Phil Berman in attendance at long-awaited launch
Balance Catamarans has launched the first of its long-awaited 482 catamarans, representing yet another milestone for the US/SA partnership.
The launch is welcome good cheer for Balance, which suffered fire damage to its St Francis Bay facility with the loss of two hulls. So it was only fitting that the launch event at the Royal Cape Yacht Club brought together the key players in the 482 line: Balance President Phil Berman, in South Africa for the past few months; Mark Delany, Managing Director of Balance Catamarans Cape Town; and the irrepressible naval architect Anton du Toit.
It seems only fitting, too, that the first of the new line was named ‘Golden Hour’ by her new owners who also attended the launch ceremony.
“It was an exciting day for everyone,” said Berman in a launch statement. “Golden Hour is the first of a strong new line of Balance Catamarans and we couldn’t be more pleased with her. She went right in, we stepped her rig, and bent her sails on the same day and she floated perfectly on her intended lines.”
Berman, whose association with South Africa goes back to his heroics at the World Hobie Championships, co-designed the 482 with Du Toit. They conceived a catamaran that is both fast and comfortable. “Berman and Du Toit are both racers at heart but with extensive cruising experience,” the launch statement said. “For them, having a catamaran that is both fast and a comfortable on-the-water home is non-negotiable.”
The 482 and slightly smaller 442 models were a response to market demand for smaller models at lower price points, Berman explained: “With that, we sat down and determined we must design, engineer, tool, invest and craft two entirely new models, the new 482 and the 442. With 35 cats already ordered before our first one was launched; we clearly made the right decision. Consumers are thrilled with our designs and enjoying enormously the process of working with us to create a catamaran that fully meets their needs.”
He said Golden Hour had excelled in her sea trials in heavy swells off Cape Town: “It was amazing on our first test. A Southern front had just passed, and we left with modest winds and large four meter swells. She sailed over the worst of the jumbled waters smoothly and performed to our expectations, sailing high to windward and surfing powerfully when reaching. Our owners will see exceptional daily averages on all points of sail yet also be able to carry significant payloads – all the while living on a yacht with enormous space and comfort.”
Both the 482 and 442 models are built in the Balance Cape Town factory headed up by Delany. The factory also manufactures custom Balance Catamarans over 65 feet, namely the Balance 680, Balance 750 Flybridge and Balance 760 XP and the Balance 820.
A key aim of the 482 design was to allow single or double-handed sailing with top performance. The 1,432 square foot sail-plan allows sailing even in light airs, while all of the reefing and sail management takes place at the upper helm station. “Furling headsails, electric winches and a mainsheet system that operates without a traveler mean that she is easily sailed by sailors without racing experience,” the Company said.
“The Balance 482 is most certainly another highly successful addition to the Balance Catamarans Range,” the statement said.