The wind is free. Add two engines and you have a formula that makes sailing catamarans appealing by combining safety and comfort. That’s the new Catana 53, showcased at the International Multihull Boat Show, April 19-23 in La Grande Motte on the French Mediterranean.
Given the competitive market and the number of new models at La Grande Motte 2017, finding a standout boat was difficult. But the new Catana 53 is a worthy candidate. The French company’s yachts have a long tradition of innovation and performance. Focusing on the market sweet spot—comfortable cruisers that can be handled by two people—led them to launch the Catana 53.
The Catana 53 slots into the builder’s line between the 47 and the 62. This new boat is an in-house design, whereas the previous models were created by the well-known French designer Christophe Barreau. Catana is known for its performance models, built near Perpignan in southwest France since 1984. Their fast bluewater cruisers were characterized by slender hulls with great freeboard, unusual bulbous plumb, bows and long dagger boards. Beginning with the Catana 59, the design became more angular, also true of the new 53.
Why a Cat?
Catamaran sales continue their strong growth in the recreational cruising market. Vast deck space and stability at sea endear them to a wide range of buyers, including first-timers and former powerboat owners. The global market for cruising multihulls counts more than 1000 units annually—80% sail and 20% motor. Production is worth about 450 million euros.
France leads the market, with major producers such as Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot and Catana. The other major region is South Africa, where Robertson & Caine manufactures largely for the charter market and its Leopard brand. Asian production is on the rise across a vast area, where niche brands such as McConaghy, Seawind and HH are emerging.
The Catana 53 accommodations layout has the owner’s hull to starboard side, where a forward entryway offers good privacy. The port hull holds twin double cabins. The hull is partly carbon for rigidity, lightness and, of course, speed. A common bane of cat sailing is going to windward in a choppy sea. The 53’s daggerboards are designed to offer upwind power, even when the boat is fully loaded with cruising equipment.
The polar diagram shows impressive speed to match the wind at 16 knots, making the craft suitable for occasional racing. The cockpit has twin wheels outboard, giving the performance sailor a clear view and feel at the cost of exposure to the elements. Sail control gear is around both binnacles, and the mainsheet runs across the transom, away from guests sitting beside the saloon bulkhead.
These features combine to make an ideal performance cruising boat that will take you safely along the coast or around the world.