Updated on July 11th, 2023
In front of you is the debut of the British shipyard Archipelago Yachts, which, in our humble opinion, immediately overshadowed all currently existing manufacturers of motor catamarans with its amazing design with non-standard, but very successful solutions. It is safe to say that after the birth of Archipelago 47, such design solutions will become standard due to the combination of simplicity and efficiency.
Why are we sure that this is the best catamaran at the moment in its class? Well, at least because the Archipelago 47 seems to have suddenly created a new class of cruising yachts, in which it now sits in splendid isolation. Therefore, it is already by default the best in its class. We can even call it the Archipelago class for the future. And, if its eye-catching and slightly futuristic design is not enough for you, let’s take a closer look at it.
Brutal but luxurious bluewater powercat
As it becomes clear at first glance, the Archipelago 47 is not just another family catamaran for southern latitudes that are afraid of bad weather. This is an extremely reliable 14.5m expeditionary cruiser built from aluminum with a fully custom configuration. Having category A, it is ready to handle almost any sea conditions.
The very design of the catamaran can tell you something about it. You may notice that the navigation bridge does not have a deep deck, so the seaworthiness and smoothness is far superior to the classic GRP catamarans built for the mass market and charter. However, this does not affect the luxury that surrounds the owner and his guests in their cabins inside the hulls. In fact, this is the best and most pleasant cabin design we have ever seen in a catamaran.
Also, you can immediately notice the wheelhouse with a 360 degree view, the so-called Scandinavian type, with a reverse slope of the glazing, which increases the viewing angle, eliminates glare and at the same time works as a sun visor. This is not an electric yacht (although you can order a hybrid power plant), so horizontal surfaces free from solar panels can be used to place water toys or additional equipment. The cabin roof has a trunk for such a case.
Shipyard founder Stephen Weatherley did not aim to create an unusual multi-hull boat that would attract the attention of the yachting industry or one that would fully satisfy the demands of the market. First of all, he was looking for the perfect boat for himself. Perhaps the closest to this ideal were the displacement yachts of the trawler type, but only the catamaran was able to combine compactness, speed, safety, comfort, and seaworthiness acceptable for blue water. After all, catamarans have many advantages.
In principle, the idea was simple: Stephen wanted to create a fast boat that could be used for a pleasant weekend with friends, but, if desired, for the whole family to go on a long cruise without latitude restrictions. And now we have the Archipelago 47, with a displacement of 17 tons, with two Iveco engines of 420 hp each, thanks to which the catamaran develops a speed of up to 25 knots and has a cruising range of up to 3,000 nautical miles. On board you can take 2000 liters of fuel and 1000 liters of water.
Expeditionary catamaran for harsh conditions
While all the well-known manufacturers of motor cats flooded the market with their non-sustainable plastic hulls designed for the warm waters of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, Archipelago Yachts went in the opposite direction to offer a unique all-weather catamaran that can be easily used to explore high latitudes.
Luckily, the Brits are also familiar with winter and cold, so we have complete confidence in them when it comes to building and equipping boats that are insulated, with good heating systems, including floor heating. The abundance of wood in the interiors makes staying on board even more comfortable, even when the rain starts to turn into snow. The interior of the wheelhouse is made in dark colors just for these cases. On an overcast day, when the sun cannot break through the dense northern clouds, it is much safer to navigate the yacht from a darkened room.
And here we come to the main thing: the aluminum hulls of the catamaran allow you to feel much more confident in unfamiliar and so unpredictable northern waters. Old-school sailors are still afraid of aluminum, because in the past finding a welder with the necessary equipment was quite problematic if you found yourself too far from civilization with a damaged yacht hull. Fortunately, those days are long gone and this is no longer a problem. Even do-it-yourself repairs with minimal skills are quite affordable and can be done faster and easier than with GRP boats.
On the other hand, an aluminum hull is in demand in all harsh regions of the planet, such as, for example, Alaska or Scandinavia, precisely because it is very hardy and durable, is not afraid of osmosis, does not require painting, and, being very light, strongly saves fuel. At the same time, the propeller shafts on the Archipelago 47 are located in the half-tunnels of the hulls, reducing the likelihood of damage.
There is one more important detail that came, unfortunately, from Stephen Weatherley’s personal family experience, namely: the possibility of convenient use of the yacht for people with disabilities. “A month before my dad died, he was in a wheelchair, and one of the things that depressed him the most was that he couldn’t get on and off of his boat,” Stephen said. “It’s amazing how difficult it is to get on a proper boat, not just one meant to take wheelchairs out on a day trip. So, I wanted to make features that would ensure that a wheelchair could get on and off the boat.”
So, do you have any doubts about the fact that this is the best motor catamaran, at least this year? The shipyard plans also include the construction of Archipelago 38 and Archipelago 56, which may become the best catamarans in the next years. We sincerely hope so and wish good luck to Steven and his team.