Boat Review: Born in the USA

The Great Recession has had a dramatic affect on the sailing industry and wreaked havoc with many American builders, some of whom are gone and some who are gradually getting back on their feet as the economy slowly recovers.

But all is not doom and gloom, particularly in the world of cruising catamaran builders in this country who are bucking the trend and building cats right here in America.

Gemini Catamrans is a success story for 2013. When the company launched the new Legacy model last October, orders were taken in short order to fill the 2013 production run and they keep on selling which means the new, updated styling and layout is really appealing to cat cruisers.

The company was founded by Tony Smith who built hundreds and hundreds of Geminis over the years. It may well be the best selling cruising catamaran ever. When Tony decided to retire and go cruising on his own boat he sold the company to his daughter Laura and her partner, The Catamaran Company.

Now being built by Hunter Marine in Florida, the Gemini Legacy is a narrow beam 35-foot catamaran that will fit into most marina slips yet has the space and stability of a modern cruising cat.

The fit and finish that is going into the boats is very appealing to new buyers and gives the boats a level of elegance that compares very well with other cruising cats in the fleet.  The master stateroom and head occupy one full hull while the two guest cabins are placed in the bow and stern of the other hull. For those who want a two cabin, two head layout, the forward guest cabin can be swapped out for a head.

Easy to sail, seaworthy and roomy, the Gemini Legacy 35 offers a lot of cruising comfort and capacity in a compact and affordable package. For more information go to www.geminicatamarans.com

Gunboat is one of the most unique companies in the multihull business. Founded by Peter Johnstone, it started building its carbon fiber and epoxy ultra performance cruising cats in South Africa and quickly developed a reputation for boats that sailed very fast.

After several business twists and turns, Johnstone moved to a facility in China to build the larger designs and then, surprise, opened a factory in North Carolina’s Outer Banks to build the new Gunboat 55. This re-shoring of a company to American soil is happening all across American industry and speaks well for these businessmen’s confidence in the U.S. economy going forward and the value of American workers.

The new Gunboat 55 is a Nigel Irons design. Like its predecessors, the boat will be lickety-split fast and fun to sail. It has an open plan cockpit and saloon that form one large living space. Like earlier Gunboats, the helm is in the forward end of the saloon with great visibility through the 360 degree windows. Unlike earlier designs, there is no forward cockpit. Instead, you gain access to the outdoors at the helm through a moon roof overhead and large opening windows forward.

There are several plans for the cabins in the hulls. The master suite takes up one side and then you can have two cabins and a head on the other, or one cabin can be turned into an office or work space.

Still built with exotic materials and designed to sail fast, the 55 is built by people with vast experience in carbon fiber and epoxy. The boats should fly. And, in North Carolina, there happens to be a great group of boat builders and craftsmen who can create the ultra modern and high lux interiors that have become the Gunboat trademark.

The first Gunboat 55 will be launched in North Carolina later this summer and will be ready for sea trials soon thereafter. At press time, seven of the 55s had been sold with more buyers approaching every week. For more information go to www.gunboat.com.

Gregor Trajan is a total multihull aficionado and represents some of the world’s best known multihull brands including Fountaine Pajot, Sunreef, Outremer and Alibi. He also works closely with leading designers to create exotic custom cruising cats for his clients.

His newest project is to build thoroughly modern cruising cats for couples and families right here in the United States. His office is on Long Island, NY and he has teamed up with a local builder there to build the all new Alpha 42.

The completely new design incorporates design elements from the racing world as well as safety and performance concepts developed over years of working with cleints and custom builders. The A 42 has wave piecing hulls that glide through waves and soften the ride when sailing upwind in larger seas. The cats can be built either with performance daggerboards or with shallow fixed keels, depending on an owner’s needs. The rig is set up with a moderately large, fully battened mainsail and a large foretriangle where you can fly a 100 percent jib or the large code zero that is tacked down to the fixed bowsprit.  The cockpit has a fixed Bimini top that is flush with the cabin top for a clean look. The helm is raised to port and the outside dinette is to starboard. The mainsheet runs to a track on the stern rail aft of the cockpit where it will be convenient to trim the main.

The saloon has an inside dinette, chart table facing forward and a U-shaped galley that faces aft and is connected to the outside dinette by a large opening window. The saloon has huge windows so visibility all around will be excellent.

The sleeping cabins and heads are in the two hulls with plenty of room for a family of four or a couple with a few guests.

Tarjan’s aim is to build a moderate sized, moderate priced cruising catamaran that has the amenities of the large luxury cats he also sells. The first boat will be launched this summer and will be at the Annapolis show. Eight more are already on order. For more information log onto www.aeroyacht.com.

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