Excess 14 embodies DNA of sporty catamaran brand
As the latest model by the young Groupe Beneteau brand, the twin-helm Excess 14 is the best example yet of the company’s DNA, delivering the ‘sensations of sailing’ and a sporty vibe with a bright interior and creative accommodation options. By Geoffroy Langlade.
The standard rig includes a square-top mainsail and overlapping genoa, while a Code 0 is optional
Excess has been fine-tuning its designs since it entered the market in 2019 with the launches of the Excess 12 and Excess 15. The latter remains the flagship of the young brand owned by Groupe Beneteau, whose portfolio includes Lagoon, the world’s most prolific pleasure catamaran builder with about 600 units a year.
However, Groupe Beneteau created Excess to help fill a gap in the market between luxury cruising cats and – at the other end of the spectrum – the stripped-down, high-tech racing cats.
Skippers can enjoy the sensation of sailing
Excess doesn’t claim to offer racer-style performance, but is instead focused on giving owners the feeling of sailing fast, stating that catamarans should not be restricted to a choice between comfort or sensations. As such, the signature helms at the aft end of each hull offer wind in the hair, sea spray and the sound of lapping water, all while staying connected to family and friends in the cockpit.
After using modified Lagoon moulds for the hulls of the Excess 12 (38ft hull) and 15 (47ft hull), the builder then developed the all-new Excess 11 (36ft hull), with the accomplished entry-level model debuting at Boot Dusseldorf in January 2020.
The Excess 14 features naval architecture by VPLP
All three models have since made it to Asia-Pacific. The first Excess 12 in Australia arrived in late 2020, while last year, Asia’s first Excess 11 was delivered to Japan and an Excess 15 sailed to New Zealand.
Back in France, Excess consolidated all its learnings and developments into its newest and most ambitious model yet – the Excess 14. The hull and exterior were again designed in collaboration with VPLP Design, renowned for its work in sailing monohulls and multihulls and a specialist in ocean racing, while Italy’s Nauta Design handled the interior.
Like all Excess models, the yacht has a helm station at the aft end of each hull
The Excess 14 had its world premiere at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2022 and enjoyed a lot of attention for her sleek, sporty look and colourful touches, with bright orange popping up on the outdoor upholstery, steering wheels, ‘Excess 14’ logo and even the trim of the genoa.
“The Excess 14 is the pure concentration of the Excess DNA,” says Thibaut de Montvalon, the company’s Brand Director and former Managing Director of Groupe Beneteau Asia-Pacific based in Hong Kong.
The Excess 14 is designed for owners with a sporty lifestyle
“It’s a boat that’s fun, that’s lively. It’s a cruising catamaran with outstanding lines that have benefited from an understanding of ocean racing. And it required profound naval architectural work to come up with many innovative solutions, both in the charter and owner versions.”
With full-scale production starting next year, the first unit for Asia is scheduled to arrive in Japan by the end of 2023. Other Asia-Pacific deliveries include to Tahiti, also late next year, then to both Australia and New Zealand in the first half of 2024.
The Excess 14 has a 44ft hull and an overall length starting from about 46ft, depending on the bowsprit and any stern appendages. It has a beam of almost 26ft and is just 7in slimmer than the flagship 15. The model therefore enters the very competitive 45ft catamaran sector populated in Asia by experienced competitors such as Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Leopard and Bali.
The yacht features asymmetric hulls
First off, a major point of difference is the twin helms, an Excess signature inspired by monohulls. Each helm station has a Garmin screen and a bench seat, offers a good view of the sails and limits the length of the lines to offer more sensations to the helmsman.
Hervé Piveteau, Product Manager of Excess, says: “We put a lot of effort into reducing weight, optimising the sail area to weight ratio, and gains in the structural design. However, it’s not only about performance but about sensations.
“Our objective is that the skipper steering the boat will have the same sensations as they would have on a monohull. It’s all about sailing sensations.”
At anchor, the foredeck can be dressed with sunpads
On the Excess 14, all manoeuvres from the mast are handled on starboard, where two Harken winches also trim the genoa, while there’s just the winch for the genoa on port side. Both helms have direct contact with the deeper rudder blades, which increase the draught to 4ft 10in.
The rig includes a forward-stepped mast, low boom and a composite bowsprit, along with a square top mainsail and large overlapping genoa as standard, which provide an impressive sail area to displacement ratio. There’s even an optional Pulse Line package, which increases the upwind sail area from 123sqm to 135sqm.
The wide cockpit features a huge aft bench, dining area and chaise longue
Built in foam sandwich with carbon reinforcements, the Excess 14 includes a lower freeboard to reduce windage and an increased bridgedeck clearance for better passage through the water, while the hulls were designed asymmetrically with inverted and inclined bows to reduce interference drag.
LIGHT & BRIGHT
In terms of outdoor social areas, the cockpit features a wide sofa aft, an L-shaped sofa and a dining table to port, plus a facing settee or chaise longue to starboard. The foredeck is clean, but can be set up with a couple of sunpads with adjustable backrests. There’s also the option of a flybridge-style ‘skylounge’ on top of the coachroof, but this can only be used at anchor due to the low boom.
The indoor dining area in the saloon and alfresco dining area in the cockpit
Nauta Design worked on the interior, which is noticeably bright due to the clear, ‘untinted’ windows all around the saloon. There’s also the option for a through-breeze due to a pair of rectangular portholes at the front and one to port, above the cooking area.
“With Nauta, the goal was to maintain volume and good headroom, all this in a warm and bright-as ever interior design,” says Piveteau, who has been with Groupe Beneteau for over two decades. “We made no compromise on the internal comfort, whether it’s the headroom, volume of the cabins, the size of the berths, even the volume of the fridges.”
The interior starts with a full-width galley
The L-shaped galley to port also includes twin sinks and plenty of storage below and above, while there’s refrigeration and more storage on the starboard side. The dining table, an L-shaped sofa and loose chairs are forward, while to port is a pull-out chart table with storage underneath.
Accommodation options below include a symmetrical four-cabin ‘charter’ version, with each room boasting an en-suite bathroom with separate shower, while options include a crew cabin in each of the forepeaks.
In the three-cabin version, the master suite occupies most of the starboard hull
The three-cabin version includes a large master suite on the starboard side with an office in the middle and a bathroom forward. Further forward still is a utility room that can be used as a walk-in wardrobe or storage room for water sports equipment and gear, or can be set up with twin beds, ideal for a family with kids.
“This extra room gives the owner huge volume and a unique storage area that can become an extra cabin, offering fantastic versatility,” Piveteau says. “And the charter version with four ensuite bathrooms with separate showers and space for two crew cabins is a first for a 44-footer.”
The forward utility room can be a walk-in wardrobe, storage room or twin cabin
However, Piveteau ultimately doesn’t believe Excess is in competition with other cruising catamaran builders, believing that the bold newcomer is steering its own path in the multihull market.
“The Excess 14 is not a cruising catamaran,” he says. “It’s more of an attractive sailboat with two hulls. This is what we call the Excess DNA.”