A new Gemini 105Mc Catamaran is on display at the SailTime booth this year for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. That’s because it is the “official” introduction of the partnership that has been forged between the two companies. Gemini Catamarans are for sale through SailTime bases all across North America now. Potential SailTime Owner Members are now able to choose between Hunter monohull yachts and the Gemini 105c Catamaran, which, conincidentally is also manufactured at the Hunter Marine plant in Florida.
We got to sit down with the President of Performance Cruising, Laura Hershfeld, just before the start of the show to get our questions answered about their unique family catamaran:
The market for catamarans seems to be growing every year. Has this been true for Gemini?
Laura: It certainly was until about 2 years ago. We were building as many as 48 boats a year out of our facility here in Annapolis. I don’t think there is a boat builder in the world that has not experienced at least a 50% hit in the past couple of years.
How did you come about partnering with Hunter Marine for manufacturing ?
Laura: Strangely enough, the cause for our decline has also become the reason for our success. We recognized probably 5 years ago that manufacturing a single product in the heart of a major city on the banks of the Chesapeake bay was not a long term solution. It is cost prohibitive because there is no buying in bulk and there is no way to spread the overheads. Because everything was going down across the board at the same time in the marine industry, the smart players recognized early that the most important thing was survival and that partnering was the best way to do this. Hunter recognized immediately the benefits to working with us; everything fro marketing to production, and the entire thing developed very well from day one.
How long has the current model been in production?
Laura: The Gemini 105Mc has been in production since 2004.
What are the differences between it and the model it replaced ?
Laura: The Gemini 105M was the prior model and it had a very different cockpit that could not be enclosed easily with canvas, the interior was a lot of small pieces whereas the 105MC is one continuous pan liner. This dramatically increased the strength and stiffness of the boat, improved the fit and finish and the performance because it reduced the weight. With the introduction of the Hunter-designed interior this has dramatically changed and upgraded the interior once again with a much richer cherry wood interior.
People may have chartered a “big cat” on a vacation in the BVI but the Gemini is 14 feet wide versus others which are 20 feet or more. What is the pros and cons of this narrower design ?
Laura: Gemini is 14 feet wide specifically so she can be fit into a standard slip and hauled out with a standard travel lift. These are huge advantages to having a beam of this size on a cat. In order to achieve this Gemini has a very unique look that is low and sleek while still offering great accommodation. This also works in conjunction with the spectacular performance of Gemini. She is truly a performance catamaran and her low profile give that ‘sports car’ feeling versus a very large catamaran that has to be very wide because they are so tall.
Can you tell us about the designer of your current model and their background in naval engineering.
Laura: My Father, Tony Smith is the designer of Gemini, He started building catamarans and trimarans and racing them all around England in the early 60s. A mechanical engineer by trade he learned everything there was to know about fiberglass just as the industry was coming into it’s own. A love of sailing, a talent for building, an eye for design and a very practical nature lead him to develop what is now the Gemini 105Mc. He not only designed the Gemini but manufactured over 1000 of them here in Annapolis prior to his retirement a couple of years ago. He now works closely with myself and the team at Hunter in developing the production of the boat in Alachua, Florida.
We have heard that some cats don’t point upwind very well and/or can’t run before the wind very efficiently. How does the Gemini stack up?
Laura: Gemini is performance all the way. Her sail plan, deck layout and centerboards make her a very good sailing boat with none of the negative characteristics of large catamarans.
Are there any special skills a monohull sailor needs to enjoy a Gemini cat?
Laura: None at all. In fact I would say Gemini has converted more people from monohulls to catamarans than any other catamaran in production today.
This looks like a great couples or family boat. What do women who sail on them like about them the most?
Laura: Level sailing!
Thanks Laura! To Get more information about Ownership or Membership contact your local SailTime base today!