"Lely" the first Atlantic 57™ is sailing and she's a rocket!
Aquidneck Custom Composites did an impressive job of construction. I hesitate to say this because it sounds like marketing hype but I think Lely is the best built cruising catamaran ever launched. Detail to detail I'd happily compare her to ANY cat from ANY builder ANY where in the world. ACC's depth of composite boatbuilding skill shows when you look into the bilges and deep into dark corners where the laminates are perfectly executed, faired and painted!
The most beautiful part of the boat, in my opinion, is the rudder compartment where all the laminates are clear finished, steering system perfectly aligned and all equipment installed as tidy as it gets. Despite her 57 feet Lely's hull and deck structure all complete weighed close to 10,000 lbs. Fully equipped and rigged for sailing she weighs less than many production 40' cats! And she's far stronger. In build quality there is no comparison to be made to the likes of Catana, Privilege, Lagoon, etc… The Atlantic 57™ is an entirely different kind of animal designed and built to be the safest, most comfortable, best performing cruising catamaran in the world. If you don't believe me and are serious about buying a cat I will be happy to demonstrate the boat.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter much what I think, it matters most what the customer thinks. Lely is impressive enough that no sooner was she in the water than a second A57 was contracted- that's proof of the pudding.
Many talented people contributed to the superb results and a few should be mentioned here: Carlos Medeiros, CAM Machine, the master of titanium, made the most beautiful and lightest Ti stern rails I've ever seen not to mention all manner of other parts.
Itchiban Yacht Painters probably wore out a square mile of sandpaper getting the superb finish everywhere inside and out.
Jim Thompson and crew were responsible for all of the gleaming woodwork including dovetailed drawers.
Mike Woodside spent what must have seemed like months jammed into tight spaces installing a very complex electrical system.
Sailing trials on the A57 have been very impressive. The new daggerboard configuration allows her to go to windward better than any cat I've ever sailed. With board down I can't see any leeway. The mark you head for is the mark you reach. As the wind speed builds she just keep going faster. Sailing in Narragansett Bay in 30 knots true wind, going upwind, with self tacking staysail and one reef in the mainsail we saw a steady 13.5 kts on the GPS. That's impressive for any cat and especially so for a cat with a full cruising interior, generator, air conditioning, central heating and all the other luxuries.
The carbon rig from Hall Spars behaves very nicely. It is stable in all conditions sailed in to date. Even when the rigging was untuned the mast was still standing quite straight. The carbon mast is certainly quite a lot stiffer than the aluminum section we've used previously.
Building Lely was a fun project for me too. Owner and builder were both determined to make this an enjoyable process; as building a boat should be. I can't wait to do it again!
A57 "LELY" Photos