Best in Class: Lagoon and Sunreef Charge Ahead with Catamarans
With sustainability cruising in mind, it makes sense that catamarans are seeing a jump in demand because these yachts are much more energy-efficient than monohulls.
Luxury catamaran builders have recently moved powercats into a new size sector. Lagoon stepped up with the Seventy 8 and Sixty 7, Sunreef rolled out its 60, 70 and 80 Power models, Fountaine Pajot produced the Power 67 and Aquila joined the ‘big cat’ party with the 70 Luxury, with a solar-electric version sold by Simpson Marine soon arriving in Indonesia.
However, Sunreef has raised the bar. Delivering on its ambitions to move firmly into the superyacht sector, the Polish builder handed over the first hull of the 100 Sunreef Power to its owner earlier this year and plans to display the yacht at one of Europe’s key boat shows this autumn.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary since Francis Lapp founded it in Poland in 2002, Sunreef is still on an upward spiral as it continues to develop its new 80,000sqm (8-hectare) site on the banks of the Martwa Wisla River in Gdansk on the country’s north coast.
To keep up with production across its power and sail ranges, both standard and Eco, it still operates its original facility in the historic Gdansk Shipyard and plans to do so for at least another couple of years. It now employs 1,800-2,000 people in the region, an astonishing figure for a semi-custom, luxury catamaran builder.
And the 100 Sunreef Power is no one-off. Hull two is under construction and is heavily customised, with features including an enclosed cigar lounge on the flybridge. Overall, the layout will be very different from hull one, with six guest cabins including a master stateroom on the main deck.
Late last year, the brand rounded out its modern range with the first 70 Sunreef Power launch, which joined the 80 Power launched in 2020 and the 60 Power released the following year.
“Catamarans will continue to gain more and more space on the market,” Lapp says. “This is because more and more customers are looking for more sustainable cruising. Catamarans are more energy-efficient than monohulls, and you can see many ambitious catamaran concepts emerging now. This trend will carry on in the future and we will see more demand for larger and greener cats.”
Sunreef’s push towards greener cats is led by its evolving Eco range — solar-electric versions of its existing Power and Sail models. The technology includes Sunreef’s own ‘solar skin’ panels integrated into the composite bodywork, ultralight batteries and electric or hybrid engines. Options include wind turbines, high-performance kites, and hydrogeneration systems for sailing models.
Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso is awaiting hull one of the 60 Sunreef Power, a fully-electric version with solar panels in the hulls, superstructure and bimini roof.
Alonso, a two-time F1 world champion, said: “We are more aware and want more sustainability. We have seen important changes over the last years in global mobility, and to me it makes perfect sense to go for an electric catamaran. The world is going electric and yachts should also follow.”
In fact, Lapp says most of Sunreef’s powercat enquiries are now for Eco models. “In the coming years, we expect this trend to continue and to evolve towards an even more important demand for electric yachts.”
Large Lagoons in Asia
Lagoon, the world’s biggest pleasure catamaran builder, helped ignite the current demand for large powercats with the Seventy 8, which premiered at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2017, following up two years later with the Sixty 7, a model it plans to show again at Cannes this year.
Lagoon has delivered over 6,000 catamarans globally and remains the most popular multihull brand in Asia. There are Seventy 8 powercats in Vietnam and the Philippines, and another unit of the flagship is due to arrive in Hong Kong this summer following a sale by Simpson Marine.
Last year, Simpson Marine staged the Asia premiere of the Sixty 7 in Hong Kong before the yacht was delivered to its owner in Taiwan, while the regional dealer has sold another unit to Hong Kong. A Sixty 7 is also due to arrive at the end of this year in the Philippines, where Lagoon is represented by Europa Yachts.
The two powercat models are part of Lagoon’s ‘Big Four’ and their sister sailing catamarans, the Sixty 5 and Seventy 7, with the builder delivering more than 50 units of the quartet. The ‘Big Four’ and the brand’s other 50ft-plus models are produced in Lagoon’s Bordeaux facility, while it also builds smaller sailing catamarans in other sites in France.
Brand Director Thomas Gailly says almost 2,000 employees work for Lagoon, directly or indirectly, in different sites. Despite production challenges due to ongoing supply-chain issues affecting most builders around the globe, he says demand is greater than ever.
“After a slowdown in 2020 due to Covid, we now have an order book like never before. Recently we’ve seen more and more people who had never thought of buying a boat start to realise their ‘home office’ could be on their boat,” Gailly says.
“The demand comes from private owners but also from the charter market, as tourism returns. Overall, the catamaran market keeps on being a very dynamic segment in the industry and we expect it to continue.”
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