Skip to main content

2011 Best Boats Cruising Multihull + Accommodations: Discovery 50

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

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

Related

DUFOUR_470.JM-LIOT-15

Boat Review: Dufour 470

Annapolis may be the sailing capital of America, but if you looked around the United States Sailboat Show last fall, you would have no choice but to conclude most sailboats are now built in Europe. The Dufour 470 is a good example of a modern French performance cruiser. DESIGN & ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6563

Close Encounters: Captain Sarah Schelbert

I met Captain Sarah Schelbert back in 2019 while on the boat trip from hell aboard a seaworthy but poorly run Triton 28 in the western Caribbean. I was trying to help the owner sail his boat back to Florida from the Rio Dulce, in Guatemala. Outbound from the river basin, we had ...read more

02-Voice-of-the-Oceans---sailboat-Kat-11

Raising Their Voices

Many of us who are cruising sailors have been sailing mid-ocean or walking along a perfect beach in the middle of seemingly nowhere, only to be appalled at the amount of plastic trash we find. Few of us, however, have taken that disheartening reality and turned it into a ...read more

IC37racingonSunday-Photo-by-Paul-Todd

IC37 North American Championship

This past weekend saw 20 IC37s off Newport, Rhode Island engage in fast and furious one-design racing with the win going to Peter McClennen’s Gamecock. “It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_2056

South Pacific Storm Prep

Having set ourselves the task of transforming our recently purchased Open 66 ex-Vendée Globe racer, NV, into a performance family cruiser, my partner, Timo, and I found ourselves (extremely) high and dry as cyclone season approached. The favorite cyclone strategy in Fiji is to ...read more

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more

00LEAD-IMG_2183

Heavy Hitters on Heavy Weather

“What’s the joke about heavy weather? You know it when you see it.” Figure 8 singlehander Randall Reeves drew laughs from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) sailors attending the forum “Heavy Weather Sailing: Bluewater Perspectives” as part of the CCA’s centennial celebration in ...read more

Nominne-Promo-2048x1149

Best Boat Nominees 2023

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Some of it is timing. Some of it is just the way of the world. Either way, it can be fascinating to see the evolution of the boatbuilding industry over the years, as has been evident in SAIL magazine’s annual Best Boats ...read more