In the Wind - Multihulls World

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SUNREEF 58' IN THE WIND An up to date builder and boat In March 2004, when we tested the Sunreef 74' (an exceptional size for the time! Multihulls World N° 74), we asked the question: is it possible to build bigger cruising catamarans; does the clientele for these boats really exist? Text: Philippe Echelle - Photos: Philippe Echelle and DR Eight years later, the answers to these questions seem obvious, and Sunreef has made a name for itself as a major player in the multiyacht segment. The Gdansk-based builder presented, at Cannes, the very successful 114’ CHE as well as the new 58’ IN THE WIND, aboard which we spent 2 days.

MULTIHULLS COMING FROM THE COLD The port of Gdansk has a thousand-year-old maritime tradition and houses some gigantic arsenals. The town, ideally situated on the

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edge of the Baltic Sea, on the Vistule river, has 500,000 inhabitants, and the nautical activity draws on the huge local skills at its leisure. Supported by a university fabric and numerous technical schools; the regional training schemes are reactive, and are diversifying. For its big boats, Sunreef at first benefitted from the presence of top level aluminium boilermakers and fitting out cabinetmakers, and now masters the skills of modern composites. The builder makes its hulls using infusion, as well as the carbon masts and booms, and sub-contrac-

ted locally to equip CHE (34m) with a full set of rails, stanchions and pulpits in titanium – absolutely superb!

AN EXCEPTIONAL TOOL In 10 years, Sunreef Yacht has progressed spectacularly and launched more than 50 boats of from 60’ to 120’! Few of the players in yachting can pride themselves on such results. The success of this industrial adventure is linked to the enterprising personality of its founder (Francis Lapp), to his ambitious and accurate view of custom or


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1 2 : Under sail, this catamaran performs respectably... In strong winds, speeds of 10 to 12 knots are commonplace! 3 : Even though the boom is excessively high, the Sunreef 58 has pretty lines... 4 : A wild anchorage, a comfortable cat, and all that remains is to enjoy

: The Sunreef 58’s overall presentation is really convincing and the image of the genuine little yacht is not encroached on.

Sunreef is now capable of offering completely innovative atmospheres or turning owners’ dreams into reality... semi-custom catamarans, but also to suitable marketing and a suitable manufacturing centre. A talented manager, Francis has recruited and federated young and dynamic skills in all areas (communication, design, technical studies) which optimise the reactivity to customers’ requests, and the expertise to meet the demands of customisation. A new 25,000m² factory can house boats of up to 50m in length; a 300-tonne floating crane takes care of the launches! 340 of the 400 workers take care of the production, the research and development consists of 30 people, and a 30 year old Frenchman, Thomas Serré, is in charge of the architecture!

MADE-TO-MEASURE YACHTS Sunreef’s vocation is to build customised multihull yachts, and the Polish builder seems to have established a sound reputation amongst wealthy amateurs. For several years now, the models exhibited at the Cannes Boat Show have made up a choice shop window, but the presence this year of the 114’ CHE strongly reaffirms this mastery, and allows the development accomplished since the 74’ (CHE n° 1!) to be measured. Sunreef is now capable of offering completely innovative atmospheres or turning owners’ dreams into reality, by expressing them through creative design and artistic finishing. The use (on the 114’ CHE) of splendid sliced bamboo decoration enhances the impressive interior architecture, and demonstrates the skills of the Gdansk craftsmen. The size of these giants reveals complex sets of problems, which appeared insoluble not so long ago. The rigour of the MCA and Veritas standards applicable to these big boats covers all departments of the project and would exhaust an operator who was poorly prepared for such stakes. Semi-custom boats

the evening... ….

benefit from this expertise.

THE 58’, A SUNREEF IN ITS OWN RIGHT It succeeds the 62’, and is more liveable whilst remaining compact (1.2m less) so as to meet the manoeuvrability expectations of owners without a crew. It borrows a large part of its architecture and takes advantage of the experience generated by the 30 examples of this successful model. Although it is the youngest of this enormous range, the 58’ displays the characteristics of its big sisters. Intended for the comfort of its passengers, its aim is above all to satisfy its owner and create a way of life. John, the captain of IN THE WIND, confided that his holidays with his children and grand children had been a success, an aim he had never achieved with the superb 70’ Sparkman/Stevens he owned previously!

