Boats

2011 Best Boats Cruising Multihull + Accommodations: Discovery 50

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John Charnley, founder of Discovery Yachts, is a circumnavigator whose vision of the ideal world-girdling yacht metamorphosed into the Discovery 55, a fast, strong, attractive and practical cruiser. It has now evolved yet again into the Discovery 50 catamaran, which is—not surprisingly—fast, strong, attractive and practical.

Designed by Bill Dixon, who is known more for large high-end monohulls, the Discovery 50 presents a distinctive profile with its swooping portlights and exclamation-mark hull ports. All cats offer a vast amount of deck and cockpit square footage, but not all use this space effectively. The Discovery 50’s cockpit is difficult to fault. Dining and lounging areas merge into one another and are sheltered by a large removable bimini; in an age where fiberglass hardtops have become the norm on production cats, this strikes an elegant note.

This is the first time we have seen an in-mast furling mainsail on a catamaran, and in concert with the twin roller furling headsails and electric winches, it makes setting, tending and striking sail a one-person operation. The helm station is an exemplary example of the breed, laid out with the logic and precision of a piano keyboard. During our test sail, we were thoroughly impressed by the feedback through the wheel and the responsive steering.

Belowdecks, the systems installation and build quality cannot be faulted. The saloon combines a large and well-equipped galley, a fully functional nav station with almost 360-degree vision from where the boat can be steered, and a comfortable dinette. The aft staterooms are airy and bright, but it is the owner’s cabin forward that steals the show. Spanning the boat’s entire beam, it proudly features a huge central double berth and separate dressing areas leading to mirror-image heads/showers. It is so impressive that we had no hesitation in also presenting the Discovery 50 with the Accommodations award. For more information, visit discoveryyachts.com

SPECS

LOA: 50ft 0in
LWL: 50ft 0in
Beam: 25ft 2in
Draft: 4ft 6in
Displacement: 29,762lb
Sail Area: 1,083 sq ft

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