Magazine article on the Ligure 50

Here is a published Article about the Ligure 50, why it was built and some thoughts. It is in French, so thanks to Google Translate, here is an English translation. If anyone can fix the errors I know are there, please contact us.

Remember it was written around 1998/1999: there was no FP Greenland 34 (about 2001), no Leopard power cats, no Lagoon 43 (about 2000), no PDQ MV’s (about 2002). Some individuals like NZ’s Malcolm Tennant was one of the few top designers of international powercats at that time, with more locally focussed such Peter Brady doing so also in Australia.

Essay: Ligure 50

At a time when many modern trawlers are landing a catamaran hull, it was surprising that this type of hull was not yet retained for pleasure trawlers. Because it is indeed in the case of the Ligure of this formula of boat, that its designer, HB Nautic, summarizes also in the offshore strongholds, and that formula: 100% trawler, 100% catamaran.

And its silhouette with an inverted wheelhouse confirms this vocation … Although it has a very Mediterranean name – that of the beautiful province of Italy bordering the Gulf of Genoa – the Ligure has much wider horizons of cruising.

To be honest, it is not without reminding the “long range cruisers” these units conceived for great navigations offshore, and this for various reasons, among others its solidity, its motorization, its performances. And its autonomy can be very big …

But to better understand his curiosity, let’s talk first about his genesis.

A collegiate design and a Prometa construction

The owner of the Ligure project is Hubert Bousquet, who, to build it, founded HB Nautic. The first studies go back to 1994. With some friends, passionate, like him of cruising motorboat and navigation, and the assistance of Prometa, he defined the first specifications: to offer to “young” retreats a boats of the trawler spirit, friendly while respecting the privacy of all, comfortable to live at anchor and navigation, therefore stable to cook easily, have a drink, eat.

He had to be as good a charterer and sailor to respect a cruise program, easy to manoeuvre, besides robust and reliable with a good radius of action. The equation of these various parameters has obviously led to a catamaran hull. For the motorization, two large semi-slow-moving “atmo” diesels were used, and the construction was entrusted to Prometa.

Let’s go back to the history of the construction site, first based in Tarare (Lyon region), near its parent company, Meta. Done in 1977 by Francois Fevre, its original vocation was to develop an original manufacturing process, the Strongall®, designed by Joseph Fricaud of Meta and the architect Michel Joubert. It is actually a sheet of aluminium alloy of thickness welded edge to edge. In the case of Ligure, it ranges from 12mm for hulls to 6mm for superstructures.

Exceptional resistance

This material offers exceptional robustness without penalizing the weight and requires only limited maintenance. However, the anodic protection should be carefully monitored, the least electrical leakage should be avoided, and dangling anodes should be placed in ports and marinas.

Boats in Strongall have sailed all the seas of the globe to the southern lands. The catamaran Banana Split, from our national sailing singer, Antoine, also comes from Prometa. And it was a story of flowers that had decided to leave his monohull travel for a multi.

One day he was out at sea on a friend’s catamaran with a vase of flowers on the table. And back the vase was still standing …

Since 1993, the Prometa shipyard has been set up in St Raphael in the Var.

His first realization was a motorboat (10m) on plan Joubert / Nivelt, intended for diving. With two 130 Perkins and thirty-four divers on board, he was at 16 knots. There is also the Fish Cat 26, a hull (8m) studied for fishing.

With two 90hp Suzuki outboards, we clocked it at 26 knots. Finally we have seen in the course of finishing a cata (20m) which, with the same engine as the Ligure, should walk at 12 knots in charge, for a transoceanic cruise program.

In terms of amenities, the catamaran formula offers plenty of room with the opportunity to reduce the promiscuite on board. Thus the volumes available in the hulls can be moved to the cabins, while the central nacelle, offering nearly 25 square meters, is devoted to living, dining and living together.

25 square meters for the lounge and the wheelhouse.

After descending three steps, coming from the back deck, we discover a very bright and luminous space, with 360 degree sea views. Several sliding windows provide effective ventilation. To starboard a spacious dinette L can accommodate a dozen guests.

And the kitchen just opposite is planned to satisfy them. It includes a large Corian worktop, a 4 burner hob, a double stainless steel sink, a multifunctional grill oven, two freezer chests and a fridge of 110 liters each.

All the lower part of the kitchen is occupied by drawers and closets closed by teak doors, and the back by chests. The floor is safe because it is melamine imitation teak. About Liguria, we will not talk about decorative or aesthetic research. Here everything is clean, heals, above all functional.

A cat before anything functional

Everywhere we find the “around the world” vocation of the builder. The inventory also includes a washing machine. The fresh water reserve is 400 liters but the boat is delivered with a Sea Recovery water maker delivering 100 liters / hour.

There is also air conditioning. To make all this work, it takes energy: it is provided by an Onan group 6.5kW turning at 1500 r / min with great discretion. In the living room the sound level goes from 50 to 55 dB (A). It’s almost inaudible!

In slight elevation, the front section is reserved for the wheelhouse. His reverse windshield is not just aesthetic. It improves visibility by offering less grip on rain and spray, and allows opening the central porthole while maintaining its protection.

The steering console is in the center, trimmed with a beautiful teak dashboard and a mahogany stainless steel steering wheel. The helmsman’s seat, adjustable and removable, can be placed on the right in front of the navigation area which is endowed with a real map table.

