Gambit is a capable and proven blue water cruising catamaran designed by Simonis-Voogd Design and custom built for her first and only owner by Brent Gray Projects in South Africa. In 2001 Gambit was delivered in Cape Town. She voyaged 36,000 miles from South Africa to Brazil, Southeast Caribbean, NW to Anguilla in Caribbean to the Azores to Portugal/Spain. Then to the Mediterranean as far east as Rome, Italy then north to Cinqueterre and west to the Balearics, Gibraltar, Canaries, Caribbean, Panama, Galapagos, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, and the US via French Polynesia and Hawaii; finally reaching home in the San Juan Islands of Washington state in 2005. She has cruised locally in the Pacific Northwest since that time.
As part of the Four Cats 54 program, design work and build specification is very detailed and to a very high standard. Construction is robust utilizing unidirectional fabrics vacuum bagged to an aircraft balsa core and extra heavy-duty hardware for all critical components. An emphasis on safety and reliability is evident throughout. Fixed keels with stainless steel shoes and skeg-protected rudders and were selected vs. daggerboards and spade rudders. Good sailing performance is achieved by keeping the hulls narrow and the boat light. Extensive use of coring in the bulkheads, decks, hulls, and furniture saved a significant amount of weight while increasing stiffness.
Most cruising catamarans suffer by offering too much accommodation and creature comforts with hulls that are too short and too wide. Gambit has the waterline length, storage, narrow hulls, and sail plan needed to make fast passages. With 56 hp engines and 268 gallons of fuel, she has the range to motor across vast windless areas. Three staterooms with queen berths and two heads leave everyone with ample room and storage space for a full kit of toys, provisions, spare parts, and tools.
Keeping complex systems running is the single greatest challenge for many long-range cruisers. Gambit’s owners were experienced cruisers, having completed a major voyage on a Wauquiez Amphritrite 43 when they selected the design and specified systems on Gambit. Solar panels, wind generator, and large alternators were selected over a genset. Cabin fans, lots of hatches with wind scoops and opening ports were chosen over air conditioning. Forced air diesel heat vs. a more complex hydronic heating system. Exterior surfaces are white to minimize heating and reduce maintenance. There is no exterior wood to maintain. An elegant cherry interior is inside, protected from the elements.
Gambit shows as a much newer boat than her age. Her owners have been meticulous with maintenance and care. Her storage lockers are clean; many were recently repainted. The machinery spaces are clean and well-lit. The Cherry interior cabinetry and cabin soles are scratch and ding free. Ultra-leather upholstery and soft goods are stain and odor free.
The accommodations are accessed through the cockpit where a 62” wide by 68” tall sliding glass door sits atop a 6” tall threshold. An 8” deep well with drains located aft of the door prevents rain water ingress. Stepping through the door one steps down onto an 8” high by 24” wide step into the spacious and bright salon/galley area. The hinged-top step has a storage bin below.
The warm and elegant cabinetry, Wilsonart counters, wood cabin sole, leather upholstery, quality fittings and designer details immediately reveal that Gambit is no ordinary production catamaran. The interior design, materials, fabrication, and condition are superlative. Furniture is crafted from satin-varnished Cherry with foam core construction engineered to save weight. Cabinet and cabin doors are paneled with routed louvers in the tops. Counters are white Wilsonart with red/white/blue flecks and surrounded by curved 1” high strip laminate jig-bent and glued fiddles; no sharp corners anywhere! Cabinet handles, hinges, latches, and light fixtures are chrome finish. Hinges are euro-style with ball catches on cabinet doors. The cabin sole is teak and holly over balsa core; scratch free and satin finished. Cabin soles in the hulls and staterooms are covered with blue carpet over fiberglassed balsa core. Overheads and hull side panels are white vinyl over foam padding and secured in place with Velcro; easily removed for accessing hardware and wiring. Well-placed, wall switched, overhead spot lights are recessed and reading lights are thoughtfully placed throughout. Cabin fans also located throughout. All lights are LED. 110V and 12V power outlets are provided in each cabin and space. Red courtesy lights are located around the cabin sole for night navigation.
