Before developing a bluewater cruising catamaran we must ask ourselves some important questions first:
What is the perfect cruising multihull actually? Is performance everything? Are huge interior volumes and lots of heavy luxury finishes in small to medium size catamarans worth the seakeeping penalty? Does a simple design mean "not as comfortable"? Does a complex fitout necessarily equal a more enjoyable lifestyle? Does cheap really mean lower cost and does expensive really mean better?
The answer, after all the effort spent looking for it, turns out to be quite simple, but also rather disappointing: It depends...
Designs should be chosen because they suit the requirements of the people who will be using them and every design out there has a group of people who she is perfect for. So grading a yacht very much depends on what your mission is for the yacht, and one needs to be brutally honest about what that is.
Once this is established, it pays to seek out the craft that gets closest to meeting those requirements with as few compromises as possible. To help with that, we’ve developed over the years what we call the ‘V-ratio’.
Below is a ternary plot of three variables, namely: Value, Volume, and Velocity where value represents what you’re getting for your money in terms of design, build materials, build process, and equipment as well resale value in five years of normal use. Value does not mean cheap and a very expensive yacht can also have huge value.
Volume speaks for itself but also encompasses load-carrying ability and how badly a platform is affected by additional loading. Some very quick boats can become very slow boats with just a few extra hundred kilos on board.
Velocity also largely speaks for itself but one has to qualify it with ‘ease’ of velocity because a big carbon boat might be very quick, but requires a rockstar crew and a large breakage budget. Similarly, a slow heavy boat can be driven hard to the point where it starts making noises best never heard. Using these three criteria, one can plot in the triangle where particular yachts fit and which are in your zone basis the (honest) answers you gave to the questions you asked yourself above.
Valhalla is dead centre of the triangle.