Yacht Class n°14 (sept-oct-nov 2018)
The Vendée-based shipyard has “privileged” a semi-custom manufacturing to conceive the Euphorie 5, its new power catamaran. Both to dress up the two diesel engines she welcomes in her hulls, but also to closely reflect the dreams of the couple who has just taken possession of this sober but refined cruiser.
Written by Philippe Leblond – Photos : All rights reserved
If it produces a line of catamarans with similar silhouettes, all designed by the brand loyal architect Marc Lombard, Privilège Marine always makes a point to propose several layouts and equipment to its customers. In terms of living space, this “custom-made” philosophy can be found on its smallest model: the new Euphorie 5, directly derived from its Serie 5 (15,24 m), the first of a three-cat range that also includes the Serie 6 (19,50 m) and the Serie 7 (24,83 m). Note that the shipyard based in Les Sables d’Olonnes also hopes to propose soon a “power” version of those. We were able to test this boat a few days before she was delivered to her Belgian owners, whose home port is Valencia (Spain). She will mainly sail in the Mediterranean.
An easy access to the flybridge
Like all cruising catamarans, the Euphorie has a low length-width ratio, all to the benefit of liveaboard volumes. As we climbed on board, we were immediately seduced by the spacious cockpit, entirely sheltered by the flybridge, and its two beautiful settees, including one with a large table that can act as an outdoor dining area. The sea view there is amazing, at almost 180°, provided that the tender had been launched from its davit. When afloat, it frees the area between the two swim platforms, each equipped with a shower (hot / cold) and a large staircase covered with teak and clear joints, such as on the cockpit. The engine rooms are easily accessible, thanks to large hatches and vertical ladders. The portside one hosts the many valves for water systems and tanks and the desalinator, while the starboard one accommodates the Onan generator. Her wide side decks are secured by a stainless-steel rail and a teak wash-board, while a gangway makes the boarding easy when moored alongside the dock. The many hatches on the deck (almost flush) do not really hinder circulation, and “trampolines” are limited. We appreciated the large rostrum that supports the double moorings and its powerful windlass with local foot controls. Cleats are large, such as the anchors, but also well-positioned. Yet, when it comes to circulation, the Euphorie’s asset is her direct access to the flybridge from the foredeck by “climbing” the soft sloping deckhouse, which comes in addition to the cockpit staircase. The two sunbeds and the gate there create a very convenient central aisle (beware when sailing in rough conditions, though, as there is no handrails!).
Three different cabins layouts
We enjoyed the panoramic view from the upper level. A large U-shaped settee and a kitchen/bar furniture keep company to the helm station. In front of its two flip-up chairs, the large dashboard smoothly integrates two 12” screens and Yanmar instruments. The pilot also faces a big compass. To us, the design could have been more “daring”, but this dashboard is at least functional, despite the absence of storage compartments. Let’s head back down and open the cockpit sliding door to discover the Euphorie’s “gathering” area. A glance is enough to see the benefit of this layout that placed the helm station on the fly to favour the living-dining room / galley (headroom: 2.08 m): this open area is functional and bright. The living room L-shaped sofa can sit seven people. The “simple and tasteful” decoration combines Alcantara ceiling and settees with light oak furniture, which contrast with the darker floor. The large galley worktop is in off-white Corian. This is no “bling-bling”, and the quality of the finishing speaks for itself. Note that small chart table area, oriented towards the cockpit, also features navigation instrument repeaters to control the smooth running of the boat when on autopilot.
On this unit, the hulls accommodate four cabins, but note that Privilège Marine proposes three distinct layouts. Their differences lie in their front part, with either two (beautiful) identical cabins (headroom: 1,97 m, bed: 200 x 160 cm) – like on this boat – or a two-thirds / one-third layout, with a master more spacious on starboard than on portside. The owner can also opt for a full-beam master suite (hulls + nacelle), of more than seven metres in width! For a 50 foot, the two identical forward cabins are remarkably spacious… On the model we tested, each cabin is en suite (independent toilets and shower), with the exception of the starboard aft one (headroom: 2.02 m, twin berths: 198 x 80 cm) which only had a head (headroom 1.94 m) due to the presence of a large electric panel. It thus shares the shower with the forward cabin. Here too the decoration is sober and elegant, and the finishing simple but neat.
