Our top five catamaran picks for 2016 are exceptional catamarans each in their own right and it was difficult to pick them out amongst the too many good brands and models. We could have listed several more catamarans but the 5 we chose, seemed to have really done well with the general sailing public and with our clients in particular. Bearing in mind that the majority of our clients are long-term sailing cruisers and are primarily concerned with livability, comfort, quality, price and then performance. However, these five cats fare equally well in management in a charter fleet, which is how many of our clients at least partially pay for their future cruising catamarans.
These catamaran models are all modern, lightweight construction and fresh designs. There are no extensions added to the scoops to stretch the size of the cat or old technology and finishing like head liners and roll-on paint. These catamarans are well thought out and well designed. While our five catamaran picks meet most or all of the criteria for cruising couples, they are not racing catamarans but are also not slow. The goal is to get 160-180NM (6.5-7.5 knots average) in 24hours on a 40ft cat and 180-220NM (7.5-9 knots average) on a 45ft cat in good conditions. Easily achievable on these cats if sailed safely and at their optimum.
The sweet spot for most cruising couples seem to be between 40ft and 45ft but with modern technology and building methods, it is becoming increasingly easier to sail bigger catamarans with only two people. A 50ft catamaran just does not seem as overwhelming as it used to and I am sure that we will see catamarans above 50ft as standard cruising cats soon. While most catamarans that we sell now are between 40ft and 50ft, we have sold more than sixteen catamarans of 50ft and above in the last few years, including two Lagoon sevent7’s, in the last 6 months. Read our article Big Catamarans Going Mainstream!
The FP Lucia is a perfect, very BIG, small catamaran for a family. It is tastefully designed, with good accommodations and a wonderful entertainment area. The salon opens up to an enormous cockpit and aft seating area. Sailing this cat even as a novice is super easy. The boom is low enough to easily work on the mainsail if need be. I think that this is an equally great starter catamaran for a family or a world cruiser for a couple. It is affordable, has great space and with just over 1,000ft² of sail area between the genoa and the mainsail, this model, which comes in at under 20,000lb, is a great performer even in light breezes. The only minus perhaps is that everything, like the rigging, stanchions etc. seem a little lighter compared to Bali, Leopard or Lagoon but FP's focus is performance on their cruising cats, so equipment etc. has to be economical in weight. More about the Lucia 40 here>>
Price: €260,863 base price
Specifications: LOA: 38ft 6in | LWL: 37ft 9in | Beam: 21ft 10in | Draft: 3ft 11in | Displacement: 19,600lb | Engine: 2x20 hp Yanmars with saildrives | Fuel: (GAL) 80 | Water: (GAL) 140 | Sail Area: 1,022ft² (main and genoa) | Designer: Berret-Racoupeau Yacht Design | Builder: Fountaine Pajot, Aigrefeuille, France | Air Draft: 63ft 4in
The Bali 4.0 design is genius in every way! The “garage door”, tailgate and forward cockpit/lounging area concept sets this 40 footer apart. The space on this catamaran is incredible and it feels and looks like a much larger boat. Further more, this catamaran is light, responsive at the helm and is a nimble sailing boat. I would recommend this boat as a definite contender in the 40ft range for sailors. One small minus for some clients is that there are no trampolines which makes the anchoring system is a little awkward but once you get used to the solid foredeck, the great entertainment area up forward is really nice. Read about the solid foredeck here>>
Price: €262,569 base price
Specifications: LOA: 39ft 1 in | LWL: 39ft | Beam: 22ft | Draft: 3ft 7in | Displacement: 18,959lb (light ship) | Engine: 2 x 40 hp | Fuel: (GAL) 105 | Water: (GAL) 210 | Sail | Area: 860ft² (Solent and main) | Designer: Olivier Poncin, Xavier Fay, Hervé Couedel | Builder: Catana Group, La Rochelle, France | Air Draft: 61ft 1in
The Lagoon 450S is obviously on our list since we own one and we are a little biased. However, the Lagoon 450S has earned its spot on this list! It is a good compromise between livability and performance. It has many of the features we wanted in a cruising catamaran, the most important feature being the semi-raised helm station. This was always a non-negotiable point for us and the Sportop fitted the bill perfectly and added to that, the L450S performance is great for cruising, averaging 160 to 200 mile days easily.
This catamaran is a good, solid, well-crafted vessel and the overall quality is superb. More importantly, the price of the Lagoon 450S is extremely reasonable compared to some of it’s competitors in the same size range. The resale on the L450’s are very strong, particularly the 3-cabin version.
