First look: Balance 442 – light and fast catamaran

Toby Hodges takes a look at the new Balance 442, a new performance catamaran that saw 30 orders placed before the first rolled out of the factory

Although relatively heavy designs that maximize space and comfort still dominate the market, demand for light and fast cruising catamarans appears to be increasing dramatically, with this South African yard reporting unprecedented demand at launch of the Libra 442.

In terms of concept and layout, the Balance 442 is in many ways a scaled down version of the 482 which made its European premiere at the recent La Grande Motte International Multihull Show.

It offers an attractive mix of high performance potential allied to an easy to tame self-tacking rig with an optimized deck layout for easy solo monitoring when passing. The first boat has already reached speeds of over 13 knots during the first sea trials off Cape Town.

She is available with fixed keels or daggerboards, the latter giving a minimum draft of just 1.05m (3ft 6in). Of the 30 orders placed so far, all but a handful have specified fins.

All in all a very attractive design for anyone looking for a boat that is fast and fun to sail, but also wants the benefits that a multihull brings on board.

442 Scale Specifications

LOA: 13.50m / 44ft 4in
Shine: 7.6m / 24ft 11in
Draft (boards down): 2.15m / 7ft 1in
Shift: 10,750 kg / 23,704 lbs
Base price: $820,000 excluding VAT
Manufacturer: balancecatamarans.com


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