There’s a new kitty in town and hull number four recently roared through the water off the coast of Miami—the Catana 59 doesn’t mess around. With all-new innovations borrowed from the professional racing circuit, it’s a performance boat throughout. But it’s also ready to serve an upscale cruising market: it is not just big, it’s vast. It’s not just nice, it’s luxurious. (Watch our Catana 59: First Look VIdeo to see this cat in action.)
Design & Construction
Catana took a few design lessons from hi-tech multihull racing and incorporated them into what is a recreational cruiser with teeth. Much like what we saw recently in the America’s Cup, this new cat has curved daggerboards that look like foils and although the boat won’t actually foil up or downwind, the manufacturer says the new boards will provide about two inches of lift at 13 knots of boat speed to make the boat even lighter through the water than its build suggests.
The draft with the boards up is 5’ 1”; all the way down is 12’4”. We were not paying attention on our test sail and had the boards somewhere in between, so we managed to ground on a shoal going out of Government Cut. No worries though, the upgraded twin Volvo 150 hp engines (110 hp is standard) pulled hard and we backed and wiggled our way off the sand without incident.
Like those on racing cats, the hulls are nearly straight in profile and the bows are reversed. The boat looks aggressively all business. The rig has been reconfigured too, with a shorter main for easier handling and larger headsails for more power.
Catana is one of the few recreational catamaran builders to use carbon fiber in the construction. It also adds Twaron reinforcement in key areas and the aramid fibers that are 10 times more resistant to perforation than fiberglass. This makes the boat much stronger and considerably lighter and faster than others in its class. A notable example of carbon benefits is its use in the supporting beam that spans the deck house, creating a full-width three-panel sliding door that doesn’t require a mid-point support, and therefore seamlessly joins the inside with the outside. A traditional FRP approach would not have allowed that.
As one would expect, however, going high-tech costs big bucks; the base price on the new Catana 59 is $2.3 million and the boat we tested costs $2.9 million.
One can’t discuss the interior of the Catana 59 without including a description of the cockpit, which is on the same level as the saloon and basically extends the living area to the outdoors. There are multiple layouts available on the main deck; the standard version includes a row of six low banquettes with four movable coffee tables to starboard. In this version, the main dining table that seats six to eight is outside in the cockpit to port. The layout on our test boat seemed a better option, with two straight line dining tables to starboard, one of which is outside if the glass doors are closed, bisecting the space. This provides formal seating for 12 to 14 and opens up the port cockpit for a huge lounge with drawer refrigeration below.
The structural Bimini that covers the whole cockpit has opening hatches that help with both ventilation and visibility of the mainsail. There’s also a built-in bench across the transom forward of the aluminum davits. All in all, this cockpit/saloon arrangement will easily accommodate two dozen for cocktails.
Like a part of any good great-room, the galley is just inside the slider. It’s larger than kitchens in most urban apartments and offers a central island, multiple refrigerators/freezers, a stove/oven, a double sink, a full-sized dishwasher, a wine cooler, and plenty of countertop space. A nav station and plenty of desk space to lay out paper charts complete the main deck, with great visibility forward to the expansive windshield.
Four cabins and four heads fill the hulls. The master stateroom is aft in the starboard hull, while the aft cabin to port can be used as dedicated and separate crew quarters with two singles and a head/shower combination. The stowage throughout is worthy of a bluewater passagemaker, as is the fuel tankage of just over 200 gallons. There will be little a cruising family could miss in this moveable home.
After un-grounding ourselves, we slid out the cut and chased the wind around the coastline along South Beach in Miami. It was a breezy afternoon and the big boat liked the conditions. We switched off between driving and investigating the deck and I went to the starboard bow—not a short trek—to get a different perspective. It was surprising how easily the big boat tacked and how quickly it accelerated. The wheel was very responsive and the boat felt light.
Like on all Catanas, however, you can see only about 270 degrees, leaving out the entire opposite forward corner. A camera system would help fill in the blind spots, especially during docking.
|Sail area||2,120 sq. ft.|
|Fuel capacity||211 gal.|
|Water capacity||211 gal.|
We didn’t quite see 20 knots, but we did touch 15 with about 18 knots of breeze on the beam. A dozen people lounged around the cockpit, none getting in each other’s way and none uncomfortable while the boat bounded along in the double-digits. For the most part, it took two able and skilled bodies to sail her, which is a lot fewer than the big racing cats of the America’s Cup that she strives to emulate.
Other Choices: The Privilege 615 is another big luxurious sailing catamaran, though with less emphasis on performance. If speed is your main attraction, the TAG 60, which can fly a hull, will be of interest.
View Catana 59 listings.
For more information, visit Catana.