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IN THE WIND Launched at the beginning of spring, this first boat is representative of the expectations of the enlightened clientele for these catamarans with customised interiors and equipped with all the available options! The overall silhouette does not have the slimness and the elongation of an Iphara or the Che, but the complex-free hedonism of the services appeals to everyone! A saloon and steering position on the flybridge, an exterior dining room and the luxury of the cabins justify a little corpulence. The silhouette benefits from good acceptability and the boat catches the light well, even though the height of the gooseneck (justified by the rigid bimini!) raises the visual centre of gravity. A curved boom fitted lower and a fluid wind deflector would alleviate this difficulty cleverly! The overall presentation is really convincing and the image of the little yacht is not encroached on.

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7 ARCHITECTURE AND CONSTRUCTION Sunreef has been practising infusion for 6 years now, and for the 58’, set up a complex resin drainage network, which allowed lamination in one single operation for the hulls and the whole of the primary structure, with the omegas, to obtain a one-piece chassis. Balsa is used as a core (foam as an option) associated with vinylester and polyester resins and glass cloths. The mast and boom, in carbon/epoxy are manufactured by the Sunreef teams. The underwater design is classic; the full, almost circular hull sections are intended to tolerate load variations, but the forward sections are slim and the counters are completely coherent. The keels have a low aspect ratio, to reduce the draft, whilst ensuring stability when beached. The bridgedeck has a lot of overlap; it is quite low and the protrusions in the hull occupy part of the tunnel, to offer a maximum amount of internal

obviously the biggest. The Japanese style decoration draws on the contrasts in the

space, which may lead to parasitic impacts. Optimisation of the scantlings of future models will favour a significant weight saving, of more than 2 tonnes, to improve the flow at this level.

GUIDED TOUR ABOARD The optional engines (2 x 110hp Yanmars) are really accessible for ordinary maintenance or a more technical service. The same goes for the generator, housed in the starboard engine compartment. The circuits for water, engine cooling and fuel (with diesel centrifuge) positioned on the bulkhead have also been rationally fitted. Grey technical bilge paint and coded marking of the functions would be appreciable. Stowage for the batteries and the air conditioning machinery is judiciously grouped together in the central locker at the mast

6 fectly safe viewpoint, with an upper saloon-sunbathing area, the steering position and the control line piano. The 4 cabins on this private owner’s version are all enviable and superbly equipped (air conditioning, TV, DVD); the owner’s studio is

The 58' is a real sailing boat; it sails well in light and moderate conditions...

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foot. The main feature is obviously the cockpit lounge-flybridge-saloon-galley unit. The care dedicated to the fluidity of the relationship between these four centres is a strong point of the quality of life aboard the 58’. Dinners will be eaten in the loggia, which acts as a welcoming, protected terrace, predisposed to convivial or romantic evenings. We tested the judicious dinghy management system (without davits): returning from a diving trip or the market will no longer be acrobatic! The flybridge area offers a unique, per-

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light tints of the floors, the deep shades of the wengé decoration and the red alcantara. The tasteful design research is supported by attractive joinery and an unquestionable build quality.

ON THE WATER Our test version was equipped with big 110hp engines (shaft transmission), a copious solution, ideally suited to the boat’s mixed programme. Control of the machine is taken care of


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rope lockers, but the Perspex lids are not attached. The superb 23-metre carbon mast with no spreaders (cap shrouds – lower shrouds) is generously-dimensioned (as is the canoe boom) and supported forward by two forestays equipped with furlers (genoa and staysail). The asymmetric or the gennaker are set on the bowsprit, which is integral with the compression strut. As always aboard these big boats, it is advisable to manoeuvre methodically and with antici-

10 boat’s programme, even though several 62-footers have jammed their speedo at 22 knots on instantaneous speed

CONCLUSION The 58’ appears to have aimed accurately. It is very comfortable, can be fitted out to its owner’s taste and its use can be optimised by charter management, for which the builder offers a ‘turnkey’ service. This choice allows the owner to have a skipper aboard, so he can enjoy the boat immediately. On charter, this convivial catamaran will be a success.

