Best bluewater multihulls: Balance 526 and 482

Yachting World

South African catamaran builders Balance launch a new 482, while the Balance 526 earns its place in our list of the best bluewater multihulls, by Toby Hodges and François Tregouet

Balance is a shrewd name for these catamarans, which target that elusive balance of comfort, speed and space, typified by the Balance 526.

Founded in 2013 by Phillip Berman, Balance has its headquarters in Florida and shipyard in South Africa.

After selling hundreds of brokerage catamarans, Berman found most cruising catamarans too sluggish, yet felt performance cats lacked the suitable liveability for long term voyaging. Hence, Balance was born.

The Balance 526 launched four years ago. Designed to suit short-handed sailors and families looking to sail long distances, it can carry large payloads and promises easy maintenance. It looks good too – the Balance 526 was our cover star on the September issue of Yachting World, which features our list of best bluewater multihulls.

Berman’s Versahelm design is a key feature. The wheel cantilevers, allowing the helmsman to steer from outboard with clear sightlines, or from the hardtop protection of the aft cockpit. The helm seats and platforms also adjust for optimum views forward. 

Builds involve infused or vacuum-bagged epoxy, carbon reinforcements, foam composite bulkheads and foam cored furniture. The Balance 526 is available with retractable daggerboards or fixed keel options.

The first Balance 482 launches this autumn, and features raked wave piercing bows, and daggerboard or fixed keel options.

The new Balance 482 catamaran

It carries 1,432 sq ft of canvas, with a blade jib and reefing station designed for ease of short-handed sail handling.

Balance 526 price

Ex VAT: US$1.54m

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