Despite the continuous development of technology in sailing, it’s surprising that a multihull configuration is yet to truly take hold in the luxury market. After identifying this gap in the sailing-yacht market, champion yachtsman and Olympic medallist Mitch Booth decided to create the world’s finest high-performance trimaran, and teamed up with world-renowned designer Malcolm McKeon to create the BlackCat series.
Having sailed together in numerous regattas, Booth approached McKeon with the idea of creating a luxury multihull, shortly after the latter set up his new business. “[Booth] felt like there is a potential market for the superyachts we were racing,” says McKeon. “Something that offers comfort, is beautifully built, beautifully put together, but at the same time performs like a multihull should, but there was nobody out there producing a concept of this type.”
After McKeon had a number of monohulls underway at his newly established studio, a proposal was then put together based on the attributes that Booth was originally looking for in a concept and thus the BlackCat series was conceived.
Whether it’s due to a lack of understanding or existence of viable concepts available to the market, catamarans in the superyacht market haven’t gained much traction over the years - in comparison to conventional monohulls. “I think one of the things that has really held it back are people not understanding how much more you can do with a catamaran over a monohull, says McKeon. “When you compare what you’re getting to a monohull, there are significant advantages”.
The carbon fibre BlackCat range, which now features a 35m catamaran as well as the original 50m vessel (shown above), offers true racing and cruising capabilities with incomparable levels of stability to conventional monohulls. In other words, BlackCat offers a level of performance and luxury which is unheard of in the multihull sector, perhaps setting a new standard for the future of sailing yacht design.
“We wanted the performance that you would never get with a monohull in this catamaran,” says McKeon. “What tends to be an association with large monohulls is large heeling angles, and with the beams they have, when they’re heeling over at 25 degrees they’re quite a scary platform to be on. The catamaran gives you a very stable level platform with a maximum of six degrees of heel and 30 knots of performance,” he adds.
Alongside the performance attributes, the BlackCat range offers a number of huge wide-open spaces, particularly in the saloon and cockpit, offering interior design opportunities which wouldn’t be achievable in a monohull.
In addition to the BlackCat project, there are large number of projects currently taking place at Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design, as he explains. “Our second boat, Ribelle, has just done her first regatta last week and we were very pleased with the result of second place. We also have another project under construction at Baltic Yachts which is due for delivery in the summer of 2019, and three further yachts out to tender.”