So it’s speed you want? How about a catamaran? No, not of the commodious but boxy bareboat charter kind, but rather a sleek, fast, carbon fiber speedster that doesn’t skimp on luxury accommodations. Introducing the Hudson and Hakes HH55, the first hull of which has been zipping around the East Coast. Seeing it pass by, you’ll notice two razor sharp hulls, a vast acreage of grey laminated sails and on deck—wide grins and possibly flying man-buns.
Hull #1 of the design named Minnehaha, is a pale blue speed demon designed by Morrelli & Melvin (M&M) who teamed up with builder Hudson Yacht and Marine. The design is the second to be launched, following three of its 66-foot sisters that have been racking up racing bullets in the Caribbean and the Med.
Hudson Wang, owner of Hudson Yacht and Marine, is a manufacturing powerhouse based in Xiamen, China. He has manufactured everything from extruded aluminum Louisville sluggers to insulated soft-sided coolers, but it’s his passion for boats that led him to team with Kiwi Paul Hakes to create a line of serious cats that are developing a following. With the departure of Gunboat, a gap was created in the market for ultra-luxe uber cats that the HH brand is determined to fill.
Design and Construction
Gino Morrelli of Playstation and America’s Cup fame seemed to be the natural choice of designers to tap and he brought the latest technology to the table. These carbon fiber cats have C-curved daggerboards and T-foil rudders for better performance and a smoother ride in rough seas. Cored bulkheads and furniture keep this big boat light (28,660 lbs. dry) but the carbon composite structure makes it strong.
The hulls and deck are a 100 percent carbon fiber composite foam sandwich and use post cured epoxy resin for super light, super strong structures. The daggerboards, rudders, longeron, crossbeam and boom are all carbon and the rigging is carbon and aramid. It’s all designed to be ultra light and crazy strong and you just really can’t get anymore new-tech than that.
Because HH Catamarans is a semi-custom builder (with emphasis on custom rather than semi), hull #1 and brochures only hint at what’s available in terms of cockpit and interior layouts. For example, Minnehaha has the new central command station that is inside, front and center in the saloon. However, traditional twin aft cockpit helms are also an option. Every boat also has a forward cockpit that is the pit for line handling with three electric winches to manage everything but the sheets. If the helm is the brain, then the forward cockpit represent all the brawn.
The whole boat runs on hydraulics including the Cariboni rams that manage the mainsheet and daggerboards so sailing is a pushbutton affair. A 125 percent solent is set on a Southern Spars carbon that has a V-pocket boom. Expect this girl to pass you going 20 knots or more. With twin Yanmar SD60 diesels, the HH55 will also power at a top speed of 12 knots.
Minnehaha has a most unusual interior layout that places the galley along the entire starboard side and has a comprehensive and impressive navigation station opposite in the port forward corner. The helm is on the centerline directly behind the mast. The advantage of the interior helm is that it’s close to the forward cockpit and better for short-handed sailing.
The rest of the saloon is a bit of a serpentine with an interior dinette aft to port. Once the large stainless steel and glass doors are open however, a matching dinette table out in the cockpit can join together a dinner party of 10 or more. A large posh lounge occupies the aft starboard corner of the cockpit.
There is a choice of three or four cabins—two in each hull with ensuite heads or twins to starboard and a complete owner’s suite in the port hull. Minnehaha is an example of the latter. The finish throughout is superb with high gloss two-toned tables with inlays, dovetailed teak joinery, Corian countertops and stainless steel appliances. Plenty of vertical windows let in light and air so no one feels buried.
The HH55 joins her three 66-foot siblings and awaits the arrival of two more models that are currently on the drawing board: the 77 and 88, both of which are also expected to paste a smile on your face and blow your hair way, way back.
Other Choices: For a slightly smaller options, catamaran enthusiasts should look at the Catana 53 or the Bali 4.5.
For more information, visit HH Catamarans.