Catamarans within the 40-50 ft (12-15 m) range are some of the hottest on the market, this is largely due to their offshore capabilities and amazing comforts. But what are the best catamarans under 50 feet?
The best catamarans under 50 ft (15.24 m) include the Leopard 50, Lagoon 42, Bavaria Nautitech 46, Fountaine Pajot 45, Beneteau Excess 15, and more. The Leopard 50 is one of the most expensive options on the used market, while you’re likely to land a bargain on the Beneteau Excess 15.
The rest of this article will take a closer look at the best catamarans under 50 feet. I will explain what you need to know about them, reveal price estimates, and ensure your future cat matches your lifestyle.
What Is a Catamaran?
A catamaran is a wind-powered sea vessel made of two hulls. The hulls are separated with a deck in the middle which encompasses the saloon. Many sailors use catamarans for leisure because they make excellent vacation homes on the water.
However, most catamarans are pricey. You can expect to spend between $200,000 and $1M for a vessel in good condition on the used market.
What Are the Best Catamarans Between 40 and 50 Feet?
The best catamarans between 40 and 50 feet include the following:
The Leopard 50 is the replacement for the Leopard 48. It sits at 50 ft (15.24 m) long, powered by two 57 hp Yanmar engines. Used models start at a whopping $800k.
The exterior of the vessel boasts endless high-end features. You’ll get a table, a sunbed, and a roomy lounge on the flybridge area of this boat. However, you can spice things up with shade awning and exterior speakers, though you have to order these separately.
Getting to the flybridge from the side deck is easy, thanks to the carefully designed floating stairs, masterfully fitted in. A signature design move from this brand is that the flybridge now links to the helm station on most of the models.
The Leopard 50 is no different. The spacious lounge also acts as protection for the helm station behind the bulkhead. You’ll also get a clear line of sight and movement to the aft cockpit for a flawless journey. Passengers can move freely across the flybridge without interfering with the boom, which is in stark contrast to other catamarans similar to the Leopard 50.
Overall, the exterior design of the Leopard 50 is fantastic. It’s hard not to look at any further customizations as extravagance. On the inside, it’s no slouch either. You get a utility room, five independent cabins, and 6-12 berths. The vessel also boasts 4-6 showers onboard, and the interior décor features classy materials.
- The 50 feet size ensures it has very wide interior spaces.
- It’s designed to sail well upwind.
- The mechanical and structural composition makes it one of the most seaworthy boats in this range.
- The boat design can be a bit sleeker, hence the slow sailing.
- The model’s high boom can make it harder to operate the mainsail, this also moves the center of gravity up.
- The Leopard 50 is a slow-moving ship in low winds.
The Lagoon 42 is the scaled-down version of the Lagoon 52 designed by Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost (VPLP). It measures 42 ft (12.80 m) and boasts two 42 hp Yanmar engines. Price-wise, expect to splurge between $620,000 and $850,000 on the used market.
The two main features that distinguish this model from other popular Lagoon models are:
- A relocated mast to ensure proper balancing of the gross weight and reduce pitching.
- A beautiful silhouette that gives the boat a unique look. The design is part of the exterior styling spearheaded by Patrick Le Quément.
The smaller boom and the self-tacking genoa make the Lagoon 42 a bit more compatible for short-handed sailing. You get lots of room in all the lounges across the boat—from the cockpit down to the saloon. There’s also excellent ventilation on the wide flat decks, thanks to the flush opening hatches. Access to the boom is simple, as the vessel has safe and sturdy stairs that lead to the upper deck and helm station.
With the helm station on top of the coach bulkhead roof, mobility and communication between the cockpit and saloon are a breeze. The interior of the boat has four cabins. The forward has beds that passengers can access from the side, while the aft options have an island bed.
- The deck layout is one of the best you’ll find.
- The single-level design from the saloon to the aft platform is an interesting deviation from the norm.
- Short-hand sailing is easy due to the self-tacking genoa.
- It’s one of the pricier options in the market.
The Lagoon 46 is another high-quality catamaran from VPLP with an overall length of 45 ft (13.72 m). It receives its power from two 45/57 cv CR engines, and it’ll set you back around $500,000 for a used model. The overall design is a refreshed approach that guarantees better performance than the preceding models.
