The return of the twin rigged cat
A perennial problem with catamaran design is where to put the mast? Plonking it in the middle of the main crossbeam is the obvious place for it but induces considerable load on the centre of that beam. This has been partly solved on boats like the D35s on Lake Geneva which feature a flying central hull to spread the load further at the mast step as well as improving fore and aft rig tension. However an alternative option is to have two rigs and place one each hull.
This twin rig approach is nothing new. In big boats it was tried in the early 1980s by Bruno Peyron on his 17m Jaz catamaran which finished third in the 1982 Route du Rhum. The most famous recent (if shortlived) examples being Pete Goss' Team Phillips and Yves Parlier's Mediatis Region Aquitaine.
Hungarian boat builder Pauger Carbon Composites, who construction all the RC44 one designs has come up with a new 50ft catamaran called Fifty Fifty.
For Pauger's Dénes Paulovits, creating Fifty-Fifty was a dream come true - having designed the twin masted cat, it remained on his drawing board for more than a year before he met Marton Józsa, owner and skipper of Wild Joe, the Reichel Pugh 60 CBTF canting keeler - previously the Australian Admirals' Cup winner Wild Oats.
Józsa was looking for a race winning yacht for the Blue Riband Race on Lake Balaton and was sold on the idea of the Pauger cat.
Compared to previous twin rigged cats, Fifty-Fifty is unusual in having her twin asymmetric rotating wingmasts connected by two substantial spreaders.
Building of the boat began in January at Pauger Carbon Composite, 50km from Budapest with the aim of having her completed in time to contest the the 44th Kékszalag MVM Partner Grand Prix, the Blue Ribbon on Lake Balaton, Hungary's most important regatta. This regatta is allegedly the oldest and at 150km, the longest lake regatta in Europe - the first edition was held in 1934 - and has a strong entry with over the 600 boats competing in 2011 and 570 this year.
Unusually multihulls are only allowed to compete in the event every other year, 2012 only being the second time they have been allowed in.
Fifty-Fifty was launched just two days before the Blue Ribbon and was up against the SL33 catamaran Black Jack and the Principessa Libera class monohull which traditionally goes very well in the light.
The two masted catamaran proved her potential regularly sailing three times faster then wind speed despite the team only being able to sail her for three hours prior to the race. Their winning time of 10 hours, 34 minutes and 15 seconds was a new course record.
More photos here
LOA: 15m (50ft)
Masts: 2x19m rotating wings, each of 10m² surface area
Sails: Mains - 2x72 m², jibs: 2x46 m², reacher: 2x72 m²
Total sail area upwind: 236 m² + 20 m² mast
Downwind: 288 m² + 20 m² mast
Displacement: around 1500kg