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Multi personality: appeasing both the performance sailor and the serious cruiser, the new Catana 47 has dual appeal, reports Kevin Green.

Catana are premium quality French catamarans well known as blue water cruisers, with the company's long-term designer Christophe Barreau having completed some serious adventuring in them, as well as other owners who've circumnavigated at speed.

The current Catana range consists of a 4. 47, 55, 59 and 7o; all uniquely identified by their tall, slim hulls with unusual plum bulbous bows.

The new, carbon strengthened Catana 47 has been remodelled from the previous Catana 471 first launched in 1997, and the new boat very much carries on these traditions while being nearly 700kg lighter than its predecessor and stronger, thanks to carbon strengthening and stiffening of key components. Clocked achieving boat speeds of up to 5 knots during French sea trials, the Catana 4,7 is designed for fast passage-making and as it is equipped with effective, deep daggerboards to aid upwind sailing performance, you should be able to do much more than simply trade wind sailing.

COCKPIT

Catanas unusual characteristics apply to not just the hulls but many aspects of these cleverly designed boats, and the cockpit is top of this list. Firstly, the twin helms are outboard, aligned with the hulls for maximum visibility forward. which also means maximum weather exposure should you wish to remain perched out there in inclement conditions at sea, rather than switching on the Furuno autopilot and retreating to the spacious cockpit.

Engine controls and navigation instrumentation are on the starboard helm station with rev counters nicely viewable at waist height with Furuno instruments. Another set is mounted on the saloon bulkhead inside. The running rigging of the Catana 47 has a Gallic twist with twin halyard winches horizontally fixed to a centralised transom bulkhead. Another feature of the transom is a functional davit setup, which along with the stepped swim access on both hulls, should make the Catana a comfortable base from which to board and swim when at anchor, with a retractable, stainless steel swim ladder in the port hull.

Al fresco dining is also nicely done with a spacious corner dinette and GRP table adjoining the galley window. Another clever feature is the fold out seats on the coaming, forming a relaxing lounge area with views forward along the expansive side decks.

SALOON

To enter the saloon you take a step down, which may not be to everyone's liking, but large scuppers prevent any water incursion from the cockpit. Inside, a light and airy ambience fills the saloon, which isn't large for a boat of this size--with galley portside and large navigation station starboard--but the area is well proportioned with offset lounge seating and small table. Alight-hued wood interior featuring cabinetry and trim finished in laminated Maple with US Walnut edges was designed by Linea Concept, a French company who've also worked with Dufour and completed various custom catamaran projects. The result is a pleasing and functional layout with stylish leather upholstery, rounded edges and in the galley and surrounds, roller cabinet doors.

Cooks should have little to complain about in the galley thanks to a three-burner stove/oven, deep sink and voluminous chilled storage (160L stainless steel refrigerator plus similar freezer fitted on the review boat). If preparing a meal my only gripe would be the relative lack of work surfaces for food preparation and rather flimsy door catches, but there are plenty of redeeming features such as a pull out storage section and generally good cupboard space.

A big plus on the Catana for me is the navigation station on the saloon's forward starboard corner. A swing-out stool nicely seats the navigator to view the instruments. Dominating the bulkhead is a NavnetR 10.4 inch colour chart plotter (with 2.2kW radar input). Alongside, the switch panel is clearly laid out with a useful lighting diagram for quick checks of the navigation lights. Power generation is ample as well with both renewable and conventional sources of electricity. A total of six gel 12o AH batteries are charged by twin 8oamp engine alternators, plus six 8o-watt solar panels mounted on the bimini above, negating the need for an optional generator to be fitted.

OWNER'S SUITE

Stepping down into the portside hull is a very pleasant experience thanks to the entire area being devoted to the owner's suite with accommodation aft and large bathroom forward. In between there's a useful vanity/study table, myriad cabinet space and enough headroom to satisfy an Olympic basketball player. Good details include slatted bases for the bed plus the use of separate memory foam mattress and ample shelf space. Ablutions are good as well with a separate shower cubicle, electrically operated head and plenty of natural light with ventilation. In the port hull opposite, the two guest cabins provide good accommodation of family and friends, with each having their own bathroom and plenty of space. Aft there's a double that easily converts to two singles with good storage space and three opening hatches for light and ventilation (including an escape hatch amidships). The forward port cabin has a smaller double and is fitted with a bench seat and large wardrobe NA th roller shutter door.