Gambit was conceived for a family to safely and comfortably circumnavigate the globe. Charter versions built using the same hull/deck mold have had five staterooms and five heads. Gambit has an owner’s layout with the entire starboard hull dedicated to the owner. The bridgedeck has a massive, wrap around galley to port. A raised dinette is to starboard and aft. The navigation station is forward to starboard. Headroom measures 6’ 6” aft and 6’ forward as the aerodynamic cabintop slopes forward. The starboard owner’s hull has a head with separate stall shower aft. An office/storage space is in the at the companionway base. The stateroom is forward through a privacy door. The port stateroom has two equally proportioned guest staterooms with a central head and separate stall shower in the forward passageway.
Sitting down comfortably at a large dining table, looking forward with excellent views is so seldom found on any cruising sailboat. Yet it is so nice. Gambit’s raised dinette simply nails this feature. Raising the dinette onto an 8-1/2” high platform is the key. Tan Ultraleather cushions are sculpted and contoured for maximum comfort. These cushions lift up to access storage bins beneath the seats which measure 7’ along the aft bulkhead with a 5’-6” long starboard “L”. A 4’ wide bench seat with bin storage will seat two forward. A total of eight could comfortably dine at this large table. The varnished cherry table measures 5’-7” long by 3’-8” wide and has an artful inlaid chess board (hence the name Gambit) and low fiddle. A clear custom tempered glass top has kept this table in excellent condition. Two overhead spot lights, two reading lights on the aft bulkhead, and two cabin fans service this table.
Forward of the raised dinette is a wraparound navigation station with excellent forward and starboard side views; sufficient for watch standing in low traffic areas. To port is a 22” by 41” chart table with 3” deep top-opening drawer. Two large drawers and a very long front opening bin for storing rolled up charts is below this chart table. A red Ultraleather-covered swivel chair with arm rests adjusts up/down on its pedestal base. This chair sits atop a 5” tall platform to maximize views forward. The navigation and communications electronics are flush mounted in a 12” high padded black vinyl console. Breaker switches for the nav/com electronics and nav lights are also located on this console. A 12” wide by 41” long worktop with shelf below is ideal for laptop or keyboard use. Outboard, to starboard is a raised 18” x 39” counter topping three open bookshelves. Three 12V outlets, a 110V duplex outlet, fan, reading light, and flex-arm red light complete this work station.
An entertainment cabinet is on centerline/forward between the galley and nav station. Stereo, TV and video players are housed in this cabinet and visible from the dinette or bar stools. There is substantial storage and a safe here as well.
The galley is to port and occupies a substantial piece of bridgedeck real estate. The vast countertop area, cabinet and drawer volume, communication to the salon and cockpit, and outside views will satisfy any chef. The galley wraps around and a 6” step just forward of the stove maintains headroom (6’-6” aft and 6’ 2” at sinks forward) as the cabintop slopes forward. A front-opening fridge and freezer are located aft along the aft bulkhead. Two additional storage cabinets are located in this aft console along with a large open counter. One of these lockers is for spirits and stemware. A trove of cabinets, lockers, and drawers including: narrow drawers for trays and cutting boards, sliding door cabinets for dishes, front and top opening trash bin, and cabinet below the stove for pots and pans will swallow all desired galleyware, cookware, and consumables for a long voyage. The large, double sink is forward and a dish drying basin is outboard to port with a white cutting board cover. A raised 16” wide by 68” long raised countertop between the galley and salon hides galley work from the salon and serves as a breakfast counter. Three stainless-steel bar stools with round red Ultraleather seats serve this counter/bar.
