Since Wildling isn’t quite ready for us yet, we decided to get our catamaran fix at the Sanctuary Cove boat show on the Queensland Gold Coast last weekend. It was great to see the new Tag 60 and Catana 59 in Australia, and we were able to spend some time on board and chat with the founder and designer of Tag Yachts.
It’s also interesting to see the different directions the catamaran builders are taking with their latest designs. Here’s a summary of impressions we had when we toured the new boats:
It’s hard to compare the Tag 60 to any other catamaran we’ve seen. It’s also hard to figure out what the design objectives were for this boat. It is certainly beautifully made, and very high tech, with all carbon fiber construction and sail controls operated by electronic joysticks driving hydraulic actuators. The living spaces were designed to separate the sailing operations from the living areas as much as possible, with the two outboard helm stations and the interior nav station / bridge deck being separated from the living areas by walls and bulkheads. I got the feel that this boat was designed so that professional crew could operate it, and not get in the way of the guests onboard, which is certainly an advantage for owners that don’t want to be involved in sailing. The Tag founder, told us that he designed the boat to be the ultimate round the world cruiser for a shorthanded couple. The technology on the boat would certainly allow for this objective, but there’s also a lot of complicated systems that could go wrong and require considerable expertise to fix. That said, it is great to see so much out of the box, creative design thinking in a modern catamaran.
Catana is continuing down their path of building luxury catamarans that are fun to sail, but not as high performance as their earlier designs. They seem to be targeting buyers looking at Lagoon and Leopard catamarans, that have lots of interior space, with big decks for carrying passengers and charter guests. Catana differentiates from Lagoon by offering a more luxurious interior, and better sailing abilities, but still nowhere near the sailing performance of Outremer, Tag and Gunboat.
The new Lagoon boats are much the same as in previous years, with their huge living areas, and high flybridges, that elevate the boom to a point where the mainsail seems a bit of an afterthought. They give the impression of a motor sailor, rather than a true sailboat, and given the number of Lagoons sold into the charter fleets, where they spend a lot of their lives motoring from place to place, this makes a lot of sense.
It is interesting to note that Lagoon will start offering a SportTop option without the flybridge, presumably in an attempt to attract buyer’s considering the higher performance Catanas.
Unfortunately there are no current model Outremer catamarans in Australia right now, so no Outremer boats at the show this year. Even so, I thought it worth noting the differences between the 5X and the other 59+ foot boats we saw. The 5X is smaller inside, in fact it feels more like our previous Catana 471 with a larger salon and more headroom, and a lot more waterline length. The 5X is ideal for a family of 4, whereas the Catana and Lagoon can carry more people and gear, although they do give up a lot of speed and ease of sail handling versus the 5X.
Our biggest accomplishment at the show was meeting Angela from ANALU Italian Linens. We were hoping to find a company that could make all of our bed and bathroom linens for Wildling in the colors and sizes that we needed, and ANALU was a great find. We spent over an hour with Angela from their Sydney showroom selecting all the fabric styles, colors and logo placements. Because all of the linens are made in Italy, they will deliver them directly to the Outremer factory in France for us, which saves a lot of time and hassle.