Back in October 2013, the MC²60 #1 Mach² finished 2nd over the line in the 656 miles Hong Kong to Vietnam Race behind Ragamuffin 90 skippered by Syd Fisher with around 20 professional sailors on board.
Mach² raced with only 6 crew: Renaud Bañuls the MC²60′s architect, Incidence’s Cesar Dohy who designed the sails, Bruno Laurent who commissioned the boat, Raphaël Blot, the owner and responsible for the development of the MC² catamaran series and two of his regular racing crew from his monohull days.
The MC²60 finished ahead of the three TP52, the other 90ft monohull Chivas and a fleet of racing 40ft monohulls. The first TP52 was US based Lucky which finished 8th overall in the Transpac 2013. The other two TPs, OneSails Racing and FreeFire are regulars of the Asian racing circuit who, between themselves, have won almost every single regatta in Asia.
Mach² sailed the 656 miles in 49h30mns.
Before the race, not many expected a cruising catamaran to finish ahead of the TP52s in a downhill race.
In Nha Trang, many crews were thrilled by the speed reached during the downwind sail but complained about how wet of a ride it was, bailing water out of the boats all the way down with automatic life jackets activating inside the boats and being regularly showered on by seawater crashing on the deck. In response, Raphaël Blot joked : “The only time we were showered on was when we took proper showers….We didn’t put the foul weather gear on, shorts and T-shirts only. We hear that the guys on the monohulls had a rough time; we had good food and red wine at 20-25kts. We very briefly reached top speeds above 30kts a couple of times”.
Catamaran MC²60 #1 Mach² sailing in Hong Kong
The concept behind the MC²60 announced 2.5 years ago was to achieve an all round sailing performance similar to that of a TP52 in a cruising catamaran capable of accommodating up to 10 guests for a comfortable cruise. “I guess we have just shown that the concept works” commented Renaud Bañuls. “Not only does the boat perform better than my own expectations, it is very easy to handle, feels safe and reaches high speed effortlessly. More impressive than the top speed was the fact that we sailed for hours under main sail and genaker at 20-28kts without pushing the boat hard”.
Raphaël Blot concluded : “I am very pleased with the result. We had so far enjoyed the boat for friends and family cruising. It’s quite amazing to have a boat that you can sail solo handed when non-sailors are on board and then race competitively offshore the next week. Finishing ahead of the TP52s in a downhill race at 150 TWA is quite an achievement as catamarans have an advantage over monohulls mainly when reaching. This results validates the concept and confirms that we made the right decisions over the past 3 years, leading to a cruising catamaran that is faster than stripped out racing monohulls”.
Meanwhile, the MC²60 #2 Dragon is moored in Hong Kong, getting ready for a cruise in South East Asia.
Dragon and Mach² have the same interior layout but different color schemes. The semi-custom concept of the MC²60 resulted in different boat lengths and cockpit layout. Dragon is 2ft longer on the transom and carries a 3ft longer longeron in order to fly a larger mast head gennaker. While Mach² has a cockpit designed for single handed operations, Dragon has a more racing oriented cockpit with winches spread out along the aft beam.