Sunreef 82 – Houbara
How does a motoryacht owner suddenly find their inner sailor? In one case, it was merely a matter of seeing a dream in action, and 11,000 nautical miles later, the inner sailor is in charge
About five years ago, a French couple were considering buying a sailing yacht – specifically, a sailing catamaran – for long-range and long-term cruising. While not the saltiest of sailors, they were drawn to the promise of the twin hulls’ comfort and stability. When they shared their thoughts, however, they were persuaded to abandon their burgeoning dreams. The shorter wave periods in the Mediterranean Sea, they were told, would be too uncomfortable, plus they might have difficulty finding a marina able to accommodate the extra-wide beam. So, the couple ended up buying an 86-foot motoryacht.
While they enjoyed a few cruises aboard that yacht, they weren’t entirely happy. One summer day, while sitting in a marina in Barcelona, they spotted a sailing catamaran with a flying bridge and overall modern, clean lines. The husband had no idea who had built the yacht, but he was captivated. He turned to his wife and declared, “That’s the boat we need!”
That boat happened to be Ipharra, a Sunreef 102. They found out two months later, when attending the Cannes boat show. They met with a few catamaran builders, and on their way down the dock, they came across Ipharra again, exhibited by Sunreef Yachts. In talking with the yard’s representatives and looking at its designs, they were even more convinced that Sunreef’s approach to catamaran design and construction would meet their needs.
Thus began a year-long planning and discussion process for a Sunreef 70, a model that had seen a few deliveries at that point. But, when Sunreef revealed its design for the all-composite, semi-custom 82 Double Deck, a sailing catamaran with a flying bridge and mezzanine-like level inside to maximize usable space, the couple quickly changed their minds. Less than a year after taking delivery, and having cruised an astounding 11,000 miles as of February of this year, they are just as delighted. Houbara has given them all of the advantages of their long-sought catamaran, mixed with a few general arrangement tricks that have added a real sense of living at sea.
With a length overall of 24 metres and a beam of 11.2 metres, Houbara clearly has the dimensional advantages of a catamaran. Because Sunreef targets avid cruisers with this 82 Double Deck, there is a strong emphasis on performance. The canoe boom and mast, both made of carbon fibre and further designed in house by Sunreef, carry a 235-square-metre, fully-battened mainsail. The rest of her sailplan includes a 260-square-metre gennaker, a 135-square-metre genoa, and a 20-square-metre storm jib, all of which are furling.
Under sail, Houbara achieves 10 to 11 knots much of the time, according to the husband. He adds that she does a bit better than that under power, provided by twin 355-horespower Cummins. In fact, the owners says that Houbara averaged about 13 knots while covering 1,000 miles over a four-day trip in the Caribbean earlier this year, a speed that’s one knot better than Sunreef says the 82 Double Deck will do on most voyages. Furthermore, the owners’ experience in cruising from their home near Cannes, around the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, and throughout the Caribbean and Florida, in the United States, underscores the lower fuel consumption that Sunreef touts for the catamaran. The husband relates that Houbara ended up burning just 1,600 litres of her 8,000-litre total capacity in covering those 11,000 miles.
As impressive as these performance figures are, a yacht still needs to provide her owners with comfort, and in this Houbara shines. The owners, who cruise mostly by themselves, were onboard the full four days of their Caribbean trip, and the husband says the yacht was “much more comfortable” than their previous monohull. He adds that at one point in their various travels, they encountered three-metre seas, but all he could think was, “We are surfing!” The husband was even aboard with the captain and a two-member crew for the transatlantic crossing, a first for him, and an experience he thoroughly enjoyed. Further related to onboard comfort, he says Houbara has been exceptionally quiet. “Depending on where you are, you hear the engines when you’re on a motoryacht,” he says. “When you are sailing, you hear nothing – you see dolphins play off the front of the boat.”
Whether surfing big waves or cruising calm conditions, Houbara was intended to be a true home at sea. The owners were intimately involved in the execution of the general arrangement, with the husband telling Sunreef, “I want to see everything,” meaning all the details in terms of system installations and layout. The semi-custom nature of the 82 Double Deck naturally allows for this type of involvement, but Houbara has things you probably wouldn’t expect. For one, there’s a long flower box to starboard on the aft deck. Opposite a dining area and adjacent to a lounging pad, it’s intended to be filled with dirt for whatever plants the owners feel like showcasing, though only when they’re staying put in a region for a while. Once Houbara ventures out to sea for a long crossing, it’s emptied.
The biggest surprise is the centerpiece of the 82 Double Deck’s design, the mezzanine. It’s a portion of the saloon, clad in Bubinga wood, raised up a few steps forward. The mezzanine and overall voluminous feel here are made possible partially due to Sunreef employing stepped chines in the hull. There are actually two mezzanines. One is an intimate seating area to port that faces the rest of the saloon seating and the bar opposite. It’s a favorite spot for the wife, who likes to paint. Special stowage beneath the seating keeps her supplies handy when inspiration strikes. The additional mezzanine is to starboard, set up as the inside helm, though on most days the driving is done from Houbara’s flybridge.
Even the master suite, fully forward, gets in on the double-deck concept. Occupying 32 square metres, it’s a full-beam space, with a hot tub surrounded by an orchid garden in the starboard corner. Stairs on this side lead down to a line of hanging lockers and drawers that would make any clothes horse envious, while stairs to port lead down to the en suite head. Recall that Houbara’s owners had a motoryacht before buying this yacht; other motoryacht owners will be impressed by the space this arrangement affords.
Even though Houbara’s owners don’t plan to have guests aboard much, there are two practical guest staterooms. One is a queen, while the other has twins and a pullman. The owners switched to lighter-tone birch wood for the below-deck spaces, with bright pops of color here and there to heighten the appeal. As nice as these accommodations are, it’s the alfresco areas that are the places to be. A hammock can be hung across the aft deck, while trampolines at the foredeck beckon. Up top, the 35-square-metre flybridge gives the feeling of being on a larger yacht. Accompanying the primary helm here is a dining area, a barbecue and a bar, and plenty of open deck space for loose lounges.
Houbara’s owners were preparing to head to Cuba as of this writing, and this summer she’ll head back across the Atlantic Ocean so that they can enjoy the summer season near home. More adventures await come autumn, with a transit of the Suez Canal and a cruise of the Maldives planned. South Africa, Panama, and other Pacific Ocean destinations are on future itineraries, too.
No doubt the owners will encounter other avid cruisers along the way. And maybe, somewhere along the way, someone will point at Houbara and declare, “That’s the boat we need!” Sunreef would certainly welcome the inspiration.
Technical Specifications – Sunreef Double Deck 82
LOA: 24.99 metres
Beam (Max): 11.28 metres
Displacement: 60 tons
Draught: 2 metres
Mast Height: 34 metres
Main Sail: 235 square metres
Genoa: 135 square metres
Main Engines: 2 x 355 horse power
Fuel capacity: 2 x 4000 litres
Fresh water capacity: 2 x 780 litres
Naval Architecture and design: Sunreef Yachts