If you plan on doing long journeys, you should search for a cat that can achieve high miles-per-day averages. A yacht that is tough and resilient is also required if you wish to venture off the beaten path and into greater latitudes like the Bluewater Sailboat Garcia Explocat 52.
In the monohull world, aluminum yachts are nothing new, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone developed an aluminum catamaran capable of visiting the majority of the planet’s regions safely and pleasantly. We’re fortunate that Garcia Yachts, based in Cherbourg, France, and Pierre Delion, the brains behind the Garcia Explocat 52, are that someone.
The Windelo 54 and other yachts are competitors of this one, but it promises safety at higher latitudes.
Along with Jimmy Cornell, Garcia (a member of the Grand Huge Yachting Group, which also owns Outremer and Gunboat), created the Exploration 45. They followed up on their popular monohull with the Explocat, which has two hulls.
She is long-distance catamaran that is cozy, secure, and cruises at a pace that is faster than usual. And all of that comes with a finish you could anticipate from a Prestige catamaran.
Garcia Yachts has 40 years of expertise and a strong commitment to what it does. The French shipyard is regarded as the industry standard in the construction of custom yachts. The pinnacle of French yachting prowess is represented by the luxury aluminum adventure yachts known as Garcia.
Garcia Yachts has always wanted to travel with you on your voyage! The shipyard creates Bluewater Sailboats that can accommodate every need and let you travel in total safety. From the Arctic to the Antarctic, more than 300 Garcia yachts are currently at sea. It’s never simple to get ready for a significant journey, just as there is never an ideal time. There are always so many valid excuses to put off pursuing a dream, but Garcia Yachts is here to support you in doing so!
There have been two distinct developments in serious long-term sailing yachts in recent years. First off, catamarans are now so common that even expert racing sailors talk about “purchasing a catamaran” for family cruising and don’t even consider a monohull.
This pattern is also seen in submissions for the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), where multihulls are becoming more prevalent. In 2020, they represented 28% of the entire fleet and a significantly larger percentage of newer models.
The second trend is the expedition yachts made of sturdy metal becoming more and more popular. For this, aluminum is used because it provides adequate strength and stiffness without adding weight, especially for yachts larger than a crucial size.
Because of this, aluminum was frequently used in the construction of high-end racing yachts before composites took over.
So, it was only a matter of time until these two ideas were combined to produce an expedition catamaran made of aluminum. For almost 50 years, Garcia Yachts, based in Cherbourg, has been producing metal boats, notably Jean Luc Van Den Heede’s 36.15 MET, which helped him place third in the 1989 inaugural Vendée Globe Race.
Due to the popularity of the Expedition 45, which he co-designed with ARC founder Jimmy Cornell eight years ago, Garcia also doesn’t require an introduction as a leader in the creation of exploration boats. Less well known is the fact that Garcia’s Explocat 52 is far from his first aluminum catamaran.
The SC48, one of which consistently recorded among of the quickest passage times in the 2017–2018 World ARC, followed a pair of 43-footers fifteen years ago.
Garcia, a member of the Grand Large Yachting group, was able to rely on Outremer and Gunboat for significant knowledge on its most recent model, and Pierre Delion, who also designed the SC48, is responsible for naval architecture.
Hence, the Garcia Explocat 52 is the result of a highly skilled development team. It has already garnered a lot of attention and been nominated for the 2021 European Yacht of the Year honors.
The Garcia Explocat 52’s main design tenet is a strong, secure long-range boat with fast passagemaking capabilities. The boat had to be able to be operated by a couple, and it had to provide excellent comfort both at sea – even in bad weather – and in harbor.
She is naturally made of aluminum. The Garcia Explocat 52 prioritizes seaworthiness above flybridges. This material provides you better strength/weight ratios at this length. She weighs 18.9 tonnes light displacement, which is a little more than a Fountaine Pajot 51, but you end up with a stiffer, more durable boat with a more powerful sail design.
An Outremer 51 will have more performance, but the Garcia 52 is a more durable yacht. Remember that we are comparing aluminum and fiberglass? Garcia Explocat will always weigh more than an equivalent catamaran made of fiberglass or carbon (read our Balance 482 review as an example). For strength, durability, sustainability, and resale value, it is the trade-off you make.
The Explocat 52’s thinnest plating is 5 mm, increasing to 8 mm, 10 mm, and 12 mm before reaching 14 mm at the bottom of the hulls.
The hulls’ base is riveted to fixed keels (another safety feature for when you are off the beaten track). With a Prout, you can dry the boat out at low tide because they are deeper and protect the rudders.
