Balance Catamarans® has launched its first Balance 526 Mark II, updating some design and technical elements of the highly successful 526 model first launched in 2014.
The Mark II follows the build of the first thirteen Balance 526 catamarans with revisions including some initiated with feedback from existing and future owners.
The Balance 526 is built by the Balance Catamarans factory in St Francis in South Africa, headed up by General Manager Roger Paarman. The factory is based in the picturesque seaside town on the East coast of South Africa. Paarman and his team started the tooling for the Balance 526 in 2013.
The Balance 526, like the entire Balance Catamaran range, was co-designed by Balance Catamarans President and Founder Phil Berman with award-winning yacht designer Anton du Toit and his team at Du Toit Yacht Design.
In 2017, the Balance 526 won Cruising World’s Boat of the Year Award.
Named Wahoo, the first Balance 526 Mark II is also the first Balance 526 XP – a full carbon build. Her mast, crossbeam and longeron is aluminum and is designed and manufactured by Sparcraft Masts, and her sails are manufactured by Ullman Sails South Africa. Her owners also chose lighter weight rigging options to further save weight. She is another beautifully and robustly built catamaran out of South Africa, the world’s second biggest catamaran manufacturer after France.
The most significant revisions from the original Balance 526 Catamaran are:
- Larger aft windows in the bathroom and port cabin suite, much like the award-winning Balance 482
- A flush, dual longeron on the foredeck and built-in anchor roller
- Removal of the structural post to the left of the down helm, as one enters the salon. This was done with the new carbon reinforcement design.
- Carbon, high-performance foiled carbon daggerboards that go above deck, together with all new matching E-glass high -performance rudders. (In the case of Wahoo, being a carbon XP 526, the rudders are full carbon, too)
- There is now a built-in stern step on both sterns
- Added seating throughout
- A navigation station that can be used as a standard desk or optional storage cupboard
In addition, many aspects of the Balance 526 are customizable by the owners. This is a hallmark of Balance Catamarans – the engagement of the owners in design options that are unrivaled in the performance catamaran sales category globally.
“I am very proud of our team for another superbly built Balance Catamaran,” says Roger Paarman. “We have been building these vessels since 2013, and our production is a slick and well-oiled machine now, with exemplary attention to detail from our team.”
The refresh to the Balance 526 design was planned by Berman and the team to ensure that the mission of innovation in both design and technology at Balance is ongoing.
“We are intently focused on our customers, their sailing experiences, and their body of knowledge to help make us all better sailors and builders every single day,” said Berman. “The Balance 526 Mark II reflects that mission – as does the successful launch the new Balance 482, the model that swept the juried awards competitions when it was launched, and the first of the Balance 442s launched this spring.”
Du Toit agrees: “It is wonderful to see the incredible quality of the builds coming out of our factories,” he adds. “Roger and his team have the 526 productions down to a fine art. We never tire of seeing another beautiful 526 on the water.”
The Balance Catamarans factory in St Francis has also begun production on the first Balance 580 – also a full carbon build and will also build the Balance 620 – hot off the drawing board. The Balance 442, 482 and 750 are built in the Balance Catamarans Cape Town factory.