How Multihulls Are Dominating The Asian Yachting Industry


The 2022 Lagoon Escapade in Thailand.
The 2022 Lagoon Escapade in Thailand.

It’s an exciting time in Asia for sailing catamarans, with the Singapore Yachting Festival in late April hosting the Southeast Asia debut of the Lagoon 55, while dealers Simpson Marine and Europa Yachts are organising Lagoon Escapades in Thailand and the Philippines respectively towards the end of the year.

The events are the latest in a recent series of activations by the world’s leading pleasure catamaran builder in the region, which is overseen – along with young sister brand Excess – by the Groupe Beneteau Asia-Pacific office in Hong Kong.

Last year, a Lagoon Seventy 7 was delivered to Japan, where it became the country’s biggest sailing catamaran, while a Lagoon 42 was displayed at the 27th Yokohama Floating Yacht Show (September 30-October 2).

Lagoon 55 debuting in Hong Kong.
Lagoon 55’s Asia debut in Hong Kong.

In October, Simpson Marine hosted the latest Lagoon Escapade Thailand, three years since its previous edition. In Hong Kong later that month, the region’s biggest yacht dealer staged the Asia premiere of the Lagoon 55, a model that debuted in Europe in 2021 and introduced the brand’s “aft terrace on the sea”.

In March this year, a Lagoon 42 displayed at the Japan International Boat Show in Yokohama, while in April a Lagoon 46 showed at the Sanya International Boat Show in China before a Lagoon 40 exhibited at the Busan International Boat Show in Korea.

Meanwhile, the Lagoon 55 used for the regional debut in Hong Kong was delivered to its owner in mainland China, while further units of the Lagoon 55 arrived in the Singapore and Philippines, where another is set to arrive this year, with Japan also set to welcome the model.

Hong Kong and the Philippines are the first markets to welcome the Lagoon 51 that debuted last year and only made its US debut at the Miami International Boat Show in February. More units of the brand’s most eco-friendly model are scheduled for delivery to China, Thailand and the Philippines this year.

Lagoon 51
Lagoon 51.

Lagoon is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2024 with the launch of multiple new models, while new innovations – that can be retro-fitted – include a new solution to treat and purify water on board for drinking.

Meanwhile, at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September, sister brand Excess staged the world premiere of its all-new Excess 14, which has proved a big success, with production sold out through 2024.

Excess 11 in Hainan
Excess 11 in Hainan.

It was a strong follow-up to the popular entry-level Excess 11, which has sold over 250 units around the world since it debuted in 2020, the year after the brand launched with the 12 and 15 models. Designed to offer similar sailing sensations to monohulls, the brand’s twin-helm design offers a lively experience for skippers, while all models feature naval architecture by French studio VPLP.

The first Excess 11 was recently delivered to Hainan, while across Asia-Pacific, the brand’s sales are led by the charter and cruising paradise of Tahiti in French Polynesia, followed by the likes of Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

NEW TECH, NEW 80

Fountaine Pajot, the world’s second-biggest leisure cat builder, has also been active in Asia, with a Tanna 47 and Alegria 67 set this year for Hong Kong, where Asia Yachting now represents the brand’s sailing catamarans as well as its motor yachts, and has already delivered an Isla 40.

Fountaine Pajot Aura 51 Smart Electric
Fountaine Pajot Aura 51 Smart Electric.

An Astrea 42 is set to arrive in Bali in June through Yacht Sourcing, while an Aura 51 arrived in Korea earlier this year. Launched last year, the Aura 51 is notable for the option of integrated solar panels offering up to 2,000W (2kW) and marks the start of a new sustainability-focused new era for the builder.

The model followed Fountaine Pajot’s announcement to create low-carbon and ideally net carbon-neutral cruising boats by 2030, with the builder forming the in-house ODSea (Observe, Design & Save) Lab to develop eco-friendly technologies.

Soon after the launch of the Aura 51, Fountaine Pajot released the model’s Smart Electric version, which debuted at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September. It was the brand’s first model to feature electric motors and an intelligent on-board management system, along with lithium batteries and a hydrogeneration system.

This year, Fountaine Pajot launched its first hydrogen-powered cruising cat, the Samana 59 Smart Electric x REXH2. A collaboration with EODev, a hydrogen solutions specialist, the prototype uses technologies from the 100ft Energy Observer catamaran, which is covered in solar panels, has two wing sails and an electrolyser that allows it to produce its own hydrogen.

Fountaine Pajot New 80
Fountaine Pajot New 80.

Fountaine Pajot is also preparing to make a splash at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival (September 12-17) when it stages the world premiere of its ‘New 80’ flagship, another collaboration with the Berret Racoupeau studio headed by Olivier Racoupeau, which has designed for Fountaine Pajot for over a decade.

Before that, in late June, the La Rochelle builder is hosting sea trials for all seven of its current sailing cats – Isla 40, Astrea 42, Elba 45, Tanna 47, Aura 51, Samana 59 and Alegria 67.

STRONG IN ASIA

Along with Lagoon and Fountaine Pajot, Leopard is one of the three giants of production pleasure cats and recently showcased its entire range of both sailing and power cats at the International Multihull Show at La Grande Motte in the south of France.

Leopard 42, view from the sea of the side of the boat.
Leopard 42.

