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Multihulls: owners’ experiences and reviews

  • Toby Hodges
  • January 18, 2019

How do you select the right catamaran to best suit your cruising? Learning from other owners is a good place to start

Outremer 51 catamaran at sea

They have two different boats, different sailing plans and two very different sets of experience. But what these cruisers have in common is a desire to explore in two hulls rather than one. Hal Haltom explains how he drew on decades of monohull sailing to choose a relatively light displacement Outremer 51 for the World ARC, while David Weible and Kellie Peterson tell of their snap decision to sell up and set sail in a Lagoon 42. They share hard won tips about setting up the boat for ambitious cruising and give an insight into life at sea.

Hal Haltom – Outremer 51

catamaran owner Hal Haltom with friends

Hal Haltom, 59, from Texas, bought an Outremer 51 in 2016 and set off on the World ARC that winter. With his wife Marsha and daughter Haley, he has sailed more than 27,000 miles across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to reach South Africa and believes that it makes sense to buy a lighter boat that performs better in light winds.

We did two trips through the eastern and western Caribbean with our kids about 10 years ago on a Tayana 52 monohull. This time we switched to a catamaran because it had features that we thought were better: living above the waterline, level (and not rolly) and easier sail handling. Once we decided to switch, we started looking at the available boats in our price range. My wife Marsha and I have raced sailboats for many years and we wanted a better sailing cat, which ruled out the heavier ones. At the Miami Boat Show in early 2015 we looked at a Catana and St Francis but it was an Outremer 51 that interested us . Afterwards, we flew to the company’s factory in La Grande- Motte in southern France and were impressed. We thought the Outremer 51 was a boat that a couple in their 50s could handle and we ordered one and took delivery in May 2016.

Fit for bluewater

Outremer 51 Cayuse catamaran

Ours is the base boat with only a few options added because Outremer builds a boat that is ready to go bluewater cruising. We have an aluminium mast, Mastervolt lithium battery system (360Ah at 24V), Dessalator watermaker, 560W of solar panels, and a Watt & Sea hydrogenerator. All this equipment worked well. As did the B&G instruments, Lecomble & Schmitt autopilot, Volvo D2-40 engines, and Incidence and Delta Voile sails. We don’t have a diesel generator. Sailing on a sunny day, we can run the watermaker using only the batteries and on a cloudy day, I may need to turn on an engine for an hour or so. Each engine has a 110A alternator running through a Sterling booster. At anchor, we rely on the solar panels, which is all that is needed in the Tropics.

My advice would be to buy a boat that sails well and handles easily. Also, I would keep the equipment as simple as possible while maintaining the comfort level you need. Passagemaking is hard on boats. A light boat requires less effort to sail and a simpler boat requires less maintenance and repair. Even though our boat is a light cat, we have found it to be well-built and comfortable. Outremer has also been very responsive in dealing with any issues during the two-year warranty period and beyond. After spending the summer cruising the Mediterranean, it was time to head off on our big adventure. We left La Grande-Motte in October 2017. We sailed to Spain and Gibraltar and crossed the Atlantic to St Lucia in November 2017 with the ARC+ rally. We joined the World ARC rally in St Lucia and sailed to Panama, through the canal, across the Pacific to Australia, and then across the Indian Ocean to Richards Bay, South Africa, where we are now.

The three of us have sailed more than 27,000 miles and are pleased with our choice of boat. Fast cruising is enjoyable and it is always good to get into port sooner. We typically sail in tradewind conditions at boat speeds of 8 to 10 knots. We had six 200-plus mile days in a row during our crossing of the Pacific from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. During our Indian Ocean crossing we had 30-plus knots of wind for several days and 4m seas. The boat also performed well in those conditions. When cruising, you see more light air than heavy air and it is very nice to have a boat that will sail fast in light air. An additional benefit of a fast cat that is often not mentioned is the ability to sail with a reduced sail area and still go fast. We often sail with two or three reefs in the main and just our working jib in 15 knots of wind, which makes the boat very easy to handle, while still going fast. Another advantage is with narrow hulls and a smaller saloon the side decks are wider, which make moving around much safer. Our huge foredeck also makes sail handling much safer and easier, with less stress all round as we move through the water.

David Weible and Kellie Peterson – Lagoon 42

Kellie Peterson and David Weible owners of Lagoon 42

David Weible had a liveaboard adventure on a leaky monohull many years ago but he and his partner Kellie still managed to surprise themselves when they decided to sell their Florida home and go cruising. They chose a Lagoon 42 and, with few regrets, have just crossed the Atlantic to Saint Lucia after a summer in the Med.

