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AIR 77: A Catamaran Ahead of Its Time

Technology, Yachts
AIR 77: A Catamaran Ahead of Its Time

In 1983, the then-longest winning streak in the world of sports was finally broken. The United States, represented by the New York Yacht Club, had owned the America’s Cup of yachting since 1851. Its reign spanned 132 years and featured 26 successful defenses. On the 27th defense, its luck finally ran out as Australia II of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, with its revolutionary and then-controversial winged keel, defeated the Liberty of Dennis Conner in seven exciting races.

Though Conner won the Cup back for the United States four years later under the San Diego Yacht Club, it marked a turning point as the competition slowly became about the design of the sailboat rather than the sailors. The following year, New Zealand came out with a challenge using what was then the fastest monohull in the world. The boat was also huge at more than 27 meters, which was the limit based on the Cup’s Deed of Gift rules.

How did Conner and the Americans respond? By building a boat with a size of just more than 18 meters, but one that was faster and more elusive. Called the Stars & Stripes, the Americans easily retained the Cup in two races. The boat had multi-hulls, making it the first catamaran ever used in the competition.

The Faster Choice

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Catamarans are boats with two parallel hulls of equal size. Its wide beam accounts for its stability. As it is free of ballast and with a weight that is much lighter than a monohull, the catamaran produces a very shallow draught and reduced drag, thus allowing for higher speeds. It is also much more efficient than a monohull because its sails spill a lot less wind than monohulls, meaning there is a lot less heel.

Though it appeared in Western boat designs much later, catamarans have actually been used for a long time now by the Dravidian people in the southern section of India. Catamaran designs have also been used extensively by the Polynesians, which have used them to sail to even the most remote islands in the Pacific.

To Air is Human, To Be Futuristic is Divine

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The design of the catamaran has been improved upon since those early days. During the 2013 Boat Show in Cannes, Oxygene Yachts came out with AIR 77, a power catamaran that measures nearly 23 meters long. It is light, has shallow draft and is equipped with hydrojet drives that make it fun and an absolute delight to handle. For a boat of its length, it can easily weave in and out of bays and estuaries.

The beam of the boat measures 10.4 meters and the draft is at 0.8 meter. It has a displacement of between 35 and 39 tons. It also comes with a semi rigid dinghy powered by an engine that is capable of 50 horsepower.

Oxygene Yachts is a shipyard company based in Canada. It has always been known for its luxury catamarans usually made of wood and other composite materials. It also conceptualizes and builds exclusive one of a kind and made to order yachts. It has helped redefine the meaning of leisure yachting, allowing water aficionados with a new experience in fresh sailing and power boating.

The AIR 77 was borne out of a desire to create a spacious boat that would blend in easily with its surroundings. Frederic Sarfati and Raphael Krepser collaborated on the boat, with Sarfati coming up with the interior design and exterior look, and Krepser taking care of the production side. Also helping out with the architecture of this catamaran were Francois Maillet, Gildas Plessis and Christian Moulin.

The result is a catamaran that possesses simple lines and a low position, with a glass and carbon superstructure mixing in well with the natural beauty of the sea. It has well-balanced and classy proportions and soft curves that are in harmony with the elements, matching really well with the waves and the coastlines.

The AIR 77 is practically a floating apartment, with a modern and refined space covering 280 square meters. It has three exterior decks, and you can actually walk from the bow to the stern in one straight line. Of course, you will have to pass through a wide living room measuring 65 square meters, as well as a 10-square-meter door that cuts into the front of the roof.

The boat also provides a stunning and amazing 360-degree unlimited field of view. There is no obstacle whatsoever in the catamaran that will distract your line of sight.

The helm stations are under the roof on the fly bridge, arranged smartly and tastefully into a sunbathing and lounging area. This allows you huge amounts of free space to adjust the fly deck and even the interior according to your preference.

There are four main cabins and each one is furnished with a ¾ bathroom. Each room is also coated with expensive materials to further provide a conducive and peaceful ambiance. Aside from these four, there are also a couple of double cabins for the catamaran’s crew and personnel.

The AIR 77 Engine

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The light framework of the AIR 77 catamaran belies its strength and reliability. What’s more, this boat takes into account the concept of environmental responsibility.

The boat is powered by a couple of Volvo engines capable of 260 horsepower each. Combining them with the Ultrajet or Masterjet hydrojet drives, the result is a catamaran that can go up to a maximum speed of 20 knots. These hydrojets allow for more space on board and provide for maximum maneuverability. Additionally, they free you from the problems normally associated with classic propeller-powered engines. The approximate fuel consumption of the boat is between 43 and 65 liters per hour.

By keenly scrutinizing the shape of the hull, continuously striving to build ships that are ultra light in weight, and utilizing hydrojet drives, Oxygene Yachts has scored a homerun with the elegant, yet fuel-conscious and environment-friendly AIR 77.

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