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Boat Reviews

Excess 11 Catamaran Highlight [Boat Review + Video]

Marina Nazario | November 20, 2020

Explore the Excess 11 for sale in South Florida + California. Denison yacht broker Wiley Sharp gives a tour of this vessel.

Over the last few years, I’ve gotten to show you all some of the coolest catamarans around the world, things as large as Sunreef 80s, Saba 50s, and Privilege Series 5s. Today, we’re actually going to take a look at the smallest production Cat currently available and one that packs some of the most punch.

The boat we’re going to be taking a look at today is a 3 cabin, 2 head layout, which is the ultimate pocket cruiser. This boat has got all the unique features found across the Excess range like the twin helms aft, the retractable sunroof, and a pulse line rig, really really stepping up the sailing performance over any other production catamaran.

This morning I took her out for a quick sunrise sail and the boat handled beautifully. All I can think about is how badly I wanted to get back to the dock so I could grab my wife, my passport, my two dogs, provisions, and just shoot over to the Bahamas.

Today’s tour, we’re going to start here at the starboard helm, which I consider the primary of the twin helm arrangement. Underway today, the helm felt light and very responsive which is one of the things that make this boat so much fun to sail.

Just above the carbon fiber helm, we’ve got the Raymarine electronics which includes a touchscreen Raymarine chart plotter, Raymarine autopilot control. Just below that, we have the Yanmar engine control panels. Outboard of these, we have one of the two sets of engine controls for this boat making it extremely easy to dock both port as well as starboard.

Just forward to the helms, we have the two primary winches; this boat is so easy to handle single-handed or short-handed. The reason this boat’s so easy to sail short-handed is the fact that all the sail control lines lead back to these jammers which go to this electric winch which is all within reach of the helm.

Another great feature of the helm is just how wide open these sugar scoops are which makes it really easy getting in and out of the boat whether from a tender or med board. And then we’ve also got this really great seating solution here which allows you to comfortably sit at the helm while underway.

There’s been a lot of debate on the internet over the whole twin helm design; I personally think it’s a really, really nice setup on the Excess range in general. I’ve got really good visibility forward as well as aft. I’ve got a really good line of sight to my sails and then depending on where the sun’s coming from, either in the shade on the starboard helm or over on the port home, whereas when you are in a single helm arrangement boat depending on the angle of the sun you may not have the option to get out of the sun.

Under both helms is where we have access to our mechanical spaces. This boat’s equipped with Yanmar 3YM Diesel motors paired to sail drives with folding propellers. As you can see I’m a rather large dude and I’ve got really good access to this mechanical space for either making repairs or servicing the Yanmar Diesels.

As you’ll see, making our way to the foredeck, there are grab rails in all the right places. One thing worth pointing out is all eight-deck hatches are flush mounted, not only does that remove a tripping hazard but it’s also one less thing for your rigging lines to catch up on while sailing.

The thing that might make this my favorite of the entire Excess range is just how sporty the boat feels. We’ve got the pulse line bowsprit, we’ve got a really nice large self-tacking jib sail. You’ll also notice that the mast is deck step versus coach roof step, giving you a much longer boom and a lot more sail area which you really feel while underway.

The sail package on board this boat is a really really nice addition. It’s a tri-cut square top mainsail. Tri-cut genoa and then a really nice large code zero that paired with the pulse on the rig which is a taller mass really helps this boat sail beautifully in light air as well as the heavy breeze. Storage is always a major consideration in any cruising Catamaran and on the smaller boats, it tends to be quite an issue. That’s not the case with the XCS11. We’ve got two nice deck lockers here as well as two very large sport peaks that can be used as storage or fitted out as crew cabins.

All the way forward this boat is equipped with the optional dolphin chasing seats which is a perfect place to hang out while underway. We’ve also got a nice large single-piece trampoline, another great place to hang out while underway.

The XCS11 is all about ease of use and that even carries forward to the anchoring system on the boat which makes it very easy to drop anchor in your favorite secluded bay. First aft is a quick windlass, attached to a delta anchor. One of the things that really helps with the sporty image of the boat is the oversized bowsprit which flies a massive code zero off of it making it a really great light wind performing boat.

So far we’ve talked about kind of how you run this boat and some of the performance aspects that make it a really fun boat, let’s change gears here a little bit and check out all the relaxation areas. Heading all the way aft on the port side, we’ll pass the second helm station and make our way into the cockpit. One of the byproducts of the twin helms aft, is just how open the cockpit is without having a helm or sailing station in the middle of it.

On the XCS11 there are three well-defined seating places. We have a nice bench seat to port, an L-shaped settee with dinette to starboard, and then a nice long bench seat centerline aft. This boat is equipped with the optional sunroof, which on a hot South Florida day, gives us great protection from the sun, but on those cooler evenings or on a morning sail, opening it up really changes the entire experience.

One of the concerns a lot of buyers have had with the Sunroof is where do you put your solar panels. And as you can see on this boat, we’ve got a really nice solar array over the davits. And attached to that davit we’ve got a really nice high fuel tender with the Yamaha 4-stroke outboard. It’s the perfect way to get to shore and back when you’re out cruising.

Let’s go ahead and check out the interior living spaces on board the XCS11. The first thing that you’ll notice when you step into the salon is that this is the first Catamaran group Beneteau has designed and built in quite a long time without the compression post for the mass going through the center of the salon.

Starboard aft we have a galley which has got an ENO cooktop oven and broiler, plenty of storage with a microwave up top, dual basin sink, refrigerator under counter and then across from that this boat’s equipped with the optional deep freezer. Port forward, we have a nice L-shaped settee that can be converted into a berth. Starboard forward, we have the Nav station as well as all of your 12-volt controls.

A couple of steps down the starboard companionway brings us to the master berth which is honestly the largest master berth of any Catamaran I’ve been on below 45-feet. It truly feels like a king-sized bed. On the outboard side midships, we’ve got a nice workstation as well as additional storage, and then forward of that, we’ve got the master head with a separate walk-in shower stall.

Our final stop on this walkthrough will be the port hull. Aft, we’ve got a really nice large guest stateroom, midship we have a shared head with a separate shower stall and forward of that we have the second and final guest stateroom onboard the boat.

Thank you so much for joining me on board the XCS11 today. Please reach out, let’s get you onboard this boat until you step onboard an Excess Catamaran, it’s hard to imagine what this boat really is and the more time I spend on board this boat, the more I absolutely love it.