You may have read my previous article about the Outremer shipyard, which was very interesting. Now, that I´ve had a insight into how these boats are made, it was clear tome that the team of skilled craftsmen in La Grand Motte not only take pride in their work but as well manage to produce their boats with a very high emphasis on quality. Given the special circumstance and partially kind of worn-down facilities, an even bigger conclusion.

There she is: Outremer 52!

A couple of hundred meters further down the road where the marina basin of La Grande Motte harbour was filled up to the maximum with all sorts of catamarans and trimarans for the big “Multicoque” boat show, Outremer had two of their current boats on display. A good chance to see the finished product, the very boat. On the fourth day I finally found some time to go over as for some reason this year we´ve had extraordinarily many visitors from Germany at our Excess catamarans display.

A much praised boat

The Outremer 55 and 52 were there to visit. Out of the two, the Outremer 52 was the more interesting boat for me. 55 feet in a catamaran is huge. This boat size in a monohull is even a big ass boat, but in a catamaran 55 feet is even much, much bigger. So I thought, the 52 is the more “realistic” boat. Which is in contrast to the sales figures: Out of the current product line of Outremer with the 45, 52 and 55, the most expensive and biggest one is the boat most sold. So let´s check out what the fuzz and all the awards is all about.

52 feet luxury

First of all, the Outremer 52 has won nearly all awards and prizes that can be won in the yachting journalism world. Correspondingly, YouTube and the well-known boat testers were full of praise for this yacht. She really is a beauty seen from outside at a first glance. Her lines clearly feature the Outremer signature whereas the current boat clearly offers much more visual detail and finesse in her appearance.

Wide stern and much wider hulls

Nearing the boat from abaft, I clearly notice her much wider hulls. I don´t know if its just an impression, but it seems to me that one of the emphasis in designing the 52 could have been to create more internal volume, which of course can only be achieved through wider hulls. The boat appears much more luxurious and comfort-oriented than the Outremer 45 which I´ve had the pleasure to test sail last year.

The large secure aft cockpit

Entering her cockpit area a large L-shaped settee forms the stern end of the boat. The settee is grouped around a versatile cockpit table. This can be transformed into a large dinner table, a small coffee table or put down. When put down, I suppose, extra cushion will transform the settee into a huge lounging area, which people will love at anchor for sure.

High coamings for safe passage

Apart from the through-passage to the aft transom to portside, the whole cockpit is enclosed all around by a large “coaming” that creates a very “deep” and thus safe feeling here in this area. That is something I also noticed on the 45 and on other catamarans. This contributes to the general feeling of safety onboard a catamaran and should be one of the major points for this type of boat being the yacht of choice especially for families with (young) children.

Modern & cozy: Outremer 52 Salon

The whole backside window front of the salon can be opened by slide-away doors and windows. A simple but clever folding part connects the tabletop area or the galley to a kind of “bar”, creating a lofty, open and connected feeling from the inside to the outside parts of the salon. I also noticed that much less lines, winches and parts from the running rigging are actually inside the cockpit, which is another sign that the Outremer 52 has been re-thought very intensively with the focus on comfort.

What a breathtaking view!

Entering the salon I was surprised that the designers did not “fill up” the available interior volume. In most catamarans the salon is fitted with a large table, settee, a nav station, large galley and many more “must-haves” so that even on bigger sized cats the available volume is eaten up very fast. Not so on this catamaran. The salon retains a light, open and surprisingly un-cramped appearance.

A clever layout

There´s a nice little L-settee to starboard side which could host a full-sized dinner party but I guess since most of the owners are sailing couples with occasional guests and most of the fun takes place outside, the shipyard just skipped the idea of providing a full-fledged dinner area. This couch is just fine for the lone night watch or a great morning coffee – life takes place outside.

Role model nav staion

I love the nav-station on the Outremer 52! The pivoting Captain´s chair is much more than just a makeshift alibi stool, a large chart plotter and secondary instruments make voyage planning, paper works and even standing a foul weather watch a delight here, I am sure. There´s a perfect almost 360-degree view through the large windows. These are non-darkened and non-angled so that rain may drain faster and no reflections may hinder a proper navigation.

An odd galley

The galley though … I don´t know, that was the one place where I do have some problems with. I mean, for a luxury high-quality upper brand 7-digit budget boat (and for sure she is worth the money!) this galley is not very thought through in my eyes. I know, the designers and engineers will of course have their reasons for putting things where they are, but, well, come on … this is the weak point of the Outremer 52.

Am I the only one?

