The Neel 51 has fast become a popular production trimaran with six completing the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in recent years. Toby Hodges and Francois Tregouet find out why

Neel trimarans, and the Neel 51 specifically, blend the extreme space offered by the family/charter catamarans together with good average speeds. First impressions of the Neel 51 are sure to centre on its sheer size and space inside. But, when you sail one, the overriding impression quickly centres on its performance.

Neel has found a clever niche offering the performance benefits of a trimaran with the type of accommodation offered in a cruising catamaran.

The La Rochelle company argues its trimarans are more stable than cruising catamarans. Cats, it says, reach their peak righting moment at 12º heel, beyond which sail needs to be reduced.

That peak for a tri, however, is not until 27º heel – an unusually steep angle for cruising. Neel also argues that trimarans are faster, particularly upwind, thanks to a more rigid forestay (attached to centre hull) and more central weight management.

These trimarans are becoming a popular mass production-built option. Six of the 51 have completed the ARC in the last five years. Their appeal may be due to their direct steering, but more likely its the open plan living spaces and incredible views, especially from the owner’s cabin.

The Joubert-Nivelt designed Neel 51 incorporates the best assets of Neel’s previous 45 and 65 models – that of performance and comfort in a bluewater family yacht – and adds even more space for its size.

Neel 51 price

ex VAT: €749,000

Read our full list of the best bluewater multihulls of all time.

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