40 foot catamarans are the ideal boats to introduce cat sailing. These multihulls are big enough to offer good standing headroom and three or four comfortable cabins. In this article, we compare the Nautitech 40 and the Fountain Pajot Lucia 40 catamarans. Two totally different concepts, as you will read.
The popularity of catamarans can be explained by their stability, manoeuvrability and comfortable and spacious living areas. They are great for chartering.In case you are unfamiliar about the two brands or the catamaran models in question, here’s a brief introduction.
The Nautitech 40 has been designed about seven years ago and has been improved along the years to the mature product, it is now. At the time the Fourty was designed, you had either fast cats without a superstructure or cruising cats with a voluminous nacelle. Naval architect Lombard came up with a total new approach to cat sailing; the Nautitech 40 open, a fast cruiser with an enlarged cockpit and reduced superstructure and a coach roof covering both. Until to today only one competitor has followed his bold design idea. Light weight is important, but stiffness and durability too, that’s why the shipyard has replaced many wooden structural parts for stiff and light composite stringers and bulkheads.
New for 2021 is that the shipyard will continue to focus on quality improvement – in terms of building and also aesthetics.
Noticeable improvements have been made on the sailing performance of the Nautitech 40 Open version 2 by optimising the rigging: Version 2 has a lower boom and a longer mast increasing sail area by 4 sqm. Alongside with improvements made on the reefing line system, it is again placing itself in the upper bracket of sailing capable cruising catamarans in the market.
The Fountain Pajot Isla 40 is positioned in a different part of the market; less focused on sailing experience, more focussed on comfort and space. The Isla 40 replace the Lucia with very little changes being made on the engineering of the hull, it is almost 30 cm narrower than the Nautitech 40, but also 1.7 tons heavier and has more voluminous hulls to carry this extra weight.
The draft is about 14cm less than the Nautitech 40. Where the Nautitech has the ‘open’ layout with a large cockpit, the Lucia has in comparison a larger saloon. The Lucia offers the usual one steering position half way up on starboard in the cockpit against the superstructure main bulkhead.
The Isla 40 design follows the concept philosophy of Fountaine Pajot: luxurious cruising on a well mannered catamaran. She performs well in all types of weather and is easy to manoeuvre.
The helmsman’s position is half way up with in front of him the winches, stoppers and sailing lines. Cockpit with L-sofa at port, short bench at starboard and a transverse shallow bench in the back. The stairs to the helmsman position take a way some space from the cockpit. Flush deck hatches. Big main and overlapping genoa. The about 4 m2 bigger standard sail area has more tons to move than the Nautitech.
Nautitech was long the only producer of cruising cats with steering positions in the back of the hulls. The nearer you are to the water the more you experience the sailing characteristics. As her bigger sister the 40 is fitted out with this deck layout.
Where you see a trend towards bigger superstructures starting more in the front of the boat, Nautitech stays true to their design philosophy with a relatively short saloon placed a long distance from the bows. The reason behind this is to keep the bows as light as possible, which results in narrower hulls on the waterline, less water resistance and better sailing characteristics in choppy seas. The big main sail and the self tacking jib asks for a furling code zero to do justice to the design.
Comparable with to the Nautitech interior the Lucia is also fitted out with light coloured furniture and dark floor panels. The saloon layout offers a cockpit faced L-galley at port, in the front you’ll find a restricted navigation table. The seat is the beginning of the L-sofa which runs alongside the front of the saloon to the entrance to the starboard hull. A large cabinet with fridge/freezer drawers in the starboard aft corner.
The Isla is designed with inverted bows and in the saloon you will find the chart table is adjacent to the entrance giving some space to a lounge area. Large, roomy and airy cabins, but unfortunately with a lot of boxes against the ceiling to cover construction which makes it a bit cluttered.
The double beds in the front and aft cabins are placed separate from the hull sides, which gives the cabin an spacious look and feel, but restricts the width of the bed. Here you clearly see what voluminous hulls do with the interior space.
Over time the shipyard has improved the interior gradually and created a light and airy atmosphere. The interior has clean lines, all solutions have been well engineered and thought through. The cockpit, longer than the saloon (Open concept) has two long sofas opposite to each other, the wide entrance to the compact and cosy saloon gives access to a 4 seat dinette on port and a galley at starboard with one part facing forward and the cooking and sink area facing to the large cockpit.
The furniture is finished in light wood, with dark floors. Although not so wide as her competitors the cabins are comfortable in every sense because of the design with clean lines. To gain space for the cabins Lombard has chosen for one heads/shower per hull.
The new 2021 models of the Nautitech 40 Open (version 2) will also include the option of the new interior woodwork White Oak, further enhancing the interior contracts, combing new grey counter top colour, the lighter modern white oak, and the introduction of new and updated upholstery catalogue with Serge Ferrari, Eden material and Sunbrella combinations.