By Matt Claiborne
For more than two decades, Gunboat has been setting the bar on what a performance catamaran can be. The company motto says it all. “Life is too short to sail a slow boat.”
Outremer Catamarans is one of the original makers of French performance cats, in business since 1984. Currently, Outremer offers boats ranging from the 45 to the 5X (48 to 60 feet long).
Catanas are easily recognizable by their daggerboards and narrow hulls with asymmetrical designs. In addition, they use a lightweight composite layup that results in a very stiff boat that weighs less than their competitors.
HH Catamarans is Gunboat’s first real competitor in the high-end performance cat market. They started in 2012 and are part of the Hudson Yacht Group. HH has boats in their model line from 44 to 88 feet long.
Balance started in South Africa in 2013. They focus on making semi-custom, comfortable performance yachts that are strong and safe and can be easily operated single-handedly or by a couple.
Kinetic Catamarans are designed by Simonis Voogd and built in Knysna, South Africa. They have all-carbon construction, carbon spars, laminated sails, and a forward sailing cockpit deck layout.
Neel Trimarans is a new French builder attempting to capitalize on this simple fact by merging the best of all worlds—the space and liveability of a cruising catamaran with the performance, sail efficiency, and stability of an offshore-capable tri.
Catamarans are very sensitive to weight as they rely on lightness for speed. The heavier the boat, the lower it sits in the water. Therefore, adding weight to any catamaran will slow it down.