Neel's new trimarans | Mark Rothfield

SPACEY: The designers of the new Neel 45 trimaran have landed what appears to be a flying saucer on its hulls.
SPACEY: The designers of the new Neel 45 trimaran have landed what appears to be a flying saucer on its hulls.

WHAT goes around comes around in the Neel 45 trimaran, since it has an almost perfectly circular cabin daringly melded to a trifecta of sleek fibreglass hulls.

Only the French would have the audacity to land a Martian flying saucer upon a gentile cruising boat and get away with it aesthetically. But then the multihull movement has never been hindered by the conventions that dictate modern monohull development.

The boat was originally designed by Joubert-Nivelt under the watchful eye of Eric Bruneel, formerly of Fountaine Pajot, and it quickly earned praise for its speed, comfort, innovation and ergonomics. Now, with the new Neel 45 Evolution, there’s two new layout options – the Loft version, which sleeps four to eight people, and the Cruise that sleeps between six and 10. Additional transom steps improve boarding access while a fibreglass cockpit bimini helps you to reach the boom when dousing sail, plus it offers greater sun protection.

Neel says the 45 Evolution also has a more luxurious interior finish borrowed from its 51-foot sibling. The inventory list includes innovative alternatives for solar and electronics, and performance additives such as an optional central daggerboard combined with a more powerful rig.

Where many trimarans rely on hull volume for accommodation, Neel maximises its bridgedeck opportunities. Upstairs you get twin staterooms with queen-sized berths and en-suites, along with the galley, dinette and navigation station. Connected by the central living area, the boat’s two wings are employed for additional sleeping accommodation.

The entire main hull is devoted to equipment, engine, tankage, plumbing and storage, apart from a cosy vee-berth. It keeps the weight low and central, which is important when you add extras like a generator, water-maker and air-conditioning to an otherwise light hull.

The flagship Neel 65 has also undergone an Evolution, gaining improved access to the central hull and a massive master suite on the bridgedeck.

They’ve coined the phrase “cockloon” to describe the marriage of cockpit and saloon. Seating 14 passengers, it has tables that convert to berths. A second lounge in front of the saloon offers a new “conviviality area with a sea-view sofa”. Both models are set for release at the 2018 International Multihull Boat Show in La Grande Motte from April 18-22.

Meanwhile, Fountaine Pajot has released a 42-foot sailing catamaran that’s so new it’s called just that – the New 42. A development of the much-vaunted Saona 47 model, it has modern inverted bow lines to create a dynamic profile and strong sailing performance while linking the helm station with the outdoor relaxation spaces from coachroof to cockpit.

The coachroof features a double helm seat and sun lounge for enjoying idyllic days with friends and family. The cockpit has an integrated barbecue and can be enhanced by the “Beach Club” option, which is an electric platform that doubles as a tender lift.

Multihull Solutions is the importer of both the Neel and Fountaine Pajot. See multihullsolutions.com.au.

FLAGSHIP: The Neel 65 has a 'cockloon' (cockpit meets saloon).  Both models will be released in April.

FLAGSHIP: The Neel 65 has a 'cockloon' (cockpit meets saloon). Both models will be released in April.

Suzuki outboard breakthrough

A 325HP four-stroke that runs on low-octane fuel? Yep, the new Suzuki DF325A can apparently drink the cheap (91) stuff in what’s said to be a breakthrough for high-performance outboards.

Suzuki reckons it’s ideal for commercial use, where bowser prices can really hurt the budget, yet recreational owners would also appreciate the cost savings when running their big trailerboats over long distances.

With a 4.4-litre displacement block, it’s the largest displacement V6 on the market. Externally, the motor has a handsome hood with dual air-intakes and runs counter-rotating propellers as seen on the DF350A. There’s also dual injectors that help to balance power delivery.

Rosehill boat clearance

IT’s either the first show of the new season or the last of last season’s, depending on your view, but the long-serving Rosehill Trailer Boat Show will certainly offer some great buys on April 7-8.

Set at Rosehill Gardens, it’s the traditional boat-clearance show for over-stocked and motivated boat dealers. But you’ll also see some new stuff in the flesh, particularly among the imports that were introduced over our summer and the northern winter.

The Boating Industry Association will use the recently refurbished Rosehill Gardens grand stand and exhibition hall for the show, attracting strong crowds with the promise of free entry and parking for visitors.