Yenra : Boats : Boat Plans : Catamaran Boats: Sailing Features, Plan and Design

Catamaran

Two miles off the entrance to Tauranga Harbour, gennaker flying, a squall puffs to 25, the numbers on the Autohelm digital log rapidly climb to 17.4 knots, the coffee doesn't spill and the beaming smile on the skipper's face says he's extremely happy with his new Ron Given catamaran.

The research for a new boat began about two years ago. Having owned and sailed many boats, most recently a Farr 1220, the owners wanted a safe, fast, off-shore cruiser, easily sailed by two. They also wanted a shallow draft for their home waters around Tauranga and the proposed cruising areas of the South Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef. A multi-hull seemed appropriate and, after investigating designers and concepts from New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America, the two owners, a married couple came back to Given.

The cockpit on the catamaran is T-shaped, there's a solid coaming and hinged doors into the salon, and huge drains in the cockpit sole. According to designer Ron Given "The T-shape reduces cockpit volume, adds structural integrity to the boat, provides more room in the aft cabins and ideally places the twin helms, winches and sail controls for handling and visibility."

"Many multihulls are difficult to tack and don't point. That's why my boats have centreboards, large mainsail roaches and self-tacking jibs. I don't want my owners caught in a blow on a lee shore and not be able to sail out of it. We know how important foils are for performance..." says Given.

The hulls actually incorporate two water-tight compartments in each bow and stern. One of these compartments near each stern contains the 63hp Yanmar 4JH2-T saildrives that power the 18x13 Max Props. These compartments are accessible either through deck hatches or through the aft bulkheads in each rear cabin. The compartments are lead-lined and carefully sealed to reduce noise and fumes.

The nav station features top quality specification and fitout, and can accommodate paper charts fully laid out. The Autohelm has a remote plug at the nav station and the starboard helm position enabling the owner to steer and even tack - the jib is self-tacking - without leaving the chart table.

The starboard hull is the owner's area with a double cabin aft, accessed through the ensuite. This configuration allows disposal of wet gear before entering the cabin and access to the head without disturbing the off-watch partner. Forward in this hull is the combination clothes washer/drier and a workshop space with the genset enclosed in a sound insulated container at the forward end of the workshop space, and storage in individual cradles for the owners' two model yachts.

The port hull contains two more double berths, one aft matching the owners' and another running athwartships forward of the galley over the bridgedeck. Further forward is the second head, shower and vanity. The heads discharge to a holding tank which can either be discharged at sea or to shore pump out facilities. The tank's sensor warns when it is 80 per cent full.

The galley, amidships in the port hull and open to the saloon, features a full scale Smeg, self-cleaning domestic oven and four burner gas hob. The full length bench faces the saloon with twin sinks and waste disposal - also an excellent berley system! Galley equipment features microwave, domestic toasters and jugs. The two metre tall refridgerator neatly flanks the centre-case on one side with the pantry on the other.

With the Leisure furl in-boom system led back to the Harken 48 electric winch in the cockpit, hoisting the 77.5 sq. m Spectra main was a one minute, 20 second, one person operation. Unfurling the self tacking headsail was even easier. For the rig, Given prefers a light but strong configuration. Many of the French multis use a heavy section with narrow spreaders and diamonds. Whilst these may be necessary on a rotating mast, Given has found tha wider spreaders, swept to 30 degrees, reduce compression loadings, provide better support and reduce weight aloft due to the smaller section. On Crystal Harmony he has introduced "XD1s" from the mast base to the outboard end of the spreaders. Again because of the angle, these are providing support in the fore and aft plane and eliminate the need for the baby-stay, which in turn simplifies the foredeck. There are no backstays.

Anchoring is by hand held remote which enables you to watch the anchor from either bow - ideal for the tropics. The winch is a Maxwell 3500 with the anchor self-stowing under the catwalk in the centre of the foredeck. The space between the catwalk and the hulls is filled with an open weave netting, preferable because it doesn't provide a barrier to wind and water or become a potential horizontal sail.

There is a heap of stowage forward, in both hulls and on the area of deck forward of the mast above the bridgedeck. The spare sails are stowed in the hull compartments with access through one of the seemingly dozens of Weaver latches. The curved track for the self-tacking headsail is immediately forward of the mast with the sheet and outhaul led back into the cockpit. Similarly, the up and down hauls for the centreboards are led to the cockpit winches and Lewmar jammers. The boards are buoyant and are shaped only below the hull, having a square section within the centrecase and teflon edges to make them slide easily. They are engineered to break off if they hit something, rather than damage the hull.

Although we'd left the rubber-ducky at the marina, normally it is comfortable in its davits under the radar arch. Aft of the cockpit and mainsheet traveller is a boarding platform which is full width between the hulls. This is handy for unloading gear from the inflatable which can float beneath the bridgedeck. It is also easier and safer for passengers who can just step off or on from the centre of the dinghy thwart. There are steps in both transoms, but these are better for access after a swim. The platform is also handy for fishing and diving.