The first noticeable design change is the narrowed down water lines flared out inboard. This combination dramatically improves the volume on the inside of the boat. The results are a bit more pronounced on the cabins in the forward area, making it easier for you to have the same bed size on the abaft and front.
The Lagoon 46 also has a high-tech cradle-like davit system accompanied by a Bimini roof that’s a lot less weighty than what you’ll find on older models. The boat’s flybridge features a large enough area for sunbathing, connected to the two side decks directly. Meanwhile, the reserved storage space on the boat has also had a bump in this model.
With the mast located at the aft position at the top of the boat, it’s no surprise that there’s a self-tacking genoa on it. The interior décor of the ship looks as exquisite as the price range suggests. Most of the finishes are either Alpi or light wood oak, with rounded edges prioritized a great deal.
- The accessible double-side beds in the cabins are an excellent addition.
- The size of the vessel means there’s some limit to where it can safely pass while out on the water.
The Bali 4.1 is one of the lower-priced catamaran models in the used market today. It’s a 40 ft (12.19 m) vessel powered by two 20 hp engines and priced around $400.000.
This design from Naval architect Xavier Faÿ and Lasta Design Studio improve upon the earlier 4.0 model. In other words, you can expect the best features from the older model and some improvements.
This is a model known for its seaworthiness, meaning the foredeck space provides some rigidity and offers protection from water spray while out on the sea. Although some would argue that the solid deck forward of the mast could be an offshore issue.
The boat’s saloon is large and protected by a glossy pivot door, and the deck has lots of space to accommodate sunbathers. The fore cockpit is large enough to fit a small crew without the space feeling cramped. Since it sits in an elevated position, the helming station delivers excellent visibility for sailors.
The windows are designed to open with a retracting or gliding mechanism, so you’ll enjoy excellent ventilation in most of the living areas on the boat. Some of the new features added to the Bali 4.1 include new bench seats in the back cockpit, large side lockers, a platform connection for the two hulls, and more.
Overall, this is an excellent vessel you can count on to deliver a smooth sailing experience.
- The foredeck offers incredible amounts of usable space.
- It delivers less floating and a lot more stability.
- The deck layout and deck camber are great and rid water quickly.
- A solid foredeck makes for a more usable exterior area.
- The Interior layout is excellent!
- Boom might be situated too high for some sailors.
- Quite a slow vessel.
- Some sailors report issues with the “garage door style” saloon door leaking.
With the Nautitech 46, you’re sure to get nothing but pleasure, comfort, and elegance. You can expect to spend between $500,000 and $800,000 for this used 46ft (14.02 m) super vessel, with the two Volvo Penta engines combining for 80 hp of sailing power. The vessel architecture and design were handled by Marc Lombard and Roseo Design, respectively.
The catamaran has two models known as the Open and the Fly (flybridge setup). The Open variant is the “original” version. While the models are the same under the hood, the major difference lies in the deck variations. The Fly delivers a flybridge space for the passengers and captain, with unforgettable views in all directions.
The Nautitech 46 Open has a 4-cabin version that can carry eight people (great for summer rentals) and a 3-cabin version that’ll appeal to people that want an owner’s suite. The saloon’s design offers passengers picturesque views of the sea from a very comfortable sitting position.
If you need table space for work or to organize navigation, you can find one carved out in the kitchen.
- The interior design reflects the price and is of very high quality.
- There are lots of clip-on-points and rails to ensure safety and easy movement around the vessel.
- There’s a spacious engine bay that allows easy access to the engines thus reducing maintenance times.
- The slender shape of the boat hulls causes a decrease in the living space.
- There’s reduced visibility on the aft helm (open version).
Fountaine Pajot Elba 45
This 44 ft (13.41 m) vessel powered by two 40 hp engines made its grand introduction at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. Since then, it’s grown in popularity, thanks to the bold and modern design which emphasizes cruising, relaxation, and comfort. You can buy one of these for around $500,000 to $900,000 on the used market.
