The 105M was first introduced to the UK by Patrick Boyd Multihulls in the mid 1990s after many major modifications to improve the yacht’s offshore performance. Since then the company has built a brand new, high-tech factory and designed and manufactured completely new molds, which have spawned lighter, faster and stronger hulls. The new boat also has a full interior molding, which produces a superior interior finish and improves headroom all round. The new design has also allowed them to incorporate an entirely enclosed cockpit by attaching canvas sides and a back to the existing rigid bimini.
She has an unusually narrow beam – just 40 per cent of her length – which is in marked contrast to today’s more common figure of 50+ per cent, but her low center of effort helps keep her stable and upright. For that reason she could be moored in the same marina berth as a motorboat of similar length and can be hauled out for the winter by most standard Travelhoists.
Her slim hulls are teardrop-shaped with flat bottoms, which produces a smaller wetted surface area. The design also creates less drag than most V-shaped catamaran hulls. Usually, this would lead to more leeway under sail, but each hull has a kick-up centerboard that greatly improves her windward pointing ability. With her boards and rudders raised, she draws a mere 0.45m (18in), which means she can access waters most other vessels will ground in. The Gemini is essentially a production built boat, so no custom work can be carried out during the building process.
However, several popular options are available for factory installation. Over 930 Gemini 105s have been built in the last 20 years and, thanks to cutting-edge construction technology, Performance Cruising is now producing almost two boats a week at its new factory and has sold an impressive 250 Geminis in the last three years alone. What’s she like below? The Gemini has proven herself to be a very satisfactory liveaboard yacht with more than enough accommodation for a family of four in total comfort for long periods. She can sleep six in three double cabins, or even eight with the saloon table dropped to form another double berth. I imagine there are more monohull owners than would care to admit who, just occasionally, take the odd sidelong glance at a cat and experience a sharp pang of envy at its voluminous living and entertaining space, both above and below decks. I’m one of them! Despite her conservative beam, the Gemini is no exception when it comes to spacious living quarters.
The bridgedeck saloon is on the same level as the cockpit and is entered through a single, full-height doorway, over a tall sill. Ahead of you is a large U-shaped seating area capable of seating up to six for a meal, without playing elbow rugby, or eight for a cosy scrum. When you’re seated it’s possible to see virtually 360° around the boat, so there’s no need to climb the hull sides or stand on the settees to see out on a rainy day at anchor. The teak table has two leaves, so it can be used as a coffee table. Or you can unfold and twist the table top through 90° and flick a catch to drop it down; the addition of the seat back cushions gives you a fourth double berth.
There’s a chart table to starboard that can be clearly seen from the helm through a clear Perspex window, which, along with the adjacent two, drop open by adjusting a simple locking peg, so you can open them completely or just a crack. Leto has a chart plotter/radar display on a swingout bracket that places it right in front of the helm as required, but otherwise keeps it protected from the elements and the light-fingered brigade. Beneath the chart table is a large front-opening fridge, which is at a perfect height for access from the galley. The inside edge has shelves. To port as you enter is a smart AC/DC switch panel with space for VHF, CD player and tank gauges. Underneath is a practical seat for the watchkeeper to use when the weather turns nasty. Both hulls have double berths aft measuring a generous 1.90m L x 1.19m W (6ft 3in x 3ft 11in).
There’s bags of headroom above the berths and 1.83m (6ft) in the dressing area, where there’s also a decent hanging locker, shoe locker and drawers. There are no shelves alongside the berth though. The after cabins are bright and airy thanks to two opening ports and one fixed window, together with white, vinyl-covered walls. Beneath the bunks are the water tanks and hot water calorifier. The centre section of the port hull is given over to navigation and has a long chart table/workbench with chart and instrument stowage underneath. The centreboards are cleverly incorporated into this cabinet by creating a narrow box structure on its inner edge – invisible from the outside except for a small hexagonal socket that takes a standard winch handle and allows the board to be raised or lowered. Headroom in this area is 1.88m (6ft 2in).
There’s a narrow shelf above the worktop and another on the inboard side, to which Ivan has added fiddles for pilot books. Lockers underneath reach back under the saloon sole. Forward in the port hull is a large, easy-clean heads with a folding Perspex shower door to keep the toilet area dry. Headroom is 1.83m (6ft); a hatch supplies light and ventilation. The electric shower drain pump also provides a wandering bilge pump in addition to a separate manual and automatic bilge pump in each hull. The toilet intake can be switched to freshwater for the last few strokes when leaving the boat, to eliminate bacteria growth and smells. In the starboard hull is the galley, which makes full use of inboard, as well as outboard surfaces with a plethora of useful drawers and workspace. The optional microwave fits neatly under the saloon settee with easy access from the galley.
There are numerous useful lockers and drawers all round plus a deep sink and drainer. The pièce de resistance must be the master cabin, which encompasses the area right across the forward half of the bridgedeck into the forward section of the starboard hull. It incorporates a 1.88m L x 1.53m W (6ft 2in x 5ft) berth that’s raised to let you lie in bed and look out of the huge forward windows. The hull side is your dressing area, with 6ft+ headroom, a six-drawer vanity unit and a large hanging locker. On deck As with all cats the Gemini 105 has an enviable acreage of deck and cockpit space. Her retroussé transoms both have wide, flat steps and sturdy handrails for boarding.