Two efficient and discreet diesels
The time had come to leave our berth, in front of the shipyard’s sheds in Les Sables d’Olonne, to see if boat originally driven by the wind force has been adjusting well to the power energy. First positive aspect, there was no smoke nor vibration when the two diesels started. From the flybridge helm station – the only one except for controls repeaters in the cockpit for port manoeuvring – the idling of the two Yanmar was barely audible. Note that the Euphorie has no manoeuvring joystick… But is it really necessary? Honestly, no. With far-off centres of pressure, our boat sneaked out of the berth with the unique ease that characterises catamaran and pivoted before heading to the famous channel where all the Vendée Globe enthusiasts gather on the day of departure. A small 180° manoeuvrability exercise showed us that 1 100 rpm on each inverter (one forward, the other behind) make the Euphorie turn around in only 28 seconds without sliding out of her turning circle. 300 metres off the shore, we gradually pushed the throttle. For our convenience, we had synchronized the two speeds on one single lever. The Japanese diesels were still remarkably discreet, highlighting the shipyard’s excellent work, both regarding assembly and sound insulation (no vibrations nor hissing turbos). Our sound level readings confirmed this serenity: 49 dBA in the living room, 46 in the forward cabins, 52 in the aft ones, when on idling speed. On cruising speed, we respectively noted: 66, 62 and 72 decibels (the aft cabins are a little “noisier” since they are close to the engines), which is highly respectable for a 50 foot.
Only one helm station…
At top speed, the GPS froze at 21.5 knots, when Privilège had communicated 21 knots beforehand… Mission accomplished then, on a water body barely wrinkled by the light wind but with a swell oscillating between 1 m and 1.50 m. At this semi-planing speed, with head seas, the pitch was relatively sensitive yet normal as the hulls moved along the waves. Yet we appreciated the incredible slide of her hulls and their ultra-fine bow entries. As there was no chop, we used the wake of a small trawler to confirm she has also inherited the catamaran’s amazing capacity to cut the wave without degrading comfort. Impossible though to evaluate her passage in a rough and wild sea, which is usually their weak point because of the nacelle. In this case, Euphorie’s high freeboard should be an asset. However, we have some doubt about the single helm station on the flybridge. Will the small windshield be enough to effectively protect the crew during bad weather? We do not think so. Fortunately, the shipyard is planning a windowed awning to entirely close the flybridge…
Let’s complete our trial with a few figures expressing the “travel catamaran” identity of the Euphorie. We must admit she does not shine by her vivacity (24”5 to go from 0 to 20 knots), but she has other qualities. Her engine yield is extraordinary, with a reference speed of 15,5 knots (3 000 rpm) with 0.23 miles travelled per litre of diesel. Enough for 225 miles without refueling, which corresponds to a round-trip Cannes-Calvi with a nice security fuel reserve. When at the sailboat speed – 6.6 knots and 1 250 rpm – she can nearly travel 1 000 miles, thanks to a 1 mile per litre efficiency. For the enthusiasts of long ocean crossing in desert areas, an increased fuel capacity should be enough, as the engines perfectly do the job.
A serious construction !
Bernard Voisin (technical manager at the design office), 35 years of experience in construction, was probably the most qualified to talk about the Euphorie’s “backstage”… “For the polyester structural work, we used the infusion technique and a Divinycell foam sandwich, with wooden inserts in strategic spots. We also put aluminum inserts to fix the deck equipment, and stainless-steel pillars for the flybridge hardtop. The deck and plankings were reinforced by laminated foam omega ribs. Perfect to combine rigidity and lightness as the Euphorie only weighs 20 tons. For the furniture, upholstery and deck equipment, we called in local subcontractors. As for the engines, we have referenced two brands: Volvo and Yanmar. But on special request, we can install another one, provided that we pay attention to the weight to avoid overloading the stern. For the generator, we chose the 7kW or the 11 kW Onan. We have an 800 amps battery bank that can be increase if necessary up to 1 000 amps (air conditioning is available). On demand, we can also opt for lithium.”