I’ve had a penchant for sailing on two hulls ever since I built a 26-foot racing micro-multihull some years ago. That boat routinely sailed at double-digit speeds but was frequently wet, so it was with some enthusiasm that I stepped aboard the considerably larger Broadblue 435 for a test sail on Chesapeake Bay.
The 435 has plenty of deck space for walking around, lounging, and sunbathing, and there’s easy, unobstructed access to cavernous lockers forward of the saloon windows. Large circular deck hatches set into the forward sections of the hulls adjacent to the trampolines provide light and ventilation below and give something to lean against when in lounging mode.
The Corian countertops in the U-shaped galley to port are offset by light-oak joinerwork. The seating and dining area to starboard is finished in Alacantara fabric. The aft-facing chart table abuts the main bulkhead, enjoying excellent visibility and stacks of natural light from the large expanse of windows above. The owner’s suite on the test boat took up the whole of the starboard hull and is accessed via a couple of steps from the main saloon. Its queen-size berth has generous stowage underneath and conveniently mounted reading lights above the headboard. The ensuite head and shower would put many land-based cubicles to shame.
The port hull features a double berth in the stern, a combined head and shower, and a double Pullman berth up forward. Everywhere the quality of the workmanship is evident; rubbing my hand inside cupboards and drawers failed to produce even a small splinter. Because Broadblue allows owners to specify so many custom features, no two boats delivered to date have been identical. For a price, the builder can do anything you want—for example, eliminating the forward berth and installing an office—as long as the main structural bulkheads are not altered.
The test conditions—gusty, fluky winds and a nasty chop left over from a recent gale—were not ideal. Even so, the twin 30-horsepower Volvo saildrives pushed the boat easily away from the dock and provided more than adequate power with low levels of noise. With its fixed props (I would choose the optional folding props), the boat was able to turn in its own length. A cockpit-mounted two-speed electric halyard winch made short work of hoisting the full-batten main with a large roach. When we unfurled the 775-square-foot reacher the boat took off, making an easy 8 knots on a broad reach. It remained admirably dry as the high bows shouldered away the chop. The helm was light and responsive, and tacking was uneventful. Some cats don’t tack well, but the 435’s ability to carry speed made this maneuver easy. Waves slapping on the underside of a bridgedeck can make long passages almost unbearable for an off-watch crew trying to get some rest, but when I went below on this boat all was quiet apart from the faint chuckle of the water passing by the hull.
The quality of workmanship and care that have gone into the construction of the Broadblue is immediately obvious. The semicustom aspect of its equipment list and construction will appeal to many owners preparing for extended bluewater cruising. This is a quality boat that should retain its value.
Price: $650,000 (FOB North Carolina) includes electronics, generator, air conditioning, and a full cruising inventory.
Builder: Broadblue Catamarans, Ipswich, Great Britain
U.S. contact: Broadblue Catamarans, 877-695-0358, www.broadblueusa.com
Construction: Hull is hand-laid and vacuum-bagged with solid fiberglass below the waterline and Kevlar laminate in high-stress areas. Rudders are solid glass. There are watertight bulkheads fore and aft in each hull. Keels are integrally molded and sealed off from the hull, forming a double bottom.
Pros: Top-quality cruising cat for liveaboards. A well-built boat with good performance.
Cons: Quality workmanship and customizing comes at a price.
LOA - 43'6"
LWL - 37'4"
Beam - 22'
Draft - 4'1"
Displacement - 20,061 lbs
Sail Area (main and jib) - 988 sq ft
Power - (2) Volvo 30-hp with saildrives, with 2-blade fixed props
Tankage (Fuel/water/waste) - 117/125/42 gal
(2) 80-Ah starting batteries
(3) 110-Ah house batteries
(2) 100-amp alternators
Displacement-Length ratio - 109
Sail Area-Displacement ratio - 21.4
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