Sailyachts 4 October 2019
The first two Excess catamarans from the new Bénéteau brand are making their debut. The idea is to bring together comfort and on-board space, as is to be expected from a multi-hull, but without doing without the pleasure of sailing
by Niccolò Volpati
CATAMARANS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.And neither are catamaran owners. A good part of the success that catamarans enjoy comes from their comfort and roominess, and their good performance under way. And there is often a skipper to sail them, or at least a member of the crew. But there are also owners who like getting their hands on the helm.
People who sail because they like skippering. People who prefer having a sensitive boat rather than one that is unresponsive. That’s why the Bénéteau group has come up with a new multi-hull brand. But when they explained the large-scale sales and marketing strategy, I felt uncomfortable I realised I wasn’t getting it, and that had also happened talking to Lorenza Turrisi, the brand manager for Excess. When I met her a few months back in La Rochelle, it seemed natural to ask: if you already have the Lagoon, brand, why have you also decided to launch Excess?
She explained it to me, but I only truly understood when I looked at the layouts and the characteristics of the yard’s first two models. Both of them have got double steering positions, but they aren’t up on a fly bridge: instead they are located on the two hulls. 40- or 50-feet catamarans normally have two kinds of helming configuration. There are a lot of models with a fly bridge, that have the wheels and all the rigging above. But the Excess 12and15don’t have such a strict division.
You are still ensured an area set aside for living and comfort, because the cockpit isn’t crossed by sheets, or halyards, or the mainsail traveller. But all around the edge of it there are winches, helms and rigging. Easy to reach, and there to hand, but not toofar off. That means that whoever is sailing the catamaran isn’t a separate entity separated from the passengers. You can take part and share the experience. The sheets and halyards are taken down to the cockpit and the mainsail traveller is aft of the linear sofa.
The two helming positions are also outside the cockpit, but at the same level and so close to anybody who is sitting on the sofas or around the table. A look at the sail plan also shows that they are two models that have been designed for sailing fast, as does the size of the mainsail and the headsail, and the options on offer. As well as the self-tacking jib, you can also rig a Code 0 that means you can gain a lot of sail area.
Basically, in the multi-hull world, Excess is a bit like a cruiser/racer in the monohull sector. They are boats that are designed to go fast, and to ensure good levels of performance both under sail and when using a motor, but without neglecting comfort levels or room available. That can also be seen from the size. Starting from the beam, since – with a length of over fourteen and a half metres, the Excess 15 is as much as eight metres wide. And it is a similar story with the Excess 12, with an overall length of 11.7 metres and maximum beam of 6.7.
There are lots of different layouts available. With the Excess 12we go from something of an owner’s version with three cabins to more of a charter one with four cabins. The former version gives an entire hull over to the owner’s private use, while the charter version has two cabins in the bow and two in the stern. For the Excess 15, there are even more options given that you go from the three-cabin set-up to one with four, and you can even get to six, with as many as six bathrooms. That is a pretty significant feat, bearing in mind that the hull measures just over 14 metres.
However, with Lagoon the work has been divided up between external subcontractors. You can see that their work has pleased the Bénéteau group, and it decided to entrust the naval architecture to VPLP, the deck to Patrick Le Quément and the interiors to . The time for the debut has arrived. The yard hasn’t rushed the project, and indeed it stated a few years back. They took timNautae researching the market to understand which product was missing. And from this autumn it will be possible to discover if indeed we are looking at a catamaran that is different to all the others.
LOA 14.76m •LWL 14.31m •Maximum beam 8.03m •Draft 1.40m •Light mass displacement 18,400 kg – Fuel tank volume 1040 l •Water tank volume 480 l •Main sail 104.5 m2•Self taking jib 55 m2 – Code 0 117 m2•Engine 2×57 hp •EC CERTIFICATION CAT A – 14 people, CAT B 14 people, CAT C 16 people and CAT D 30 people
LOA 11.73m •LWL 11.46m •Maximum beam 6.73m •Draft 1.35m •Light mass displacement 10,300 kg •Fuel tank volume 400 l •Water tank volume 300 l •Main sail 50 m2•Self taking jib 32 m2•Code 0 67 m2•Engine 2×57 hp •EC CERTIFICATION CAT A 10 people, CAT B 12 people, CAT C 16 people and CAT D 20 people