A little more than a year ago, we were riding our bikes across the playa at the Burning Man festival in Nevada when a dust storm rolled in. We took refuge in a lighthouse art installation, talked about our dreams and hatched a plan: sell everything, buy a sailboat, sail the globe — and share our story on YouTube. Four months later, we made an offer on a Tartan 44 monohull in St Petersburg, Florida. A sea trial and inspection revealed major issues, so we kept looking for another bluewater cruising boat. In February, we flew to San Diego to see a Tayana – another disappointment. But the effort wasn’t a total loss: we discovered catamarans. We looked at Leopard, Fountaine-Pajot and Lagoon. When we boarded the Lagoon 42, a comfortable catamaran that could really take us places, we were sold.

The delights

Lagoon 42 Starship Friendship catamaran at sea

Hull #300 was delivered in August. We moved aboard on a Saturday and set sail across the Bay of Biscay the following Wednesday. Sitting at anchor in Spain, navigating narrow rivers in Portugal, picking our way through the Atlantic fog, surfing big swells on the way to Madeira, lounging with the wildlife in the Selvagens and currently sailing across the Atlantic Ocean have all added up nicely and validated our decision to buy the catamaran.

Starship Friendship handles a lot better than we expected. These heavier cruising catamarans sail really well with the right sail plan, but they do come with a relatively conservative set-up. The square-top main, Code 0 and ACH cruising chute options are a must. On a dead run, speed over ground exceeds half of the true wind speed; up to 45° into the wind, with 15 knots or more, she does even better. On a beam reach, she nearly matches true wind speed; fly the chute in as little as 8 knots and she’ll keep a comfortable walking pace downwind. In a solid swell, she’s balanced and comfortable. Crew members suffer little or no seasickness and are not worn out after longer passages.

We still have a wishlist of improvements including a dual battery charger for 110V and 220V, painted bow compartments to avoid fibreglass itchiness, an accessible place for wet gear and fishing tools, and a bit more solar and battery capacity (oh, and a Parasailor too). The broker recommended two rigid LG300 solar panels, which put out roughly 270W each at max output. This is not enough to run all systems on the boat, so when we go offshore, the generator becomes a necessity – we run it for roughly four hours per day. If money were no object we would have loved to put a custom stainless attachment above the dingy davit with three or four panels, which would be the correct amount of power necessary for our boat. Otherwise, we have not done much to her. The lighting indoor and outdoor is bright and does not have dim or colour option. We put red spinnaker tape over our lights when offshore to create a more friendly night environment and intend to have red lighting in the Caribbean. We also installed an electric toilet in the owner’s cabin, which has been really nice. The helm station is a hot topic among Lagoon 42 owners. It’s a love-hate relationship. A lot of owners find the seat uncomfortable and too short. We have seen many modifications. In bad weather we are cautious and always use safety tethers while at the helm. We run a piece of webbing on occasion from the arm rail on the seat to the grab rail on the helm for additional safety in heavy conditions.

Our only real regret is that we were rushed to meet our Atlantic crossing deadline. Buyers benefit from more time and support during the handover. Details like setting up the boat, walking through the installed gear, testing the systems and reviewing best practices make the experience less stressful and more satisfying for those with resources on hand. If we ever pick up a new boat again, it would make sense to deal directly with a local representative — having boots on the ground seems to improve the experience for those we’ve talked to. Our friends in the Lagoon community rave about the assistance they received with warranties, training, and delivery services from local agents. That said, would we buy again? Yes. The stability, easy sailing rig, forgiving design and comfortable floor plan deliver one hell of a good lifestyle.

The Starship makes cruising easy and handles a variety of conditions comfortably. Her reliable performance under sail has made our passages pretty awesome. From France to Gibraltar, Tangier to Madeira, Salvagen to Cape Verde and across the ocean — the voyages of Starship Friendship have been stellar. She’s even a bit famous. The YouTube channel ‘Sailing Starship Friendship ’ chronicles all the good and the bad. Luckily, the stability of a catamaran makes editing at sea easy and new episodes are published every Sunday – even in big seas and strong winds!

Lagoon 46 sailing

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Baltic 42DP

  • September 24, 2009

Baltic 42DP - detuned from full racing spec

Product Overview

Manufacturer:, price as reviewed:.

Doug Peterson designed several of Baltic’s earlier cruiser-racers, often based on pure racers. The inspiration for this, his first model for the company, was his Admiral’s Cup design of 1983. The 42DP replaced an earlier C&C cruiser of the same length. She was ‘detuned’ from full racing spec and fitted out to take on the oceans of the world in the greatest comfort, but still with good performance. Her 2.4m (8ft) draught can be restrictive in some areas. Below decks there is an owner’s suite aft and guest or crew accommodation forward. In-between is a huge saloon with a great galley and ocean-going chart table. The low and narrow coachroof with small windows makes the interior a little dark. A very few centre-cockpit versions were built. The design is still a sharp performer on the club circuit.

