HH Catamarans Celebrates Their First Year
As the relative newcomer in the performance cruising cat segment, all eyes have been on HH Catamarans. The four year old venture, a partnership between esteemed Kiwi boat builder Paul Hakes and visionary Taiwanese industrialist Hudson Wang, set out to build the world’s finest cutting-edge, bespoke, performance cruising catamarans, and ensure a premier ownership experience by providing an unparalleled level of support and service.
HH Catamarans delivered their first launch, HH66-01 'R-SIX', to her owner in Valencia last June. The Morrelli & Melvin designed HH Supercat set the pace in her first six months, sailing from Valencia to Cyprus and many points in-between. She wowed industry insiders and show goers when she made her debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September, then sailed directly to Mallorca to compete in the first-ever Multihull Cup Regatta. Sailing against a competitive class of her more seasoned peers, including Gunboat 66s Coco de Mer and Slim and Nigel Irens custom 78’ Allegra, R-SIX pounced on the challenge, stunning the fleet and finishing in 1st Place Overall.
In January, R-SIX crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Antigua just in time to immediately switch gears and compete in the prestigious Caribbean 600. The multi day regatta challenged competitors with extremely light conditions for much of the 600 mile course. With gourmet food, entertainment and plush accommodations, R-SIX raced in comfort and finished in 3rd place behind two MOD70s. In March R-SIX was joined in the Caribbean by her sister ship, the newly launched HH66-03 Nala. The two went on to tag team the Caribbean race circuit, one or the other participating in the five high profile events of the season.
R-SIX sailed strong in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, defeating all three Gunboat 60s in class and coming in 2nd Overall behind the zippy, 7-ton, custom Bieker 53 Fujin. Next it was Nala’s turn to shine; she made her racing debut at the St.Thomas International Regatta just days after arriving in the USVI from the Bahamas. STIR proved to be an exciting an event, with big breeze testing the fleet and providing Nala the chance to shine. Boat and crew held up strong and validated the HH reliability factor - sustaining zero breakages over three days of intense racing. Nala finished with 1st Place in three out of five races and 1st Overall, defeating the previously unbeaten Fujin.
The next event presented a new challenge; the BVI Spring Regatta was billed as the matchup of the season, with veteran Gunboats Elvis and H2O meeting for the first time and Nala, with only a few weeks on the water, and hoping to shake things up a bit. Shake things up she did, giving both boats a run for their money throughout the weekend. Nala endured a few missteps early on, but made adjustments and improved each day, outperforming three of the five Gunboats in every race and chipping away at the elapsed time margins behind the two titans. Ultimately the tenacity paid off, with Nala taking 2nd Place Overall. A by-the-numbers analysis from Morrelli & Melvin (who designed all of the three fastest boats!) can be found on their Facebook page here.
R-SIX returned to do battle at Les Voiles de St.Barths. Light air prevailed throughout the regatta and R-SIX suffered a minor equipment failure making it impossible to use their asymmetrical headsail for much of the event. The team persevered and managed to sail well enough to secure a spot on the podium in 3rd Place Overall. Though not their best result, Les Voiles proved to be good practice for R-SIX for their next and final event of the season, Antigua Sailing Week. Mast lock issue resolved, the team attacked with full force, and after four days of competition only R-SIX remained unbeaten out of 150 yachts. Boat Captain Robert Janecki summed up the experience, "After many years of sailing racing catamarans, it is refreshing to see that there are things that can still surprise me. In Antigua we managed to maintain boat speed between 12-14 kts upwind, sailing against the waves! Quite amazing for a pleasure catamaran. What is more… the boat is built in such a way that it forgives us some of our mistakes during short and dynamic racing." Taking line honors in six out of seven races and wrapping up 1st Place Overall, R-SIX closed out their Caribbean season on a high note and immediately set out across the Atlantic once more, arriving in the Azores a quick ten days later.
With R-SIX and Nala providing ample proof of concept in the Caribbean, HH Catamarans pressed ahead with production, launching the first of the new HH55s in February. After a month of testing and fine-tuning, HH55-01 Minnehaha departed Xiamen bound for the USA. The boat was delivered into the waiting arms of her owner in Ft. Lauderdale just last week, and is currently undergoing recommissioning and some promotional sailing before setting off to the Bahamas for the owners’ first cruise in June. She’ll make her way up the East coast this summer, arriving in Annapolis in time to make her world debut at the United States Sailboat Show in October.
Production in Xiamen continues with three HH66s and three HH55s currently in progress. The next HH66, Flash, is slated to launch this summer, and features a newly styled cabin top, forward helm station and aft tillers with complete finger touch sail controls. Further expanding their product line, HH recently announced a new 48’ model. The HH48 will maintain the pedigree of the larger HH models, while incorporating simpler, easier-managed systems and layout for short-handed sailing. The newest addition to the HH Catamarans line is likely to encourage new entrants to the market, further expanding the incredible features of fast and safe blue water cruising. Like the HH55 and 66, the 48 will be a big volume boat, capable of taking a large payload for extended cruising with family and toys without diminishing performance or safety. The HH48 as a base boat will be offered at less than $1M, and at such a great starting price the growth of this bold new venture and brand is set for substantive growth. For more information on the complete line of HH Catamarans, visit hhcatamarans.com.