The True Wind 32 presents an interesting amalgamation of features. It's a 32-foot cat with a rigid open bridgedeck and is built to sail faster than wind speed in the right conditions, to provide the amenities of a pocket cruiser, and to be capable of easily folding up onto a street-legal trailer.
During my test on Florida's Biscayne Bay in 10 knots of breeze and flat water, we hit 8 knots on a reach. Boathandling was straightforward. The cat has dual transom-hung kick-up rudders; the tillers are united with a bar similar to those on beach-cat steering systems.
Sail area appeared a bit undersized, but True Wind's president, Gerard Sperry, was quick to point out that our test model was equipped with boatshow sails; designs for a larger jib and square-head main are in the works. For considerable offwind performance gains, an optional screecher mounted on a carbon-fiber pole will also be available.
The strong point of this design is the superior deck space. The open bridgedeck offers comfortable seating, multiple stowage lockers, and a standard bimini.
Even though this cat was designed for cruising rather than racing, it comes with standard weight-saving features more often associated with high-performance boats. Instead of wire or rod, standing rigging is made of Spectra. Nida-Core is used in the vacuum-bagged hulls and deck.
Since the limitations inherent in small open-bridgedeck cruising catamarans challenge designers to turn narrow hulls into living space, the True Wind's accommodations aren't palatial but will satisfy basic coastal-cruising needs. Two narrow berths in the starboard hull and one aft in the port hull are more like compartments than cabins. Situated in the middle of the starboard hull, the galley provides adequate counter and stowage space, a sink, and a stove. The port hull is equipped with a linear saloon settee that converts into an additional bunk. Three ports and two good-sized deck hatches in each hull provide excellent light and ventilation and considerable freeboard allows for standing headroom below to help counter the claustrophobic feeling that a 4-foot-wide accommodation space can produce.
I tested the standard (non-folding) version of the boat, but the True Wind's optional folding capability reportedly makes trailersailing possible. How do you fold up a catamaran with a rigid bridgedeck? Simple: lift the bridgedeck and fold the hulls underneath. Bruce Marek has designed joints in the bridgedeck and hulls that allow the cat's beam to fold from 16 feet down to 8 feet, 6 inches at the touch of a button. Marek's hydraulic trailer lifts the bridgedeck and repositions the hulls, but you'll still need a vehicle that has over 3,000-pound towing capacity to hit the road.
This cat may not be for everyone. But it should scratch the itch of sailors who want an affordable coastal-cruising catamaran that can do 55 mph on the highway.
Price: $99,999 (base, FOB Wilmington, NC) includes 42' aluminum rotating wing mast, Spectra rigging, Harken deck hardware
Designers: Jeremy Laundergan and Bruce Marek
Builder: Cape Fear Yacht Works, Wilmington, NC
Sales contact: True Wind Catamarans, Winthrop, MA; tel. 617-359-4456, www.truewind.info
Draft (foils up/down)
Sail area (main and jib)
584 sq ft
Sail area-displ. ratio