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Balance 482

2022 January 1

With a emphasis on performance, this cruising catamaran doesn’t skimp on comfort and styling

I understand that it is difficult to sell boats from two-dimensional working drawings for a new design. Many sailors have trouble reading 2D drawings and need 3D renderings to understand the new boat. But for me to do an accurate design review I like to have the drawings the designer prepared, the same drawings the designer gave to the builder. Designer Anton du Toit has done just that and given me a very compete set  of specs and drawings including hull lines for the new Balance 482. 

Hull lines are seldom published, as many designers guard them aggressively. The downside to working drawings is that they can be a bit hard to read, as the density of detail drawn can obscure some of the features. Some designers will produce drawings specifically for publication. These are drawings that omit the detail the builder needs. They are easier for the nondesigner types to read. The accommodation layout that du Toit provided me is a working drawing. At small scale on my computer screen, it’s hard for even me to read. I’ll do my best to peel back the layers of build detail.

This cruising cat is lighter than most with a D/L of 101 compared to the 168 of the Lagoon. The L/B using LOA and beam max is 1.86. If I use DWL and BWL for the individual hull I get a L/B of 6.41. That’s a skinny boat, which is what helps make catamarans fast. The other difference the Balance has is that it has retractable daggerboards instead of a stubby fixed keel fin. Draft with the boards down is 7 feet 3 inches and a board-up draft of 3 feet 10 inches. This will make a huge difference in VMG when sailing on the wind. 

The hull lines show a beautiful, moderate hull form with a slight knuckle about 30 inches above the DWL to gain the beam needed for the interior layout. Typically this feature is done with a chine. I like the fact that du Toit did it his own way. The cutback on the stem I think is there for looks but I suppose you could argue it reduces weight forward for a given DWL. The very clean lines look good.

I cheated and went to the Balance website, where there is an easy-to-read interior layout rendering. The interior layout shows mirror image double berth cabins forward with the elevated berths running athwartships. Aft and to port is another sleeping cabin with a double berth. The port-side cabins share an amidships. In the starboard hull there is a head. 

An interesting feature in the layouts in the hulls is that by turning the forward double berths 90 degrees you gain a lot of very useful cabin sole space and pretty good access to both sides of the berth. The main cabin features a good galley to port with what looks like  a “refreshment center” or bar starboard. Forward there is a U-shaped dinette to starboard and a very generous nav station to port. Like most big cats, the main cabin sole and the aft deck cockpit sole appear to be on the same level. This makes that entire area work like one big main cabin. There is plenty of dining space aft of the actual main cabin. The steering station is raised to give good site lines over the cabintrunk. This will be a very comfortable boat to cruise.

The square-top mainsail rig has a SA/D of 26.08. The working jib is self-tacking. All standing rigging is Dyform. A short fixed sprit will help with the handling of an asymmetrical chute or reaching genoa. I suspect this cat will zoom along quite nicely. As far as aesthetics go, this cat looks fine to me. The designer avoided the temptation to over-style. That long overhang of the cabinhouse top will make living in sunny weather endurable.

LOA 48’3”; LWL 48’3”; Beam 25’11”; Hull beam 7’6”; Draft boards up 3’10”, boards down 7’3”; Displ. 25,358 lb.; Sail area 1,409 sq. ft.; Auxiliary twin 45-hp; Water 206 gal.; Fuel 212 gal.; D/L 101; L/B 1.86; SA/D 26.08 

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $1.3 million

Balance Catamarans