Built by Robertson & Caine in South Africa, Leopard models are also used under different names by sister charter companies The Moorings and Sunsail. Its current three-model sailing range was completed with the Lagoon 42 in 2021, with the small sister joining the 45 and the flagship 50 in a series that shares common features including a forward saloon door to the foredeck cockpit.

Other signature features include the semi-raised helm to starboard, where the skipper has a flybridge view but can also communicate with those in the cockpit. Solar panels and lithium batteries are an option, while all new Leopards now feature water purification technology that allows owners and guests to enjoy drinking water directly from the tap.

View from on board the Leopard 42, with the lounge area on the deck.
Leopard 42.

Of over a dozen Leopard powercats and sailing catamarans arriving in Asia since last year, there have been three deliveries of the Leopard 50 to China and one to Japan, as well as two units of the Leopard 45 to Korea.

Meanwhile, Bali continues to steadily increase its presence in Asia, primarily through Asiamarine, which recently hosted the Bali 4.2 Open Day in Hong Kong (see EVENTS) before displaying the Catspace at the Singapore Yachting Festival at the end of April. Asiamarine has represented Bali since 2020, selling over a dozen units, mostly to Hong Kong but also to Singapore and Thailand.

The French builder’s sailing cat range is still headed by the flagship 5.4 that debuted in 2018, but its six other models – including the Catspace (40ft), 4.2, 4.4, 4.6 and 4.8 – have all been released from 2020 onwards, with the 4.4 having its world premiere at last year’s International Multihull Show.

Bali Catsmart sailing.
Bali Catsmart.

Bali’s newest model is the entry-level Catsmart, which premiered at La Grande Motte this April. The 38-footer has a 21ft-plus beam and is the brand’s first model without a flybridge, but new features include two helm stations aft and the option of two, three or four cabins.

“With the Catsmart, Bali is entering the popular 38ft segment and is reinforcing its portfolio, with seven models from 38-54ft,” says Eric Noyel, founder and CEO of Asiamarine, who hopes the first Catsmart in Asia will arrive in the summer of 2024.

“The Catsmart boasts the brand’s well-known innovations but differs with the absence of a flybridge and the inclusion of two steering wheels at the back of the hulls for enhanced pleasure at the helm. Also, the two-suite layout is unique on the market. She’s a small, compact multihull that will attract sailing enthusiasts with a tighter budget.”

Bali Catsmart, view from the sea.
Bali Catsmart.

Since emerging as an offshoot of Catana Group in 2014, Bali has grown rapidly and joined the world’s most popular sailing cat brands due to pioneering features like the signature ‘Bali door’, a full flybridge (on all but its smallest model), sliding saloon windows, forward saloon door and solid foredeck.

“When our clients or prospects go onboard a Bali for the first time, we often hear, ‘wow, there’s so much space’, which is the best comment we can receive,” Noyel says. “Also, the Asia market is particularly eager for innovation and new experiences, which makes Bali catamarans particularly attractive.”

ECO FIRST

Sunreef continues to make headway into Asia, with last year’s appointment of Hong Seh Marine as its dealer in Singapore and this year’s announcement of Lee Marine as its representative in Thailand. The Polish shipyard is also expanding its presence in the UAE where it has opened an office in Dubai and is developing a production facility in Ras Al Khaimah.

Sunreef 80 Eco, Marie-Joseph
Sunreef 80 Eco, Marie-Joseph

Sunreef continues to grow its Eco range of sailing catamarans, which began last year with the launch of the first 80 Eco, Marie- Joseph. The model had its world premiere at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September before appearing at the Monaco Yacht Show later that month and this year’s Dubai International Boat Show in March. The first Sunreef 60 Eco, Surreal, also launched last year.

Recently, Sunreef revealed its second all-electric 80 Eco sailing catamaran. In contrast to Marie Joseph’s dark-blue hull, the second 80 Eco has a light-green hull dominated by Sunreef’s dark ‘solar skin’ and hull windows, while its white superstructure features the ultralight composite–integrated solar panels on the sides and flybridge hard top. Unlike Marie-Joseph, the new model doesn’t have solar panels around the mast.

Electric Sunreef Eco 80
All-electric Sunreef 80 Eco.

In addition to the solar-power system, Sunreef’s Eco models are also able to generate energy from the passive motion of the two propellers through an advanced hydrogeneration system. All energy obtained is used to power both the hotel appliances and electric propulsion for silent, emission-free cruising.

The shipyard offers Eco versions of the company’s current range of sailing models, first seen in 2018 with the Sunreef 60 and Sunreef 80 before the first units of the 50 and 70 followed in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Sunreef 60 Eco, Surreal
Sunreef 60 Eco, Surreal.

The Sunreef 80 has been the most popular of the four models, underlining the builder’s focus on large catamarans, although the shipyard stated that sales during last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival included two Sunreef 60 Eco and three Sunreef 60 sail catamarans.

Sunreef is also developing the 80 Eco Hydrogen for an owner who wants to “go far and rely on clean energy, even when there’s not enough sunlight to generate solar power”. The shipyard is working on a system that will enable hydrogen to be produced from sea water, using solar power and hydro generation. The yacht will also include Sunreef’s solar-power system, which will assist with powering all onboard operations and the electric propulsion system.

This article was first published on Yacht Style.

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