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balticat 42 catamaran review

Baltic Yachts

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balticat 42 catamaran review

This design was based on the 1975 Canada´s Cup challenger ‘Marauder’ and her successful sister ship Baltic Custom 42 ‘Tina I-Punkt’. The hull design was optimized to take maximum advantage of the IOR-Measurement-Rule which was then current. The size and performance was optimized to fit the 2-Ton class with an I.O.R. rating of 32 feet. The fundamental concept was of a medium/light displacement performance hull with a high aspect ratio keel and rudder, designed for max lift. The concept was a no-compromise ocean racing sloop, and her deck layout and equipment was also carefully studied to achieve this. The large cockpit and clear deck provided efficiency during racing activities, but also living space and comfort for cruising.

The interior was equipped with a separate owner’s cabin aft with twin berths, while forward was the navigation and galley area. The salon provided comfortable sitting or sleeping accommodation. The forepeak was open to enable easy and effective sail storage and handling, but had the option of a more comprehensive interior for clients that were mainly cruising.

The Baltic 42 was successfully raced by clients in Europe as well as in North America.

DELIVERY YEAR

  • 1976 - 1980

MAIN SPECIFICATIONS

  • L.O.A. 12.93 m
  • L.W.L. 10.40 m
  • BEAM 3.84 m
  • DRAFT 2.18 m
  • DISPLACEMENT 8943 kg
  • BALLAST 4012 kg
  • UNITS BUILT 21
  • NAVAL ARCHITECT C & C Design

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Balticat 42

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Marsden Cove

Call us on +64 9 903 1001

Visible in Marsden Cove Marina, a rare chance to own an offshore catamaran for under $400K NZD!

We are very pleased to welcome onboard this stunning catamaran ONCE AROUND, a BALTICAT 42 C built in Germany by BALTICAT WERFT GMBH.

BALTICAT WERFT built boats for 30 years with Stephan Hüttermann, renown builder of Schionning designed high performance catamarans.

The owner of ONCE AROUND sailed single-handed half the world with ease, safety and speed. Top speed reported is 21 knots!

ONCE AROUND is built in composite mahogany epoxy.

She is a 2 cabins / 2 heads layout, each hull being symmetrical. Large beds are AFT with a lot of storage below and heads are FWD with separated toilet and shower.

The cockpit is very large and can be fully enclosed to sail in any conditions dry and protected from the wind. All the lines lead back to the cockpit so there is no need to go on the deck for maneuvering.

There is a clever system to store the dinghy under the extended aft deck.

Inside, the galley is on your right hand facing back and a large saloon invites you to seat forward. Chart table faces forward on the left. The big windows offer plenty of light and visibility.

Features include:

-       New (2020) Lithium house batteries 3x300AH -       New (2020) Victron MPPT solar controller -       New (2019) Victron battery charger -       Watermaker -       Wind generator -       Transportable Honda generator 

And the list goes on!

ONCE AROUND is fully offshore ready and capable and has been priced to sell quickly.  She will be sold with a complete new standing rigging and martingale for the same asking price

Don’t wait and call Laurent +64 21 424 789 or contact the 36 degrees Brokers’ team today!

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Specifications

  • Accommodation: 2 Cabin
  • Beam: 6.45m
  • Draft: 1.05m
  • Length Over All: 12.85
  • Build Design: Balticat Werft
  • Construction: COMPOSITE MAHOGANY + EPOXY
  • Engines: Volvo Penta
  • Max Engine Power (Hp): 2x 30hp

Related Listings

MAGIC CAT 55

Multiplast 82

25 m 81 ft | EUR €3,400,000 | 1996

1025

Fountaine Pajot Casamance 46

13.9 m 45 ft | NZD $330,000 | 1992

1 SUMMARY31

12.8 m 41 ft | NZD $800,000 | 2019

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balticat 42 catamaran review

20 Performance Cruising Catamaran Reviews

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Catamarans are exciting and fast sailboats that offer some great features. With so many types and brands to choose from, it’s hard to find which is worth your investment. So, what are the top performance cruising catamarans ?

The best performance cruising catamarans are the Manta 42, Dolphin 42, Leopard 48, and Fountaine Pajot Elba 45. The McConaghy MC50, Privilege 435, and Nautitech 441 are also impressive models. The best offer optimal performance and can sail a 250-mile voyage easily.

Have you just begun your catamaran research but don’t know which to buy? Are you looking for a performance cruising catamaran that’s worth the investment? Let’s take a closer look at 20 performance cruising catamarans and what makes them the best.

The Top 20 Performance Cruising Catamarans

Catamarans are racing ships that have slowly been making waves in the cruising world. The design focuses on lightness and simplicity. Combined, these two elements ensure a faster ship and make them great for long distances.

