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Even in the increasingly crowded world of exotic multihull performance-cruisers, the McConaghy line of catamarans stands out with its emphasis on quality construction, style and performance. The newest member of the line, the McConaghy 60, has been on our radar for some time now, and finally arrived on U.S. shores at the Miami Boat Show this past February. Like the rest of McConaghy’s catamarans, the boat’s infused hulls include plenty of carbon fiber in their layup, along with E-glass and a Corecell foam core, with an eye toward creating the lightest, stiffest structure possible. Topside, the boat features dual helm positions on a flybridge, which provide clear sightlines, both under sail and when coming into a dock.

An especially interesting feature of this design, which was drawn by Ker Yacht Design, is the fact that instead of daggerboards, the boat is equipped with a pair of push-button centerboards. The idea here is that while you still get stellar performance, especially hard on the wind, there is less chance of severe damage to the hull, or hulls, in the event of a hard grounding.

Belowdecks, the boat is available with three or four cabins, along with many other customizable features. Aesthetically, the break in the sheer going forward is an especially striking feature. I love the way it complements the wave-piercing bows, hull windows and angled cabintrunk.

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Of course, a performance cruiser, or racer-cruiser, as the case may be, doesn’t have to have two hulls to be both drop-dead gorgeous and a blast to sail—case in point, the Italia 11.98 Bellissima, which made its debut in its “Carbon” iteration (equipped with carbon spars) at Germany’s boot Düsseldorf show this past winter.

Also available in a “Sport,” high-performance version, the new 11.98 offers a combination of styling and speed under sail that’s hard to beat. Following up on the company’s successful 9.98, the 11.98 has a hull that is optimized to do well under both ORC and IRC, with the boat already scoring first overall in Class C at the 2019 ORC World Championship regatta in Šibenik, Croatia. It’s also very comfortable belowdecks, with the Bellissima iteration, in particular, offering elegance to burn—no big surprise given that the boat was expressly designed to be adaptable in order to fill the needs of a wide variety of sailors.

Multiple keel types are available, depending on your sailing style, while cruisers have the option of going with twin wheels, and hardcore racers can order a tiller. (How cool is that!) The boat comes with a fixed sprit for flying various different reaching sails, and the wide-open cockpit provides plenty of room for either grinding in sheets or stretching out in (with the cockpit benches in the Bellissima version offering a little extra length than is found aboard the 11.98 Sport).

In terms of aesthetics, the 11.98 offers a combination of svelte lines topside and a sharp, plumb bow that is clearly all business. The hull includes a PVC foam core and multiple layers of biaxial and unidirectional fiberglass impregnated with vinylester resin in an effort to maximize the boat’s strength-to-weight ratio. Laminated to the interior of the hull is a carbon fiber framework that serves to manage keel and rig loads. Construction quality is top-notch throughout. 

June 2020

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