At the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, last fall, multihulls from South Africa bridged the spectrum from performance to luxury to charter to load-carrying cruising cat, with Royal Cape Catamarans’ Majestic 530 landing squarely in the cruiser category.
The Royal Cape yard is located in Durban, where three dozen employees build each catamaran from the keels up. The company has been in business since 2004. The 530 we sailed is hull number 13. The boat is an evolution of a Van de Stadt-designed 45-footer whose molds were acquired and used to build first the Majestic 500 and now its 3-foot-longer sibling.
The 530’s hulls, deck, six structural bulkheads and bimini are vacuum-bagged using isophthalic resin. The hulls are solid glass below the waterline and balsa-cored above, as are all other structures and the interior furniture. Boat of the Year judge Tim Murphy deemed the fit and finish of the maple woodwork to be noteworthy.
Each of the 530’s hulls is voluminous, giving the boat lots of payload-carrying capability, which it needs if an owner chooses to go with the six-cabin, six-head charter layout. The boat we visited had five cabins and five heads. The owner’s suite was forward to port, with an athwartship double bunk, desk, couch, and en suite head and shower. A guest cabin and head were located aft. Three cabins and heads filled the starboard hull, with an athwartship bunk in the aft cabin and fore-and-aft doubles in the other two. A four-cabin layout is also offered.
Various saloon layouts are possible as well. The boat we sailed featured a four-leaf dining table to port, surrounded by an L-shaped settee and upholstered benches; a nav station sat forward to port. A large center island allowed for lots of counter space for the cook, and the galley faced the cockpit, an arrangement that would make it easy to pass food out to a hungry crew.
The cockpit itself had two tables, both fiberglass, and lots of options for kicking back to enjoy the ride. A fiberglass cabinet spanned the stern and provided a place to mount a barbecue, or storage for a compressor and dive tanks.
A rigid bimini covered the raised helm stations on the 530, allowing the skipper to sit in the shade while sailing on hot, sunny days. Due to the height of the main bulkhead and cabin top, the helm seat to starboard and a second bench and winch to port were elevated, and I found it a little difficult to climb up to them. Once seated, though, visibility was good. A flybridge version, called the Panoramic, is also an option.
Besides the well-equipped galley, standard gear includes ample tankage for long-range voyaging, solar panels, genset, watermaker, air conditioning, microwave oven, washer and dryer, cockpit fridge and icemaker, and even a dinghy — a lot of kit, in other words, is covered in the $970,000 East Coast sailaway price.
Topside, stays for the single-spreader rig are anchored on the outside of either hull, leaving the wide side decks clear for moving about. Judge Carole Hasse noted that the nonskid underfoot was quite good and the seating along the cabin sides appreciated, and she applauded the solid stainless double lifeline rails that ran up either side of the boat.
The cat we sailed had an optional Leisure Furl boom. Unfortunately, on the afternoon of our sea trials, the wind took a holiday, so we didn’t get much use out of the Ullman Sails main or overlapping standard genoa. Too bad, the Majestic 530 seemed like a boat that might enjoy a good breeze.
Mark Pillsbury is CW’s editor.