In the world of cruising catamarans, a debate has been raging for more than 20 years: Payload or performance? The palaver started in the mid-1990s, when cats began rolling out in increasing numbers for larger populations of sailors, including charterers. The boats were marketed on the basis of two mutually exclusive promises: their displacement-busting speed potential or their capacity to carry all the comforts of a well-appointed apartment. Sailors snarked about roomarans, the boats you might want to take anchoring but never sailing. At the other end of the cat spectrum were thoroughbreds marketed to couples but in fact sailed by pro crews.
The Balance 526 was forged in the smithy of this debate.
“We’re not creating a charter cat, and we’re not creating a racing cat,” says Phil Berman, owner of Balance Catamarans. “We’re creating a high-performance cruising cat for a couple to sail on.”