aving sold more than 300 small multihull sailing craft across Europe in the last ten years, French shipyard Astusboats is attempting to move into the world of power...

Astusboats Bay Dream 5.5

The Astusboats Bay Dream 5.5 looks for all the world like a small sailing boat.

Known as the Bay Dream 5.5, its debut power-driven craft comes in the form of an 18-foot trimaran conceived for both coastal and inland use. With a beam of almost eight feet, this multi-use platform employs much the same recipe as previous sailing craft from Astusboats – which means a broad, deep cockpit with large storage lockers plus a small cabin with a long (if slightly narrow) double berth and chemical toilet.

For an interesting comparison see the boats.com full length Powercat 525 review: Rock Solid Multihull.

As regards the driving experience, you get the same fine entry and soft ride, plus the traditional running efficiency of a well-sorted multihull. You also get an aft helm position, very much reminiscent of a sailboat configuration, alongside the option of either a conventional outboard or electric propulsion in the form of Torqeedo’s spectacularly successful Cruise R model.

The spiky shape of the three-pronged foredeck means that space for sunbathing up front is limited to one person, but a bow rail with rooftop grab handle, plus a bow roller and anchor locker, makes it look very useful for beaching. Throw in a draught of just 25cm, allied to rounded forward hull sections that should slide over beach material rather than grabbing at rocks, and you have a boat that looks very well suited to a life of mixed estuary exploration.

In essence then, the Bay Dream appears to be a safe, affordable, general-purpose leisure platform for up to five people and yet it’s really not as new as the builders might claim. After all, a hybrid version of this boat was actually launched in 2013 with both sail and outboard power – and while the new model is solely dedicated to power, its shape, style and layout suggest that it is in fact a modestly overhauled sailing boat.

Nonetheless, with base prices from as little as £10,000, this cabin-equipped trimaran looks likely to attract some serious attention. Visit www.astusboats.com for more.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.