Price: €373,000 base price
Length over all: 13,96m / 45'10'' | Beam: 7,87m / 25'10'' | Draft: 1,30m / 4'3'' | Mast clearance: 22,33m / 73'3''
Light displacement (EEC): 15,00t / 33075 Lbs | Sail area: 130 m² / 1399 sq.ft. | Full-batten mainsail: 79 m² / 850 sq.ft. | Square top mainsail (opt.): 81 m² / 872 sq.ft. | Furling genoa: 51 m² / 549 sq.ft. | Code 0 (opt.): 93 m² / 1001 sq.ft. | Engine (std): 2 x 54 hp YANMAR 4JH45 | Fuel capacity: 2 x 520 l / 2 x 137 Lbs | Fresh water capacity : 2 x 175 l / 2 x 46 US gal
The Leopard 45 has come full circle with the first Leopard 45 having been launched for the first time, 25 years ago! Both are designed by Simonis Voogd but the design of the new Leopard 45 is quite a departure from previous designs as one can see in these pictures. The new design has evolved into a more angular look, topped by a sleek new salon hard top, which extends from aft cockpit to forward cockpit. Unlike the older designs, it has much higher freeboard for more interior volume, good bridgedeck clearance and vertical windows in the salon. The trademark slats / steps over the slanted salon windows of the older designs are a thing of the past. The door opening to the forward cockpit from the salon is one of the most popular features of this catamaran.
The semi-raised helm station is in our opinion a great selling point for cruising couples. The boat handles really well and is easy to sail. The aft scoops are awesome for easy boarding and are great fishing platforms! The new Leopard 45 is by all accounts a good cruising catamaran. The only negative may be the water tanks and generator forward of the forward cockpit. The weight so far forward may be an issue but the builders seem to think that the boat has enough buoyancy for it not to be problematic. We will report back on that as soon as we hear from the builders! More on the Leopard 45>>
Price: €389,000 base price
Specifications: Length Overall: 45 ft / 13.72 m | Hull Length: 42 ft 11 in / 13.07 m | Beam: 24 ft 2 in / 7.35 m | Draft: 5 ft 1 in / 1.55 m | Sail Area: 1328 sq ft / 123.4 sq m | Engines: 2 x 45 hp | Fuel Capacity: 185 US Gal / 700L | Water Capacity: 206 US Gal / 780L | Displacement: 31,967 lbs / 14,500 kg
The Xquiste X5 catamaran commands attention in the large catamaran arena and is an excellent live-aboard boat with state-of-the-art systems. This catamaran has won every award possible since it’s debut in Europe in early 2016 including the latest “Most Innovative Sailboat”. For a price comparable to other high-end cruising catamarans like the Privilege Serie 5, it is a well-built, well thought-out boat with everything you could possibly want already included in the price. The builder’s long-term commitment to maintenance support is also a very compelling selling point.
The Xquisite X5 catamaran is fitted with the CZone system, which is a BEP/Mastervolt/Power Products and they have applied it so that one has a wireless control on an iPad on which you can monitor everything including tanks, air conditioning, lights, sailing instruments, everything. This Catamaran is high quality, luxury sailing. It really is the complete package. Read more about the Xquisite Yachts X5 here>>
Price: $1,250,000 fully equipped. This boat will need absolutely no extras at all.
Specifications: Length overall 50.5 ft (15.44m) | Length waterline 49.7 ft (15.15m) | Beam 26.2 ft (8m) | Draft 4.9 ft (1.5m) | Bridge deck clearance Light Craft 3.3 ft (1000mm) | Mast height above waterline 78.7 ft (24m) | Mainsail 1,076 sqft (100 m²) | Reacher 894 sqft (83 m²) | Jib 355 sqft (33 m²) | Engines 2 x 80 HP | Fresh water (4x215 L tanks) 227 gal (860 L) | Diesel (2x395 L tanks) 208 gal (790 L) | Light displacement 39,683 lb (18,000 kg) | Maximum Displacement 48,500 lb (22,000 kg)
Could we have added more boats to this list? Absolutely, but we had to make a choice! Just off the top of my head I can think of five more catamarans that could have been on this list
Having said all that, as experienced cruisers, we would gladly own any one of the catamarans mentioned above.
Let us know which one of these are your favorites! We welcome your feedback and comments.
Lagoon 450S | Leopard 45 | Lucia 40 | Bali 4.0 | Xquisite 50 | Lagoon 42 | Helia 44 | Outremer 5X | Privilege Serie 5
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