There are many catamaran designers out there. One concentrates on space and comfort, sometimes making concessions at the cost of speed and sailing characteristics. Another concentrates on speed with less consideration for comfort and space. We were looking for just the right combination of speed, comfort and load carrying capacity.
The first was easy, Paul had already built the Double Twenty, a 38ft Grainger 37 Mark II. In the 1990’s, this Australian designed catamaran had quickly caught the attention of the boating press by winning the Darwin to Ambon race on more than one occasion.
It was truly a beautiful boat, I remember navigating the ‘Staande Mast Route’ through Amsterdam one night as part of a convoy, when a cyclist stopped and called out “yours is definitely the best looking!”
It will not be possible to sail ‘Staande Mast Route’ with our new boat, but it would be nice to hear that call one more time.
The Granger Barefoot Series was our first choice. We built a mock-up at home to give us a better idea of the overall size and layout of the boat. Even with a mock-up it was still difficult to determine if the hulls would be large enough for the bathrooms. We also mocked-up the lounge area and positioned three-person seats as they would be onboard, we wanted to be absolutely sure that there would be enough shoulder and legroom to be able to sit comfortably inside. Building a mock-up enabled us to get a better ‘feel’ for what the boat would actually be like, something you can never get by just walking around and looking.
In the end we decided to visit a Barefoot 45 that was being build at a yard in Thailand. The trip was planned for July 2012, but about a week before departure we started having doubts about the size of the hulls. So after exchanging e-mails with the second contender Schionning Designs, and studying their references, we quickly arranged a 5 day light visit to Australia following on from our Thailand trip.
Of the two, the visit to Australia proved to be the most for beneficial. It wasn’t just the Country and culture that made a lasting impression, but Jeff and Lorraine Schionning as well. We spent 8 hours in an aircraft and they drove 900km to our pre-arranged meeting place. In the two days that followed, we inspected three boats, spoke to owners, and spent hours playing around with different scenarios. Jeff’s stream of ideas was seemingly inexhaustible. Even before it was time to return home our minds were made up, we were going to build the first ever Schionning Designs G-Force 1500C.
In the Schionning Designs Newsletter published in October 2012 they wrote:
C is for Cruise!
Hot off the drawing board is the new G-Force 1500C.
The “C” stands for Cruise, as she has undergone a few slight but fundamental design changes to assist her some room for those cruising toys.
The original GF1500 weighed in a displacement of 6000kg, where as the cruise version will allow an extra 2000kg for those neccessary comforts.
Due to a heavy demand for our G-Force range from the European racing market the G-Force 1500C will be designed to comply with CE Certification standards, and as with all Schionning designs she will be available in a fully pre-cut kit.
The G-Force 1500C is due to be released in November/December.