The initial inspiration behind the Balance 601 catamaran came from a wave-obsessed South African surfer, Mark Paarman. Having surfed many of the most popular surf spots around the world Mark realized that the only way to avoid the over-crowding of land-based surf resorts was to build a voyaging catamaran he could sail to the most remote surf spots on earth.
Initially Mark explored the production designs of many of the major boat yards including the French builders and came to the conclusion that these fair weather charter cats would not suffice for the off-the-grid voyages he envisioned. Mark knew these production cats would have a difficult time withstanding the treacherous seas off the South African coast, pushing against the mighty Agulhas current. He intuitively understood he needed a yacht built to a very different standard.
Mark’s catamaran had to be fast in order to outrun storms when possible, she had to be high off the water to sail over rather than though large seas, she had to have the payload capacity to carry surfboards, kayaks, dive tanks and compressors, an entire store room of spares and tools, and a very large tender. She must be built with epoxy, carbon, foam cores, and a laminate schedule tough enough to contend with the massive seas of Southern Africa.Jonathan Paarman surfing at J-Bay.
Mark Paarman and John Henrick joined forces with naval architect Anthony Key to draft up the design for their first expeditionary catamaran. Jonathan had raced and sailed for many years, starting with Hobie cats, back in the late seventies, working with his Uncle John Whitmore who obtained the license to produce Hobie Cat in South Africa. He ran the shop floor for Voyage Yachts for over 8 years and was a master toolmaker and boat builder.Mark and John launched the first of what they would call the Nexus 600 in 2009, followed by 3 additional builds, all of which were fabricated at their small, custom shipyard in the seaside resort town of St. Francis Bay, South Africa.
Phillip Berman learned about the project through the catamaran grapevine and followed their progress carefully, as this was just the sort of catamaran Phil felt was missing from the market – not a racing cat, but not a charter cat either. She was a high performance voyager meant to go places, to carry the gear required for deep sea adventures, the speed to get to offbeat locations, and the strength to contend with that rare dose of nasty weather none of us love but know we cannot always avoid. She was, in short, a balanced design, and is now known and marketed as the Balance 601.
When Roger and Phil met at the Annapolis Boat Show in 2010 it was a natural progression for the two surfers to join forces. The liked each other instantly because they shared a deep passion for the environment, loved sailing for sailing’s sake, and found themselves, like so many surfers and sailors, most at home when connecting with nature in the most intimate ways possible.Phillip Berman with Hobie Alter at The Hobie World Championship
With the formation of Balance Catamarans in 2012, Phil recognized there was no need at all to retool and redesign a 60 foot expeditionary catamaran. What was required based on Phil’s observations and refinements of the interior were the many little details that carry a yacht from being merely good to excellent. With over forty years of experience selling, surveying and building cats, Phil knew the devil was in the details, and together Nexus Catarmarans and Phil have partnered to take the Balance 601 to an even higher level of excellence.
Contact - Phillip Berman
The Multihull Company Philadelphia Office
4100 Main St
Philadelphia, PA 19127