Embracing the Future: The 48-Volt Revolution in Balance Catamarans Read More

The Best Sailors Listen

Phillip Berman, Founder and President of Balance, with Hobie Alter, winning his first Hobie Cat World Championship in 1979.

They listen to the forecast, to the seas, to their crew, and to their intuition. As a brand, Balance is built upon listening to the needs of other sailors, which is why we build the boats that we do: Performance-driven but liveable.

Our story could be traced back to the catamarans developed in ancient Polynesia, but for practical purposes, it begins in 1979 in South Africa, when Balance Founder Phillip Berman won his first Hobie Cat World Championship. That moment crystalized his love of South Africa—its people, culture, landscape, and waters all left an indelible impact on him. After decades as a sailor, author, and yacht broker, he kept coming back to a lingering question:

Why aren’t there high performance catamarans that still offer onboard comfort and livability?

Balance Catamarans was born in 2013 in a partnership with Nexus Yachts, combining great performance design with quality craftsmanship built in Philip’s beloved South Africa. Acclaimed designer Anton du Toit joined Balance shortly after and has been driving the designs with Phil hailed by Blue Water Sailing as a “perfect performance package.”

The Balance Brand Ethos:

  • Build yachts that balance performance and comfort

  • Design yachts that can sail smartly upwind and comfortably in bumpy seas

  • Design yachts that are easily single-handed or operated by a couple

  • Craft yachts that offer all the creature comforts and which are as easily maintained as possible

  • Fabricate yachts that are as green as possible

  • Construct yachts that are safe and strong

Core Leadership

Phillip Berman is the president of Balance Catamarans — a company he founded in 2013.

He spent his youth in California racing and sailing catamarans, wrote his first book on catamaran racing in high school, and was the Hobie Cat World Champion from 1979 to 1981. He went on to write many more books on sailing, including the best-selling catamaran training manual of all time, CATAMARAN SAILING FROM START TO FINISH. He has been a regular contributor of articles over the years to Sail Magazine, Cruising World, and a wide range of yachting publications around the world.

Phil’s sailing books funded his education in philosophy and religion at the University of California, BA, and Harvard, MTS, leading to the publication of several books in the field, including the New York Times bestseller, Reason for Hope, with Dr. Jane Goodall (Warner Books, 1998) as well as the Search for Meaning (Ballantine Books, 1990) and the Courage of Conviction (Ballantine Books, 1987).

Anton du Toit is the co-designer, with Phillip Berman, of the Balance Catamaran range.

He has over thirty years of practical sailing and racing experience around the world and the founder and owner of Du Toit Yacht Design. He grew up on boats, spending 13 years cruising around the world with his family in their Sparkman Stephens Tartan 46 ft. sloop. He brings a very practical, hands-on level of understanding of what it means to live on a boat and sail seriously in all sorts of winds and conditions.

On returning to South Africa in 1990, Anton worked closely with prominent South African yacht designer Angelo Lavranos & Associates and at the world-class yacht building facility, Southern Wind Shipyard. He has since designed numerous catamarans, both power and sail, and overseen some of South Africa’s largest catamaran build projects.

Jonathan Paarman is the Manager of Nexus Yachts in Saint Francis, South Africa, builders of the Balance 526, 580 and 620. He’s also a legendary big wave surfer who grew up with salt water in his ears. He is known as unflappable on the water with the nickname, ‘The Iceman.’

He placed in the finals of the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational and the Smirnoff Pro surfing championships, both held at Sunset beach in 1976. He was a runner up in the Gunston 500 that same year. His path crossed with Phillip Berman at the age of 22 when he was racing Hobie cats and later helped build the Hobie Cats used in the 1979 Hobie Cat World Championships held in South Africa that Berman won. He started his career building boats in 2000 by running the factory floor for Voyage Yachts for seven years. He left to form Nexus Yachts in St. Francis Bay in 2009 and partnered with Berman in 2013 to build the Balance 526.

Mark Delany is a second-generation South African boat builder, born into the South African boat building business when his father founded his shipbuilding company, Two Oceans Marine, in 1989.

Mark spent some years in the United States to advance his education and then returned to tell his father he wanted to take the family business to an entire new level. And that he did. His dad retired, turned over the keys, and Mark grew the company rapidly into the second largest pleasure boat builder in Africa. Mark always had an eye for detail but credits his father for stressing how vital it is to build teams committed to excellence and teamwork. Today, Mark continues to build rescue ships for the South African government, expeditionary power cats, and custom yachts of all sizes and shapes. He is the Owner and Managing Director of Balance Catamarans Cape Town that craft the Balance 442, 482, and 750.