Delphine Lafitte, The Multihull Company's agent in France, organized a trip to the south of France where we were able to test sail each of the catamaran brands that we liked and this enabled us to very quickly decide on Catana as a fast, stylish cruising catamaran.
~ Paul Frew
• The hardtop bimini will carry a vast optional solar array for energy independence. As Balance owners are cruisers and live-aboard voyagers we suspect most our buyers will want a large solar array set atop their bimini.
The aft cockpit is spatious and open with excellent flow from the salon galley, and itself includes a day sink, day fridge, and a fabulous folding table with seating for 10.
• Lightweight foam core construction, vinylester resins, foam panels and epoxy bulkheads create a light, fast, strong and easily driven performance cruising catamaran.
• Self-tending blade jib on a curved track makes tacking the boat single-handed a simple matter of turning over the wheel. Large optional rolling furling screecher allows you to power up the 451 to sail smartly in winds as low as 5 knots on all points of sail, and to achieve speeds in excess of 15 knots under sail in blustery conditions.
• Optional in-boom furling system takes the pain out of hoisting the mainsail and makes reefing so simple it can be taught to a novice in an hour.
• Dual daggerboards enable the Balance 451 to climb into the wind at high angles, make considerably less leeway than her fixed keeled sister, and sail smartly and with less effort off-wind due to greatly reduced hydrodynamic drag.
• We elected to create a four corner visibility bulkhead helm station, but decided to manage the mainsail halyard and all reefing lines at a single winch electric station positioned aft of the helm seat in the cockpit. An electric winch foot-pedal at the helm station allows the mainsail to be raised or lowered while seated at the helm, but the helm station itself is totally free of winches, stoppers, sheets, or any of the “spaghetti factory” you always find on bulkhead helm stations that bring halyards and reefing lines from the mast over the coach roof. The advantages to our design are numerous – you no longer have winches impeding visibility over on the salon roof when sitting at the helm, no more clumsy winch sheet or stopper operation ergonomic problems, and now we can totally dodger off the helm station for foul weather without poking leaky holes through the plastic Dodger to feed the winches and stoppers. Best of all, you no longer have to stand in a sea of lines you must coil or stow safely away before someone trips, or the lines go overboard to foul the props, etc. Our “one stop” winch station means you can manage all of your lines from the safety of the cockpit.
• A large study was done of the interior layout of the Balance 451 and the salon couch was made deeper, more angular, and the salon table top was re-designed to be folded when not in use for eating. The entire focus was to make the salon comfortable for lounging, reading, watching a DVD or working on the computer. We also added additional cabinetry in the kitchen, pantries in the hulls, and created a fantastic aft owner shower and bathroom on the starboard side, as well as an optional port aft office convertible to a berth.
• While a range of builders continue to “experiment” when it comes to engines, electronics and systems, our philosophy is to let someone else experiment on these hapless consumers – not our customers. We designed our wiring, our systems, our engines and generators to be as simply understood, operated and maintained as possible. For the buyer seeking electric engines, or complex “all in one electronic computer systems to operate their boat,” the Balance 451 is not your catamaran. Our entire corporate mantra is ease of use, ease of maintenance, reliability and redundancy. We want our customers to be sailing rather than calling in “expert contractors” to repair their “latest and greatest” gadgets. When you arrive in the Marquesas with your Balance catamaran the only thing we want to hear is what a great time you are having. We do not want to hear about the software problem that keeps you from starting your engines, or the malfunction of your generator that was supposed to push your electric engines, etc. Keep it simple, keep it reliable, go sailing. That’s the Balance way.
These are stand up people, who make a stand up product. I would buy from them again in a heartbeat.
~ Jay Clark, Dolphin 460
I just wanted you to know that your level of service and the high degree of customer satisfaction have made owning my Dolphin a great experience.
~ Daniel Zlotnick, Dolphin