The market for high-end, high-performance catamarans definitely falls within the definition of “niche,” but it’s fun to follow nevertheless. Big carbon-fiber multihulls packing laminated sails on towering rigs capable of 30-plus-knot speeds and 300-plus-mile daily runs in the right conditions, yet equipped with comfortable cruising accommodations: what’s not to like?
California-based Morrelli & Melvin has been in the vanguard of fast cat design since catamarans were still a dirty word in the minds of many sailors; co-founder Gino Morrelli, for example, was on the design team for Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes in 1988, the first catamaran to win the America’s Cup.
M&M’s performance ethos runs strong in the HH66. Built in Xiamen, China, the HH range comprises three boats at 55, 66 and 88ft. Hull #1 of the HH66 was launched earlier this year and was immediately delivered to the Mediterranean, where it was to embark on a series of regattas interspersed with long-term cruising.
As with any multi of its ilk, the HH66 is the product of a strict weight-saving regimen. Hull and deck are carbon fiber composites, as are the interior bulkheads, most of the furniture, and the lofty Southern Spars rig and pocket boom.
The sailplan is controlled from a forward cockpit equipped with electric winches to make shorthanded sailing easy. There is also the choice of a forward helm just abaft this cockpit or twin helm stations set aft of the cabinhouse. Owners have plenty of latitude belowdecks to tailor the accommodations to their own preferences in terms of layout and finishes.
Fountaine Pajot has a habit of announcing new models way before said boats have been named. So it is with its temporarily named New 47, which replaces the long-lived Salina 48 in the French builder’s range. Now celebrating its 40th year, Fountaine Pajot turned to longtime associates Berret-Racoupeau for the design of the boat, which is lighter, roomier and likely faster than its predecessor.
The most immediately obvious features are the semi-flybridge design of the cabintop, which has a roomy seating and lounging area adjacent to the helm station. There are also lounging pads on the foredeck and a clever lifting platform for the tender, which doubles up as a dock area for boarding, swimming and snorkeling.
Below, the three-cabin Maestro version has what FP claims is the biggest owner’s suite in its class, with two cabins in the opposite hull, each with en suite heads/shower. The optional five-cabin Quintet layout is ideal for charters, large families or gregarious owners who like to bring plenty of friends along.
And the name? That’ll have to wait until the boat makes its official debut at the Multihull Show in France next spring. Americans will get their chance to see the 47—which, whatever it’s called, will still be new—at next year’s U.S. boat shows.
HH Catamarans hhcatamarans.com
Fountaine Pajot fountaine-pajot.com