Four cabins and as many bathrooms

The boat is delivered with a complete electronic equipment. Autohelm autopilot, log, depth sounder, GPS, card reader and radar. There is also a refrigerated trunk for the captain’s special reserve. Finally, a sliding side door opens directly on the port gangway.

At the four corners of the central part of the stairs lead to cabins that enjoy total independence. In fact, the central part of each hull is occupied by a motor room, very well soundproofed and with double access. The owner’s cabin, located at the rear port, offers a large double bed (2.00×1.50m) with sea view through a large porthole opening through the table.

The adjoining bathroom is well equipped: sink, marine toilet and shower. There are two guest cabins at the front, symmetrical and strictly identical, with double berth (2.00×1.40m) and bathroom similar to that of the owner.

A deck hatch enhances the ventilation provided by several hull portholes.

For these three cabins a little criticism is needed. The closure is provided by a sliding door at the bottom of the stairs and there is no insulation between the sleeping area and the toilet. Pity!

The arrangement of the rear part is a little different from the others, because of the engine room, enlarged to accommodate the generator. At the bottom of the stairs, a bathroom and a washbasin are planned for the guests of passage.

14 knots max and more if affinites …

This cabin, closed, offers a simple transverse berth, expandable into a double (1.96 x 1.35m). Of course, wardrobe, cupboards and drawers are widely distributed for the storage of personal effects. Everywhere the height in the barrels is around two meters.

The decoration is sober and functional with expanded PVC veneer that does not require any maintenance.

Let us mention in each toilet a clever system of forced ventilation, by a small rectangular porthole opening in the tunnel between the hulls. Finally, if the place would still be unsatisfactory, two large bunkers in front of the hulls would allow to develop additional cabins for crew

Basically, the Ligure is offered with a quasi-professional engine. It is indeed two Perkins of 6 liters of cylinder. There is a great deal of technical simplicity in developing 130 hp natural spec engines and they are here flanged at 2400 instead of 2600. It is said that more advanced versions of such a block develop well over 350 hp. It is therefore a machine chosen above all for its simplicity of maintenance and its reliability.

When the shipyard announced 14 knots with two 130 hp on a boat of this size, we smiled. This could count without the catamaran hull, which exploits the available power much better than an equivalent monohull. In the case of a classic trawler, it needs engines developing more than 350 hp to achieve a similar result. On the Ligure, the two thin hulls cut the wave and pass rapidly in a semi-planing position.

And the air that rushes into the tunnel stimulates this behaviour. At high speed, it also plays a dampening role. In 20 knots of mistral, we were able to maintain 14 knots without problem. By the way, it is the speed of peak but also that of fast cruising, the engine being flanged at 2400. At 2100, the boat is at 11.2 knots, leaving behind a nice wake. It is ideal for long crossings.

The very economical cruise will be around 1800, about 9 knots and 20 liters / hour of total consumption. The radius of action is then greater than 400 miles.

It should be noted that the yard voluntarily adapts the capacity of the tanks to the navigation program. Thus in the Mediterranean, where it is easy to refuel, it is 1000 litres, plus 400 liters for the group. This special tank can be fitted with domestic heating oil (energy production) but it can also be connected to the motors to increase the autonomy. In this case of course, it will be necessary to put gas oil on it. Most boaters refuel regularly. That’s good, but they sail most of the time with an excessive and unnecessary load. By adapting the capacity to navigation we come to a logical solution.

A very user-friendly flybridge

This being the Ligure has all the room to receive tanks much larger, up to 3000 liters, even more. The flybridge is also a very friendly place with a large bench and a dinette convertible into a sunbath. Although quite steep, the cockpit has a visiblite gives. The bar is a little high and the double bench deserves a folder. In later versions it will be replaced by an armchair.

Originally the boat manoeuvres well, thanks to the large gap between the propellers. This did not prevent the yard from adding two thrusters to make things even easier. We have also noticed two beautiful Kobelt throttle / inverter knobs with a remarkable softness and the hydraulic steering of a good precision.

Of course, we were waiting for the test of the turn at high speed, not always obvious with a catamaran. The Ligure has done very well! The return on St Raphael was carried out on a sea agitated by a strong east wind, in the company of a monohull of 37 feet. The latter, certainly smaller, rolled generously while our catamaran continued quietly his way, the crew comfortably installed on the flybridge …

The marine behaviour of Ligure and the possibilities of its hull made us regret a higher power. The shipyard is aware of this. That’s why it offers engines up to 210 hp. Thus the twenty knots can be exceeded without giving up a range of lower speeds, to choose according to its program and navigation conditions …

Notes in a box:

Year 1998 … Sudden enthusiasm of many French shipyards, sailing specialists, for the motor catamaran that they treat in a hope trawler. Hear the comfortable boats to live, endowed with a reasonable motorisation to reach speeds of 10 to 20 knots and accompanied by a great autonomy.

This is the case of Trawler Maryland 37 and Jeantot [then Privilege, then Hanse] Transcat 445 [like this]. However Catana does not use the word trawler and offers its World Class 46 with engines from 100 to 435 hp. Although undeniably the longest, Ligure 50 is also the tightest. The broker explains this choice by stating that a “small” width makes it easier to find a berth, landings and access to the canals.