The Bluewater Sailboat has a number of safety features, including skegs in front of the saildrives and fore and aft watertight bulkheads. Aluminum structural bulkheads, an aluminum forward beam, and a composite forward longitudinal beam are all parts of the boat’s construction. Further reinforcement is added by directly welding chain plates and reinforcement plates onto the hull and deck construction. Further increasing the boat’s safety features are watertight bulkheads that are directly welded to the hull and deck structure.
the catamaran’s deck configuration, which appears to have combined the best elements of contemporary catamaran design. You can control halyards and reefing lines in the forward cockpit, making it easy to safely shorten sails from the saloon.
As a result, there are fewer lines and less friction when people move around blocks. In this instance, little is more. If you’d want, you can also run these back to the helms.
The helm position can be changed. While the usual setup is a swivel (pendulum) helm at the main bulkhead—a design that first appeared on Balance catamarans—one owner has opted for twin aft helms.
While the genoa, solent, and gennaker/code 0 sheets, as well as furling lines, are controlled by electric Lewmar 65 winches on either side of the cockpit, the mainsheet and traveler are handled on the aft crossbeam.
Garcia has done a fantastic job of aiding you in maintaining order in the work areas by providing large bags for your ropes to keep the yacht in ship-shape condition. Reefing lines return to the helm in a secure manner (there is an option to manage these at the mast if you prefer shorter lines).
The rig has two headstays, a self-tacking furling solent, and an overlapping furling jib on the main forestay.
With the addition of lighter wind sails and furling spinnakers, you have a versatile kit that will optimize your sail plan in most situations with the least amount of hassle. On one of the mainsheet blocks to the boom, there is a safety fuse. The mainsail loses power when this blows.
The forward cockpit provides excellent sight for seeing ice or reefs and handling the anchor windlass. It is also a safe place to operate on your halyards, topping lift, and lighter wind sails (gennaker, Code 0 etc.).
And just like a gunboat, the breeze blows through the boat pleasantly if you fling the door open while you are on the hook in warmer climates. It’s also a fantastic place to have a sundowner.
Darnet Design gave this catamaran a stunning interior and bottom finish. There are several visual similarities between this interior design team’s work and that of the Privilege Signature 580. Winters are warm, and summers are cool.
You will value the air extraction system, which circulates air from the living space without opening hatches, if you are traveling to higher latitudes.
Demisters are installed in the forward saloon windows, and there are lockers with heating and ventilation for your rainy weather gear. The vision is excellent and it is very light up in the saloon.
The layout is cozy, with a sofa nestled under the starboard hull forward and a spacious galley behind the port hull of the saloon. Since this is a sailing yacht, there is a large forward-facing nav station that takes pride of place. This semi-custom cat has a variety of options accessible below it and has a total headroom of 2 meters.
The conventional version has enough for one master cabin and two guest cabins. Instead, choose the four-cabin model. The skippers cabin could also be made out of one of the front cabins. Two hull windows, a large aft window, opening ports aft and overhead, and other hull windows provide abundant natural light in the aft cabins.
Especially during reaching, the yacht’s speed defies its displacement, placing it in a separate class from other expedition yachts of comparable size.
The boat cruises at 10 knots and easily reaches a top speed of 11.8 knots while broad reaching at 120° TWA with a full main and Code 0 in 16 knots of true wind. The Code 0 is furled and the Solent jib is utilized as the breeze picks up to 19 knots, slightly slowing the boat down. The wind had decreased once the Bluewater Sailboat went upwind, which made for favorable testing circumstances for cruising yachts.
The yacht made 5.3 close-hauled in just seven knots of genuine wind, and jumped to 6.2 in nine knots of breeze.
The top upwind speed was 9 knots in a real wind of 15 knots. These speeds, however, can only be reached by sailing the yacht quickly and freely with tacking angles of at least 105°. This is expected for a yacht of this type that can change apparent wind angles quickly.
The Garcia Explocat 52 is highly nimble in tacks even in weak winds and exhibits no signs of missing stays or slowing down to the point where steering becomes challenging until the new tack is restored. Compared to a lightweight monohull, the steering has less feel, but it still gives adequate feedback for a responsive and comfortable helming experience.
Due to Garcia’s extensive experience building tough, all-terrain yachts, the yard was able to create one with a particularly alluring combination of spaciousness, speed, and tough construction. It moreover gains from a high level of finish, careful attention to detail, and numerous tidy touches. It is obvious that the boat has the capability to sail 250 miles in a day with ease in ideal circumstances. It also includes enough tank space and storage for supplies, spare parts, and tools to provide a high level of autonomy for a considerable amount of time.
If you’re looking for a used sailboat for sale, check out the Bluewater sailboat data and specs to make an informed decision. Ocean Wave Sail has data for over 10000+ boats that can help you select one to meet your sailing needs.