McConaghy MC50 – First Sail Test Review

It was a big day – with little wind. A typical scenario for a late Spring day in Palma de Mallorca. The crew of the very first McConaghy 50 was excited to hoist the sails on their new boat for the very first time. 

At 15 Tons fully loaded, the MC50 is by no means a racer, but what the crew was about to experience – no one would have anticipated. It was to be a very revealing day. 

Bow Down 

Our friends at McConaghy Multihulls Europe and their partners at Palma One had the boat well prepared and were looking forward to a good first test. 

The brand new aramid composite sails looked menacing and contributed to the already high-tech look of the MC50. Bending on new sails on a prototype yacht always involves more tweaking than one expects. 

Previous complications with the mast step geometry had been resolved and the brand new OneSails looked spectacular and no crinkle or fold could be detected. They seemed to give the boat a life of its own. 

Breeze was between 5 and 12 knots true, and the MC50 seemed to behave like a racehorse. Responsive to the lightest helm input and eager to accelerate in the slightest breeze. The Axxon fixed carbon mast, featuring a single spreader, supported the giant square top mainsail. 

After short tacking – easy with the self-tacking jib, the enormous Code-0 weapon was unfurled to see if the boat could actually sail faster than the wind. This is always something we sailors like to play with. The MC50 consistently sailed at 75 to 100% true wind speed, but could she, in fact exceed it.  

It did not take long for the breeze to fill in with a consistent pressure. The crew hunted the horizon looking for the telltale “catspaws” on the water. Once in a nice patch of air, the helmsman gently put the bow down and the boat accelerated until the mast base mounted B&G displayed that boat speed consistently outpaced the wind speed, often more by 10%. This is quite some feat for a flybridge equipped luxury cruiser. 

Unlike the vast majority of cruising catamarans, the McConaghy 50 is equipped with tempered glass windows, which look great (even after 10 years) – but have a weight penalty. This is not a hull lifting racing yacht, but a full-fledged liveaboard sailor.  

Luxurious Light Air Weapon – 

Full Fledged Liveaboard Cruiser 

The owner equipped the boat with every conceivable option on the factory price list. He neither skimped on the Siemens washing machine, nor the extra fridges and freezers. Of course, there was air conditioning and a large generator to support it. 

From the convenient hydraulic aft platform to the oversize dinghy and engine, from the icemaker to a washer drier – the McConaghy 50 was fully loaded and ready for a circumnavigation in style. 

In addition to her nearly full water and fuel tanks, the complement of 5 crew meant that she was not on her lightest displacement. 

Even more of a surprise that she consistently exceeded windspeed. It is not only the use of 80% carbon in the McConaghy’s construction which allows weight savings, but also permits larger volumes because of decreased support-beam dimensions. 

The ingenious modular interior is constructed separately, outside the boat. Not only does this speed up production times and improve quality control, but it also streamlines system integration. Pumps, relays, wiring and hoses are fitted under the cabin sole and integrated into the modules, before they are mounted into the boat. 

This type of modular build system is McConaghy’s specialty as it not only results in a better boat, but also in a substantially lighter one. 

The builder’s background in constructing high-end racing yachts has also honed their mindset in trying to save weight but at the same time build in nearly indestructible strength (the aft bulkhead is nearly 2 inches thick and solid carbon!). Even the sliding glass doors sit on a completely independent carbon beam so the torque and twisting loads of this wide boat will never affect the water tightness and ease of operation of the salon doors. 

The McConaghy 50 is truly an amazing boat and hats off to the designer and builder who managed to create a new benchmark in luxury cruising.  

McConaghy Background 

The McConaghy MC50 catamaran is the first of a line of performance luxury cruising catamarans by the famed builder McConaghy Boats. 

They offer a 50, 60, 77 and 90-footer with larger custom sizes up to 145’. With engineering and manufacturing bases in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong, the McConaghy brand needs no introduction to experienced yachtsmen. 

With McConaghy’s 50-year experience in aerospace-type of high tech composite construction building the world’s most advanced composite projects such as submarines, racing cars and a very wide range of yachts ranging from the most famous racing and superyachts to America’s Cup boats – they are now entering the booming multihull market. 

They have commissioned notable naval architect Jason Kerr, known for his successful racing yachts and BAR America’s Cup design to conceive the most luxurious and safest performance multihulls. 

The results are a comprehensive model lineup of Grand Prix-type multihulls including the CE and Bureau Veritas Certified MC50, MC60, MC77 and MC90. Trademarks for these performance catamarans are swing-up centerboards, a flybridge and a unique open space bridgedeck that combines the salon with the outside cockpit.  

The MC 50 has some unique highlights: 

  • Largesliding/opening salon side windows – first in the industry 
  • Unobstructed 12’ opening, completely frameless salon doors – largest in the industry
  • Safe retracting centerboards (vs.daggerboards) – only one in industry
  • Fastestluxury flybridge production catamaran 
  • MC exclusive modular interior-build-system allowing for lighter and faster production
  • Uniquedeck step, for stiffness and more interior room 
  • No forward crossbeam
  • Fullycustomizable to owners’ specification 

This very first McConaghy 50 catamaran has been completed and is undergoing extensive testing in Palma, with several MC50s, MC60s and a custom MC90 under construction. As of press time, another MC60 has been signed by a US client. The first MC60 will be shown at the upcoming Multihull Boat Show in Cannes, France (Sept 11-16) and Aeroyacht will be introducing the second MC50 in the US in late Fall and presenting her at the upcoming Miami Boat Show in February.  

Gregor Tarjan of Aeroyacht ( is the official US importer for McConaghy Multihulls. For more information please contact him for a test sail at: or call (516) 818-3113.  

McCONAGHY 50′ Catamaran Specifications 


Max Beam26.2’ 

Displacement15,5 T 

Draft Centerboard up/down3.3’/8.10’ 

Mast air draft85.11’ 

Sail area1,614 sqft 

Standard power2 x 57 hp 

Fuel tanks capacity132 gal 

Water tanks capacity132 gal 


DesignerKer Yacht Design 

BuilderMcConaghy Boats 



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