The multiple hulls on the catamarans offer optimal water displacement, allowing them to glide through the water with much less trouble than single-hull boats. Because of their design, a catamaran’s performance will vary depending on the conditions you sail them through. The ocean and wind will play a significant role in how fast your catamaran will go as well as how smooth the ride will be.

When comparing catamarans for speed, there are four numbers you’ll want to consider:  

  • Bruce Number: The speed potential based on the power (sail-area) to weight ratio of the boat
  • Texel Rating (TR): A formula that will calculate how long it takes to sail any distance
  • Kelsall Sailing Performance (KSP): Potential speed of a vessel
  • Base Speed: The average speed of a boat over 24 hours of sailing

These numbers signify a cat’s performance so that you can pick the one that best suit your needs, whether you’re looking for a fast catamaran or not.

In addition to speed, your catamaran should have everything you need to be comfortable on your voyages. There should be plenty of living space for you and your crew or family members. When choosing the best catamaran for your needs, consider how much gear you will have with you on any given trip and if the ship you’re looking at has enough space for all of it.

The Manta 42 is a favorite of many sailors. Its beautiful design has a high bow and an incorporated curved crossbeam, the latter being unique and making the ship easy to spot from far distances and onshore.

Typically, aluminum crossbeams are used, and they allow for more movement in the bows. Since the Manta 42 doesn’t use aluminum ones, the ship is more susceptible to cracks in the bow caused by stress. However, the width of the Manta 42 makes the ship stable on the water, and the narrow hulls make it great for slicing through the water with speed and agility.

The Dolphin 42 has the best balance of performance and cruising comfort . What is truly special about these boats is that they come equipped with daggerboards . These bad ass features allow the ship to pull into just about any anchorage, including the shallow ones. 

The Dolphin is made with a foam core, which is designed to make the entire ship lighter. However, this doesn’t compromise the performance of the boat. It makes it perfect for cruising through the ocean with high-performance levels.

One thing to keep in mind is those convenient daggerboards. If the ship were to run aground, the hull integrity could be compromised. And if the daggerboards are removed or lifted, they will expose the rudders underneath. These features don’t ruin the ship’s functionality, but it’s important to note them just in case.

The Leopard 48 is a catamaran that you’ll definitely want to see. The design uses some of the best techniques to ensure optimal speed, weight, and cruising performance. The hulls are narrow — like most catamarans — and are built to reduce the amount of water that flows on the deck. It also reduces the amount of sea spray along the sides.

The Leopard 48 has two bulkheads (one in the bow and the other in the stern) designed to keep water out of the ship in an accident. It’s designed for long journeys, and the vessel comes with everything you could want for everyday living.

Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

The Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 is a fantastic powerhouse ship with luxury at its core. The living quarters of this catamaran are impressive and are sure to provide you with every comfort you could possibly want, no matter how long you sail it for.

The designers considered everything when designing this ship. They’ve simplified the prep work for the sails, making it easier than ever to get underway. The build of the Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 makes it fast when sailing or when under power. 

McConaghy MC50

The McConaghy MC50 is on the smaller side of catamarans in the McConaghy brand, but that shouldn’t disqualify it. This ship was designed with wide-open concepts and high bows. There’s no doubt it’s made for luxury but can hold its own in performance and speed departments.

Even with its luxury items (such as its full washing machine), this ship moves through the water gently. While it’s clearly designed for comfort, it’s still a relatively fast boat. However, there is a downside to the layout of the boat. The helms are much more exposed than other catamarans, which could be a potential safety hazard.

Privilege 435

The Privilege 435 is a catamaran designed to go long distances. It uses a heavy displacement so that the ship glides through the water with ease. The vessel is also built with a low-slung structure to help prevent winds. 

A slight drawback could be the heat buildup caused by the sun seeping in through the windows, as there aren’t any outside shades or ways to block the sun except for the internal shades. The other downside to this catamaran is that the Privilege’s bridge deck has low clearance . Other than that, the ship is an excellent option for those looking for a well-built cat.

Nautitech 441

The Nautitech 441 is another impressive catamaran to consider. The interior is slightly smaller than some others we have gone over, but don’t let that fool you. This boat is full of great features to make your trip comfortable and successful.

For example, the Nautitech 441 is equipped with a rain gutter situated around the entire coachroof. This gives you the option to collect the water for your freshwater tanks, or you can simply let it drain off the boat through the Y-shaped valve.

It’s a fast little boat that can use either the sails or fuel to reach 9 knots in moderate conditions. That’s not bad if you’re looking for a comfortable, decent-sized cruising ship with a bit of a kick.

The ICE Cat 61 is a catamaran designed and developed in Italy. The ship uses a carbon mast and is very easy to use.

The ship’s size and the power-to-weight ratio allow for reaching top speeds that isn’t possible with a monohull. The living areas are also large and are perfect for entertaining, making the ICE Cat 61 a great option to consider when shopping for your new catamaran.

