In 1995, multihull sailor, designer, and boatbuilder Tony Smith made a splash with the launch of his Gemini 105M. Thirty-three feet long and with a beam of just 14 feet, the Gemini was large enough for serious cruising, comfortable enough to live aboard, had retractable daggerboards for upwind sailing and gunkholing in the shallows, and could fit snuggly within a conventional boat slip. Plus, the little cat had staying power. Over the ensuing 17 years, his company, Performance Cruising, located on a creek just outside of downtown Annapolis, Maryland, built more than 1,100 of the 105M, an impressive run considering that most production builders change models seemingly with the seasons.
I boarded the brand-new model on a blustery Chesapeake Bay morning following the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis last fall. It was a heck of a day for a sail and a good morning to be on a dry, sure-footed cat that took the gusts in stride. I’d hitched a ride out on the Zodiac used by our Boat of the Year judges, so the Legacy 35 was already under way with the square-topped main hoisted when I climbed aboard and was greeted by Gemini’s Robin Hodges. As the inflatable roared away, we rolled out the 120-percent genoa, set on a Hood furler, and we were off, too.
Judging from the breeze, we wouldn’t need the code zero set on the optional Seldén sprit. With the wind hovering near the mid teens and gusting higher, we were quite comfortable with boat speeds that ranged from 5 knots up into the 7s, depending on the point of sail. The Lewmar steering and twin rudders were smooth to the touch as we tracked along and then tacked. If there was one thing I might’ve wished for, it would’ve been another winch at the helm station when we jibed onto starboard tack. Both the mainsheet and starboard jib sheet are led through stoppers and share the same winch, making it a bit of a dance to center the main and cast off the genoa simultaneously. Robin said they were working on a solution.