas having them, so I can give you first hand info. Ask away. For me and my 5 foot Admiral, the outboard helms are a terrific feature for visibility, rudder feedback, and a better sailing sensation. The "exposure" concern is overblown in our experience. If it's snotty at one helm, often it's quite comfortable on the other - assuming you want to hand steer. Not usually appreciated until you see the set up is the direct, solid mechanical linkage using Whitlock rack and pinion hardware. No cables, wires, slop, smoke or mirrors between your hands and the rudders. There's real feedback that likely isn't duplicated on any other wheel helm cats, with the possible exception of the tiller option on some Outreamers.



Dave

From what I've noticed on the Catanas, and what I've also experienced on our new to us tiller steered cat is that visibility is great down the side you are steering from but pretty nonexistent if you're trying to look over the cabin top towards the other hull. Is this your experience, and if so how do you deal with the lack of visibility?


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Old 26-11-2015, 11:16   #11
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by smj View Post
From what I've noticed on the Catanas, and what I've also experienced on our new to us tiller steered cat is that visibility is great down the side you are steering from but pretty nonexistent if you're trying to look over the cabin top towards the other hull. Is this your experience, and if so how do you deal with the lack of visibility?
Hi smj - I am 5'8" (173cm) and can see the opposite bow from the helm if I stand on my tip toes. The Admiral at 5' cannot see the opposite bow. Not surprisingly, I cannot see the deck on the opposite side right next to the cabin top - but this is also the case for single helm cats. If I needed to see the deck along side the cabin top on the opposite side all I'd have to do is walk over to the other helm - but there's nothing to see there of importance anyway. Of note is that the standing surface at the Catana helms is the same level as the deck going forward all the way to the bows, which is a big step up from the elevation of the cockpit - and the height of the cabin top is pretty low compared to many other cruising cats. On the Nautitech version of the dual outboard helms, the standing surface is at the same elevation of the cockpit, so your eye level would be much lower.

I'll add that we've experienced an "exposure" issue that is rarely discussed because if you haven't done bluewater night passages you wouldn't know of it. Flying fish. While at the windward helm at night I have been hit by flying fish. It scares the hell out of you and could probably poke an eye out if you were hit the wrong way in the face. So we never stay long at the windward helm at night. Beats me why flying fish fly higher at night. Everybody finds them on deck in the mornings, but you never see them flying that high in daylight.

Dave
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Old 26-11-2015, 11:33   #12
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

I've sailed almost all of FP range cats Above 50 ft, I've sailed extensively Outremer 51 (rotating carbon mast, hydranet sails) , a bit Catana 582 (carbon mast, hydranet sails), Marquises 56 (just few hours and the boat was overloaded with standart dacron sails not in very good shape..), Aikane 56 (carbon mast, dacron sails), Gunboat 62 (for a day, carbon mast, laminated sails). I had a chance to tour in our marina the Swiscat 55, but couldn't sail her. She seemed to be very well made and light boat. The skipper said that she was very fast but I cannot tell you how fast since I couldn't sail her.


First of all, I have to say that all these big cats are behaving differently than any cat in the range of 40-46 ft boats that I've sailed. They are all relatively faster and more importantly much smoother and comfortable in rough seas.


In terms of speed, O 51 is faster in light winds and upwind. Above 15 kts of true, Catana 582 is probably the fastest in every direction. FP 56 Marquises was the one that surprised me the most; she sailed very well even at around 10 kts of true wind, pointed pretty well with the self tacking gib. Gun boat is obviously out of this league, she can point to 28-30 degrees apparent wind making 9-10 kts in 20 kts of true wind. Aikane wasn't as good as I'd expeted her to be, but didn't have enough sailing time to judge.

Which one is better depends on what you want to do with the boat. For coastal sailing, occasional passages, island hopping, etc, Outremer 51 could take the first place. She is a real fun to sail her, she is extremely sensible to trimming, perfect helm feeling and fast. We did 9-10 kts SOG, in close hauled at 35 degrees at 25 kts of true, with one reef on the main. At 50-60 degrees we saw 11-12 kts of speed. I don't think she is the right boat for someone who wants to circumnavigate with family and / or shorthanded. She is the narrowist boat that I've seen and cost app. 900.000 Euros, with a carbon stick, genset, A/C, satellite antenna, TV, etc..
Catana 582 is less lively in light winds. After 10 kts of true, she is fast and very comfortable. The volumes inside is OK but not as much as someone would expect from a 58 ft boat. I personally don't like the position of the helms and the lines which are running below the cockpit to the huge winch aft. Second hand of these boats are around 600-750.000 Euros.
There are very few Aikane 56 around and couldn't sail her long enough to get an idea. My first impression wasn't particularly positive though.
Marquises (and probably old Lagoon 57 that I didn't sail) could be the way to go if you want to sail in style with yr family. Reasonably fast, best available volumes among these cats and one of the best balance between volume and performance.

