« The master suite is a major asset of this catamaran of 20 metre «
Yacht Class n°11 (Dec-jan-feb 2018)
Privilège Marine - Hanse Yachts
The French shipyard Privilège, which has joined last spring Hanse Yachts Group, continues to modernize its catamaran range. Thus, the Serie 6, designed by Marc Lombard, offers a refined and spacious interior layout.
Text : Christophe Varène - Photos : D.R
Privilege, noun: a special, exclusive, personal advantage. The proposed definition made us enjoy even more our pleasure to board the Privilège Serie 6, the new catamaran from the shipyard based in Les Sables d’Olonne. This feeling was even stronger when we sailed up the famous harbor entrance channel, the very one where, every four years, parade the competitors of the Vendée Globe, the mythical round-the-world in solo. High on the flybridge helm station, we let our imagination carry us away to hear the cheers of thousands of spectators lined up on the banks. This is all the easier since the strollers of this fine autumn day could not help admiring the Serie 6's imposing stature slipping in slow motion towards the ocean. Her dimensions certainly seem massive, yet, thanks to the long portholes cut in her straight bows, her stretched transoms plus her long and sloped deckhouse, this large cruising catamaran displays a silhouette, if not sporty, at least slender. A fine result she owes to the talents of Marc Lombard's design studio, Privilège's long-term partner. The shipyard's long - and prestigious – history started with its founder, whose name left an indelible mark in offshore racing: Philippe Jeantot. This sailor has an impressive record, and notably won twice the BOC Challenge - a round-the-world single-handed race, sailed in stages - in 1983 and 1987, before founding the Vendée Globe, "the Everest of sailing". Drawing on his sea experience, he founded Jeantot Marine which launched Privilege's cruising catamaran range.
Part of Hanse Group
In 1996, the company became Alliaura Marine and developed in high-end sailing yachts. In 2012, at the instigation of Gilles Wagner, the shipyard changed its name to Privilège Marine before, last May, becoming part of the German Group Hanse Yachts, the world's second group in production boats, that owns famous sailing brands such as Hanse, Delher, Moody, Varianta, and a motor yacht one, Fjord. This union is a great opportunity for both parties. For Hanse Yachts, Privilège is a gateway for the growing market of luxurious catamarans, while the Vendée-based shipyard aims to take full advantage of the group's size to optimize purchases, invest in the yard and modernize its production tool. The catamaran range now has three models. The Serie 5, inspired by the Privilège 515, is a 50 foot unit designed for easy and accessible familial round-the-world programs. She also comes in a motorized version under the name of Euphorie 5 and the hull n°17, currently under construction, will even be fitted with an electrical propulsion. The Serie 7 takes the features from the Privilège 745, a 22.70 metre, also modernized by Marc Lombard's studio. And finally last born of the family, the Serie 6, introduced in April 2016, will see its third unit be launched in June 2018. Like her big sisters, she was designed for distant and transoceanic navigations, and belongs to the category of sailing boats with a crew. Whilst the annual production is now around five boats a year, it should quickly double in accordance with targets announced at the arrival of Hanse Yachts.