The unique aspect of the Lagoon 440 is the engine. It doesn’t not have to run on diesel fuel because Lagoon offers a fully electric version. This is great for those who are looking for a more eco-friendly way to run their boat. This catamaran uses two electric motors, which are mounted on each hull of the ship, but the best part is that these engines are almost entirely silent.

The inside is just as luxurious as the engine is, designed with families in mind and for long-distance journeys. It’s a ship that would handle itself perfectly in deeper waters and even in harsh winds.

Antares 44i

The Antares 44i is a well-designed catamaran that is meant for long-distance journeys like most catamarans are. The layout is engineered to give you the best views throughout your trip, and the cockpit is fully equipped in the event you’re sailing single handed.

The motors are installed in a discrete location and are almost completely silent, allowing for outstanding performance without sacrificing your comforts. There’s tons of storage available as well for all of the gear that comes with sailing.

The Catana 50 has a well-built design that is meant for high speeds and effective sailing. The daggerboards help the hulls cut through the water with little trouble. There is also excellent storage for your gear located throughout the boat.

What is genuinely superior in this catamaran is the ability it holds to turn itself around with ease and speed. There is no struggle to reverse the ship and maneuver it around the dock. Walking around on the boat is easy enough, but the cockpit setup and helm are situated awkwardly, so it requires a bit of walk around to use all of the ship’s controls. 

The Voyage 44 is a performance cruising catamaran that is well-built for a bargain price. It’s something that you just can’t beat when looking for a new yacht because this ship has everything you could ask for.

It’s designed with day cruising in mind, but that won’t limit it to short distances. What’s also great about this boat is the amount of seating it offers, fitting 32 people comfortably. The ship is functional, and the layout is designed to make traveling onboard the vessel as simple and straightforward as possible.

Atlantic 42

The Atlantic 42 is a fan favorite. This loyal following stems from the Atlantic’s look and effectiveness, and consumers seem to love how easy this ship is to sail and how capable it is for deep ocean sailing.

The size of the Atlantic 42 is something fans of this catamaran love. It might look small from the outside, but the inside layout is well done and feels spacious. The cockpit location in front of the mainmast takes advantage of the rest of the ship’s structure, making it a more flexible design than some other catamarans available.

Outremer 45

The Outremer 45 is designed a bit differently from other catamarans because the hulls are narrower than usual. This helps make the Outremer 45 a fast ship, but it’s done for safety reasons as well. The narrower hulls will prevent the vessel from skidding on the water as much as other catamarans. It also reduces any pitching you might experience from flying through the water at top speeds.

The interior is smaller than many other boats in this article, but the design doesn’t sacrifice your comfort. The cabin has an open concept to easily pull the outdoor seating into the indoor living space, meaning it’s perfect for entertaining and comfortable living. 

The Bahia 46 is on the bigger side by catamaran standards. It’s designed by the brand Fountaine Pajot, which has been building catamarans for years. In fact, Fountaine Pajot is one of the leading brands in cruising catamarans.

The foam core’s overall design, the high bridge deck clearance , and the low center of gravity make this ship an excellent option for deep ocean sailing. It will hold its own on rough waters as well, and there’s also plenty of space for entertaining on the inside of the ship. 

The Prout 45 is an excellent catamaran to consider if you plan to sail with a limited crew. The positioning of the mainsail and the mast make it simple to use and easy to reach. Also, the mainsail itself is smaller than other ships and easy to handle.

The interior isn’t like some of the newer models. In new catamarans, the concept is more open and free-flowing between inside and outside. In the Prout 45, things are more traditional but still comfortable. Don’t worry; you still have plenty of room to entertain and plot your voyage.

Gemini 105MC

The Gemini 105MC is a unique catamaran. That’s because instead of being designed solely by the builder, it’s a collective effort from the builder and many sailors who used the vessel. They wrote in their suggestions to improve the Gemini, and the builder used the most relevant ones to build the newer models.

If you’re looking for a ship for a cross-ocean voyage, you may want to consider another catamaran. Due to the ship’s size and weight, it’s less likely to make it across the ocean. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great ship, and this vessel is perfect for sailing near the coast. 

The Gunboat 62 is the first catamaran of this brand. The Gunboat 62 is an older model, but it’s still considered one of the fastest. These ships were also the first to introduce luxury to performance cruising. 

The interior is slightly outdated, and technology has advanced since the brand launched these ships. However, this boat’s overall performance is unmatched, though there also isn’t as much space available for storage. 

Marsaudon TS5

The Marsaudon TS5 is one of the fastest catamarans available. It’s designed with panoramic views from the interior, and the ship speeds up quickly due to its lightweight design and shape.

The ship can be challenging to maneuver, which makes it better suited for experienced sailors. While the interior still has plenty of luxuries, it can be considered bare. The designers want to keep the ship light to increase its speed, meaning some comforts have been sacrificed, such as space in the living quarters.