There is stowage and volume practically everywhere, sure. The fridges and freezers available are exemplary and the ship´s cook aboard the Outremer won´t have any hustle with stowing away the provisions for even long trips, I am sure. The problem will be the cooking itself. Since I am a passionate cook myself and fancy preparing food underway, I saw this the second I entered the room.

A very odd location

Placing the stove at the one least practical place is just crazy. Cooking a meal that needs two or more pots will just be a nightmare. The position of the stove – although I understand that itt needs some fittings and installations underneath it – in the farthest corner of the tabletop just doesn´t work. That´s the worst place imaginable, even for me as a tall man. For smaller cooks, this will be an ordeal. Also, the oven is so much down it´s almost even with the floor. The ergonomics of this galley are a disappointment I must say – how much worse would have the alternatives been if this is the best solution the designers and engineers can come up with? I hope that owner´s and prospects´ feedback may lead to an improved version of this galley.

Daggerboard catamarans

But let´s leave it there and not focus on the bad things. Besides the galley, honestly, I haven´t found any more. In the catamaran cruising “community” – and that is also the impression I get when talking to our prospects – the brand Outremer stands primarily for performance. There is a sense of awe and respect for their “legendary” sailing capabilities which is partially a product of Outremer´s daggerboards.

Outremer = daggerboards!

These are skipped for the sake of creating even more volume inside for most of the production catamarans and fully cruising oriented boats, but of course Outremer won´t cancel these even in their new more comfort-oriented boats. Since my own sailing experiences with cruising cats I know how much better the upwind performance of a catamaran becomes when it is fitted with daggerboards – but also, how much more skilled skipper and crew will have to be and how much volume is lost inside for the housings of those parts. Inside the Outremer 52 the volume lost does not seem all-too much. The designers managed to “hide” away the housings very elegantly in a visual way. In both hulls they don´t bother free passage and there´s lots of stowage anyway.

Not so much volume-consuming

I really liked the way it is done on the 52. Remembering the interior of the Outremer 45, it was much, much more cramped. Going from stern to bow in the hulls meant to perform a Zigzag to go by the daggerboard housings. Looking through from back to front was impossible. That´s a thing of the past on the 52: You can enjoy a perfect unblocked view which helps to create a lofty, light-suffused feeling down below.

Spacy owner´s hull and cabins

Catamaran sailing for most crews mean perfect weather, sunshine, warm temperatures and leisure time. Coconut route, Caribbean sailing or dropping the anchor at a nice bay. Sailing a catamaran for the most part is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Thus: Most of the onboard life is taking place outside and up on deck.

Light-suffused owner´s cabin

I personally think that boat testers too much focus on the size of a cabin down below. I mean, usually people are unconscious there (hence: They sleep) or they just spend some brief time down there to change the clothing. I´d say you spend less time in your cabin than in a hotel room during a weekend trip to a nice city. It is indeed important to have a nice hotel room – but how much of a big sized room do you really need?

The forward guest cabin

So, in the Outremer 52 the cabins are just as fine. The beds – thank God no island bed-stuff or other ridiculous “marketing”-souced installations – take the most area they can cover. There´s so much stowage down there. I loved the nice big hull windows which, also by my own experience, significantly boost the feeling of comfort, the perceived safety and overall the joy of enjoying a luxury view outside so much! By the way, not having any hull windows is the one and only real downside of my upcoming own new boat

Room with a view …

Speaking of perceived luxury, I absolutely loved the owner´s bathroom setup on the Outremer 52! Which again is something that in my eyes is often over-stretched for boat tests. In the end, a bathroom should be practical and safe (more so in heavy weather) to guarantee that the occupants can co about their needs in a safe manner. That´s it.

I loved the bathroom layout

The normal usage for a boat´s bathroom is taking a pee or a dump, washing your hands and face, maybe occasionally enjoy a hot shower and of course have a place where wet clothing can be hung for drying. On the Outremer 52 they have taken this to a new level. The bathroom is just gorgeous! A nicely sized closed off shower cabin, a sink and the toilet.

What a view from the toilet!

The toilet is just awesome. Although I like sitting down and having the “business” aligned with the ship´s longitudinal axis, this one is angled 90 degrees to face directly outwards. Sitting down here will have your eyes exactly matching the height of the large hull window. What a breathtaking view this must be underway! And how much more “fun” taking a dump any crew and guest aboard the Outremer will have. Well done!

The shower

A nice detail in the guest´s hull shower was the emergency escape window, which on the Outremer 52 is featuring a hammer-free opening mechanism. Since I´ve tested smashing an escape hatch window myself last year with some depressing and really not very funny outcome, this is a very important detail worth noting on this catamaran.

Sailing performance – a true Outremer?

