Annapolis Boat Show Wrap Up: Our Top Favorite Catamarans!

We want to thank everyone that took the time to visit us at the Annapolis boat show. The excitement and interest in catamarans reached unprecedented levels and it’s clear that the future is bright for every manufacturer. The industry is seeing phenomenal growth as more and more people decide to set sail. Exhibitors seemed excited to be back and optimistic about the future and boat manufacturers are setting 2023 delivery dates for the boats being bought this year.

Also in attendance during the show were the owners of the boats in our various programs over the years who joined us on the docks for a great few days of fun. It was fantastic to see so many owners together in one place. The attendance at the show was at record highs and with restrictions in the Caribbean loosing up, the “vacation basin,” housing the charter companies were booking trip after trip. The demand far exceeds the supply of charter boats and captains which is great news for our charter boat owners!

We owe a special thanks to the Klaczynski and Whittington families, who graciously shared their beautiful new Bali 4.6 and Bali 4.8 with hundreds of visitors at the show. Boat shows provide a great opportunity to compare the different features of the various brands and this show had a full complement of most catamaran models for every manufacturer in the cruising class as well as the performance categories. Several catamaran manufacturers debuted new models at the show and, even though we were besieged by everyone trying to get a personal tour and consultation at the Bali display, we had the opportunity to tour some of the other brands as well. 

Favorite New Catamarans For Sale!

The catamarans that most impressed us were the Bali Catspace 40, Kinetic KC54 and Seawind 1600, each for a different reason.

The Bali Catspace 40 debuted in the US for the first time and proved to be a winner with the crowds. It by far has the best use of space for the size of catamaran and is well priced at around $570,000 all in. Aft, the large tilting “garage” door allows you to combine the cockpit, saloon and galley area into a single vast living space. The flybridge lounge aft of the boat’s single wheel is enormous and comfortable for 6-8 people, while the forward deck is yet another expansive lounging and dining area. This boat had more interest than most catamarans in this size range. While not a rocket ship, the Catspace performs on par with most 40ft cruising cats and none of the competition in this size range offer so much habitable volume. LOA 40ft5in BEAM 21ft7in DRAFT 3ft7in DISPLACEMENT 20,600lb

We spent quite a bit of time at the Bali models, and we think that the Bali range of catamarans has really come into its own at this show with a full size range from 40, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8 to 5.4, all with the tilting door at the back and the opening front door onto the solid foredeck. Bali’s quality has also improved year over year and is now the second biggest catamaran manufacturer in the world after Lagoon catamarans.

The Kinetic KC54 got our attention because it is high tech yet simple to operate for a couple. It is a new carbon fiber cruiser-racer, semi-custom brand out of Knysna, South Africa, with some very innovative features. The KC54’s deck layout is simple and all controls and halyards are led to the sailing nerve center of the boat, the forward cockpit. Just one step away is the primary helm station at the front of the saloon, where the helmsman has all instruments close at hand, push-button control of the sails and a big moonroof to monitor sail trim. Unlike the competition, their mainsheet traveller is on the coachroof rather than the aft crossbeam. ‘We deem it much safer to keep the aft cockpit clear of highly loaded, sweeping lines,’ designer Voogd says. The mainsheet is hydraulic and its traveller is controlled by an Antal line driver.  ‘It’s a feature we devised to clean up the forward cockpit and make the boat easier to sail shorthanded,’ Scheepers explains. This cat is full of very clever and well thought out features like these which makes it very attractive for adventure seekers who doesn’t want a full crew. LOA 40ft 5in BEAM 21ft 7in DRAFT 3ft 7in DISPLACEMENT 20,600lb SAIL AREA.

The Seawind 1600 impressed with its very clever captive daggerboards, which are recessed into the deck. Another unusual feature is the boat’s retractable rudders, which make the boat beachable. With boards and rudders up, the Seawind 1600 draws just over 2ft. Seawind has managed to find the perfect way to create a pair of sheltered, yet still well outboard helm stations with the placement of its twin wheels. Both positions are elevated to provide good visibility, while still benefiting from the protection of the boat’s hardtop. It is a simple boat to sail and handle as a couple. LOA 51ft 8in, LWL 51ft 6in, Beam 25ft 10in, Draft 2ft 1in; 8ft 6in max draft, Displacement 28,000lbs

Catamaran for sale

Of course, one can never beat the elegance of the Lagoon Catamaran brand and their Lagoon Sixty5 is a majestic and luxurious catamaran, the latest impressive offering from the biggest catamaran manufacturer in the world. LOA 67ft5in BEAM 33ft DRAFT 5ft1in DISPLACEMENT 88,200lb

Our choices for best couples’ boats at the show are split in two categories: 38ft to 44ft and 45ft+ catamarans

The Bali Catspace 40, Leopard 42 (elevated lounge area) and Bali 4.2 are the front runners. These three cats are well laid out with good performance in the cruising class and have innovative ideas like the forward opening door to a forward cockpit. The Bali 4.6, Leopard 45 and Fountaine Pajot Saona (Tanna) 47 owners’ versions seems to be a sweet spot for most cruisers, and they are all great options but the trend is for couples to go even bigger. The Bali 4.8, Leopard 50 and Lagoon 50 have seen a surge in sales to couples and are all great contenders. These cats are all a great compromise between livability (interior volume) and performance. 

The average cruiser will do great sailing and cruising on any of these models without having to give up on creature comforts. The one advantage that the Bali catamaran range has is that the bridgedeck clearance is high to minimize interference between the hulls and it has a lot of reserve buoyancy because of the unique construction, so even when the cat is loaded (which they tend to be for cruising), it still has good performance. This is not typical for most catamarans and production cats often tend to underperform and bridgedeck slamming is exaggerated because of excessive weight. Not so for this brand.

Catamaran for sale

If you have a higher budget, have a bit more experience and are into performance boats, Balance catamarans (South Africa) and HH catamarans (China) will fit the bill. Both these lines have some great features and sail in a whisper of a breeze. The Balance tends to be a more simple and basic boat with some interesting features like the dual helm positions. It is light, extremely responsive and is very lively at sea. The HH is a fast, carefully engineered boat with extensive mechanization and computerization of its complex systems.

While two different philosophies for each brand, the daggerboards, a pair of narrow hulls and a powerful rig ensure excellent performance but like a delivery skipper on a Balance once said, “while it is exciting as hell to sail, you have to pay careful attention at all times or things can get scary!” So, yes, unless you sail the boat very conservatively, you will need some expertise and a thicker wallet to sail one of these guys. The other performance brand of course is Outremer. Their boats are still popular thanks to the La Vagabonde Youtube channel but personally we find them just too small inside. They are fairly basic boats but is priced a lot more reasonably for this category of catamarans.

Our next round of boat shows kicks off in Fort Lauderdale in January and Miami in February, so be sure to join us! We’re already looking forward to next year when we’ll welcome all our newcomers! Drop us a line for more information or to schedule a time to sit with us and talk about your future sailing plans.


Join Our Community!

Get the latest on catamaran news, sailing events, buying and selling tips, community happenings, webinars & seminars, and much more!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Key

Recent Posts