Unlimited C53

The Unlimited C53 is a fast racing catamaran with all the comforts of a cruising ship. The design uses a new technique of connecting the two hulls at 1.3m above the waterline. This is unheard of in most catamarans, and this feature minimizes how the ship handles rougher seas.

The ship uses all of the necessary tanks and equipment to keep the boat balanced on the water. Perfect weight displacement throughout the vessel makes it ideal for racing and long-distance sailing. The interior is also spacious and provides all of the comforts you could need. 

In the end, the best performance cruising cat for you is going to come down to your personal preferences and what you want in a boat. Each catamaran on this list is going to provide you the best features you could ever imagine in a ship. Hopefully, the reviews of the top 20 performance cruising catamarans will help you find your dream boat!

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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balticat 42 catamaran review

Lagoon 42 Owner’s Review

Category: Cruising Cats Tag: Lagoon Catamarans

Many thanks to Anas and Noëllie for helping with this owner’s review. They live and work all year round aboard their Lagoon 42: “Malaika”. If you have ever wondered about becoming a Digital Nomad in style, this is worth a read!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and “Malaika”. Just a quick summary. What are your plans on the boat? How did you get here? Is there a story behind the name? Yes sure! We are Anas and Noëllie and live all year round aboard a 42 ft sailboat we named Malaika. We bought her back in August 2020 in Brittany, France and sailed all the way down the Mediterranean sea where we got to experience our very first WARM summer in the Balearics.

Our plan is to have no plans, and keep improvising as we go. Simple!

We work remotely on our laptop and travel where there is good food and warm waters. For now we’ll stay in the med, visiting Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Greece. The food and all the history here in Europe is just fascinating and we have plenty to explore before crossing to the other side! What’s the best thing about her? It has to be the living space and the large panoramic windows! Malaika isn’t just a home for us but is also our office. So having a lot of options to sit around and work while enjoying the beautiful view of our anchorage was very important and the Lagoon 42 is absolutely perfect for that. We can go as far as saying that we have the best office in the entire world and feel very fortunate!

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What´s the worst thing? The helm seat is very uncomfortable for long passages and also quite small. It’s not adjustable and set quite low so the visibility really isn’t great.

How has Malaika aged. Gracefully? Which part of the boat has suffered the most wear and tear if any? We take great care of her and overall she’s aged pretty well. But if I had to point out one thing, it would be the quality of the veneer. It is so delicate and fragile that it’s almost impossible not to scratch it, particularly in the living room where we spend most of our time cooking, eating and working….

Would you make any changes to the basic design if anything? 3 main things, for example. What’s the headroom like, for example. Do you knock your head anywhere. Is she easy to get about on in a rolling sea? I would probably change the layout of the guests’ bedrooms and merge the forward cabin’s wet room with the aft cabin’s bathroom to create a larger shared bathroom. This is an option that Fontaine Pajot offers on the 40 and 42 but is sadly not possible with Lagoon.

In rolling seas, she is mostly fine but we think the safety around the boat could be improved and a grab rail on either side should be added.

What are the essential options for this boat in your opinion? eg sail plan, watermaker, solar, engine upgrade, folding props etc. Just to help people who are looking at ordering a Lagoon 42 Our first advice would be to take your time choosing your options and not to order everything with Lagoon as you can easily find better alternatives for a fraction of the price.

If your plan is to live at anchor most of the time, then definitely include solar panels (minimum 1300W if you have a fridge and freezer), a watermaker (we have a 12v aquabase producing 105L/h) and a good inverter (minimum 2,000W).

If you are a full time liveaboard like us, then definitely consider ordering custom shades and outdoor covers. Not only will they protect you from the heat or rain but will also give you more privacy (which is no luxury on a boat!).

The last option that we would recommend would be to take the ‘comfort pack’ which includes an electric sea water and fresh water pump (essential at anchor) and a fresh water doc inlet (really practical in marinas).

What are the “Nice to Haves”? I’d say the cabinet instead of the sofa is a nice to have but not essential. I don’t think anyone would really seat down below reading a book so you are better off with storage!

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Are there any options you wouldn’t bother with, or would be better to source yourself after the purchase? A lot of options offered by Lagoon are way overpriced and not competitive such as the solar panels, watermaker etc.. Not to mention the 2000 euro microwave…

Of course there are things you can only do with Lagoon like changing the sofa in the owner’s cabin to a cabinet (which we did and would recommend doing) but a lot of options can be done after purchase with your broker.

We personally feel like a generator and air conditioning aren’t necessary onboard. If you have a decent solar panel surface, you’ll be just fine and if you live at anchor, you always have the breeze coming in from the very large window in the saloon (the air flow really is fantastic on this boat).

