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Big Cats

Catamarans continue to get bigger, with the term superyacht now in play.

March 12, 2020
Sunreef 80 Power
The Sunreef 80 Power has a beam of more than 39 feet, creating volume that allows for numerous customizations. Courtesy Sunreef Yachts

Often, when monaco-based imperial yachts is part of a deal that involves a custom yacht, it’s a noteworthy monohull. As just one example, the company recently announced it was representing the Lürssen Flying Fox. At 446 feet length overall, that yacht immediately became the biggest available for charter worldwide.

But “big” can have a lot of meanings, and one of Imperial’s latest deals proves it. The company is teaming with Poland-based Sunreef Yachts to build a custom 160-foot power catamaran. The trideck design is expected to come in at 1,350 gross tons with a beam of nearly 56 feet, making it the most voluminous luxury catamaran ever launched. It will dwarf the sailing cat Hemisphere, which, at 145 feet length overall, was lauded as the world’s largest private catamaran when she launched in 2011.

Royal Huisman 119-foot power “supercat”
The Royal Huisman 119-foot power “supercat” is drawn with accommodations for 10 guests and open main areas for entertaining. Courtesy Royal Huisman

Francis Lapp, Sunreef’s president, calls the project “an ambitious endeavor to build a yacht that the industry has never seen before.” That’s really saying something at a time when numerous builders, including Sunreef itself, are pushing the size boundaries on custom- and ­production- catamaran construction alike.

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At the most recent Cannes Yachting Festival, Sunreef unveiled Hull No. 1 of its 80-foot production power catamaran. Around the same time, Dutch builder Royal Huisman, known for iconic monohull sailing yachts such as the 295-foot Athena, announced a partnership with Berret-Racoupeau Design in France to create 116-foot sailing and 119-foot power “supercats.”

“This is not a change in direction; it is an expansion of possibilities,” according to Royal Huisman CEO Jan Timmerman. “There are very few multihulls in the superyacht world, but that could easily change.”

Indeed.

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119-foot power “supercat”
Dutch builder Royal Huisman designed this 119-foot power “supercat” with Berret-Racoupeau Design in France. Courtesy Royal Huisman

Sizable Possibilities

Olivier Racoupeau—who worked with Royal Huisman on the plans for its 116-foot sailing and 119-foot power “supercats”—says the sheer volume of catamaran hulls allows naturally for the type of wide-view, indoor-outdoor experience that ­monohull builders are trying to create. “The current generation of big motoryachts have fold-down balconies to create extra space,” he says. “Our supercats have fold-up windows instead, and the practical effect is even more spacious.”

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