Trends and innovations worth noting

Published on October 5th, 2023

As vacation yacht charters has moved toward catamarans, the design emphasis has focused more on accommodations and less on performance. It is rare to see them sailing, but there may be a windshift as offered in this report by George Day for the Cruising Compass:

The Annapolis Sailboat Show opens its doors on October 12 and runs through the 15th. As always, this is the largest all-sail show in North America and it is a classic festival of sailing that attracts attendees from all over the country and around the world.

The show also has become the largest multihull exposition in North America and this portion of the shows expands every year. Among new multihull designs, we’ve spotted some trends and innovations worth noting.

The trend to add flying bridges to cruising and charter cats seems to be changing. While the larger production cats often have flying bridges, designers have worked hard to integrate them into the cockpit hardtops with more subtly and grace. And designers at the performance end of the spectrum are eschewing them altogether.

Daggerboards continue to gain in popularity because they seriously enhance a design’s sailing performance, both up wind and in a wide range of sea states and angles. Plus, the new C-shapes boards add lift to the hulls that reduces wetted surface and improves speed.

Hybrid and electric propulsion, powered by solar, wind and hydrogen generators, are much more common than they were just a few years ago. While diesel engines will be with us for years to come, the new sustainable systems are truly maturing and coming down in price.

Trimarans are growing more popular by the year, and with folding hull technology in boats up to and over 40 feet, the new designs will fit in most marinas. Plus, the raw performance advantage of modern tris over cats and monohulls adds a thrill to the cruising life. And, with NEEL building tris that have the space of big cats and tri performance, the liveaboard and voyaging life has a truly interesting new player.

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