Descending six steps down into the starboard is the owner’s hull. An office space is inboard just forward of the 45 degree-slopped stairs/ladder. A 20” by 40” desk with 3” deep, top-opening drawer has a blue Ultraleather padded, swing-out 12” round seat, reading light, and 110V outlet. This semi-private space is a great place to catch up on business affairs and correspondence. Two bookshelves and three cabinets are above the desk. Aft of the companionway is the main 12V and 110v breaker panel in a cabinet above a lower cabinet with slide-out bins sized for standard files. Outboard along the hull side, are two 30” wide hanging lockers flanking a lower 38” wide by 20” deep cabinet with four shelves and two opening ports with screens and privacy covers.
The master stateroom is forward through a locking privacy door. A dressing mirror is mounted on the door inside. The athwartship-oriented queen-sized berth has 9” shelves along the forward and aft sides and a blue Ultraleather-padded headboard inboard. A large opening overhead hatch and forward opening port bring in light and fresh air. A bookshelf is up high on the aft bulkhead and two reading lights are outboard of the headboard. The mattress is 6” thick and has a 3” thick foam topper. Below the berth is a 3’ long by 16” wide seat with padded cushion allowing one to sit at a 32” long by 15” wide desk mounted along the outboard hull side. A 3” deep drawer, mirror, reading light, and 110V outlet serve this desk. Aft a cabinet with four shelves is outboard of the door. Forward a large door conceals two slide-out drawers and access to the bow storage areas (closed with a zippered mesh panel). A cabin fan and two overhead spot lights complete this stateroom along with two opening outboard hull ports with screens and privacy covers.
The master head/shower is aft in the port hull and entered through a locking privacy door. The head compartments are fabricated from easy to clean white-gel coat finished fiberglass for low maintenance Countertops are blue Wilsonart. Sinks are integral white solid laminate. The cabin soles are removable teak and holy over balsa-cored fiberglass panels. Outboard is an elegantly curved vanity with 16” by 10” by 8” deep oval sink. A Skandvik faucet and soap dispenser are fitted at the sink. A medicine cabinet with mirrored door and florescent bar light are forward above the sink. The Vacuflush head is inboard and aft with a high up fixed inboard viewing port above it. Cup holder, toilet paper holder, towel ring, and opening hull side port with screen and privacy cover complete this space. Aft is a large stall shower with hinged acrylic door. A mixer valve, adjustable shower bar, spray nozzle and hose are mounted on the inboard hull side. An Aquamaid shampoo/soap/conditioner dispenser is mounted forward. A towel bar, drain pump, removable fiberglass grating, and opening port up high (nice ventilation with screen) complete this space. A removable panel in the aft bulkhead provides secondary access (primary access through deck hatch) to the starboard engine space/workshop.
Six easy steps down from the galley into the port guest hull one finds a laundry area. A front-loading washer/dryer is aft and inboard with a storage locker above it and a locker with the refrigeration compressors below the washer. Outboard along the hull side is a tall 27” wide hanging locker forward of a linen locker with three shelves. Blue carpet covers the balsa cored sole. An opening hull side port with screen and privacy cover as well as an overhead light complete this space and forward passageway.
Moving forward in the passageway, a shared guest head/shower is inboard through a locking privacy door. This efficient space has a vacuflush head aft, vanity with sink and medicine cabinet inboard, and stall shower forward. The stall shower has a hinged acrylic door, adjustable height spray nozzle bar, mixer valve, soap dish, and towel ring. Additional towel rings, opening hull side port, and overhead hatch complete this clean/white space.
A forward guest stateroom is entered through a locking privacy door at the forward end of the passageway. The queen-size berth is inboard and oriented fore and aft. A blue padded Ultraleather headboard is aft along the bulkhead. An 11” wide “L-shaped” bookshelf wraps around the foot of this berth up high; well-used by the voracious-reader occupant. Aft is a locker with four shelves. A 36” long by 15” wide bench seat with blue Ultrasuade cushion allows one to sit at the 32” long by 12” wide hull side work desk with 3” deep top-opening drawer. Or a swing-out 12” stool can be used to close-sit at this desk, leaving no excuse for incomplete homework assignments. Forward along the hull sides are four open bookshelves. All the way forward, behind a door, are two pull-out drawers, a hanging locker and finally, access to the bow storage area behind a zippered mesh divider. Reading lights, 110V outlets, cabin fan, overhead hatches, and hull side opening port with screens and privacy covers complete this space.
