The new Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 is a quick cruising catamaran that will appeal both to sailing enthusiasts and to those seeking spacious and stylish accommodation.
I found myself surprisingly drawn to this spacious and attractive 44ft multihull and it seems I'm not alone – in the first year or so of production some 50 have been built, around 80 per cent of them the owners’ three-cabin model.
It's easy to see the attraction of this version which has the entire starboard hull given over to a huge stateroom, with a queen size bed, an impressive amount of storage, including a double wardrobe, a dresser/desk, plus a sofa. At the forward end of this hull is a large private shower fitted out to an impressive standard.
Overall the sheer space of the arrangement is one factor that would make this a very comfortable boat to live on for extended periods. The port hull houses two en suite guest cabins, both of generous proportions, while the four cabin charter version of the boat has this layout replicated in the starboard hull, in place of the owners’ suite.
However, the key attraction of this model is the large single level bridge deck living area that seamlessly blends interior and exterior spaces.
On the outside, under the protection of the hardtop, is a large dining area with ample space for guests, while the inside is also flooded with natural light thanks to huge all-round windows, as well as clear overhead panels. Here there’s a large and extremely well appointed U-shaped galley, forward facing navigation station and comfortable settees arranged around a coffee table.
Despite the impressive volume and standard of accommodation, the Helia 44 has been engineered to be a relatively lightweight boat, weighing just 10.8 tonnes when empty. It also has a generously sized rig, with a fat headed mainsail and optional furling gennaker. This is therefore a boat that can be expected to cover long distances under sail at impressive average speeds.
There’s a very clean and family friendly deck layout, including a sun deck above the hardtop, next to the mezzanine helm station. This has a bench seat behind the wheel large enough for three people and, as is standard practice for catamarans, all sail controls taken to a position next to the wheel. There’s good visibility here almost all round, although the port quarter cannot be seen without ducking your head below the level of the hardtop over the dining area.
An eco-option, including four large capacity solar panels, a wind generator and hydro generator enable large amounts of time to be spent living in comfort, but off grid, without worrying about the diesel capacity needed to run generators and watermakers.
Fountaine Pajot Helia 44: Specifications
Main sail: 70sq m
Genoa: 45sq m
Water tankage: 750 litres
Fuel tankage: 470 litres
Engines: 2 x 40hp diesel