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LeBreton SIG 45

2013 November 1

Now for a new kind of European boat. This cruising catamaran comes from the LeBreton yard in Amsterdam. The design work was done by three teams. The exterior styling, hull design and general naval architecture was done by Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost in France. The interior design is by Bjorn Johansson in the UK. Technical support for the rig and deck layout came from Bruno Peyron.

The result is a spectacular design and just the kind of boat I would have loved to own back when I was 35 years old. Unlike most cruising catamarans, this cat does not use the bridgedeck area for accommodations. That allows for a dramatic reduction in displacement. This 45-foot cat weighs 12,000 pounds, less than half the displacement of the Lagoon 39 cruising cat. Clearly, this cat was designed with performance as the primary goal.

The hulls show a wave-piercing type of bow, and there is zero overhang in either the bow or the stern. In plan form the hulls are slightly asymmetrical flaring out inboard amidships to gain some internal volume. If I use this flared-out section for max beam I get an individual hull L/B of 6.23. Skinny hulls make for fast boats.

Overall beam is 27 feet 6 inches. The D/L for this boat is only 59.3 compared to 212 for the 39-foot Lagoon cat. The daggerboards are carbon and outboard in each hull, and give a board-down draft of 9 feet and a board up draft of 3 feet 10 inches due to rudder depth. The rudders are also carbon fiber.

The accommodation plan is spread into the two hulls with no accommodations in the bridgedeck area. The connecting span is just one big expanse of working "cockpit" area with seats outboard. In the port hull you have the owner's double berth aft in a spacious cabin. Forward of this there is a dinette that looks to fit four people. Forward of that is the galley and forward of that is a large head.

In the starboard hull you have double-berth cabins in each end, and a large head forward of the amidships office-type of area. I can't say this is a cozy layout where you will gather with friends on a blustery night in harbor. But it is comfortable and it works. There is just no way you can get a conventional-feeling layout into those long, narrow hulls. But I don't think buyers of this boat have convention in mind anyway. There are watertight bulkheads in each end of each hull.

The rig is big. The carbon fiber airfoil mast is rotating, and I think that given it is really part of the sail power of the rig we should include the mast area as sail area, adding 92 square feet. So, if I add that to the mainsail and the self-tacking jib I get a total sail area of 1,570 square feet and a SA/D of 49.7.

I think that's what I meant when I said I could have owned this boat when I was 35. You will have to be on your toes almost all the time sailing this boat. That is a lot of horsepower. Add the area of the asymmetrical chute and the SA/D goes through the roof. I have never sailed a cat quite like this one so I have no idea of what speeds you could expect but I'd guess in 12 to 15 knots of wind you could see 20 knots of speed with little effort.

On deck the mainsheet traveler spans the connecting beam at the stern. The boat is steered with surprisingly short tillers. Forward is a soft trampoline but aft the connecting deck is rigid and appears to have a teak planked veneer over at least part of it with the rest being nonskid paint.

Halyard winches are clustered at the mast base and I suspect the self-tacking jib sheet is controlled from this bank of winches also. There are three other sheet winches port and starboard aft at the steering stations. These winches also control the broad traveler. The daggerboards are line operated.

On a nice day with 12 knots of steady breeze and a flat sea this cat would be a real blast to sail.