We met with Tamas Hamor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 9th aboard newly delivered Hull # 14 of his Xquisite X5 series. Also Hull #11 also was docked adjacent and undergoing preparation work to be shipped to Italy. Tamas spoke to us about the history of Xquisite, key features of the model, and future plans including the new X5+ and new 60 sail and power catamarans designed by Bill Dixon. The company won Sail Magazine’s Best Boat of 2017 award and Best Boat System 2017 award, and Cruising World’s 2017 Best Boat award.
The maximalist philosophy of Xquisite is very contrasting to other builds we have reviewed here especially minimalist performance catamarans such as Outremer. Please read below and directly contact Tamas for more information on his website ( https://xquisiteyachts.com ) to get in line to purchase a very high quality luxury catamaran.
Tell us about yourself and how you got involved in Xquisite.
I spent 10 years and over 110,000 nautical miles living aboard 3 different catamarans, sailing and running chartering around the world. Our first boat was a Leopard 42 we refit in 2009 and set sail on. Then we purchased a Dean 5000 in 2013. We would go to various remote places all over the world where no else goes and do luxury charters.
Our third catamaran was an X5. The Xquisite X5 is a culmination of all the knowledge from my years of cruising.
We also provide much superior service than we received for builders and brokers. We provide full 5 year warranties on not just our manufacturing but all the systems onboard. And if a supplier does not treat our customers well, we get rid of them.
We build for cruisers as experienced liveaboard cruisers. We spent the last 10 years living aboard, and we plan to move onboard Hull # 1 of the new Xquisite 60 Power Catamaran once I finish building. Currently we are making the tooling.
How many catamarans are you building per year?
We are building about 4 per year of the X5 and now X5+ and I do not want to build any more because of the type of quality and customization we do. It takes a year to build each one and 40,000 man hours because of our attention to detail. Build quality and service after the sale are two of the biggest reasons people purchase an Xquisite. We plan to also build a similar number per year of the 60 Power and 60 Sail in the future. At this point we have 16 finished X5’s sailing all over the world.
How has Covid affected your business?
Well we launched a new model called the X5+ recently and we have already 9 orders and are booked out until 2024. We have so much interest that I have purchased 3 pre-owned X5’s and resold them including the one behind us that is going on a ship to Italy. We do a certified pre-owned program along with our full service and training.
Can you explain the history of Xquisite and the connection to the Dean catamaran brand?
Well in reality there is not much connection. When Dean went under in 2013, all the molds were destroyed. We are at a different yard (Editor’s Note: Phoenix Marine in South Africa) and different people and different molds. What is the same is that Rudolf Jonker designed both the Dean 5000 and the X5, now X5+ based on the same design. The new 60 footers are designed by Bill Dixon.
The stern arch is very distinctive. How did that feature come about?
That was an idea that Rudolf Jonker designed for the Dean 5000 and that we kept for the Xquisite X5.
We have made many modifications of the arch over the years. You can see that between this one and the one behind us, the arch has been extended for additional solar panel space. Also the arch’s construction has been continuously made lighter to eliminate weight and improve performance. The new X5+ has solar panels integrated into the roof of the arc built with tempered ‘walk-on glass’ that you can see through.
What market are you targeting?
Our buyers in the early days were mostly older couples although more recently it has been younger families. We sit at a middle range between the production catamaran builders like Leopard, Lagoon, FP and the performance catamarans like Outremer, HH Catamarans, and Catana. Our customers want something that is more suited towards cruising than the charter market. We mostly sell 3 cabin owner hull layouts and allow buyers to customize interior arrangements.
For instance the area starboard on the companionway on this Hull # 16 is a tool storage area along with a TV that comes up from the counter while on the other one behind us that area is more of a wet bar. Also the washer dryers are in different places.
So we have the comfort that our owners want at a super high quality. The X5 has 124 molds. We have molds that direct plumbing and wiring. Everything is finished inside and out. Molds are made so for instance engine insulation is flush. Our team crawls through every cranny of every boat that comes out of the factory for four weeks for an intense exit survey.
Why did you decide to go larger with the 53 foot X5+ extended version of the 50 foot X5 and the new 60 foot sail and power catamarans?
I build boats for myself really. It used to be that 50 foot was the largest catamaran that a person could single hand. The X5 is fully single hand-able and we provide training to new owners allow them to manage the boat. This is because of advances in technology. Look at this tablet that controls all the systems of the boat from a single screen. All the winches are electric and all lines come to the helm. That is actually another advantage of the arch. It provides a clean routing system to get all the lines to the helm.
Now technology continues to advance, and I think 53 is also single hand-able and even 60 foot as technology continues to make it easier.
How about maintenance and the challenges of maintaining all these systems that make such large catamarans easy to run short handed?
Not only is the technology getting more powerful, it is also becoming more reliable. Maybe 5 years ago you would have problems, but now much of it is well tested out. Also we provide tremendous support as a builder unlike any other manufacturer. We have an app that owners can install on their phone, and anywhere in the world they can take a photo of a problem and explain it and that data goes immediately to our technicians.
People these days want comfort sailing. They are expect larger spaces and more amenities than in the past. And they can get them. Why should they compromise on a smaller boat when they can afford and manage a much larger more comfortable boat.
The only limitation is really weight and performance. And our catamarans get larger we have gotten more and more creative about saving weight. For instance originally the bulkheads were plywood, but now we make composite foam cored bulkheads. All the woodwork you see below is either solid wood trim or foam cored to save weight.
What is your biggest hurdle getting people to buy an Xquisite?
Right now we are booked until 2024! The problem is the time to build enough boats!
In the beginning the problem was that we were a new brand, and we had to convince people that we would stay in business. And key to our marketing is our service which we had no track record. People had to believe that we would provide the support we said without any prior reputation.
There also is negative information online about our sailing performance which really is not fair because the author never sailed on the X5. One of my best marketing tools is to provide the contact information of all the current Xquisite owners to a prospective buyer. Owners have the experience to describe how well the X5 performs and how much they love everything about our boats. We get very good feedback.
We also are continually working on improving performance by reducing weight. We are not going to compete with the performance of daggerboard catamarans, but we provide excellent performance to those looking also for comfort and high quality construction.
Where do you see the future of Xquisite going?
We have the X5+ and the Bill Dixon design 60 Sail and 60 Power designs. We have only put out teasers at the moment about the 60 footers, and I take ownership of Hull # 1 of the 60 Power. It will cruise at 18 to 20 knots. The 60 foot designs are pre-ordered through 2024.
We do not plan to go fully electric and emissions free. We think that propulsion is better served by a parallel setup of a diesel engine and electric motor where you can choose to propel using the electric motor during the day leveraging our extensive solar panels and lithium battery bank while using the diesel engines at night when the sun goes down. We offer this parallel setup as a build option. We think this is better than electric motors and a diesel generator. All other systems including cooktop, watermaker and air conditioning can be powered by our 24V system.
How can people learn more about Xquisite and get in touch with you?
You can contact us through our website www.XquisiteYachts.com/ although production slots are booked through 2024. We may have a pre-owned Xquisite for sale or someone looking to trade up from an X5. We plan to have a new website and more announcement about our new designs in the next few months.