I've looked at O cats designed by Eric Lerouge. He makes fast and seaworthy boats with little buoyancy (load carrying capacity) If you want to carry yr diving gears, 150 m of chain, the spare of everything on board, you can forget it..

I am too looking at this kind of boat for years, not easy particularly if the budget is limited..

Good luck

Yeloya
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Old 26-11-2015, 14:56   #13
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
I've sailed almost all of FP range cats Above 50 ft, I've sailed extensively Outremer 51 (rotating carbon mast, hydranet sails) , a bit Catana 582 (carbon mast, hydranet sails), Marquises 56 (just few hours and the boat was overloaded with standart dacron sails not in very good shape..), Aikane 56 (carbon mast, dacron sails), Gunboat 62 (for a day, carbon mast, laminated sails). I had a chance to tour in our marina the Swiscat 55, but couldn't sail her. She seemed to be very well made and light boat. The skipper said that she was very fast but I cannot tell you how fast since I couldn't sail her.


First of all, I have to say that all these big cats are behaving differently than any cat in the range of 40-46 ft boats that I've sailed. They are all relatively faster and more importantly much smoother and comfortable in rough seas.


In terms of speed, O 51 is faster in light winds and upwind. Above 15 kts of true, Catana 582 is probably the fastest in every direction. FP 56 Marquises was the one that surprised me the most; she sailed very well even at around 10 kts of true wind, pointed pretty well with the self tacking gib. Gun boat is obviously out of this league, she can point to 28-30 degrees apparent wind making 9-10 kts in 20 kts of true wind. Aikane wasn't as good as I'd expeted her to be, but didn't have enough sailing time to judge.

Which one is better depends on what you want to do with the boat. For coastal sailing, occasional passages, island hopping, etc, Outremer 51 could take the first place. She is a real fun to sail her, she is extremely sensible to trimming, perfect helm feeling and fast. We did 9-10 kts SOG, in close hauled at 35 degrees at 25 kts of true, with one reef on the main. At 50-60 degrees we saw 11-12 kts of speed. I don't think she is the right boat for someone who wants to circumnavigate with family and / or shorthanded. She is the narrowist boat that I've seen and cost app. 900.000 Euros, with a carbon stick, genset, A/C, satellite antenna, TV, etc..
Catana 582 is less lively in light winds. After 10 kts of true, she is fast and very comfortable. The volumes inside is OK but not as much as someone would expect from a 58 ft boat. I personally don't like the position of the helms and the lines which are running below the cockpit to the huge winch aft. Second hand of these boats are around 600-750.000 Euros.
There are very few Aikane 56 around and couldn't sail her long enough to get an idea. My first impression wasn't particularly positive though.
Marquises (and probably old Lagoon 57 that I didn't sail) could be the way to go if you want to sail in style with yr family. Reasonably fast, best available volumes among these cats and one of the best balance between volume and performance.

I've looked at O cats designed by Eric Lerouge. He makes fast and seaworthy boats with little buoyancy (load carrying capacity) If you want to carry yr diving gears, 150 m of chain, the spare of everything on board, you can forget it..

I am too looking at this kind of boat for years, not easy particularly if the budget is limited..

Good luck

Yeloya
Thanks for that, that's a great post. With Cats it seems it always ends up coming back to payload and trying to predict what you need. A permanently cruising couple, with the diving gear, chain etc as you describe above ... what would you estimate their payload to be? I appreciate it's only an estimate but you have a lot of experience that I don't so would be better at understanding this than I.
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Old 26-11-2015, 15:11   #14
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

Don't forget to add the St. Francis 50 to this comparison, especially the MKII just launched (wayfinder). It seems it has the performance without the space compromises.


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Old 26-11-2015, 15:13   #15
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Re: Performance 50-55' Cats: Outremer vs Catana vs Swiss Catamaran

There's a lot of really great boats being built in this category, at both ends of the spectrum.

Would you consider buying plans and having one built? I think you'd be surprised at how much that route would cost. Opens up even more great boats as options.
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