The Excess 12 was the first catamaran in the Excess line, introduced in 2019. The models now include the 38-foot Excess 12, the 48-foot Excess 15, and the all-new Excess 11. Two other models will eventually join the lineup.
All Excess models share the design vision of Groupe Beneteau, which is to provide sailors with the nimble and thrilling excitement of sailing like a modern monohull but with the space and accommodations of a cruising catamaran. The Excess Team has succeeded with the Excess line.
With a length of 38 feet, beam of 22’5”, and a draft of 4’3” this mid-sized catamaran is ideal for a couple or family. The standard mast clearance is under 60 feet, so sailors on the East Coast can clear all bridges along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).
The Excess 12, as all other models, have two helm stations aft, in each corner of the stern. These positions provide an unobstructed view forward to the bow and beyond, so the person at the helm can sail the boat much like a traditional monohull, with nothing blocking his or her view forward, and with the water’s only inches away. (Much different than traditional catamarans where the helm is positioned on a bulkhead in the cockpit or on the flybridge, far off the water.)
All sheets and halyards lead back to the starboard helm, the primary steering station, and there are large Harken winches to assist in sail management. Thoughtfully, the builder included dedicated bags for the sheets and halyards to keep clutter in the cockpit to a minimum.
One might think the exposed location of these helm stations would be a concern in terms of weather protection, especially compared to bridgedeck helms. While that may be true to some degree, one can fit the small bimini over each helm, and mostly enclose the station with removable Isinglass.
But the reality is—even on cats with bridgedeck helms—when making a passage or when the rain is coming down in buckets, the crew will most always engage the boat’s autopilot to keep the boat on course, and stand watch in the protected cockpit or saloon.
To improve the feel for the helmsman, the steering uses Dyneema lines to connect the wheels with the rudders. This offers a more direct feeling, and one can feel weather helm coming on and work to balance the boat and sails. Finding the groove is difficult with other steering systems.
The lack of tinting in the saloon windows allows unrestricted view of the entire boat from either helm, which is much safer than wondering how close the other bow is to other boats when heading down a crowded fairway. With the sliding convertible bimini open over the cockpit, the person at either helm can easily see the mainsail and its telltales. This is a sailor’s catamaran for sure.
There are three layouts available: a three-cabin boat with two heads, a four-cabin layout with two heads, and a four-cabin version with four heads, that last being the obvious choice for charter operation. The configurations with two heads are dry heads, meaning each has its own separate shower.
The Excess 12 carried 79 gallons of fresh water, and either 42 or 85 gallons for black water, depending on whether there are two or four heads. Fuel capacity is 106 gallons total, with two rotomolded 53-gallon fuel tanks, for the two Yanmar 3YM30 29hp diesel saildrives.
The Excess follows a contemporary interior theme of Honey Teak plywood and sand-colored wood flooring to keep the interior bright and inviting. The saloon may seem compact, until one slides open the door into the cockpit area, turning the entire space into one open and spacious living area. There is a reason so many cruisers have fallen in love with the living space on a modern catamaran, at anchor and under way.
The saloon includes a nav station, an L-shaped settee, and a galley with a three-burner gas stove and oven, stainless-steel refrigerator and large galley sink. The sliding door disappears when open and one can easily envision how nice this boat will be to live on when moored or at anchor while cruising. A large table in the cockpit is perfect for dining, games, and staying in touch with the world from a tablet or laptop. With the overhead bimini closed, there is lovely protection from the sun and rain.
The deck plan and rigging on the Excess 12 reflects a performance orientation. The builder has tried hard to keep weight out of the boat, and the deck gear and rigging are clearly designed to make sailing fast, safe, and under control. Low-stretch Dyneema line is used for the halyards, and pre-stretched polyester lines are used for jib sheets and reef lines.
This Excess 12 and her sister ships reflect contemporary thinking at Groupe Beneteau, and future models will take this direction further, based on assessing owner experiences with the current models. Bringing back the joy of sailing, in a modern comfortable catamaran that is well suited for cruising and living aboard, is the essence of the Excess line.
The Excess 12 combines the important elements of performance sailing with accommodations that are all about comfortable cruising and living aboard. Let’s go have some fun.
Excess. Be immoderate.
|Length Overall:||38' 7|
|Max Draft:||4' 5|
|Horsepower (each):||2 x 29HP or 2x 45HP|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||2 x 52 gal.|
|Water Tank Capacity:||79 gal.|
|Black Water Tank Capacity:||42 to 85 gal. (holding tank)|