Tests

Dean 5000

By Matthew Thomas

In a market place where it’s very common to take an existing model, stretch it a few feet, and then tell the world you’re building a new boat, it’s refreshing to see a builder take the plunge and create something completely new. This is very much the case with the Cape Town-built Dean 5000. Designed specifically as a cruising catamaran, for an owner who wants something that sails well, but is also able to carry family and friends safely to new destinations, the new Dean 5000 is stylish, with distinctive looks.

Recently, I was invited to have a thorough look at the first Dean 5000, as the various sub-contractors and yard workers pushed to get everything finished prior to shipping to the La Rochelle Boat Show. Having already looked online and seen the artist’s renderings, I had an idea of how she would look, but was immediately drawn to her sweeping lines and curves which will make her stand out in any anchorage.

With the shipping date a few days away, the boat was a hive of activity as everyone pushed to get the last minute details completed. The guys from Southern Spars were there stepping the mast and as soon as it was finished, the sails were bent on and off they went for a test sail in moderate conditions, with all the other sub-contractors still onboard. After about an hour of sailing and photographs, it was back to the dock, where the mast was removed and packed for shipping.

Dean 5000

This Dean 5000 is for a repeat customer and will be his third boat from Dean Catamarans. This is a clear indication that the quality of the build and the yard’s service ethos is well respected in Europe. With four Dean 5000s on order and all of them for foreign owners, it is clear why the La Rochelle Boat Show was chosen to unveil this new catamaran. The La Rochelle show is the biggest on-the-water Catamaran Boat Show in the world, and it’s a bold move to launch your new boat there, especially when you’re competing against much larger French builders, in their established market.

It’s easy to forget how complex building a cruising boat is, especially when you are building something designed specifically for global cruising that has every amenity onboard. It is much like a small city, where the builder not only has to build the moulds and then the boat, but has to co-ordinate with multiple suppliers and importers to ensure that everything arrives on time, while being receptive to the owner’s needs, which will always include changes and requests. Considering all that, and the new equipment and systems constantly being launched, it is a testament to the team at Dean Catamarans that this boat was completed and shipped with little or no fuss to Europe.

It’s easy to stay with what you know, especially when you are trying to meet a fixed deadline, but that doesn’t let you show much innovation and it’s with this in mind that Peter Dean opted for a new Digital Switching electrical system. Supplied by Mastervolt in Holland, this system allows for remote switching, with numerous options and significant weight saving, so important in a catamaran. Basically put, each switch simply tells the master controller which lights to turn on and offers complete dimming and monitoring of the complete electrical system. Currently, the Dean 5000 is the only cruising catamaran using the Mastervolt system as standard equipment.

So, what’s the Dean 5000 like? Is it really different, or is it just some swooping lines over a tried and tested layout? It’s different, it’s new, it’s well built, well thought out and spacious, which it should be at nearly 15.5 metres. The first thing that struck me was the four diagonal windows aft. These windows carry the line of the arch into the hull. Another striking feature is the large pilot house windows. This is a boat designed for serious cruising, following the sun, winter in the Caribbean and summer in the South of France!

Stepping aboard, you enter via a huge, covered aft entertainment area with a large table and easy access to the interior salon. With the doors open, this becomes a big living space and it’s where I’m sure owners and guests will spend the majority of their time. I can easily imagine sitting at the aft table, in a quiet anchorage, watching the kids snorkelling, with a margarita in my hand.

With everything on the same level, it’s difficult to see the boundaries between inside and out and even with 15 people frantically working to finish their tasks, there was no sense of being confined. To port is a well-designed and built galley with all the conveniences you would expect in a high-end kitchen. Forward of that is the navigation area, with all the latest gear, from top manufactures. To starboard is a large and comfortable settee with table that gives you inside dining with a view. Later in the evening, you can watch the latest shows on your 3D TV, streamed in via satellite, while you sip on your tipple of choice.

As the owner, retiring at the end of the day, you have a whole hull to yourself. With an easy, fl owing layout, your large double bed awaits you at the aft of the hull and you can lie back, read and watch life through the large windows in total privacy. Definitely the place to be as the sun slowly rises over an azure sea and your island paradise slowly frees itself from dreamland . . .

With a large bathroom forward, you can slowly get ready for your day, pop upstairs, grab a coffee before returning to your private office space to deal with any business matters that may have arisen over night, before wandering up to the main deck and joining your friends and family for another lazy day in paradise.

On the other side of the boat, there are two well appointed cabins that are just as luxurious as the owner’s suite; perfect for kids and friends who come to visit or spend extended periods cruising with you. Of course, when you order your own Dean 5000, you can have a number of layout options.

With hulls #2 and #3 already under construction, I have been promised the chance to do a complete review of the boat and its systems, and will report back in another edition of your favourite magazine.

Mmmmm. I wonder if I can talk Peter into letting me take his next Dean 5000 to Clifton for the weekend.

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