McConaghy 52 Catamaran Review

Performance Sailing Catamaran: why we like it!

This is one of the first performance sailing catamaran designs that we feel excited about. While we admire other performance cruisers like the Balance, Outremer and HH, we have never really wanted to own one. Why? Comfort! These performance cats are all fast, they are interesting and fun to sail but the living areas are smaller than we would like to live aboard on (check out our post on the cruising catamaran performance debate).

 The MC52 managed to overcome that hurdle for us and checks most of the boxes! 

All the features we love on our current boat, the Bali 5.4, are incorporated in this design, only more sleek, high-tech with a more luxurious interior in classic European style. And it is a windspeed boat! Which means she will sail roughly the same speed as the true wind, something that is always a negative on heavy cruising boats! Not only does this cat have the open plan living area that the Bali is famous for in the cruising community, it also has a spacious forward cockpit and a flybridge.

The MC52 is a high-tech performance cruiser but it doesn’t skimp on modern luxury features and more specifically, comfort. Comfort for cruisers is a big deal and McConaghy did not disappoint. Mark Evans says: “While yacht design company, Kerr Yacht Design from Australia, is very performance oriented, my directive to them was to draw the queen beds and design the hulls around them. There was no compromise on that”.

The outcome was walk-around beds and a lot more spacious hulls than the average performance cruiser. While this is not exactly the be-all for a performance cruiser, it definitely indicates how Mark and his team approached the design. They wanted to build a high performance catamaran without compromising on comfort. Each feature is well thought out. The elegant clean lines of the hull and fly-bridge, apartment-style living areas and open and modern platform simultaneously enables more comfortable cruising and better performance; a feat not yet achieved in any other line of multihull.

Performance Catamarans Hull Layouts Comparisons: 3-Cabin Owners Version

“Our continual innovation and investment in new materials and technologies, has allowed us to firmly establish our position at the forefront of progressive high-performance yacht building. We are constantly innovating, testing and improving our techniques, applying composite technology to new fields as well as refining the production, mechanical properties, and minimizing weight of composites in existing applications.” says Mark.

Elegant & Luxurious Interiors: Fujiki / Walnut / Oak

Main Deck Saloon Layout: Some highlights

  • Tenderlift: Light weight hydraulic lift platform with max capacity 450kg (1000 lbs) – Hydraulic swim platform and tenderlift with remote control, Seasmart cleats, safety locks, and four folding padeyes.
  • Forward cockpit with opening front door
  • Doors and windows: Very light and fully retractable glass doors aft – Frameless, bi-folding, tempered safety glass doors between saloon and aft deck. The main salon side windows are electric sliding windows
  • The spacious saloon offers a versatile living area that is exceptionally light, and there’s direct access to the aft deck via full height glass doors.  The galley is arranged open-plan and the arrangement is particularly well suited to socialising and family living.
  • Two seating areas – Main seating area in the salon with dining table and lounge seating forward starboard with coffee table
  • Aft deck seating with dining table
  • Spacious dedicated navigation station forward port
  • Custom finishes and fabric choices
  • Carbon rig, furler running rigging, hydraulic aft platform, hydraulic centreboards, LI batteries and more are included in the base boat, price at USD 1.65m. This is a highly spec’d yacht that performs.
  • Flybridge with dual steering
  • Hydrolic centerboards with three presets

Mc52 Cabin Layouts

Mc 52 flybridge

McConaghy 52 flybridge layout

The MC52 has dual helm positions on the flybridge, allowing for unencumbered sight lines and an elevated operational position. The sloping coachroof design gives a feeling of not being high up on a flybridge and allows for great visibility forward. All lines come back to the flybridge cockpit for ease of sail handling. Twin McConaghy carbon fibre steering wheel positions allows for good visibility when underway and docking. A Full solar array is available and fitted on the sloping coachroof as shown on the diagram. The cockpit has a spacious lounge area with wrap-around seating. A hardtop composite bimini is option.


Unlike the other performance cats with daggerboards, the MC series is the only brand of catamaran with articulating composite centerboards that are hydraulically controlled.  There are three positions – the up position, which is flush with the hull for minimum draft of 1.35m (4ft5in). A middle position with a draft of 1.95m (6ft5in) and fully deployed position with a draft of 3.75m (12ft). These are three preset positions which are contr0lled by the press of a button. The centerboards are under the sole in the cabins with a safety shear pins in case of grounding.

Lifting platform / tenderlift

aft view of aerial view of a McConaghy 52 lifting platform line drawing

Lifting platform with 1000 lbs capacity. This is highly sought after feature on catamarans and the MC 52 is the only performance cat with the platform.

Integrated anchoring system in carbon fiber longeron


McConaghy were one of the first builders in the world to apply prepreg carbon to sailing boat construction in the mid 1970’s. Built from materials previously only used in aerospace applications, the first prepreg carbon 18ft skiff, built by McConaghy, was a revelation and would set a performanc benchmark for years to come. They have a 50 year history of excellence in race boat and mega yacht building. Check out the video of their facilities.

Like the other models in the series, the MC 52 is constructed using a controlled vacuum infusion process and pressed panels of E-glass, carbon composite and Corecell for lightweight strength and rigidity.

MC 52 catamaran Polars

Engine power report

Calm Water Speed

The chart shows the “sensible” maximum flat water cruising speed (ahead of the steep section) to be in the region of 8.0 to 8.5kt. At full power, the engine can power the boat at circa 9.5kt. With a headwind of 15kt and a representative seaway margin of 10%, the maximum speed drops to 9.2ft.

Fuel consumption and range

Reviewing the Yanmar propeller curves (see below), we have interpo- lated RPM, and fuel consumption values for each CFD processed speed, to determine the range of the boat at each speed. The fuel volume assumed to be consumed is to be the total available (i.e. 230 litres per hull).

Performance Catamarans comparisons

A fully spec’d out MC 52 comes in at 16.4t which is the heaviest of the performance cats in this comparison. With a flybridge, a forward cockpit and very spacious salon and aft cockpit, the MC52 has by far the most usable living space of any of the boats compared here. And unlike most performance cats, the entire interior of the MC52 is fitted out to mega yacht standards with luxurious liners and wall panels which results in a very luxurious look and feel. With all that, McConaghy has managed to create a great balance between quality, comfort, livability and performance and still delivers a boat capable of sailing windspeed. It is quite an impressive feat!

Mc 52 visual comparisons to similar catamarans
Mc 52 comparisons specifications to similar catamarans

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