I´ve watched many videos on the sailing performance of this catamaran and for sure this boat will sail just as fine. Sadly, this year I couldn´t manage to attend a sea trial, the shipyard offered such ventures on their Outremer 55, but the bare numbers speak for themselves: 155 square meters upwind sails area (Genoa + main sail) and a displacement of 13/17 tons is as much power as you can imagine. For comparison, Lagoon´s top-seller 55 has some 180 square meters of sail area but hauls almost 30 tons through the water …

Signature design

Visually, the Outremer 52 is still easily recognizable. The large front windows are a signature feature of this brand and a nod to her various predecessors which have done so much to build up the amazing reputation and value of the brand Outremer. The windows, as you may have seen on the shots from inside, make for a perfect view from both outside and also a as much as possible unhindered through-view.

Large front windows

Entering up on the coachroof is done by utilizing the steps of a simple lightweight steel ladder. This one is black so that it perfectly blends in visually and won´t destroy the clean looks. I also love the way Outremer has fitted the rail for the self-tacking jib on top of the coach roof so that the sail and the car won´t mingle as well. Well done!

Main helm station aboard Outremer 52

Another great feature and purposeful break with some old traditions is the helm station aboard the Outremer 52. Unless being a flybridge catamaran, a boat always features two helm stations for a good reason. Depending on the side of the tack, almost always one half of the front view is blocked by the sails – the leeward side of course. So, accordingly, the helmsman will change sides to windward to have a clear view. Not so much on the Outremer 52.

Main steering staton

There is only one main helm station with a steering wheel available. It´s situated on the starboard side, of course, the one and only location where our ancestral Viking predecessors wanted to have it placed. This is done because most of the time, as the shipyard says, the autopilot is steering anyway. For the other occasions, the helmsman will have a perfectly thought-through steering station on the Outremer 52´s starboard side. And there´s even more.

The pivoting wheel

The steering wheel is pivoting. A simple mechanism allows the wheel to be put into three positions. Down into the cockpit for bad weather handling or motoring, up (like shown in the picture) for the helmsman to stand up, leaning into a nice granny bar-like stand and active sailing and there´s even a third position. The wheel can be put leaning outward for leisure steering whilst sitting on the large steering bench. A nice, versatile concept.

Less line-hustle

As mentioned before, I noticed that most of the lines of the running rigging have kind of “disappeared” from the cockpit. This was one thing that I found a bit odd when sailing the Outremer 45: I imagined being underway with kids. With all those loose ends and lines around in the cockpit area, that´s a recipe for trouble if not disaster. It seems that the designers have solved this for the 52.

Tiller steering to portside

So, no more portside steering? Well, not at all! The shipyard has installed the same nice 2-seater bench on top of the rear deck as well and … a tiller! This can be fun! When sailing fast and “actively”, maybe during a battle with a fellow co-sailing boat on the same course, standing here and enjoying the direct feel of a tiller can be lots of fun for sure. Although I doubt that this feature is used so much in reality.

That´s my place!

The view though from those steering benches is just awesome! I reclined, put up my feet and imagined myself sailing along leisurely with a 12 knot SOG, having a fresh hot coffee in my hands enjoying this breathtaking view … almost as perfect as it can be, I´d say! Even in this crowded basin of the boat show, this view is amazing.

Is the Outremer 52 the ultimate cruising catamaran?

So, is the Outremer 52 the ultimate cruising catamaran? According to all the prizes won, the fuzz that is made online and the praise this catamaran receives unilaterally, she indeed might be. There aren´t all too many catamarans comparable to the Outremer 52 – offering this level of sailing performance whilst retaining such high levels of comfort. I really liked the craftsmanship and finishing of the build. My impression from visiting the shipyard was that the end product should be an almost perfectly build boat – and this expectation has been fulfilled.

Clearly an eye-catcher

The Outremer 52 indeed offers a high level of comforts. She is a huge step up from the 45 which is much, much more sailing-oriented in my eyes. The Outremer 45 – which I fancy more since she is the more lively and performant boat – demands for an active skipper and very considerate and attentive crew. The Outremer 52 however seems to be much more relaxed.

… but still my fave!

After visiting the 52 I go back to my own stand, taking a short detour to stroll around the Outremer 45 that is moored a bit outside of the show. As much as I like the modern, very appealing design of 52 and the 55, it is clearly the 45 that attracts me more. I don´t know (as I am not a cat-type) but she seems to be the much less “frills” boat, I like her simple yet classy design and the sailing aspect of the boat. But that´s the good thing about boating, right? Everybody gets to choose what fits him most.


You may also like to read these related articles:

In the Outremer shipyard

Heavy breeze sailing: Outremer 45 on test

44 feet lush cruising cat luxury: Excess 14