Christophe BARREAU & Frederic NEUMAN
Orion is a marvel to behold, unique in every respect and represents thousands and thousands of hours of design and construction technique from the pre-eminent catamaran builder in the world.
She is unquestionably the finest Catana ever built and very likely the finest catamaran of her size ever built.
Unlike so many custom catamaran projects cooked up by men with big dreams and big budgets but little experience, Orion was built for a seasoned seaman who owned two previous catamarans, including a Catana 582 that he sailed around the world. He knew what it was like to live on a cat, voyage on a cat, care for a cat, and sail a cat through massive seas and winds. He set out, in partnership with Christophe Barreau, the famed naval architect for Catana, to create his dream boat. It took thousands of hours to design Orion and many more thousands to build her.
After the completion of the build and use by the original owner, Orion was subsequently purchased by another accomplished yachtsman who has multiple Atlantic crossings on his own 60′ catamaran.
Since the purchase in 2012, Orion has been crewed by the talented Scott Fratcher and Allison Thompson who have over 250,000 sea miles each. Scott Fratcher, (a licensed marine engineer/Yachtmaster Ocean) and Allison Thompson (Yachtmaster Ocean/Holistic grommet chef) are no strangers to multihulls. They each worked five years in Alaska on a 104ft power cat, spent two years as management and crew of Mariah, a Catana 582 in South Pacific charter and were critical members of Team Earthrace, the multihull that currently holds the Round The World Speedboat Record. Scott Fratcher and Allison Thompson completed the commissioning of Orion and have since sailed her over 20,000 miles taking her from Spain through the Canarias, & Cape Verde Islands, as far south as Trinidad, North through Main, New York Harbor, almost every Caribbean Island, and many other stops along the Atlantic seaboard.
Orion is now a tried and true blue water luxury cat. The crew sails her conservatively and average about 250 miles a day during her many ocean passages. Her best one-day run to date is 310 miles. She will sail easily in the high teens while in protected waters, and the crew throttles her back to 12-15k while ocean sailing.
The current long-term crew are willing to stay with the vessel or happy to provide a detailed turn over to new crew or owners. The current crew are also willing to make up a full video explanation of each yacht system, so future crews or owners can benefit from the experience.
Orion has been in light charter for two years in the Caribbean and is US imported and thus able to charter in US waters. Orion comes as working charter boat that could help offset expenses when not in owner’s use. She is currently registered with a Jamaican flag and a US Cruising permit as a private charter vessel able to complete up to 91 charter days per year.
Orion was built to BV survey and is currently in good standing with BV with all inspections current.
Phil Berman was in France to personally inspect Orion and met with her build captain who lived in Canet (near the Catana factory) during the construction of the yacht to oversee every aspect of her build.
What is most striking when you first approach Orion is that she looks almost identical to smaller Barreau-designed Catana 65’s and 50’s, but sits off the water so high that, yes, she has two floors in her tall hulls – a first in catamarans!
This has two unique advantages. Firstly, all of the technical equipment is under the floor out in the open where the crew can simply walk up to the pumps, watermaker, etc, making maintenance a breeze.
Secondly, all of the above floor space is open and used simply for the crew and guests. There is not one cupboard filled with an air-conditioning unit or any other equipment. Instead, all of the cabin space is for guests and the technical equipment is below the floor. The crew reports that this has worked out wonderfully and cannot imagine going back to a standard catamaran.
The bridge deck of the yacht hosts a massive saloon and galley. The enormous hulls contain owners cabins, guest cabins, and crew quarters, while the lower floor of the yacht is devoted entirely to systems – watermakers, generators, inverters, wiring, plumbing, etc.
Every system on the yacht is easily accessed for care and repair. She is the most carefully thought-out large catamaran I have ever had the pleasure to inspect with regards to her systems.
And of course, like all Catanas, she sports a massive carbon-fibre mast, high-tech sails, daggerboards, etc. Orion was designed to fit under most “ship bridges” With an airdraft of 126ft off the water, Orion even fits under the 127ft Brooklin Bridge. Fact is, you could not possibly “upgrade” Orion in a single area because not a penny was spared during her fabrication.
For the most part, catamarans of this size are male-molded products, not female molded, for the simple reason that tooling up female moulds for a yacht of this size is seldom done due to the enormous costs. Yet, Orion is a female-molded boat and looks as such.
Her hulls are perfectly fare, gelcoated, and her decks are factory-perfect molded non-skid. If you walk onto Orion she looks like a production yacht in terms of fit and finish – no sprayed-on paint, no sprayed on non-skid, etc. And her furniture is cabinet grade in every respect.
Orion sails flawlessly and has been fully debugged by the Catana team in France and the current highly experienced professional sailing crew.
She is a very special yacht for a special catamaran sailor. Contact Multihull Solutions to arrange a showing!
Not for sale in US Waters.