Like most things in life, innovation is born of either necessity or discovery, and for Tamas Hamor, founder of Xquisite Yachts, the necessity after 11 years of bluewater sailing with his wife was profound: on most production boats it’s nearly impossible to access mechanicals and even more difficult to get after-sales service. One experience in particular following a Pacific Ocean dismasting was the final straw that sent him into the boat building business: “It took months to get a rigging drawing from the manufacturer,” Hamor says. “It got to the point where we said there must be a better way to do this.”
Hamor’s solution was to launch his own brand with a focus on building boats with “the highest build quality and design, where every component, every tank and every pump is accessible and serviceable.” The result over the past 10 years has been a fast-growing line of ever larger award-winning cruising sail and power catamarans and a base of operations in the Bahamas where owners are trained on all aspects of their million-dollar yacht before being cast out to the big blue sea. The company’s base has since grown to be an Xquisite Yachts Charter operation and a sailing school as well.
And to the point of innovation through necessity once again, Hamor and his expanding team—with builders in South Africa, Portugal and Poland—have now launched their new Xquisite 30 Sportcat as a means to upskill owners on the nuances of big-cat sailing by schooling them in a fast and nimble package. In Freeport, it’s envisioned, Xquiste owners and guests will be able to island hop on the Sportcat to familiarize themselves with the feel of a catamaran. And someday in the near future, Hamor says, there will be a fleet of them in Freeport, with inter-island one-design poker racing and a school for the local kids to get up to speed.
It’s been long since the heyday of the slick and fast Stiletto Catamarans that a production builder has offered a sporty mid-sized day sailing catamaran. The industry focus is trimarans with basic cruising accommodations, but the Xquisite 30 Sportcat does not claim to be a liveaboard cruiser whatsoever. Sure, you could take it overnight and sleep on deck or in one of the two small aft cabins, but that’s not the point. Hamor says this boat is all about day sailing and experiencing the sensations and movements of a big cat at a much smaller scale.
“I don’t believe we’re going to sell a lot of them, but Xquisite is not about mass manufacturing anyways,” he says.
The Sportcat 30 model nominated for Sailing World’s upcoming Boat of the Year testing is a 2,000-pound shallow draft version with kick-up rudders and skegs. Homas says the boat can be built with retractable daggerboards for those who are keen to race it or sail it in deeper waters, but again, day sailing and catamaran skill development for Xquisite owners is the priority.
At $285,000 all-in the Sportcat 30 is an expensive day sailor, Homas admits, but he never wanted to build it on the cheap, reasoning the better it’s built the fewer service calls he’ll get. The sailplan is plenty powered up with a North Sails 3Di inventory (main, self-tacking jib, and gennaker) on a rotating carbon spar from French spar maker AG+ and all considerations were made to keep the carbon-reinforced vinylester infused platform as lightweight as possible. “It costs as much as it does because it’s built right and has everything on it—all the top equipment and sails,” Hamor says.
The boat’s modular trailer concept is designed to allow the boat to be assembled on land before slipping it down the ramp or into the hoist with a lifting bridle. The rig, Hamor, says, can be raised with two people easily. Disassembled, the entire operation is designed to be packed into a 40-foot container for shipping or off-season storage.
For propulsion, an outboard bracket on the aft beam will accommodate a gas or electric outboard, and Homas likes the new electric engines from Mercury—which at the moment would be his recommendation over a gas-powered option.
Would be owners apprehensive about assembling, launching and sailing the boat for the first time need not worry, Hamor says. “We can do the training right here in the Bahamas and ship the boat in the container to wherever you are in the world. Or we can fly in a team to assemble it and spend a few days getting the owner up to speed.”
Because that’s the level of service he wished he always had.