How is the storage generally? Is there enough room for your all of your kit ? For a couple, definitely yes! There is a huge amount of space between the 3 rooms and the two forward peaks. We feel however that the cockpit lacks storage if you take the outdoor fridge as an option but we are looking at ways to improve that this winter!

Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Easy to reach the boom if there are problems with the reefing lines etc? Yes reaching the boom is super easy and even more so with a hard top bimini (we walk on it with no issues) How is the helm position. Is the visibility good/ How about access to the lines and so on Not great when sailing… The visibility over the bow is very poor which was quite annoying in Portugal as we had to avoid a lot of fishing pots on the way. The helm seat isn’t comfortable either for longer passages but again we knew that from the start. I think Lagoon has changed it now but the visibility will be the same regardless.

Sailing this boat, however, is a breeze! Everything is conveniently placed and the self-tacking jib is a game changer for us. Sailing short-handed would definitely be possible.

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Typically, what’s your average speed on passage? I’d say we average about 6 knots. 15 knots of wind on a beam reach is our sweet spot.

Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like? Yes, she definitely is easy to dock. We just have to be quite careful with the sugar scoops as they are wide and low but other than that the visibility is very good on either side.

What is she like at anchor? Is the anchor set up good? Any advice on anchors, I think you were looking at new options The Lagoon 42 originally comes with a Delta 20kg which really isn’t enough for a boat of this size and this weight. We initially upgraded our anchor to a DELTA 25kg but testing it for a year in various conditions, we decided it was time for an upgrade and bought a ROCNA 33.

Our Delta anchor had a very poor holding power in soft mud and seaweed and failed to reset after a wind shift in Portugal which got us quite close to some rocks.

With the anchorage being too packed with boats in the high season, we also wanted an anchor that sets fast, even with a 3:1 scope which definitely wasn’t possible with our old Delta. We liked both the Spade and the Rocna, both seemed very good and are praised online.

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Are you happy with the living space? Cabins/saloon/galley/heads. We definitely are. We had plenty of guests visiting us the past year and the layout is just perfect for hosting. The galley is conveniently placed between the two tables (saloon and cockpit) meaning we are constantly part of the conversations and can interact with our friends while we cook.

Both tables comfortably sit 5 to 6 people and you have the perfect amount of space to relax during the day.

The rooms are spacious, the airflow is excellent and we definitely have plenty of storage inside (we could do with a little more on the deck).

Where’s your favourite spot on the boat? Anas loves chilling in the cockpit and I prefer siting on the roof with the view. We also love having drinks on the trampoline when we have people, a great spot to watch the sunset.

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How is the finish and layout of the interior? Does she creak under sail? We are very happy with the round edges and much prefer that to the sharp edges that some other manufacturers offer. The stairs could be a bit safer with a handrail but overall it’s fine. On rare occasions the boat was a bit squeaky but mostly at the very beginning, now it’s actually a lot better.

The month following the delivery of our boat, we went to sleep at anchor for the first time and the wood around the bed was so loud that we didn’t sleep a wink. We recorded the sound and the following week, a guy from lagoon came and fixed it with a few screws. Since then, no problem! Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Lagoon 42, either new or 2nd hand? Don’t rush it, test your boat and do your research! New boats will have flaws, especially production catamarans (tested fast and manufactured by agency staff) that will need to be fixed so you will have to test your equipment before setting off for your big adventure.

We see a lot of people picking up their new boat and leaving the dock after a couple of weeks straight to the canaries but you do really have to test and double check every single detail INCLUDING the work done by your broker.

Sailing skills are a fraction of what’s required to live on a boat and knowing your floating home (including the electrical system and plumbing) is crucial for your safety and the one of your crew. You will meet a lot of so-called experts along the way but educate yourself online and learn from other sailors.

Boating is a very old industry, most re-sellers do not even own or live on a boat and don’t even care about their customers as they never stick around for very long anyway.

Follow SV Malaika

You can follow Anas and Noëllie on their Instagram and Facebook feeds or head to their Youtube channel.

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Sailboat Review: Performance Catamaran Balance 442

  • By Herb McCormick
  • April 25, 2023

Balance 442 Catamaran

This February, I was on a powerboat off Anse Marcel on the French side of the Caribbean island of Saint-Martin when a fleet of fast performance-cruising multihulls set sail into the windy Anguilla Channel for the rally portion of the annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge . A pair of Balance 442 cats named Sage and Umoya , with reefed mains and drawing spinnakers, were blasting their way into the channel’s whitecapped waters, roiled by the 20-plus-knot easterly trade winds. 