The aft guest stateroom is entered through a locking privacy door aft of the laundry space. A dressing mirror is mounted on the door, inside. The queen-sized berth is oriented athwartship and a red Ultraleather padded head board is inboard. A 5’ long by 6” wide bookshelf is mounted above the headboard. Forward and inboard a 32” long by 17” deep writing desk with 3” top opening drawer provides a wonderful ensuite office space for homework or business. A 12” round stool with blue Ultraleather cushion swings out from beneath the desk. A bookshelf and double door locker with shelve is above the desk. A 28” long by 18” wide bench seat with blue cushion and bin storage below is outboard along the hull side just forward of the berth. An access hatch below the berth provides secondary access (primary through hatch and ladder in the aft deck) to the port engine. Forward and outboard is a cabinet with four shelves. A tall hanging locker is forward and inboard of the cabin door. Reading lights, cabin fan, 110V outlet, opening hull side port with screen and privacy cover, plus an overhead hatch complete this cabin.
Gambit has ivory colored gel coat hull with black antifouling bottom paint below a 2” tall red boot stripe. A rub rail is fastened to the hull sides 16” below the deck edge. A white UHMW plastic strip is sandwiched in black rubber and well positioned to protect the hull sides from piling or pier. The hull side opening ports are in line with and protected by this rub rail. A moderate tumble home between the hull sides and deck geometrically strengthen this critical junction. The wave piercing bows are slightly flared and overhanging. The scoop sterns molded into the raked transoms ease boarding from tender, low dock, or water. Four easy steps lead from swim platform to the side decks.
The deck is finished in white gel-coat with molded-in low profile diamond nonskid areas; cool in the tropics and easy to clean/maintain. Raised hatch foundations, recessed/guttered locker lids, molded in steps, and radiused/recessed window mullions show a high level of design and tooling detail. A Goiot extruded aluminum toe rail with oval holes is fastened with through bolts to the deck edge. So functional for tying fenders, rigging awnings and so many other applications. The massive chain plates include eye nuts which handle the loads from stropping outboard sheet leads. 30” Tall stainless-steel stanchions mounted in Goiot toe rail bases support double uncoated wire lifelines. Stainless-steel gates fold down as ladders for boarding from low docks or tender. These gates are located about ¾ of the way aft on each side. Bow pulpits with white plastic “dolphin watching seats” are forward on each bow, just aft and clear of folding “D-rings” used for tacking down wind sails. Stern pushpits terminate the lifelines on each side atop the stern steps.
When not in use, the tender stores securely on chocks atop the 32” wide poop deck aft of the cockpit. Primary cockpit access is through an opening in the aft cockpit coaming. An array top and aft-opening hatches gain access to a massive storage locker in this 16” tall deck. The owner reports storing 12’ long windsurfer, SUP’s, dive gear, and other long items in this space; a much more secure alternative to lashing on deck. The tender is launched and retrieved using an anodized aluminum boom extension crane, and a topping lift led to an electric winch. Sea kayak storage is above the dinghy from hanging stainless-steel mounts fixed to the targa arch. Two additional storage lockers are in the aft cockpit coaming. A custom stainless steel line reel with 600’ of floating line (and more than twice that capacity) is in the starboard locker, ideally placed for shore tying.
Supplementing the cockpit and stern locker storage are voluminous deck-accessible bow lockers in the bridgedeck forward of the mast. These include: two 42” deep lockers with 21” x 16” hatches on centerline forward. The owner reports storing a whole, butchered lamb in one of these in New Zealand enroute to a huge cruiser’s BBQ. Lifted in/out with the spinnaker halyard this overboard draining locker worked perfectly. Two 42” deep lockers are further outboard with 16” x 29” hatches. The port locker houses two large propane tanks. The code zero sail with attached hardware plus sheets and multicolored spinnaker in snuffer are stored in the starboard locker. Two massive lockers with 21” x 36” hatches are on centerline and store the anchor rodes in mangers. The large plastic water tanks are outboard and aft. These tanks will fit out the hatch if one ever needed to replace them. The anchor windlass is mounted on centerline, below a recessed hatch just forward of the mast.
