Based on the hulls of the Outremer 45, the extended 4X comes with a carbon rig and high expectations.
It’s a mix of everything you need for cruising and what you want to feel for performance,” Loïck Peyron said of the 4X during our initial trials. Outremer employs the multihull record-setter as a consultant to advise on the ergonomics of the boat and the line handling set-up.
In the 2016/17 European Yacht of the Year awards, held in January at Düsseldorf Boat Show, the Outremer 4X was winner of the Multihull category. The other nominees: Lagoon 42, FP Lucia 40, Nautitech 46 Open, Tricat 30.
Like Outremers past, the 4X is first a distance cruiser – one that’s designed to be lived aboard – but the X part denotes how she’s been optimised for performance. She has the same hulls as the 45 but with 3ft extensions aft, an optimised appendages and deck layout, a carbon rotating mast and carbon reinforcement.
You can perhaps understand the frustration of being aboard a cat like this with arguably the world’s foremost helmsman and only being dealt 3 to 5 knots of breeze, yet Peyron was quick to prove how this 48-footer can keep moving at the same speed as the wind. The Outremer never seemed to stop, even when all other yachts were parked.
During a second trial later that week (without Peyron) we clocked a steady 11-13 knots in 12-15 knots wind. It was addictively enjoyable fast cruising.
I was also surprised how light and balanced she felt sailing upwind. We made 9 knots at 70°T and it was light on both the helms – the wheel steering station on the coachroof and the tiller out on the bucket seat at the stern.
Outremer 4X review continues below…
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The key to designing a distance cruising yacht is getting the right balance between speed, controllability and safety. It’s not all about performance but a smooth ride; you can reef down and be underpowered, yet still slipping along.
The 4X will cruise at 6.5 knots under one of her 30hp engines, limiting noise to one side of the boat and reducing fuel consumption.
Positioned next to the single wheel is a bank of winches and clutches to control the sheets, halyards and mast rotation. This can appear daunting and takes some familiarisation – but they are placed exactly where needed.
The square top part to the powerhouse mainsail is particularly generous and there is a big J area for furling foresails.
The downside is that, to sail fast, she needs to be kept lightweight, so the interior and fit-out is basic to the point of minimalist. The narrow hulls and waterline beam of the Outremer offers much less space than a charter cat.
She is also a high boat to look at and to board, as the freeboard height is needed for headroom and bridgedeck clearance.
The other main downside is Outremer’s lead time and high price, although these cats do typically command a high resale value. All structural parts are laminated and the 4X has vacuum infused carbon composite reinforced bulkheads.
“The goal is that the boat will last at least 50 years,” says sales and marketing manager Matthieu Rougevin-Baville. “Or eight to ten times around the world without structural issues. It’s a very different business model.”
Specifications: Outremer 4X
LWL: 14.62m (48ft)
Beam: 7.10m (23ft 4in)
Draught: 1.0m-2.0m (3ft 4in-6ft 7in)
Displacement: 8,200kg (18,078lb)
Price ex VAT: €689,000 (£609,700)
The Outremer 4X is not about outright speed, more a smooth, fast enjoyable ride. She is built to last, enjoyable to helm and the ideal size to go long-distance cruising at pace.
Roland Duller, YachtRevue, Austria
For sure the best of the new age cruising catamarans in this size. She showed good speed and fun under sail with lots of very well thought-out solutions.
Pancho Pi-Suñer Oses, Nautica y Yates, Spain
It brings together all the facilities that one might expect in a multihull, coupled with very high performance. You really get what you pay for.
Loïc Madeline, Voiles & Voiliers, France
A luxury yacht, fast and distinctive. What makes it the winner is the choice of the builder. A really pleasant sailing boat to helm.
Axel Nissen-Lie, Seilas, Norway
Outremer has what it takes to convince a monohull sailor to go multihull cruising. It’s a fine balance between space and comfort on the one hand, and sailing abilities on the other.
Jochen Rieker, YACHT, Germany
She offered the best combination of space, comfort and, not least, performance. For crossing the Atlantic and spending the winter in the Caribbean, there could hardly be a better choice.
About European Yacht of the Year awards
The European Yacht of the Year is judged by journalists from 11 different magazines from 11 different European nations. Each jury member tested every yacht from the five different categories, over two separate weeks in two different locations.
After the decisions were finalised, the five category winners were announced in January at a prizegiving held during the opening night of the Düsseldorf Boat Show.