Ivan’s boat has the optional transom seat, dinghy davits and solar panel. The simple canvas seat is a wonderful spot for observing and keeping cool underway. Her cockpit is spacious and clutter-free with comfortable allround seating for 8-10 people. Beneath the central after seat is the engine, which is accessed by lifting off the cover. Access to the gearbox is under a panel in the afterdeck and the drive leg can be raised or lowered hydraulically while under sail or in port. The helming position to starboard has wheel and optional detachable seat, although Ivan tends just to stand. The view forward is surprisingly good through the windows or along the side decks.
The rigid bimini has hatches, so it’s possible to see the mainsail clearly, and there are attachments for an all-round cockpit tent for when the weather turns nasty. Ivan confirms it is possible to sail with the weather side panel in place, as the jib sheet is always opposite, but care must obviously be taken when tacking. The decks are wide and easy to negotiate, with excellent handholds and effective molded non-slip pattern. I found there were steps in just the right places and never once felt at a loss for a sound footing.
The outboard side of the spacious galley – there's also a microwave on board; The bridgedeck saloon is on the same level as the cockpit – the U shaped seating area takes 6-8 people; Looking aft in the port hull; The owner’s berth is huge and has stunning views forward; Stowage space in the master cabin is excellent; The galley has a plethora of useful drawers and workspace.
: The helm station with instruments; There's good engine access and plenty of space for large gas bottles under the aft cockpit seats; One of two identical aft cabins; The drive leg steers with the helm and raises/ lowers hydraulically; Deck access is safe and easy; The heads occupies the entire port hull forward – the Perspex shower door keeps this dry.
Her foredeck is solid, rather than the scarier trampoline netting more usually found on cats, and she has a deep sail locker to port as well as a large chain locker for the anchor, which stows permanently through the short bowsprit. Under power Her 27hp Westerbeke diesel and Sonic steerable drive leg with a big prop make her surprisingly easy to maneuver in tight spaces, as Ivan proved by spinning her out and back into her berth like a professional. She might not be as easy to throw about as a cat with an engine in each hull, but with the leg directly linked to the helm, this has to be the next best set up and is cheaper and less hassle.
Two engines mean more fuel, more maintenance and more problems. As it is she cruises at 6.0-6.5kn at 2000rpm and is quiet and economical. Under sail The new model has a taller 19/20th fractional rig than the original, with a split, adjustable backstay and a deck-stepped, twin spreader Selden mast well supported by continuous cap stays, twin aft lowers and a baby stay. Ivan has the optional ‘screecher’ (gennaker), which attaches to a track spanning the two hulls. This allows the asymmetric sail to be hauled up to windward to extend its operating window. The mainsail is fully battened with a big roach that overlaps the backstay. This supplies the bulk of her power to windward and has two slab reefs.
The mainsheet is on a track across the after end of the cockpit and the genoa sheets lead to two stout self-tailing winches on the coachroof. Both are within easy reach from the cockpit. We set out from Brixham marina on a quiet, sunny day with a F3 blowing – enough to get most cruising cats off the mark at least. The main was hoisted in a few seconds, thanks to the free-running batten cars, and in no time we were settled into a gentle fine reach while the screecher was deployed. It took another minute to wind down the leeward centerboard, then we were away on a 5.5kn beam reach in 11kn of apparent wind.
It’s not just the accommodation that’s impressive on a catamaran – to regularly see boat speeds of half the wind speed is virtually taken for granted by their owners. A great many cats struggle to point better than 45°-50° to the apparent wind and often lose a further 10°-15° to leeway, which is why you frequently see cats motorsailing into the wind. The Gemini’s aerofoil centerboards, however, change the game entirely, which is why all the professional catamaran racers use them. Their asymmetric section is biased so as to give the yacht a lift to windward when beating and the windward board is lifted to eliminate the drag experienced by those with fixed keels.
This enables her to point up to 35°-40° off the wind with no more leeway than most monohulls, though there’s a small price to pay. Just before you tack someone needs to go below to lift one board and lower the other. You won’t want to short tack up a narrow creek using this method, but then you can always compromise and leave both boards down, in which case you’ll lose some speed, but it’s unlikely to matter all that much. Our best speed that day, 6.5kn in 12kn of wind, was on a 100° reach with the screecher fully unfurled and hauled up its track to windward.
She glides along through the water quietly and effortlessly, showing no tendency to dig her leeward hull into the waves and only the occasional slap as a wave hits the inside of the windward hull. Proven track record An arduous North Atlantic crossing in June 2001 proved that in 45kn winds the Gemini’s design is safe, stable and seaworthy. Designer Tony Smith and his son Neil completed the trip in just over 23 days, logging boat speeds of up to 18.1kn! Throughout the trip the solid bridgedeck provided enough reserve buoyancy to prevent her from burying her bows – despite occasional 35ft waves – and her low center of effort kept her stable. The cockpit enclosure also ensured they remained warm and dry the whole way across.
Specs – Gemini 105
LOA 10.21m 33ft 6in
LWL 9.67m 31ft 9in
Beam 4.26m 14ft 0in
Draught (up/down) 0.45m/1.67m 1ft 6in/5ft 6in
Displacement 3909kg 8600lb
Sail Area 52.27m² 562ft² (100% foretriangle)
Sail Area 31.62/32.55/41.39m² 340/350/445ft² (main/genoa/screecher)
Fuel 136ltr 30 gal
Water 227ltr 50 gal
Berths 8 inc saloon
Engine 27hp Westerbeke diesel
Transmission Sillette Sonic steerable hydraulic drive leg
Propeller Fixed 3-bladed RCD category A-Ocean
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