All manœuvres from the flybridge
On this beautiful day of October, the wind was slow to come up off the Sables d’Olonne, yet the sails were sent without hesitation. Untying the mainsail awning takes a bit of exercise as the composite canoe boom, with carbon reinforcement, is high, but the rungs on the carbon mast make this operation easier. To lower it, the boom width and the lazy jacks are perfect partners. The optional electric furling genoa just awaits to unfurl. Nothing complicated for the other maneuvers since they are all led to the flybridge and its two helm stations (the starboard one is in option), except for the halyards and reefing lines. The Antal electric winches (some deck equipments may differ from the standard ones, a perk of semi-custom productions) allow to effortlessly set the sails. By 5 knots of wind, the Privilège Serie 6 – which weighs more than 28 tons - cannot do more than 3.5 knots, but during a 9 knots "flurry", the fine water inlets of the two hulls create small bow waves when reaching 6 knots. Which is consistent with the speed the shipyard expects: 8.5 knots at the speedometer for 15 knots of established wind. As often on large cruising catamarans, the sensations at the helm are limited, but the helmsman can take advantage of the flybridge's exceptional point of view to feel the hulls motion and monitor his sail plan through the large transparent sections of the bimini. While understanding that its outdoor location exposes it to the elements, it is regrettable, however, that the large and fully-equipped dashboard did not get a slightly more sophisticated design. On a monohull, the heel is often a good indicator to decide when to reduce the sails, yet this Serie 6 is little sensitive to it, and caution will be required when taking a reef to prevent any equipment deterioration. This disadvantage becomes an advantage when it comes to circulation onboard, since this lack of heel makes it easy. But the size of this Serie 6 does not explain it all. The deck plan layout and equipment also play their roles, and provide a double lifeline on each side and the broad bulwark, inspired by motor-yachts, that runs along the gangways. In the same way, the forward central nacelle limits the size of the net stretched between the hulls plus, everywhere, deck hatches are flush. Aft, we appreciate the large passage between the outdoor lounge and the tender hydraulic platform, as well as the wide steps from the swim beaches to the transom, as aquatic pleasures are inseparable from successful cruises.
An exclusive 4 cabine layout
Friendliness is also one of the strengths of this Privilège Serie 6, starting with outdoors. On the flybridge, the helmsman will not feel isolated thanks to the nice U-shaped saloon just behind him. Note that the staircase leading to this splendid terrace with a sea view, has a plain and light design and is well protected forward. On the cockpit protected by the flybridge hardtop, the profusion of teakwood on the floor and the table, along with its large sofas, create a welcoming atmosphere. To port side is a long bar with its astonishing gleaming varnished furniture. A repeater, fixed above the wide bay windows leading inside, allows to monitor the wind and speed data, among other things, without going to the wheelhouse. The saloon changes depending on the chosen layout, but on our exclusive owner version with four cabins, a great emphasis was placed on volume and brightness. The forward and side windows provide light to the design conceived by Franck Darnet Design studio: with straightforward contemporary lines contrasting with woods and upholstery. To port is located a rear-facing discrete, yet functional, chart table. The owners opted for a port side lounge area with three comfortable armchairs separated by storage compartments and a beautiful starboard table for eight. A tour on the starboard hull unveiled the central galley, its long countertops, its numerous cupboards and complete equipment. The front end hosts the crew area with a beautiful double cabin, a large shower room and an optional single cabin in the bow, accessible from the outside. Aft, both hulls enjoy the same layout : a guest cabin with a double bed (the starboard one convertible into two single beds), plus a nice bathroom. But let's stop on the forward part of the port hull, that goes all the way from the stairs coming from the saloon to the bow, that hosts the superb master suite. In addition to a dressing room, a study and a bathroom, it enjoys on top of it the entire central nacelle which results in a large bedroom with a central double bed, a lounge area, shelves and storage compartments. This suite is undoubtedly the highlight and a major asset of the Privilège Serie 6.
A luxury unit
On our way back to port, we were able to assess the maneuverability of this large catamaran: the two powerful 160 hp Yanmar -a bit more powerful than standard motorization- each located in a hull make possible stationary turnings, with careful consideration to windage in strong wind. With the Serie 6, Privilège Marine signs a high-end unit for offshore cruising with a crew, offering specific living areas suitable for various day activities while respecting both the desires of intimacy and the search for conviviality. A philosophy often specific to catamarans.
- Overall length : 19,50 m
- Max beam : 9,20 m
- Draft : 1,85 m
- Fuel : 2 x 1 000 l
- Water : 2 x 650 l
- Material : sandwich PVC en infusion
- Engine : 2 x 110 ch diesel Volvo
- Main sail area : 132 m2
- Genoa : 88 m2
- Price from : 1 990 000 € HT
- Naval architect : Cabinet Marc Lombard
- Exterior designer : Cabinet Marc Lombard
- Interior designer: Franck Darnet Design
- Builder : Privilège Marine (Les Sables-d'Olonne)