Day charter. Family fun. Mobility friendly. Business opportunity. Team building. Luxury transportation. Ancillary income stream for existing hotel, resort or country club. In my years in the business I have never seen a catamaran as versatile as the Freestyle 37 by Gemini Catamarans.
The Gemini Freestyle 37 has only been in production since April 2016, but that has not stopped this exciting new model by American catamaran building dynasty Gemini Catamarans to make an immediate and meaningful impact on the market.
To fully understand the scope this catamaran is able to accomplish, we must start at the very beginning. How exactly did the Freestyle 37 come about? Well, every new idea comes from a flash of genius and the Freestyle 37 is no different. You may recall that in 2013, Gemini Catamarans bought the molds for the Manta 44, another well tried and tested catamaran from another American manufacturer. The intent was to build a 44ish catamaran with the time tested and true characteristics of the Gemini Catamaran classics; the 105M, the 105Mc and the Legacy 35. With a narrow beam considering the overall length, the result was a lower profile and better than average performance for a cruising catamaran.
This proposed new catamaran, the “Manta 4x” by Gemini Catamarans, was to be offered in two options, a 3 cabin, 3 head owners layout version and a 4 cabin, 4 head charter version. Through their relationship with The Catamaran Company and their charter operation in the British Virgin Islands, Gemini Catamarans was acutely aware of a need for a 42 to 45 foot catamaran for the charter market. Other manufacturers had refocused their attention on the larger catamarans, over 50 feet, neglecting this very important market segment.
Necessity often derails intention ... or maybe you prefer “the best laid plans” or “life happens.” Enter Albatross Catamarans, a leader in the catamaran day sail market with locations in Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Riviera Maya. The multi-generational, family-run Albatross has been a long-time, large client of The Catamaran Company, almost 15 years and counting. Throughout the years, the relationship has become a very finely tuned business partnership with The Catamaran Company now being the exclusive supplier of brand new Gemini Catamarans and Lagoon Catamarans into their very popular and well marketed fleet.
Albatross usually operates 4 to 6 Gemini Catamarans at a time and the Gemini Legacy 35 has been their preferred model since hitting the market in 2013. This model is marketed to their high-end charterers as a private and exclusive tour, typically for a family or one to two couples, designing a package exclusive for the group. This could be as simple as their traditional 4 hour day sail package to Isla Mujeres for lunch and snorkeling to a multi-day skippered tour with all the indulgences these magnificent waters offer. Gemini’s Legacy 35 model is a charter owner/operator’s dream! Due to her narrow beam and shallow draft she can fit into places larger catamarans cannot, locations monohulls and power boats can only dream of. So how do we build on something already great?
That was the topic of conversation between Albatross mother and son team Teresa de la Pena and Manuel Linss along with The Catamaran Company’s Brent Hermann and Gemini Catamarans’ President Laura Smith Hershfeld one sunny July afternoon in Cancun. Albatross needed more space for an ever expanding business. They wanted the comfort and convenience of the Gemini Legacy 35 but they did not need the interior salon nor cabins. And let’s face it, when you are in Cancun, who wants to be indoors??!! Drawings were sketched out on paper napkins with the thought of modifying plans utilizing the Manta molds but the beam of the Gemini’s Legacy 35 model along with the ease of use of systems already in place and known to Albatross was a plus.
Back in Largo, Florida Laura worked side by side with Jamie Osteen, who has been part of Laura’s trusted team of research/development, design and production for Gemini Catamarans since 2010. Together they found a way to take an existing Legacy 35 hull and create this new open deck concept called the Freestyle 37. A prototype was completed with minutes to spare for the 2016 Strictly Sail Miami International Boat Show in February. The crowd was amazed and intrigued by this new concept and the team decided to move to the production phase. The first production Gemini Freestyle 37 came off the line in summer 2016.
