July 29th 2012. By Diane Byrne.

Pendennis Hemisphere: Largest Luxury Sailing Catamaran in the World

This massive sailing cat is at once supremely spacious, yet incredibly intimate.

The sheer expanse of the 54-foot-wide deck spaces on the Pendennis Hemisphere is striking, but it is a trip up to the trampoline hung between her hulls that will put a smile on your face. The only thing that could drag you from this preferred sunning space would probably be hunger.

Pendennis hemisphere catamaran

Spanning 54 feet across, the Pendennis Hemisphere is the world's largest private sailing mega-cat. Photo by Superyacht Media.

The good thing is, you still have your pick of great places to take in the view and remain relaxed while dining on the day’s catch. (The catch, incidentally, is reeled in aboard Hemisphere’s shadow tender, a sportfishing boat.) And that, ultimately, is what makes Hemisphere, built by Pendennis, so special. While at 145 feet she’s the largest privately-owned sailing catamaran, yet she’s arranged so smartly that even her big, beamy structure feels anything but colossal and cold.

It’s all the more noteworthy considering that Hemisphere actually started out as a smaller yacht. Her owners, experienced charter guests, first considered a design in the 85-foot range, according to Capt. Gavin Bladen. Then they liked a 100-foot version better, and then Hemisphere grew to 130 feet before one of her chief designers suggested adding more LOA yet again.

That designer, Marc Van Peteghem of Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost and his partner, Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, know multihulls better than many. They’re the brains behind some of the world’s best racing and cruising catamarans and trimarans. Several hold world speed records. VPLP knew that Hemisphere’s owners weren’t going to attempt any records, but they did want a good performer, given ambitious plans to cruise most major waters of the world.

And perform Hemisphere does. According to Bladen, Hemisphere did 10 knots even with 15 knots of wind beam on. The downwind mainsail and gennaker combine for a total sail area exceeding 12,000 feet, and Hemisphere can reportedly top out at 20 knots.

Pendennis Hemisphere sailing catamaran

With a total sail area exceeding 12,000 feet, the Pendennis Hemisphere can hit 20 knots under sail. Photo by Superyacht Media.

The owners entrusted Pendennis to complete VPLP’s vision for Hemisphere because of the UK yard’s extensive experience with sailing yachts. (The project started at Derecktor Shipyards, but a contract dispute led the owners in late 2009 to transfer the yacht to Pendennis.) They also entrusted Michael Leach of Michael Leach Design to work with VPLP for a general arrangement that took advantage of Hemisphere’s 54-foot beam without being overwhelming.

The best example is the saloon—or, better put, the living room. This is not your typical sitting and TV-watching room, with facing settees and a pop-up television. It’s a split-level assortment of comfortable, casual seating areas spread across distressed walnut soles. Panoramic views are made possibly mostly due to the expanse of windows forward, at the helm. Yes, Hemisphere’s helm is completely open to the seating area. It keeps Capt. Bladen involved with the owners’ family or charter guests, something he enjoys as much as they do.

If the youngsters tire of the grown-up talk (or vice versa), they can head down steps to port to a TV lounge. Video games and movies await, though it’s also a sophisticated adult space, given Michael Leach Design’s mixture of leathers, brushed oak, and wenge wood. Kids and adults alike can also entertain themselves with the views out the windows. They’re about waist high for an average-size adult, well positioned for watching fish near the water’s surface.

Also well positioned are all of the staterooms. Two VIPs lie forward and down from the saloon. The center wall they share removes and stows beneath a berth, making it the ultimate, full-beam owner’s suite. In either configuration, there’s direct access to Hemisphere’s balcony-like area. The port hull houses three more guest staterooms, which face windows and benefit from the beam.

Pendennis Hemisphere worlds largest sailing cat

Like the rest of this boat, the VIP stateroom has more than enough elbow room - and it can be reconfigured, to have even more. Photo by Superyacht Media.

There’s another advantage to those twin hulls. The port one has lift-up steps aft that reveal the ultimate dive locker. The 16 sets of dive gear have been getting a good workout from the owners’ family. From the youngest to the oldest, they’re all passionate about underwater flora and fauna. (On a related note, Capt. Bladen says he met the owners back in 2000 when he ran a dive operation in the British Virgin Islands.) Some crewmembers are also PADI certified. As for the starboard hull, here’s where you’ll find more toys, ranging from SeaBobs to wakeboards and more.

Pendennis Hemisphere specificationsSpeaking of more, Hemisphere has a handful of tenders, besides the above-mentioned shadow boat. There’s a Castoldi jet tender stowed in the starboard hull and a RIB stowed between the two that launches via bomber-like hatches.

Between the owners’ trips with their family and charter trips since delivery in July 2011, Hemisphere and her toys have wasted little time. She’s cruised the French Riviera, the Italian coast, Corsica, Sardinia, Grenada, Bonaire, and much of the Caribbean. This summer she’s back in the Med, where she’ll charter again in advance of a highly anticipated trip next winter through the Panama Canal to explore the Pacific.

Many hemispheres await Hemisphere. She’s sure to cause a stir in them the way she has in many ports so far. But it’s no cause for concern—after all, she’s got the world’s biggest trampoline, to keep a smile stretched across her owners’ faces.

For more information, visit Pendennis.



Diane Byrne
Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.