Though they were practically the smallest cats in the fray, the 442s were more than holding their own against the bigger craft, which included a quartet of Balance 482s (including company president and founder Phil Berman’s In Balance ). Five months earlier, during our annual Boat of the Year contest, I’d sailed the very same Umoya in somewhat lighter air. Now I knew what the 442s looked like under sail in sportier conditions while hauling the mail: buoyant, sprightly and packed with horsepower. The yacht’s angular aesthetics are crisp, clean and, to my eye, quite fetching. There’s a deck-stepped mast and a working sail plan consisting of a big, square-topped fully battened mainsail and self-tacking jib; relatively narrow hulls with high freeboard and curved, wave-piercing bows that maximize waterline length; an integral sprit for the reaching and running sails; and a substantial coachroof topped with solar panels and accented by generous, tempered-glass windows. 

Balance Catamarans are built in South Africa, where almost 500 employees operate out of two separate facilities, building about 25 boats a year spanning several models. They all share, as Berman told me, a common purpose and the same DNA: They’re performance-oriented , liveaboard cruising boats that are bluewater capable and sail well on all points of sail. The carbon-infused daggerboards, a feature shared with every model in the brand, are largely responsible for their notable windward ability. 

The build, systems and layout are, at once, both complex and straightforward. The hand-laid hull and deck laminates are vacuum-bagged and employ a vinylester outer skin with a polyester inner skin sandwiching a closed-cell foam core with carbon reinforcements in high-load areas (and in the structural crossbeams). To keep the ­vessel as light as possible without compromising strength, the bulkheads and furniture are foam-cored. 

While the contemporary construction techniques and materials are decidedly high-tech, the power and charging systems aren’t especially complicated; Berman said that another overall goal was to keep the boats as simple as possible to sail and operate. For example, Ed Sherman, our BOTY judge who concentrates on systems, was somewhat surprised that the builder did not opt for the digital-­switching configurations so prevalent now across the industry. Still, he liked what he saw, perhaps even more so.  

“This boat is yet another variation of the ‘no-dedicated-­onboard-generator direction’ we are moving in. It uses integral engine-driven alternators—in this case, a pair of them—that create 48-volt power and run this power through Victron converters to run 24- or 12-volt appliances (or the 48-volt equipment just becoming available in the marine marketplace). Energy is stored in lithium-ion battery banks and can be run through DC/AC inverters to run 120- or 220-volt AC appliances. I see the future of onboard electrical systems on this boat.” 

The accommodations plans are also well-thought-out. At 44 feet length overall, and with the daggerboards to account for, this boat has less interior volume than you’d find on other production cats in this size range. But the Balance team maximized the space available, particularly with the big sliding-glass doors that, when open, incorporate the interior lounge, galley and salon with the cockpit. There’s a choice of four staterooms or, as we had on our test boat, three. In the latter setup, a pair of double-berth ­staterooms are to port (one with an athwartship berth forward and a fore-and-aft bunk aft) while a dedicated owner’s stateroom spans the hull to starboard. In either configuration, stowage is abundant. 

The deck also has nifty things of note: the dual mainsheet system that allows the boom angle to be fine-tuned, negating the need for a traveler; the taut, split trampolines forward that provide an excellent bridle system for the ground tackle centered between them; the grab rails on the coachroof top, serving as handholds and rain catchers; the dedicated winch forward for the spinnaker halyard or code zero; and the huge sail locker that can be accessed from the deck. The davit system also works well. Ullman sails are standard. For electronics, owners can choose Garmin or Raymarine kit.

It was under sail, however, that I truly began to appreciate the 442’s proportions, and came to realize what an ideal-size boat this is for a cruising couple. It’s large enough to address most any cruisers’ plans and itinerary, but not so big that you need to bring additional crew on board to go cruising. 

Our test sail was conducted in considerably more mellow conditions than those off Anse Marcel, but in a building southerly that topped out around 15 knots, there was more than enough breeze to strut the 442’s stuff. The VersaHelm that’s offered on every Balance lives up to its name: The convertible wheel can be locked down at cockpit level in inclement conditions, out of the weather, though thanks to those wide windows, there’s good visibility. Or it can be raised up to the elevated helm station to starboard, where a pair of winches and three sets of rope clutches serve the color-coded ­running rigging that’s all right at hand. The engine controls and instrumentation are mounted here as well, making this an easy boat to sail solo. 

We tacked upwind to gain sea room, gliding along at a pretty effortless 8-plus knots, then swapped the jib for the code zero, turned and burned on a broad reach, and easily topped 11 knots. That was clearly the cat’s sweet spot. It was evident that you could easily match that speed for miles and miles and, on passage, knock out consistent 200-plus-mile days. 

To sum up, what you get with the Balance 442 is comfort at anchor and performance underway. Sounds to me like it all balances out.

Balance 442 Specifications

Herb McCormick is former editor-in-chief of Cruising World and the yachting correspondent for The New York Times . The author of five nautical books, he’s owned several sailboats, including his current Pearson 365 and Pearson Ensign.

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  18. Sailboat Review: Performance Catamaran Balance 442

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