Welcome to the Project Highlight Page:
The Broadblue Rapier 550
Multimarine has been responsible for designing and developing a variety of advanced multihull yachts. The most recent was Broadblue Catamarans’ new flagship, the Broadblue Rapier 550.
The design team was led by Multimarine MD Darren Newton, well known for his fast and stylish Dazcat designs, working with Nick Bailey, designer of two previous Multimarine-built vessels, Impossible Dream and the VSV Mary Slim. Broadblue wanted something very new to create a fresh look for their brand, combined with innovative technology and advanced boatbuilding techniques to create a timeless masterpiece. The design process started with really looking at what we need from an owner sailed, blue water, ocean cruising boat; rather than following the conventions set by larger production boat manufactures, which tailor their boats towards chartering, or the more extreme, professionally skippered performance boats, which look good but don’t offer much accommodation for their mega budgets.
It is always the question - how can we have it all? Real performance. And space. Together, Newton and Bailey have struck an accord, creating a boat that is a first in design innovation and style, representing the best of British engineering.*
The Rapier 550 is half the weight of similar-sized production boats, but with as much space on deck, achieved by using the innovative internal helm and winch station that Bailey pioneered on Impossible Dream. Though this was designed for wheelchair access, the same principles of ease of use, safety and performance are essential for long distance cruising, with the added boon of creating the Rapier’s beautiful and uncluttered lines, so clean the boat looks like a computer rendering in photographs, when you first look at it.
It has also had profound implications for the internal layout, which is where the Rapier 550 becomes truly controversial. It is difficult to shake off what we all believe yachts should look like, unchanged as most are from traditional layouts.
Together, Newton, Bailey and Broadblue’s MD Mark Jarvis have created a stunning new open plan saloon space, integrated with a cockpit set forward inside the boat rather than in the traditional stern position.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a boat for the English weather, but think again. As Newton points out, when you are out in hot sun everybody wants to have shelter over their heads to keep the sun off. “In fact some boats seem to have biminis on their biminis and are quite frankly the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. It does nothing for safety, comfort of ride or the sailing performance of the boat, so it has to be for protection. It’s what clients want, even if they don’t realise it.”
In certain places protection from insects is needed too - Newton remembers a long cruise in the Norwegian fjords. On the Rapier 550 you can keep them out by simply closing the saloon, as it is encased in glass not floppy bits of canvas found in traditional cockpit layouts. More to the point, designers go to a lot of effort to make a boat look good and it is always disappointing when cockpit covers obscure the lines of the boat.
Beauty is not just skin deep, and you have to get under the skin of the Rapier 550, as some of its real beauty is in the composite engineering. The hull is infused in one piece and weighed in at less than three tonnes with bulkheads and engine in. If you can build a strong but light boat then you stand a chance of being able to load it up without destroying the performance when passage making. A lot of carbon is used, but unlike some boats in the market today it is not all carbon, but a balance of composites which complement each other; an all-carbon boat is a noisy boat and the team wanted comfort, ease of use and performance combined, and so a balance was needed to achieve all aims.
Literally every detail has been carefully considered to keep weight down and performance up, using technology from racing boats and superyachts to make this boat a leap forward in offshore and ocean cruising. Systems on yachts have come a long way in recent years, and Multimarine’s experience in these has allowed for design features never before seen in the cruising world; the Rapier 550 has a built-in sail management system which allows you to sheet the boat from multiple positions with the press of a button, as the primary winches work like a captive reel and can sheet in and out. The system can be set up so less experienced sailors can be left on watch and, if conditions change for the worse or a gust comes out of nowhere, the system rewinds both the main and jib sheets, as well as the powered line driver on the main traveller, to release the pressure on the sails. This technology has been developed from single-handed ocean racing boats and works in combination with a node-based electrical system which reduces wiring weights and adds increased functionality to the boat.
The Rapier 550 is now in production. You can tailor the interior spaces to your requirements, creating different styles from contemporary to sportive, giving you the best of both production and custom construction worlds.
* Something they have been praised for before, their VSV MarySlim winning the IPC Judges’ Award for the best of British innovation, design and build
Managing Director: Darren Newton
Director: Simon Baker
Co Reg Address:
Metropolitan House, 37 The Millfields, Plymouth PL1 3JB
Co Reg No: 6948113
Vat No: 973 5864 69
Multimarine, c/o Multihull Centre, Foss Quay, Mill Road
Tel: 01752 823900
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Opening Times: By Appointment
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