Flica Production Cruiser

Excerpted from Yachting Monthly, January 1989

On board

Flica 37

A cruising cat which marries performance hulls with a vast and comfortable interior

The Flica 37 is intended as a pure cruising catamaran, a modern boat that utilises both up-to-date construction techniques and design philosophy. The result is a catamaran with a safety-conscious wide beam, good bridgedeck clearance and comparatively light overall weight. Performance was an important criterion, as was comfort, and Woods Design appear to have created a happy balance between the two.

The hull design of the Flica 37 is broadly V shaped with rounded sections to soften the apex, and a full-length knuckle in the topsides above the waterline which serves to stiffen what is a fairly flat panel, and provide additional buoyancy and accommodation volume. The V-shaped hulls will make her a good load carrier in her ocean cruising role, which she is clearly intended for.She has full ends which, combined with the inherent flare, are intended to minimise pitching the Flica has a very pleasant sheerline which helps to create overall a good-looking vessel.

Compared to the original Flicas, the new 37 has extended sterns which serve several functions - they give her marginally improved load carrying, give the water a cleaner exit, help to dampen pitching, and lastly with moulded-in steps make an easy passage aboard from a dinghy or pontoon.

The saloon is amidships, down a step from the cockpit level and a very spacious, well-lit area with ports all round. Hove-to, one could keep a reasonable watch from here whilst plotting a course or eating a meal from the large table. The latter slides up to the deckhead, opening up the seating which was otherwise not particularly accessible. Large flat surfaces forward are a luxury on which to put papers, magazines and even, of course, the potted plant.

The two forward cabins are identical, each offering plenty of room to change clothes, and a full length shelf into which several owners have stipulated a sink and vanitory area be incorporated. The berth is 5ft wide, with an opening hatch above it and six spacious cave lockers lining the inboard side. At the forward end of each cabin is a single berth, quite satisfactory for a child but probably better adapted to a hanging locker.

The berths in the after cabins of the Flica 37 run athwartships, from waist down being under the cockpit sole…the cabins have ample elbow room and stowage.... the galley is a slave's dream with ample worktop space and more lockers, both drawers and cupboards, than we have space to catalogue here. There is a split-level cooker with a flush hob and eye-level oven - very easy to use. Hot and cold pressurised water is supplied as standard (with a wall-mounted gas heater) and it was nice to see that a hand-pumped, fresh water back-up is also supplied to the two sinks.

On deck

Moving around was quite easy, sidedeck widths are good and the non-skid appeared better than most. One is spoiled with deck area; the foredeck can accommodate an inflated dinghy in three or four places (assuming you don't want it on the platform designed for the purpose, right aft) without obstructing anything. Foredeck lockers are enormous and whilst we were sailing we were able to put the entire helmsman's seat assembly in one that had the deflated dinghy in it already.

The Flica 37 is conservatively rigged with a single-spreader masthead rig with shrouds well inboard to allow reasonable sheeting angles. A babystay is provided which can be adapted for use with the storm jib, making a snug heavy weather rig.

Under mainsail and No 1 genoa she made 6 knots on a beam reach in 7 knots of apparent wind, and our top speed was 7.2 knots on a reach when the apparent wind was 11 knots. In flat water to windward she made 5.5 knots in 14 knots apparent tacking through 90 degrees, but when there was an awkward land-bounced chop, she slowed down to 4-41/2 knots and needed 100 degrees to tack in. She clearly hated the conditions (although tacked under main alone, happily enough) and her bridgedeck slapped, rather than slammed, quite regularly

As soon as the swell drew out into a regular pattern she added a knot to boat speed.The Flica's tacking ability is excellent and, with fairly large keels, she doesn't appear to make much leeway in the conditions we sailed her in.

In general the Flica paced well in the light conditions we experienced and, as is normal with catamarans, seemed to be sailing effortlessly with little fuss or feel through the helm. We surmise that she'll need perhaps 15-17 knots of wind really to start showing her paces, when boat speeds of between 7-10 knots can be confidently expected off the wind.

The safety implications of a twin installation make it highly desirable. Not only does one have the obvious advantage of not worrying if one engine starts playing up, but the boat carries a full set of spares and a dual charging ability if one of the alternators gives trouble. If one starting battery is flat, it is possible to start up the other engine and recharge the bad battery bank. For the above reasons the twin engine installation is a major advantage for anyone considering long-distance cruising in the yacht.

One needs to experience manoeuvring a twin-engine catamaran to believe how handy they can be. With propellers 15ft apart, it seems there are very few corners or berths she can't be wriggled into or out of. Interestingly, she still manoeuvred well under a single engine, making 5.8 knots in flat water at 3,000rpm. Sound levels were below average in the main part of the accommodation.

ConclusionsThe Flica 37 represents a thoroughly modern cruising catamaran that thankfully eschews many of the old multihull preconceptions she is good-looking, very seaworthy, happily powers upwind and handles like a top under power.It is no coincidence that the Flica is being chosen by those heading off long-distance cruising; she makes a very good choice and, as multihulls go, will carry moderate loads without too great a penalty.

With her massive volume, it is hard not to be impressed by her accommodation which seems to go on forever. God forbid that anyone should try and fill all her lockers; they seem never-ending.

Overall, we came away from the Flica 37 feeling that she meets all the requirements made of a serious offshore cruising boat, whether that be home waters cruising or heading off for sunnier climes. It seems inevitable that she will become a well-travelled class. GP