new/old kids on the block

Big Pimpin'

There’s a great big gap right in the middle of the multihull market and Groupe Bénéteau has launched a whole new brand to fill it. With its allnew Excess catamarans, the world’s biggest boatbuilder is forging a sporty, modern and youthful brand identity, offering a new generation of multihull sailors an alternative to what has become, in effect, a binary choice between skittish, hull-flying racing machines on one hand and sedate holiday cruisers on the other. The first boats are in build at the time of writing and two models, the 39ft Excess 12 and the 49ft Excess 15, are set to make their boat show début at Cannes this September.

‘The market is a broad spectrum with high-performance boats at one end and comfortable cruisers, which are optimised for charter use, at the other,’ says Bruno Belmont, the product designer for Excess Catamarans. ‘About 90 per cent of the market – including our own very successful brand, Lagoon – is clustered tightly together at the comfort end of the spectrum. There are some well-established niche brands at the performance end, but there is a big gap in the centre.’

Read on.