Balance Catamarans has embarked on a major redesign of one of its flagship boat models, with a new factory already set up to kick-start production. Balance, which has partnered with Nexus Yachts in South Africa, won accolades in 2017 for its popular 526 ‘performance voyaging’ catamaran, of which a fifth completed hull is expected in May.

Now the company is going to overhaul its sister model, the Nexus/Balance 601, considered a “high-speed version of the Balance 526”.

Balance president Phillip Berman this week confirmed the company’s decision. “We have finally settled on the next step, and this is a total redesign and modernisation of the old Nexus/Balance 601,” Berman told IBI. “The redesign is being done in a partnership with Du Toit Yacht Design, Anthony Key, Balance Catamarans and Nexus Yachts. She is now called the Balance 620. A new factory was just set up, and the tooling for the boat will commence shortly.”

Balance and Nexus formed an exclusive partnership in 2012 to build and market high-performance catamarans in the Nexus factory in the Eastern Cape province about 700km east of Cape Town. Balance also builds boats in China in collaboration with Startown Marine.

Berman previously told IBI he hoped to expand the company’s customer base without growing too fast. “We only build to order, we do not take deposits for a future hull slot, which to my mind is a recipe for disaster,” Berman said. “A common tactic of builders is to say we have eight orders for this or that, but in reality they may have a deposit that is refundable pending seeing a boat. That is not a sale.

“For us, there is a contract and money in the bank to start a build, or we welcome the buyer to come back when he is ready or has the cash.”