The cruising catamaran reimagined and redefined for the 21st Century
Quad Marine has announced the imminent production of the Quad 44, which the company notes is ‘the cruising catamaran reimagined and redefined for the 21st Century.’ The design is the result of 15-year development project to eliminate the flaws and usability problems with traditional catamarans.4 into the hands of boaters everywhere.
The Quad 44 project was inspired by the experience of company founder Steve Salani during a 2004 cruise in the Caribbean. Steve was impressed by the cruising experience and beautiful anchorages, but disappointed in the performance, comfort, and reliability of the charter catamaran. It was at that point that he decided to begin the long development effort that finally led to the Quad 44.
The catamaran form as developed in the mid 20th Century offers significant advantages over monohulls, particularly in terms of accommodation space, speed, and stability. However the configuration has not been significantly updated in many decades, and still retains numerous design and usability problems. The goal of the Quad 44 project was to identify and eliminate these flaws.
The traditional catamaran has the passenger cabins in the lower (immersed) portion of the hull. This creates a conflict between hull performance (narrow beam is better) and accommodation space (wide beam is better). The boat can’t be optimized for both performance and comfort, so the end result is an unsatisfactory compromise.
Conventional catamarans do not offer a convenient method of boarding or disembarking. This is particularly true for large catamarans on a side dock, where the high freeboard requires a ladder or staircase for boarding. Stepping onto the aft swim step is awkward and potentially dangerous.
The high freeboard of conventional catamarans also results in high amounts of lateral windage. Compensating for this windage while under way wastes a significant amount of energy, and docking and maneuvering in a tight marina can be difficult with a crosswind.
Monohull and multihull boats both suffer motion problems caused by the large amount of excess buoyancy above the waterline. As wave height increases, continuous collisions with the hull structure cause undesirable pitching and rolling. The forward motion of the boat is impeded and propulsive energy is wasted.
A typical marine diesel power system is composed of many complicated subsystems, each with many critical components. Failure in any of these areas may cause the entire propulsion system to become inoperative. The critical systems include the electrical system, oil/lubrication system, sea water cooling system, freshwater cooling system, exhaust system, fuel system, and transmission.
Most catamarans retain the traditional aft helm position. While this is a necessity for small boats with a tiller, it doesn’t make as much sense on a four cabin cruising catamaran. The view is often severely restricted by the deck house and sails, and the reduced visibility is a constant safety issue while docking and underway. The aft helm station also leaves the crew exposed to severe weather.
In conventional monohull and catamaran designs, the storage and deployment of the dinghy has always been something of an afterthought. Storage on deck takes up valuable space and may require an unsightly crane for deployment. Dinghy davits are also not an optimum solution in terms of aesthetic appeal. In either case, boarding and exiting the dinghy from a narrow swim step is awkward and dangerous.
As is often the case with complex engineering projects, solving multiple problems simultaneously can be very difficult. The solution to one problem might make another problem worse. During the course of the long Quad 44 development project over 400 substantial design revisions were made to address each of the design goals.
The patented raised-cabin design of the Quad 44 is the breakthrough innovation which gives the Quad 44 an unprecedented combination of performance, safety, and comfort. The design allows the lower hulls to be optimized for performance, with a narrow beam of only 4ft that substantially reduces drag and increases speed. The upper main hull is optimized for passenger accommodation, with an astonishing 40% more interior space than typical catamarans. The four raised cabins are isolated from wave noise and cold water for a very comfortable cruising experience.
The lower twin hulls have a freeboard of only 1/2m, allowing easy and safe boarding from a side dock with no need for boarding stairs. Access to the central raised hull is through entry doors on both sides of the boat. Once the day’s cruising destination is reached, the twin hulls serve as spacious recreation decks for sunning, swimming, or fishing. For Mediterranean mooring (stern towards the dock) an optional gangway extends from under the aft deck. At night the gangway can be retracted to prevent unauthorized boarding.
The main hull of the Quad 44 encloses the four staterooms and saloon in an efficient aerodynamic design to minimize drag over and under the boat. The unique profile also reduces the effect of high cross winds that may be encountered on the open ocean.
The buoyancy of the central hull is separated from the lower hulls. Wave crests can pass over the lower hulls without impeding the boat’s forward progress, and pitching and rolling is reduced. The under side of the main hull is designed to diminish wave impacts and noise in heavy seas.
The Quad 44 is powered by clean, silent, and maintenance-free electric drive units on each of the lower hulls. High-capacity battery banks are located within the twin hulls where they are isolated from the passenger space for maximum safety. Dual solar arrays deliver more than six kilowatts of power to extend the cruising range. In the event the batteries are completely exhausted, the boat will run on solar energy alone at 3-4kts.
The forward helm station of the Quad 44 is fully protected from inclement weather and has exceptionally clear line of sight. As an option, there are also two auxiliary helm stations on the aft deck which give the skipper flexibility for fair weather sailing.
The Quad 44 finally provides an elegant solution for stowing and deploying shore craft. Two dinghies can be stowed out of sight in storage compartments under the main hull, where they are protected against theft or damage. Boarding the dinghies is safe and easy, as the Quad 44 side decks serve as two large docks!
Quad Marine anticipates that the Quad 44 will become the dominant marine recreation platform in cruising destinations around the world. It not only offers a clean alternative to outdated internal combustion propulsion, but it’s a complete reinvention of the catamaran itself, and the company is eager to get the Quad 44 into the hands of boaters everywhere.