11 with such a reserve of power (8.5 knot cruising speed), but the bow thrusters appears to be essential for pivoting in tight spaces. Generator operation is discreet, we couldn’t hear it; the engines are as quiet as possible, and don’t generate unpleasant frequencies or vibrations. Their operation is imperceptible on the flybridge. Installation of 2 wind generators on the bimini is a step in the right direction! The control line piano is on the top of the coachroof, the battery of big jammers is carefully organised to distribute the pendants, halyards and sheets to the electric winches ad hoc. The low friction turning blocks are all assigned to reassuring stand-up or pivoting blocks (Harken)...taking into account the forces in play. Lines are stowed in voluminous

pation, but actions concerning the sails are easy and the visibility is perfect. The mainsail is equipped with a preventer line which controls the leech when the sail is ‘opened’ wide (bravo!). The foresails offer the usual ease of the cutter rig, and hoisting the spinnaker in its snuffer only needs 2 people. The 58’ is a real sailing boat; it sails well in light and moderate weather: we immediately reached 7 – 8 knots in 12 knots of wind on a broad reach, and 9 knots with 14 knots of true wind on the beam. It will sail to windward if necessary and is capable of long delivery trips or ocean crossings, as long as it is not too heavily laden. In strong winds, speeds of 10 to 12 knots are common; expectations of higher speeds do not correspond to the

THE PLUSSES: • Relevant multiyacht concept • Build quality • Quality of life aboard

THE MINUSES: • Obligatory boat management • Low bridgedeck • Difference between basic and full options prices

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Architect: Sunreef Builder: Sunreef Yachts Length: 18.25m Beam: 9.20m Draft: 1.65m Displacement: 26t Air draft: 27.30m Material: foam/glass/polyester–vinylester sandwich carbon-epoxy reinforcements, infusion process Mainsail area: 118m² Gennaker: 120m² Genoa: 63m² Staysail: 32m² Spinnaker: 230m² Engines: 2 x 75hp / 2 x 110hp Diesel: 2 x 700L Water: 2 x 390L Price: 935,000 euros exc. VAT; 1,450,000 euros with all the options

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: All the control lines return to the steering position on the flybridge.

6 : The cockpit is really impres-

sive. Perfect for organising some nice parties.

7 : The galley allows the crew to pamper the guests aboard. 8 : As always at Sunreef, the interior has been designed according to the owner’s tastes.

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: The chart table...or how to spend your watches in incredible comfort...

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: This owner’s version’s four cabins are all enviable and superbly equipped. But the must is of course the owner’s cabin.

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: The engine rooms are very easily accessible, for maintenance. A real plus!

THOMAS SERRÉ, THE SUNREEF 58’s ARCHITECT We haven’t tried to create a particularly fast hull, but rather retained the versatility in all circumstances and load conditions. The hull does not have too much rocker (banana shape), just enough to be able to tack well! The keels are not very deep, to allow access to anchorages close to the beach, without losing much efficiency. The round sections limit the amount the boat sinks into the water, and the wetted surface area, when loaded, and allows good performance in light weather. The forefoot and the transom are slightly immersed to combat the start of pitching and improve performance under power. This boat aims for a compromise between economical consumption, respectable speed and great comfort.

THE COMPETITORS MODEL

SANYA 57'

Builder: Windward sail area in m²: Weight in t: Price exc. VAT in euros:

Fountaine Pajot 150

LAGOON 560

NAUTITECH 542

SWISS 55'

Lagoon

Nautitech

Swiss catamaran

210

144

121

18.8

28

15.5

16.45

867,690

825,000

798,490

1.250.000

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