Groupe Beneteau is the largest boat building enterprise in the world, employing 7,600 men and women to create 12 different brands and 180 boat models. Known as a quality builder that builds honest value into each boat, it has allowed thousands of boaters to enjoy quality time on the water, whether on a Beneteau, Jeanneau, Prestige, Lagoon, or any of their other brands.
When it comes to catamarans, the Lagoon line has been quite successful since the first cruising cats launched in 1984. The model choices today range from 40 to 78 feet. Over 6,000 cruising catamarans have come out of the Groupe Beneteau/Lagoon facilities. Some of these boats are built as private yachts, while many go straight into the prosperous charter industry that remains a key market for the multihull industry.
A few years ago, Groupe Beneteau management saw the need for a new kind of cruising catamaran, one that could better serve a new generation of sailors. It brought together a team of naval architects and designers to create a new brand, Excess Catamarans. The vision was to build a moderate performance catamaran line that would straddle across the traditionally separate worlds of monohulls and multihulls.
Seattle Yachts is proud to be the Excess Catamarans dealer for Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Please visit our Contact Us page for information on our different locations on the west coast.
Merging the benefits of the catamaran platform with the simple joy of sailing led the design team to develop a boat to appeal equally to sailors of monohulls and multihulls. Sailors in search of their ideal cruising boat today look at both kinds of sailboats. And for these sailors, Excess Catamarans truly blurs the line when it comes to the qualities brought forth from these distinctly different boat types.
The Excess concept is simple: Wouldn’t most sailors prefer the satisfying sailing experience of a monohull along with the tremendous living space and comfort of a modern catamaran?
To make this happen, and what is most obvious on all Excess catamarans, is the placement of twin aft helm stations, outboard of the traditional cockpit of most catamarans. For monohull performance sailors, these helm locations retain the wind-in-your-face sailing experience, close to the water, with a full view of the sails, boat, and surroundings. Sight lines are outstanding. Sailing at its best, living in the moment, tweaking to get the most boat speed out of the sail plan. It is adrenaline and excitement that only performance sailing can offer. And this simply is not possible with the prevalent fleet of production catamarans with flybridges or raised helm stations.
There are lots of reasons why Excess Catamarans are such fun to sail. And with a mast set farther aft, the smaller mainsail and larger headsail make for easier sail handling, even sailing singlehanded.
Another result of the aft helms is the enormous open cockpit area, with same-level seating that flows nicely between cockpit, helm, and saloon. The person at the helm is just steps away from the social action and everyone can move freely about the large cockpit and saloon on the same level. The Excess designers also worked hard to eliminate blind spots from either helm so visibility around these boats is amazing.
All lines run to these aft helm stations, so sail handling is easily done right from the helm position, with electric winches just forward of the wheels. Being at the back of the boat provides the best view of the sails, the surroundings, and is every bit as satisfying as the slim monohull, but without needing to bury the rail in the water. This is more appealing to many sailors and crew who would rather not be heeled over.
Most other production catamarans have the helmsperson sitting at a raised helm, above the cockpit or on a flybridge. The helmsperson may not have a good view of the sails, and is far off the water, driving behind a windscreen. Such cats offer little opportunity to focus on performance, an element sadly compromised by other criteria. An autopilot does most of the steering on these boats.
Excess cats are for those who want a hands-on sailing experience. Even the standard boat in the Excess line is intended to be lighter and faster than other catamarans, which might feature more cabins, more accommodations, more weight, and more flybridge seating.
For even more performance, Excess offers an optional (and popular) Pulse package, which includes a three-foot taller mast and larger sails: a square-top main, self-tending jib and Code 0 to fly off an optional bowsprit.
Catamarans have been all the rage for the past number of years, as cruisers love the creature comforts of a wide, stable platform. They also prefer large saloons and level living spaces that reflect a desire for all the comforts of home while enjoying a cruising adventure with family and friends. Too often, however, this results in a compromise between comfort, accommodations, performance, and price. Excess Catamarans offer a satisfying blend of these important factors.
There are currently three Excess models to choose from, with two more models coming soon. The smallest is the Excess 11. With completely new tooling, the 38-footer does everything right, with excellent accommodations for a cruising couple or family. And it is no slow, small boat. In the 2021 ARC across the Atlantic from Las Palmas to St Lucia, an Excess 11 was the smallest catamaran in the fleet. Yet it took first place in the Multihull Class B Division, beating larger boats.
Excess cats are available in a variety of configurations, with three to four cabins (The Excess 15 can be ordered with up to six cabins). A three cabin, two head layout on all three models dedicates an entire hull as a master stateroom. It is a very livable sailing cat.
Excess catamarans are equipped with Yanmar diesel engines and sail drives, from twin 29hp in the smaller Excess 11 to optional twin 80hp engines in the flagship, 48-foot Excess 15. They are easy to access and offer reliable and efficient propulsion, with outstanding maneuverability with hulls so far apart.
But innovative technology remains at the forefront of Groupe Beneteau’s vision, and the company is experimenting with a prototype Excess 15 that uses a hybrid electric drive, in partnership with the pioneering propulsion company, Torqeedo.
This prototype (called E’Lab) is fitted with two Torqeedo Deep Blue 50kW motors, lithium batteries, diesel generators to recharge the batteries, and Torqeedo’s proprietary energy management system. The two companies are also testing the evolving hydro-generation technology and it is expected that one day diesel generators will no longer be necessary, and a fully “green” cruising boat will be a reality.
If sailing a boat is still an important element of your cruising plans, rather than simply motoring or sailing along at six or seven knots on autopilot, you owe it to yourself to check out the Excess line of cruising catamarans.
Live life to Excess.