Sud Composites Switch 55

12/2005 –

Speed and prestige

With “parents” like Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prevost, the Switch 55 has an unbeatable pedigree. These designers are responsible for Géant, Gitana 11 and Groupama 2, three of the multi-hulls competing in the IB Group Challenge, as well Olivier de Kersauzon’s trimaran Géronimo.

Above deck: beauty and functionality

The cockpit of the Switch 55 is one of the most pleasant ever seen on a catamaran. It’s spacious and open design is a real success, helped by the discreet shapes, gentle lines and teak covering. On the model we tested, the Fantazia, the helm station is on the port side and slightly elevated, giving good visibility over the coachroof. The cockpit is sheltered by a canvas bimini, which can also be used as a comfortable sundeck. To starboard, a large teak table comfortably seats six guests. The electric windlass is located at the mast foot, along with the ends of the hull’s two safety lines.

Below deck: from 3 to 6 cabins

The Switch 55 is available with 3 to 6 cabins. The Fantazia has 3 cabins, and a huge central saloon, all on one level. By choosing to avoid a salon with different levels, the owner has achieved a studio effect, with a galley/bar, dining area and reading area. The furniture is an elegant combination of ash, cherry and maple wood.

There are two cabins to the fore and aft of the starboard hull, with a bathroom and toilet between the two. Access to the electric switchboard (a model of clarity and neatness) is found close to the rear cabin. The port side is entirely occupied by the owner’s cabin, with the bedroom in the bow, an office midship and a bathroom in the stern.

At sea: swift and supple

This gaff-rigged catamaran has a total sail area (mainsail, foresail and genoa) of close to 200 m². The weather conditions during our test sail of Fantazia were particularly clement, and the genoa was soon furled and replaced by the gennaker. With 10 knots of wind, we were sailing at a decent speed of 6 knots. The sun was out and conditions ideal for testing the spinnaker, and the Switch soon speeded up to stabilise around 7.5 knots for 10 knots of wind. A few 15-knot gusts had Fantazia surfing the waves without deviating a single degree from her course. Despite some sudden drops in the wind, the catamaran had no difficulty picking up speed in a light breeze. Late in the day, a cross swell picked up but posed no problem to stability on board. The Switch 55 is designed to be manoeuvred by two people, but hoisting the spinnaker proved to be a tricky operation.

Like her smaller sister the Switch 51, the Switch 55 is an exceptional unit for a mass produced yacht. With Sud Composites, designers Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prevost have created an elegant, comfortable, swift catamaran designed for long-haul sailing. Tech Specs of Switch 55

– CdB –

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