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rental catamaran at the anchorage in the Tobago Cays cruising catamaran view from top of the mast Salt Whistle Bay beach in Mayreau in Grenadines beach in the Grenadines and boats at the anchorage
rental catamaran at the anchorage in Tobago Cays

Catamaran Kawai design

A true sailboat

catamaran design
Catamaran "Kawai" design

Based on my sailing experience in the tropics, the catamaran proved to be the ultimate boat to navigate the area. Yet I wanted to sail a progressive boat, capable of sailing upwind efficiently and behaving like a true sailboat.
Conceiving my boat, I have put emphasis on the beating performance, the light and medium winds performance, and on the capacity to move well with little sail. My true goal was to achieve good averages 'without forcing it', and to be able to navigate under sail whatever the conditions.
saloon of sailing catamaran Kawai
Saloon of catamaran "Kawai"
The boat had to be lightweight, simple and robust.
Communal living areas (square) and outdoor spaces (cockpit/frontdeck) would be privileged to suit tropical lifestyle.

A clean boat

The choice of material naturally went on wood/epoxy, a material combining lightness, rigidity, and resistance, as well as being contruction and repair friendly.
Moreover, it has a big advantage to be made of over 95% clean and renewable material.

A high-performance catamaran

Modeling and digital calculation are often used to determine size, but also and most of all, to compare different competing solutions and optimize the parameters to the wanted characteristics.
It has influenced the choice of the wood/carbon mast, the non-self-tacking rig and the outboard engine. Independently, they reduce the longitudinal inertia of about 35% over a same platform displacement equipped with an aluminum mast, a self-tacking rig and two diesel engines.
plan catamaran
A strong idea supported early on in the design was the maximum decrease of inertia combined with a good volume distribution on the floats. It proved to be from the first tests, a guarantee of safety, beating efficiency and seaworthiness in general.
It goes the same way for the use of carbon, sometimes combined with wood; it prevents misplaced pounds (mast, spreaders, front beam plate and triangle, rudder stocks, drifts) and drillings, harmful to a good aging of a wooden platform (stanchion feet, shroud chain-plate).
The same applies to the limitation of windage and the addition of drifts conditioning the proper beating. Drifts come in extra to the full but thin keel dedicated to easy grounding in any condition: an off-road catamaran!
The harmonious lines generating fluid laminar flows coupled with little wetted surface provide good speed even at low power (very light winds).

A tropical boat

The 'standing' area (for tall people) is located under the cockpit awning. Outdoors, the large square is a 'sitting' area to eat and work comfortably. It is moreover well ventilated and bright.
It also provides a privileged living space during navigation (central so comfortable, direct access to the chart table and outdoors). The table of the square can be pushed down, making then a huge bedding space available where the crew can live and sleep at ease in case of rough seas.
The headroom reasonably limited to 5.2 feet allows you to move fairly comfortably.
birthday on the catamaran Kawai
Birthday on catamaran "Kawai"
The kitchen, on the port side, and the restroom to starboard, are located in the hulls and directly accessible from the square.
Four cabins (two doubles, two singles) allow everyone to find a little place apart when needed.


The bottom of the floats is made of cedro strip planking (red cedar of South America), all the rest is of cedro naval plywood, slightly bent to increase stiffness and aesthetics. The whole is mounted on a tight structure (pairs in glued strips every 1.6 feet on average, and smooth) ensuring a high stiffness and high resistance for a low weight.
Kawai was built in the 'Estaleiro Naval da Escola do Pai' shipyard, in Sao Luis, Brazil, by a team of professionals recruited and directed by me, from October 2004 to January 2006.

Jean-Francois Clavel - Capitainerie Marina Pointe du Bout - 97229 Les Trois Ilets - Martinique FWI
Tel (FR): 06 96 26 77 62 - Tel (MQ): +596 696 26 77 62

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