Test / Navigation and program of the Excess 12, like a go-kart

© C.Launay

We tried the Excess 12 in the south of Palma de Mallorca with a nice thermal breeze of 12 to 18 knots. This catamaran proves to be very swift while still offering an ease and pleasure at the helm rarely seen on a catamaran.

A user-friendly and efficient deck plan

L' Excess 12 is above all simple and efficient. The deck layout is well thought out with this objective in mind, in addition to being user-friendly. Headsail halyards and sheets are led back to electric winches in front of the helm on each side. The mainsail sheet is managed by two hoists, but coming back to a single winch on the starboard side. We would have preferred, for the speed of intervention, to have a winch on each tack so that we would not have had to cross the cockpit to shock the mainsail in the event of steering from the opposite tack. Otherwise, the ergonomics are very good and by manipulating the halyards and sheets, all you have to do is extend your arm to control the helm or the autopilot and raise your head to observe the sail plan. The boat can therefore be steered effortlessly on its own. Being at the helm or manoeuvring won't stop you from conversing with your friends in the cockpit without disturbing them.

A Pulse Line rig

He who wants the ends wants the means. The sail plan has been given special care. The mainsail with horn, the mast located in the centre of the hull favouring a high-performance forward triangle, composed of a self-tacking solent and a code 0 on the bowsprit are very efficient with a good balance. However, the brand goes further by proposing a "Pulse Line" rig adding a 5% sail area when going for a breath of fresh air in the upper reaches. If the gain is not impressive on the polar, the ability to do without the engine in light airs is a determining factor, to take pleasure at the helm in light winds. You will still have to be careful about the weight of the comfort options you take on board, and you will have to take others, such as folding propellers, otherwise you will lose the coveted advantage on the order book.

Exciting liveliness

From the helm stations, the visibility through the roof is excellent and gives an immediate feeling of ease. Another important point, the very direct transmission from the helm to the rudders is a delight for precision and feeling. The hulls start off well in this initially light breeze. Upwind the speed oscillates between 6 and 8 knots depending on whether you get up to 50 or 60° from the wind and its rising speed. After 15 knots, we take a reef and continue downwind by sending the code 0. The boat accelerates to 9 - 10 knots, the smile freezes on the helmsman's face who, with his fingertips, places the bows to the centimetre on the crest of the waves. The ease and gentleness are a guarantee of pleasure that many on board can enjoy without being experienced sailors.

Two different engines

Depending on whether you are cruising along the coast in good weather, whether you take all the comfort options with you or whether you have offshore or even oceanic ambitions: 29 hp or 45 hp options are available in Yanmar with a sail drive base. The stronger one propels a complete boat at 8 knots while cruising. Insulation and engine access are still to be improved, it is said over and over again..

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