Trampolines and catwalk fill the area between the bows forward of the bridgdeck. The white plastic-coated, ribbon mesh trampoline is taught and comfortable to walk, sit, or lay on. These trampolines were recently restitched with Gore-tex thread(for UV protection) and measure 8.5’ long by 8’ wide each. A centerline catwalk comprised of two anodized aluminum mast sections spanned by fiberglass slats provides fore and aft support to the forward cross beam. A hinged, top opening section of this catwalk allows access to the anchors and rollers.
The raised cabintop is wedge-shaped forward to improve aerodynamics. The sides are flared aft to provide ample headroom in the hull companionways. Fixed side and front window and top opening hatches afford amazing views from the salon/nav/galley space. Two molded steps on either side of the mast make stepping up onto the cabin easy and molded-in nonskid provides secure footing. Stainless-steel handrails are fitted outboard on the cabintop sides.
Gambit has a large, comfortable and fully-protected cockpit; an obvious choice when selecting a gathering spot during cruiser pot lucks. Primary access is from the aft deck through a 30” wide opening in the 32” tall coaming. A rigid bimini is fastened to a stainless-steel frame spanning the cabintop and targa arch. Clear acrylic sliders are fitted over the helm and port side access steps. Clear, zippered panels completely enclose the cockpit. The 18” wide cockpit seats with 15” tall backs are well designed for comfort. To starboard is an “L”-shaped seat measuring 52” by 52”. To port the “L” shaped dinette has seats measuring 82” by 50”. The dual pedestal-mounted table measures 53” by 41”. This beautiful varnished cherry table features a dolphin inlay of contrasting hardwoods. A raised, double helm chair sits aft of the bulkhead mounted helm. The seatback flips forward or aft for driving or socializing. Cockpit storage is found below the seats and in a 16” deep locker below the cabin sole accessed through two 37” by 21” hatches.
Gambit is designed, built and outfitted for speedy and safe ocean passages. Her relatively narrow hulls, light weight, powerful custom Simonis sailplan, and low/aerodynamic profile allow her to make excellent speed in light or strong winds. Her spars and forward crossbeam are by Sparcraft. Most deck hardware is oversized by Antal in Italy. Winches are stainless-steel Anderson. Two of the winches are electric and located at the cockpit allowing most sail handling and trimming from the cockpit. The fractional rig uses diamond shrouds on the top spreaders to support the large mainsail. The genoa sheets to tracks well inboard on the cabintop. A removable “A” frame hinge mounts on the forward cross beam, extending the code zero or spinnaker tack. An inner forestay attached to a chainplate on the bridgedeck provides extra mast support and soft shackle luff attachment for a storm jib.
The engine spaces and access to systems aboard Gambit are best described as “excellent.” The two engine rooms are large, well lit, and clean. Access is via 24” x 24” Goiot deck hatches in the sterns where aluminum ladders are fix mounted. The starboard engine room has the majority of auxiliary systems, full standing headroom, and a workshop. Aft at the ladder base is 22” long by 18” wide wood workbench with a machinist vice. A storage shelf is above this bench. Inboard of the engine are spare parts/consumables storage lockers. Tools are surface mounted around these lockers. The watermaker is forward and outboard with all components visible and easy to operate and service. A fuel filter/polishing station is just aft of the watermaker. Batteries and electrical system components are inboard. Secondary access to this machinery space is through a removable panel in the shower stall. Secondary access to the port engine space is beneath the aft stateroom bunk providing standup/walkaround access for maintenance beyond simple fluid checks.
John Guest PVC plumbing with hot water recirculation valves