The first of the new model Excess catamaran from Groupe Beneteau arrives in Australia this weeked (Aug 22, 2020).
Bruno Belmont, the lead designer on Excess, is renowned for his work with multihulls. In fact, he designed the trimarans featured in Kevin Costner’s futuristic epic, Waterworld.
The importers, Flagstaff Marine, say Excess "is about uniting performance with lifestyle".
"It’s no secret that multihulls are becoming increasingly popular across the globe, undoubtedly due to their versatility and the supreme on-water lifestyle they offer," the media release says. "Today’s catamarans can be divided into two distinct groups – the cruising models that make up the majority of the market, yet compromise the true sailing experience, and the expensive high-end performance models, that don’t often provide the onboard lifestyle we seek."
With Excess, Bruno Belmont and his team saw an opportunity to design a catamaran that filled a gap in the market.
“The growth of the catamaran market has been strong and steady for the last seven or eight years,” says Bruno. “We thought having only a single cruising offer was not enough. There was space for a different proposition in the market to design a catamaran that would provide this. The idea is to have a catamaran that provides as much pleasure when you go sailing as when you are anchoring.”
All about the ratio
The sail area/displacement ratio is one of the core measurements that enable the comparison of a sailing boat’s performance. The higher this ratio is, the more velocity the sailing boat has. It’s this formula that was the key to the enhanced performance of Excess and a major factor behind the sport’s characteristic of the range.
As Bruno explains, “On the Excess range, we have placed this ratio clearly above that of standard cruising catamarans. But we went further because it is possible to have an excellent sail area/displacement (SA/DSPL) ratio and lose some of this advantage due to a wrong sail plan, unbalanced hulls or non-optimised weight centering.
"On Excess catamarans, we have worked on all of these parameters. We have significantly increased the slenderness ratio of the sail plan (called Aspect Ratio), which improves its aerodynamic finesse and thus the performance of the sail setting. Another advantage of Aspect Ratio rigging, with masts positioned far aft, is a decrease in the length of the boom and the self-tacking jib function, which enhances the efficiency of manoeuvres.”
Graham Raspass and Micah Lane, the co-owners of Flagstaff Marine, had the opportunity to view both the Excess 12 and 15 in Bordeaux in mid 2019 and in January 2020 Raspass attended the Dusseldorf boat show for the launch of the Excess 11.
“We are really excited to be launching the Excess Catamaran range to the Australian market," Graham Raspass said. "This is a catamaran that has been designed from the ground up with the single purpose of allowing owners to rediscover the joy of sailing a multihull.
"We believe the range will have strong appeal to those would-be catamaran buyers who are transferring from mono hull and want to feel the wind in their hair and hear the rush of water under the hull as they build speed, to be able to sail in lighter breezes and, importantly, to have full visibility of their large self-tacking jib and mainsail with all controls easily accessible from the twin helms, all central to experiencing a great sail.
"A further appealing feature is how the main sail drops down effortlessly into a boom bag which is easily accessible from the roof. There’s no sacrificing any creature comforts - a fully equipped galley, cooktop, oven, fridge, freezers, corian counter tops, microwave are all part of the spacious and comfortable saloon which flows into the large cockpit. There are sunbeds fore and aft, a choice of layouts from the owner's version that typically has three berths and two or three heads to the family/charter versions with a choice of four, five or six berths and corresponding number of heads.
The Excess 12, the first of the current line up of three models to arrive in Australia (the others being Excess 11 and 15) has already received rave reviews, winning two awards - 2020 Multi Hull of the Year and 2020 SAIL Best Boats
Flagstaff Marine, the exclusive Australian dealer for Excess, is offering VIP COVID-19 safe private viewings of the New Excess 12 in Sydney. For further details see https://flagstaffmarine.com.au/multihull-excess/