In a few short months, this new concept has shown us things even The Catamaran Company and Gemini Catamarans could not have imagined. Pier 7 Marina in Annapolis has the first one and offer theirs as a compliment to the other water sports available to their over 200 slip holders, vacationers renting their luxury waterfront apartments and people on holiday in nearby Annapolis, DC and Baltimore as well as locals looking for a treat on a weekend afternoon or evening. They even did a team building day in the brisk November breezes with yoga-inspired, technical apparel company “Lululemon” out of Vancouver, Canada. Teambuilding! Teambuilding on a sailboat in what once served as our Nation’s capital you say? BRILLIANT! BRING IT ON!!
The second production boat was built for a totally different function, a new and totally different use that was identified as the project progressed. It is owned by a very successful entrepreneur in Miami and is primarily used for private use. Mobility was a huge issue for this owner and rather than give up his love of sailing, he asked Gemini to build him a Freestyle 37 with a completely open cockpit and salon that would allow him to sail again with easy access on and off the catamaran and ample space behind the helm to handle those lines led aft. Realizing there are others that face similar challenges, he recently donated his Gemini Freestyle 37 for a full week of programming with “Shake a Leg Miami”, an organization dedicated to getting people with mobility issues, both physical and mental, back on the water sailing. BREAK BARRIERS!
Hull # 3 was destined for a family in the Chesapeake. What a terrific way to bond on the water with after school sailing in the spring and fall or long weekends in the summer months. The Gemini Freestyle 37 has enough open space to allow any child the freedom of their unbridled imagination. Want to sleep under the stars? Done! Always improving as they go, Gemini Catamarans has raised the hardtop to encourage rain water to roll off the sides back into the sea, plus long sections of Plexiglas have been added allowing you to stare at the stars protected from the elements. In addition to a queen sized berth in the forward port hull, there is plenty of room for a pop tent, adding a new element to glamping! Actually, you could even jump rope in the expansive mid salon area without any chance of falling into the water! FAMILY FUN!
A new owner out of southern California moved forward with a purchase sight unseen! He had been looking for a catamaran that he could place into a local charter fleet, offsetting expenses as he is only able to use the boat as his busy work schedule permits. The charter operator he was working with was only too thrilled to hear it was a catamaran by Gemini Catamarans. Having had both the Gemini 105Mc and Gemini Legacy 35 in his fleets previously, he knew the low cost maintenance and ease of use would significantly add to his ROI, allowing him to put together an attractive proforma for the owner. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!
A local hotelier in Riviera Maya, introduced to Gemini Catamarans by seeing the Legacy 35 sailing the waters in Albatross’ fleet, just took possession of the latest hull to be launched the weekend before Thanksgiving. The hotelier himself is sailing her to Mexico’s Riviera Maya on her own bottom and will be used as a shuttle service for travelers coming to his luxury hotel that is only accessible via boat. Choosing larger engines mean a faster, smoother transport in inclement weather when perhaps getting there might be a little more important than the sail on those days. Good weather, with a nice breeze? Upgrading the forward port hull to a second head allows for two baños, one for señoras and one for hombres along with a galley/bar area with space to place a cooler sets the stage for a Rockstar’s welcome. Sip a cold Corona or tequila inspired cocktail in the bow pulpit or forward cockpit areas with the wind in your hair and sea air gently caressing your face while your luggage is safely stowed away. LUXURY TRANSPORTATION!
“And it brings us back to Do” ... sorry, I like to sing ;-) Back to Albatross, the Cancun hotel and catamaran sailing tour giant has ordered six new catamarans. As of this writing, they have taken delivery of two so far. Sometimes “family” has to wait while other priorities are met. On the one hand, I think Gemini Catamarans originally looked at this as a special order from an extra special client. Six custom Gemini Legacy 35 models and done. But the sailing community embraced this new model with such fervor that they needed to push delivery of those six boats back a bit, interspersing new orders, for other uses. So many other uses, whatever the mind can conceive, man can achieve. Do, Re, Mi ... it really is that simple with the Gemini Freestyle 37.