The vessel is made of energy-emitting lines and inverted bows, which has dramatically improved the interior space. The helm station also features upgrades to improve the handling experience.
Not to worry; the cockpit doesn’t get the backburner in the comfort-centric design department. It’s very spacious, containing lots of storage spaces and direct access to the saloon.
You can choose to install a Beach Club electric platform if you’d like to host parties from time to time. If you like to bring guests aboard, they’ll enjoy the relaxation spaces on the cockpit, lounge, and foredeck. Some interesting additions to the internal elements of the FP 45 are two refrigerators and a water maker that can produce 15.85 gal (60 L) of drinks per hour.
- The living spaces on the catamaran are some of the best and largest in this range.
- The fly lounge is an interesting design.
- It’s sharp when traveling downwind and offers a good compromise between speed and comfort.
- Performance suffers a lot in upwind sailing, and the fuel consumption increases significantly.
Designed by Christophe Barreau, the Catana 47 is another premium catamaran on the market today. It’s a 46 ft (14 m) durable vessel powered by two 40 hp Volvo engines. Going for around $750,000 on the used market, the Catana 47 is a light and strong vessel featuring a heavy infusion of carbon fiber.
The Catana 47 retains some of the signature design moves the Catana Company is known for, including open helming stations, a performance-centric rig, and tall twin daggerboards. This model of the Catana runs a bit faster than the preceding model. That’s likely because Catana dropped its weight by around 1,500 lbs (680.39 kg).
The vessel doesn’t skimp on space either. Both the crew and passengers on board will always have enough space to move around without bumping into someone else.
- The room space is excellent.
- Its speed is up there with some of the best in this class of catamarans.
- High bridge deck clearance
- You may need a watcher during docking due to the blind spot between the helming station and the opposite bow.
The Seawind 1370 is like a mash-up of the best features from the Seawind 1600 and 1260 designs with some further unique improvements. The 45 ft (13.72 m) catamaran is an excellent cruise vessel with warm and roomy living spaces. This makes the vessel an excellent option if you have a large family. The ship boasts two 40 hp Yanmar engines, and you can purchase a high-quality used one for around $700,000.
The catamaran can withstand heavy spray while in turbulent waters, thanks to the tough panoramic fashioned glass windows. The saloon opening from the cockpit features a tri-fold door. Once inside the cockpit, you’ll find a large transom lounge and a nice little bar that can also double as your cocktail joint.
The lounge on the saloon has enough space, and you can make more by simply folding down the table to transform it into a bed. You’ll find all the lines and controls in the helm station. The well-shaped hull offers high headroom in the cabins. Overall, the architectural design of this catamaran (made by Francois Perus) is one of the best in its class.
- It’s comfortable enough for small families.
- It’s very sturdy while on the water.
- The volume and space on offer may not be enough for commercial applications
The Beneteau Excess 15 is one of the largest catamarans created by the Beneteau group. It’s a sleek, cruising vessel with two powerful 57 hp engines. The twin helm stations on the boat make it one of the few catamarans that sport this design approach. There’s an 80 hp dual-engine variant of the vessel. With those specs in mind, you can expect to spend $200,000 to $1 million on a Excess 15.
On the inside, the vessel has a roomy saloon, which can double as a mini room diner. While there, the non-smoked bay windows guarantee a full view of the entire seascape ahead. The cockpit is large enough to hold a table that can seat eight people. Helmsman, in particular, will enjoy the Dyneema steering cables and the aluminum supports.
- It’s a very stable seaworthy vessel.
- The engine is powerful enough for the size.
- It runs at a decent speed for a luxury boat.
- The interior and exterior design screams comfort and prestige.
- Since this is a luxury boat, it’s not the fastest in this class.
There are many excellent catamarans within the 40-50 ft (12-15 m) range. The options we’ve covered here are the best ones I have seen so far. Think about your unique needs before choosing any specific option. After all, some of these are more equipped for cruising while others are more useful as holiday boats with your family.
Don’t forget to consider other factors such as ease of control, harbor space, fuel type, and engine type. If you’re going with a used model, be sure to evaluate it thoroughly before you make a decision. It’s often best to get a professional valuation.
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