Two rival brands to be launched in 2022

The season of concept drawings and raised eyebrows is over. The HopYacht and Nutshell 26 Catamaran are jockeying for position at the starting line of a new-look compact catamaran.

HopYacht construction commenced in October, and Nutshell moulds are complete. The first hulls are expected early next year.

HopYacht’s Mary-Clare Tomes, who founded HopYacht with her husband Paul, said the design had piqued local interest at a launch event in Hout Bay in October. “We fully expected the seasoned sailors who attended our presentations to take one look at the simplicity of the HopYacht’s sail plan – and the ‘HEAD’ being labeled ‘BATHROOM’ – and head for the bar!” said Tomes. “There was a completely different reaction and we really appreciated their positive input.”

HopYacht 30

Nutshell 26

The HopYacht concept grew out of the couple’s personal experience chartering yachts in the Mediterranean. The Anton du Toit design aims to facilitate ‘relaxed holiday style sailing’. The compact size is billed as an advantage rather than an inconvenience, in that owners can more easily transport their boat and fit snugly into bustling marinas. “Whilst the final design is a significant departure from traditional yachts, we didn’t set out to build a better mousetrap — what we wanted to achieve above all else was a better environment for the mouse,” explained Tomes. “In fact the word MOUSE became an acronym to help keep our thinking on track.  Designing a yacht specifically for couples and young families and primarily for the charter market MOUSE stands for Motor Often – Under Sail Easy.”

The fully-electric design is another key selling point. Said Tomes: “Equipping the HopYacht with twin electric motors is not only a huge plus for the environment it’s also a real win for quality of life on board … no fumes and no noise keeps everyone happy.

“ Talking to the charter industry and private clients in Europe, the timing is right for a compact all-electric catamaran. If clients already own an electric car, they have an expectation that the yachts they sail will be the same,” she said.

Prospective buyers of a compact catamaran WOULD most likely ALSO be interested in a rival model, the Nutshell 26, designed by naval architect Phil Southwell who has teamed up with Cape Town builder builder Dylan Soares de Melo. Southwell told SABBEX the first Nutshell would be in the water in January next year. “We have to launch a prototype hull, rig and bridge deck before Xmas. We will probably power this with outboards to test the rig,” Southwell said. “The hull moulds of the Nutshell 26 are now complete. The team at Further Composites have done a great job of keeping a fair and accurate build. These moulds are for the first run of 10 boats and then they can be reinforced and/or modified for the next run of 20-50.”

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