October 26, 2016

Six of the best bareboat charter catamarans for 2017

By Robert Cross

In the race between mono- and multi-hulls, catamarans dominate the bareboat charter market for the space and stability they provide. And among all the amazing destinations on offer, the Mediterranean and Caribbean remain most popular. So what are the best cats on offer in those parts of the world, for that sailing holiday you are looking forward to in 2017?

From all the suitable craft available for bareboat charter in Caribbean and Mediterranean waters, we have picked out six of our favourite late-model cats. We hope this will be a helpful starting point in your quest to secure the best boat in the best sailing location for you and your group's needs.

Not every boat is available in every specific destination, so you need to check availability.

Lagoon 52

Lagoon 52 at anchorIn 2013 Lagoon brought a major innovation to cruising catamaran design, placing the mast amidships to allow for an improved sail plan. That design decision was based on what had been learned in developing racing cats, and it brought a new level of sailing pleasure to a boat type that had previously been considered relatively slow and heavy.

Subsequent designs have refined the parameters, so for the sailors among your group this cat should meet all your performance expectations. A great spread of deck space invites your crew to relax at leisure, and there are plenty of places to store all the water toys you could want aboard.

Below decks the living area is up to the best modern standards in all respects, including a light and airy saloon and a fully equipped galley. Layouts provide up to five double & one twin accommodation, making this boat suitable for up to 12 guests.

No wonder the Lagoon 52 is our most popular cat for experienced bareboat charterers with larger groups of friends and family. It is widely available, including a 2017 model listed for charter out of one of our lesser known but more appealing destinations, Grenada in the Caribbean. Windward islands.

The Lagoon 52 has size, and is equally suited for groups wanting a paid skipper and/or full crew aboard to take care of things.

Bali 4.5 Open Space

Bali catamaran at anchorCatana introduced their new Bali design in 2014, and it is turning heads among discerning bareboat charterers. With the increasing attention this craft is attracting, the Bali's availability for charter is spreading fast. Amongst other destinations the new Bali 4.5 can now be chartered in St Martin, right at the centre of the Caribbean Leeward Islands, in our perennial favourite Greece, and in the exciting new destination of Cuba.

The Bali design conforms to the trend of placing the mast further aft than previously for improved performance, which is also enhanced by the boat's lightness that comes with using the very latest construction technologies.

For comfort this model's name says it all; open space, from the cockpit that lets everyone to dine comfortably together, through the saloon and window port access to the sunny spot forward of the cabin that's all set up for total relaxation.

For bareboat hire the Bali 4.5 is joined by the 4.3 and 4.0, available in several additional locations. All offer the same level of performance and supplied equipment, and all come with four double cabin configurations.

Saba 50

Saba 50 under sailThis is the mid-sized model in the Fountaine Pajot cruising catamaran range. With optimised living spaces and design features such as large windows for maximum light and ventilation, the Saba 50 is right up there amongst the most sought-after charter cats. With layouts of up to six double cabins with ensuite, this boat is particularly popular among groups of friends looking to sail together on vacation.

In designing a spacious and comfortable craft inside and out, Fountaine Pajot has not compromised on sailing performance. The Saba 50 is considered an easy-to-handle boat for charter cruising purposes.

If you have plans for a British Virgin Islands charter next Caribbean season, talk to us about exploring these fabulous waters aboard a late-model Saba 50. And just a reminder. If seriously considering a Christmas 2017Caribbean sailing vacation, we suggest you act quickly. This time last year 2016 was starting to sell out, and the good boats don't stay available for long. 

Helia 44

Helia 44 main saloonLike the Saba 50 this slightly smaller boat is also from the Fountaine Pajot yard and one of the world's top selling cruising cats in its class. The features and benefits of the Helia 44 transfer readily to the charter market, and new models are regularly coming into charter.

The Helia 44 is a joy to sail with a reputation for providing comfortable ocean passages. For inshore charter sailing, the protected cockpit is designed for relaxed dining. It is integrated with the lounge deck and also opens onto the galley, for 50 sq. meters of entertainment space. The standard accommodation layout provides four double cabins with ensuite.

Experience the pleasure of holidaying aboard a recently-launched Helia 44 with a charter in the Bahamas or the western Mediterranean's Balaeric Islands of Spain.

Lagoon 450

Lagoon 450 double cabinLeading brand Lagoon gets another model on this list, the ever-popular Lagoon 450. The core design has been around for a while, and the manufacturer has stuck to a winning formula while continuing to update and upgrade the model.

Features of the Lagoon 450 include a fly bridge with easy access and room for company, cockpits both fore and aft for plenty of sunbathing and relaxation pace, a 'U' shaped galley for convenience, plenty of light and air, and four double cabins each with full ensuite facilities. This really is the perfect charter cat for up to four couples.

The Lagoon 450 is in wide distribution among our international charter operators, and we have a number of 2016 & 2017 models operating and available in both the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Sailing destinations where you can hop aboard your own floating hotel in the form of the Lagoon 450 include Corsica (France) and Fethiya (Turkey), or across the Atlantic in Antigua, Guadaloupe, and that most popular of Western Hemisphere destinations the British Virgin Islands.

Nautitech Open 40

Nautitech Open 40 cockpitCompleting the 'top four' of French catamaran manufacturers, Nautitech has an updated range that includes the Open 40 catamaran. At 12 metres overall this is the smallest cat on our list, which makes it ideal for a family unit or close group of friends.

All manufacturers of modern cruising cats seek out a balance between comfort and handling performance, and the Nautitech Open 40 is no exception. In fact her dimensions and rig set up make this craft a breeze to sail. With her spacious, modern saloon/galley arrangement and sleeping for up to 10 in four double/ two single berths, this boat is as versatile for vacation chartering as a catamaran comes.

Set sail out of Dubrovnic on a 2016 Nautitech Open 40 and explore the Adriatic coast of Croatia. Or charter a late model example in Antigua for a fabulous Caribbean sailboat vacation.

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