Persico Cat 72′, the new luxury catamaran

With performance comparable to a pure racer and comfort worthy of a cruiser, the Persico Cat 72′ is an innovative foiling sailing catamaran that ensures cruising at speeds of 25 knots and performance sailing at speeds of more than 36 knots in as little as 18 True Wind Speed.

Designed by multihull sailboat and powerboat specialists Morrelli and Melvin, the Persico Cat 72’ is now under construction in the Persico Marine shipyard. Persico is recognized worldwide as a first-rate builder of high-performance sailing and motor yachts, for both racing and cruising. The Persico Cat 72′ is being produced with advanced technology and equipment typically used in the aerospace industry and the same utilized for the foiling hulls of the IMOCA ocean racing class and the AC75s of the 37th America’s Cup.

“With Persico Cat 72′,” Marcello Persico, CEO of Persico Marine, stated, “we are continuing to build the Persico brand name in high-performance maxi cruising, thanks to the experience gained in creating the most advanced high-speed racers, particularly in the foiling class”.

“We are very fortunate this project has given us to the opportunity to explore new boundaries of performance,” Pete Melvin, naval architect and CEO of Morrelli and Melvin, noted. “Our customer has encouraged us to set aside convention and develop an innovative yacht that is not only high-performing but also luxurious – a cruising yacht capable of navigating in style in seas all around the world”.

The 22-metre long by 9.50-metre wide Persico Cat 72′ is constructed of high modulus pre-impregnated carbon sandwich with a Nomex core. Carbon was also chosen for the extremely lightweight interior, complete with everything and conceived in high-tech style by the multi-award-winning British yacht design studio Design Unlimited. Once rigged with a Southern Spars rotating mast and a Torqeedo Deep Blue electric motor (two 25-kW units), the Persico Cat 72’ will have a total overall weight of about 20 metric tonnes, including the battery pack.

“We’re proud to be part of this ground-breaking project – said Paul MacDonald, Sales Director of Southern Spars New ZealandThe mast will be fully customised to meet the specific needs of the PB72, utilising our latest design, engineering and manufacturing techniques. The mast and boom will be made from high modulus carbon and will incorporate our ECsix and AEROsix composite rigging technology from our sister company Future Fibres to create the fully integrated package. A custom wing mast tool has been made for this project – continues MacDonaldwhich underlines Southern Spars commitment to the performance multihull market. Production on these elements will begin in late May from our leading-edge manufacturing facility in Auckland.”

For flying system development, the ship owner and designers turned to the simulation software behind the design of Team New Zealands America’s Cup winning AC50 and AC75, Gomboc, the VPP optimisation software. Gomboc has been instrumental in the creation of the AC75 foiling monohull, and it is now widely used in the foiling IMOCA class. The Persico Cat 72′ is equipped with righting-moment foils (RMFoils), that are rake controlled foils over 7 metres long, daggerboards for leeway control and T-rudders with rake control. This foil system is brought together using Gomboc’s Flight Control System that manages the foil angles of attack.

“The RM foil is the most evident characteristic of the Persico Cat 72’,” pointed out Ferdinand van West, lead designer of Morrelli and Melvin. “The foil has the same purpose as the one used in the IMOCA class, but it has been adapted to a catamaran and can be fully retracted. Using Gomboc simulation software as a design tool, we were able to achieve a jump in quality in development and immediately saw that it was possible to realize impressive performance figures. We made a carefully researched optimization so that the Persico Cat 72’ would be a safe boat with full performance, even in low wind conditions when the RM foils cannot be used. The decision was to optimize the design to make the boat a semi-foiler, but one that can switch to a full foiler with the bottom just above the surface of the water, when conditions permit”.

Indeed, the Persico Cat 72′ is designed for skimming, that is, planing at about 20 cm above the water. The RMFoil becomes effective in as little as 9 knots of wind and can have the boat skimming the water at well over 20 knots of speed in as little as 13 knots of wind. For safety and reliability, the fully autonomous control system is capable of gradually lowering the hulls and decreasing the speed to the owner preference level thus allowing sailing in absolute comfort.

Steering and command is accomplished from one of two helm positions located outboard in the large aft cockpit. In addition, all sailing handling and flight control can be managed by a small crew of 3 from the aft cockpit. The vessel is also equipped with an interior wheel with flight control and mainsail control to ensure maximum comfort and protection from water spray at high speeds.

Passengers and crew can enjoy the 360° view from the saloon surrounded by the curved windows. The large stern cockpit offers nothing less than catamarans designed as pure cruisers. On the roof of the deckhouse, there is space for solar panels, which can supply 2 kW of recharging.

This exceptional luxury is combined with predicted performance of up to 40 knots downwind and 26 knots sailing close to the wind, while ensuring the same comfort level on board as a catamaran conceived exclusively for cruising. The motor cruising speed is 8 knots and generates zero emissions since the system is electric.

“Combining performance with the quality of hospitality on board is one of the great challenges of contemporary boatbuilding that Persico can interpret thanks to its know-how – remarks Mark Somerville, Persico Marine COOThe Persico Cat 72′ is a unique catamaran, capable of raising the international standard for this type of boat. Achieving great speeds thanks to the foils while keeping the boat stable and easily manageable by the crew is a new frontier for the entire industry. With the Persico Cat 72′ we have synthesized our expertise in carbon processing with the craftsmanship we employ in interior construction and the necessary expertise to produce high-performance foils.”

Malcolm Park, project manager of the Persico Cat 72’ had this to say: “In 2015, the boat owner entrusted our team to develop innovative technology that would allow a catamaran equipped with every comfort to achieve almost full foiling. Through continuous learning, experimentation with creative people in the entire marine industry and an essential collaboration with Persico Marine, we think we have successfully met the challenge and cannot wait to share the project with the sailing community when the boat is launched in the summer of 2024”.

As a matter of fact, the delivery of the Persico Cat 72’ is expected in 2024, after the assembly and sea trials are carried out in La Spezia, at the new Persico Marine shipyard.

(Persico Cat 72′, the new luxury catamaran – – May 2023)