STYLISH TOPSIDES AND HULL

Topsides on the Catana 47 should please the discerning sailor, thanks to good design in the rig, anchor setup and a flexible sail plan. Our review boat came with a white lacquered aluminium mast with spreaders, built by Mareehal, with twin headsails. A large genoa runs off a bow prodder and a halyard is included for a gennaker, which flies from the very end of the prodder. The halyards are cleverly located on a mast track and run back to the cockpit. Optioning up includes a white lacquered carbon rig from Formula Spars, if further weight saving and performance is an issue. For anchoring there's a powerful Lofrans Falkon i7ooW horizontal windlass and capstan, which is well up to the job for a boat with such blue water cruising capability.

The hulls are constructed of an infused 2omm thick foam sandwich, with polyester and vilaylester resin below the waterline and carbon in key areas. It's reinforced with Twaron aramid fibre (as used in bullet-proof vests) in the key stress areas of chain plates, cross spars and mast foot. The cross spar is also bolted in a way that allows some flex. This kind of quality build means the company can give owners a generous five-year warranty.

ON THE WATER

Sailing the Catana 47 on Sydney Harbour on a gloriously sunny day with my hosts Keith Logan from Multihull Solutions and owner Phil proved a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Motoring towards the bridge the boat managed a nippy 10.2 knots of boat speed flat chat (at 3000rpm) while she cruised at a more economical 8.4 knots with the Volvo 55 sail-drives throttled back to a more modest z000rpm.

With sails hoisted and sailing, the outboard hull positioning of the dual helm wheels lends the cat a racing feel, allowing unobstructed views along each long hull, but somewhat annoyingly not across the hulls. While this wouldn't be a problem when blue water cruising, in the tighter confines of Sydney Harbour it required rue to duck and peer through the interior windows while also having someone on the leeward helm as a lookout. So at sea it would be much easier to switch on the Furuno autopilot, before stepping down into the saloon to keep watch. In sail-test mode I sat down on the comfy helm seat to get a feel of the boat after I'd positioned both daggerboards half way down. The dagger boards are gravity fed through each hull with a single line, although ideally a second downhaul system could be fitted, as I had to go forward to position them just right.

The helm was responsive, allowing quick adjustments of our heading to tweak the staysail tell tales, letting me pinch up to avoid a harbour ferry and easily resume my best course. We slid along at an impressive 7.8 knots hard in the moderate 12-knot breeze at 45 degrees, swiftly overtaking a new 40- foot monohull without so much as making a ripple in our soft drink bottles that sat atop the large cockpit table. Gybing to avoid Clark Island showed that the running rigging worked with ease, with the primary winches close at hand for the skipper to operate.

All in all, fast and flat sailing is effortless aboard the Catana 47, which showed that it clearly has twin appeal of definitely being a serious sailor's boat while also appealing to those wanting good comfort above and below decks, when cruising at sea or at anchor in that idyllic anchorage. www.multihallsolutions.com.au


MODEL Catana         47

NAVAL ARCHITECT      Christophe Barreau

HULL LENGTH          14.03 m (46 (t)

LENGTH AT WATERLINE  13.88 m

CONSTRUCTION         GRP/Carbon Twaron infused sandwich

BEAM                 764m

DRAFT                1.10 m, (boards down): 2.50 m

DISPLACEMENT         light: 10,900kg (Custom Carbon)

WATER                670 litres

FUEL                 600 litres

SAIL AREAS           Mainsail area: 86[m.sup.2]. Up wind sail area:
                     139 [m.sup.2] Down wind sail area: 170.01
                     [m.sup.2], Mast clearance: 21,5 m / 70,54 ft

ENGINE                2 x 55 HP Volvo Saildrive (40HP std)

PRICE                 $970,000 (base boat), $1,160,000 (review boat
                      approx.)
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Title Annotation:CATANA
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Date:Feb 1, 2013
Words:1545
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