Intrepid Bear is a cruising catamaran built in 2001 by Catana, a yacht manufacturer located in Perpignan, France. The yacht is 43 feet long and 24 feet wide. It is built for comfort and has very little heeling or rolling. All lines go toward the cockpit for singlehanded control and easy tacking via electric winch. The catamaran configuration allows us to navigate in very shallow water and anchor close to beaches. It has a large cockpit with easy access to the swim ladder and fresh water shower, and plenty of room on the trampoline for sunning (can't wait for that bit!) and playing. Inside, the CAT is spacious. It sleeps six easily, with two queen-sized berths and one double. The salon can sleep one person as well.
Why we chose a Catana: We searched for the perfect yacht to take us on our adventure. We chose the Catana for the following reasons:
Safety: Catana is the "Bentley" of Catamarans. This means that corners are not cut and safety is paramount. A Catana can overcome extreme conditions due to its seaworthiness and its ability to sail closehauled in difficult seas. One security factor is the shape of the hulls. Another is the daggerboards that can be raised in heavy weather, allowing the vessel to drift. Intrepid Bear is built with a number of structural bulkheads, allowing each section to float if damaged. It uses high performance materials with a Twaron Impact Process (Aramide/carbon/unidirectional). The yacht is therefore unsinkable (we're hoping not to test this!), very strong, and yet lightweight.
Stability: While we enjoy bashing to windward leaning at a 45 degree angle with the best of them, on an extended voyage this didn't feel like a recipe for pleasant cruising, particularly with the children on board. The twin hull layout provides for a very comfortable platform in all weathers, whether on a beam reach, close hauled or sailing downwind. Retractable dagger boards allow a sideways sliding movement, avoiding the risk of raising the windward hull.
Performance: Since we are interested in cruising, not racing, speed is not the primary consideration, but what’s nice about the Catana is that she will hold a good, average speed, in spite of the wind or the weather. In gentle winds, we should be able to sail about 1/3 faster than in average monohulls.In following winds, the spinnaker allows us to go much faster than in an equivalent monohull. The dagger boards allow us to sail to weather.
Space: With three children on board (and a dog when we're cruising in the UK!), space was paramount to ensure we don't feel claustrophobic and have space to retreat to when needed. The deck layout provides a full playground for the kids - seemingly the trampoline has been converted into a sumo training ground for the kids in their ocean lifejackets.
The following photos show various sections of the boat.