Isara 50: stylish cruising catamaran

Rupert Holmes takes a closer look at the first offering from luxury yacht builder Isara

15 June 2012.
By Rupert Holmes

This new 50ft cruising cat was conceived to be a ‘best in class’ yacht, offering unrivalled accommodation in a stylish design with nimble performance. The size of this boat – Isara’s first offering – was chosen as the practical maximum length for bare-boat charter.

The first boat is already completed and Isara now has a global dealer network in place. The 50 is intended as the first in a range of both sail and power catamarans that will similarly draw on innovative ideas and fresh thinking, blended with contemporary styling, with the next model expected to be a 70ft sailing catamaran. The boats are built by the Ta Yang yard in Taiwan, which has a decades-long reputation for building quality ocean-cruising yachts.

Isara 50

The 50 is the first model from this new marque

 

Key attributes
A first for this type of boat is the innovative vaulted mast arch, engineered by SP-High Modulus to resist over 25 tonnes of compression loads. This enabled the designers – Roel de Groot in conjunction with Christian Stimson – to extend the bridge deck accommodation more than two metres forward of the traditional limit for this type of boat at the mast. The result is the largest saloon of any 50ft sailing catamaran and the added benefit of a 360-degree panoramic view.

Isara 50 saloon

The stunning view from the saloon

Below decks
The bridgedeck accommodation is naturally the most striking aspect of this boat – it’s around one third larger than that of other catamarans of a similar length. There’s room for a large and superbly equipped galley, a dining area that will comfortably seat the entire crew, and spacious lounging areas, all with a great view of the outside world. This is on the same level as the covered cockpit, making the transition from ‘below’ decks to ‘above’ decks almost seamless.

Isara 50 three cabins

The Isara 50's three cabins

The boat is produced on a semi-custom basis, with a choice of four main layouts in the hulls, depending on the vessel’s intended use, including an owners’ version with a sumptuous 40ft long suite in one hull. With two cabins in each hull, each is still of an impressively large size, and there’s space for three cabins, each with an en suite heads and shower. The fourth option is for a family ‘apartment’ that spans the front of both hulls.

The standard equipment list is commendably comprehensive, including twin Yanmar 55hp diesel engines, each with an ISHybrid parallel hybrid drive system, plus a diesel generator and air conditioning. The galley is fitted with integral appliances including two fridges, freezer, ice maker and an electric hob. There’s even a fitted electric barbeque!

On deck and performance
As you’d expect of a boat of this nature there’s acres of lounging space on deck, as well as a number of separate areas for socialising. This includes the main aft cockpit, from where twin curved staircases lead to the crew cockpit on the flybridge – it’s from here that the yacht and sails are controlled.

Isara 50 sailing

The Isara 50 under sail

Construction is foam core vinylester resin, with E-glass and carbon fibre, resulting in a lighter vessel than might be expected for one that offers so much accommodation. With a square top mainsail, and electrically furled genoa the boat shows promise of making good speed on passage. This would be significantly enhanced – as would the fun factor – with the optional second furling system to set a gennaker or screecher.

Teak decks are part of the standard inventory, while the standard aluminium rig can be replaced by a carbon alternative and engines can be uprated to 75hp.

What it does best
This is clearly an interesting and innovative new design that offers considerably more space than would be expected on a catamaran of this size, while taking sensible steps to ensure that speed is not unduly compromised and that the boat retains an element of being enjoyable to sail. The Isara 50 is also very well equipped, including a significant number of quality items that would be on the extras list for most boats.

Compromises
It’s inevitable that the more volume and equipment that is packed into a boat performance will tend to suffer – adding windage and weight will reduce speed. However, modern construction methods and materials have helped reduce the boat’s weight and the tall modern rig promises quick sailing, especially with the optional gennaker or screecher.

By any standards this is a big boat for a 50-footer, which, combined with the very high standard of equipment, results in a higher price tag than a number of alternatives.

Isara 50 SpecificationsAlternative boats
At first sight the Lagoon 500 is a contender that appears to offer much of what the Isara does, including the flying bridge cockpit. However, the shorter bridge deck accommodation makes this feel like a much smaller boat, despite the apparently similar overall dimensions.

The British-built Discovery 50 is closer in some respects – it was conceived for long-distance cruising and is also equipped to a very high standard. However, while it clearly has spacious and superbly appointed accommodation, in terms of volume it is again no match for the Isara. The British boat also lacks the flybridge, which although adding weight and windage, does significantly increase the feeling of on-deck space and privacy.

To come close to rivalling the features of the Isara you really need to look in a larger size bracket, the Fountaine Pajot 57 and Nautitech 542, for instance, are a closer match.

For more details see Isara Yachts.

 

Rupert Holmes has cruised and raced more than 60,000 miles, between 60 degrees north and 56 degrees south. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular boat and gear tests. He owns two yachts, one currently based in the Aegean and the other in the Solent.

 

 

 


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