Video by Elena Patriarca
Most of the multihull world seems driven by the concept that bigger is always better. But with its new 38-foot Catsmart, Bali Catamarans is taking a refreshing step in the other direction, presenting the smallest boat in its model range for a market that Catana Group Sales and Marketing Director Boris Compagnon says has been yearning for more and better choices in a more reasonable size.
“It’s an entry level boat, so we are trying to attract newcomers and maybe new people coming from the monohull sector,” Compagnon said at the International Multihull Show in La Grande Motte, France, in April, where Hull #1 made its debut. “This segment is quite poor at the moment, meaning there is not much offered.”
Designed by Olivier Poncin and architect Xavier Faÿ, the Catsmart’s Bali DNA is evident in its solid foredeck with forward lounging area, pivoting cockpit door and sliding side windows, as well as a full walkaround aft. The tilting door, Compagnon said, helps maximize the shared living space even in a 38-footer. “If the weather is good, you open the door and you have a real full-size table and full galley inside, or if the weather is bad, you close the door and you keep this volume with the original table inside and the nice galley also.”
The bright, redesigned interior features an expansive galley along the entire forward bulkhead, with windows that open to the forward cockpit. A full-sized nav station just aft shares the end of the starboard settee for seating, while the dining table occupies the portside. Cabin layouts are available in several configurations, with two cabins and two heads—each occupying one whole hull—being the most voluminous for two couples, but options also for three or four cabins with two heads.
The boat’s Catana influence shows in the two helm stations aft, with immediate access from both to the mainsheet traveler, located centerline on the aft beam. Sail control lines lead aft to a winch at each helm.
Eschewing a flybridge has allowed the boom to be lower and more easily accessible via the cabintop to handle the mainsail, which is available in a couple of options, including a 505-square-foot fully battened square-top. A self-tacking Solent-rigged genoa adds extra gears, along with a Code 0 and optional 753-square-foot asymmetrical headsail.
“We also wanted this boat to be good performance,” Compagnon said. “We hear a lot since the beginning…that Bali is a charter boat and Bali is not a sailing boat. Those of you who have tried the boats with us know that the boats move well, they’re not slower than any of the boats in that category.”
Compagnon noted that pre-Covid, 65-70% of Balis were in charter and the remainder in private ownership, but that has changed, so that today it’s about 50-50. The new Catsmart, he said, will continue that trend as it fills a demand for a more affordable, easily handled entry-level catamaran.
LOA 38’ 5” Beam 21’ 2” Draft 3’ 6” Displacement (empty) 17,637 lbs. Sail Area 818 sq ft (main and genoa), 1,076 sq ft (square-top main and Code 0)