Toby Hodges casts his eye over the new Balance 442, a new performance catamaran which saw 30 orders placed before the first one was out of the factory

Although relatively heavy designs that maximise space and comfort still dominate the market, demand for lightweight and fast cruising catamarans appears to be increasing dramatically, with this South African yard reporting unprecedented demand as they launched the Balance 442.

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

It offers an appealing mix of a high performance potential allied to an easily tamed self-tacking rig with a deck layout optimised for easy solo watch-keeping while on passage. The first boat has already hit speeds of more than 13 knots on early sea trials off Cape Town.

It’s available with fixed keels or daggerboards, the latter giving a minimum draught of only 1.05m (3ft 6in). All but a handful of the 30 orders placed so far have specified the daggerboards.

Overall, this a very appealing design for anyone looking for a fast boat that’s fun to sail, but who also wants the advantages that a multihull brings to life on board.

Balance 442 specifications

LOA: 13.50m / 44ft 4in
Beam: 7.6m / 24ft 11in
Draught (boards down): 2.15m / 7ft 1in
Displacement: 10,750kg / 23,704lb
Base price: US$820,000 ex VAT

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