The predecessor to the new Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58 was described in 2013 as being: "a hotel, nay, a resort-style experience". Now an updated model replaces the Sanya 57 as the Fountaine-Pajot sail cruising flagship and it's redefining the concept of space and luxury aboard a large sailing catamaran. Stepping aboard is like walking into a mobile Hilton. Large spaces are broken up into intimate conversation nooks, and it’s easy to either be a part of the social scene, or get away from the large crowds that this boat can carry.
Change can be seen from the moment you step onto the Ipanema; boarding is easy via aft platforms at each transom. These have been extended from the previous model to provide more room when scrambling up from a dinghy. Two easy steps up brought me to the aft cockpit, where a large settee spans the transom and has a table that will easily seat eight for dinner. To starboard is a straight chaise longe and to port, an L-shaped settee. Ten to 15 people could enjoy cocktails here, without feeling squeezed. And the whole cockpit is protected from the elements by a hard-top that also carries a solar array at the aft end.
Two more steps lead up from the cockpit to the side decks, and from there, on both port and starboard, there are stairways to the flybridge. Another dozen people can relax up here at the U-shaped settee with twin tables, without ever disturbing the helmsman at the wheel on the starboard side. Four winches forward and on the centreline control all the lines, so the working cockpit is separated from the lounge space. On the model I visited, there was even a wet bar module located just to the side of the port lounge.
There's no good way to protect this area from rain or sun, so short of a tarp slung over the boom when at anchor, this area will be most comfortable in mild conditions. In case you want to worship the sun but also get away from the crowds in the cockpit and on the flybridge, there are twin pads on the foredeck just aft of the two trampolines.
Interior: Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58
Inside, the Ipanema 58 doesn’t disappoint. The large sliding glass door opens into a an extensive saloon that should really be called a living-room. The “Classic” layout option creates a single space with the saloon and the galley combined into an open plan. To port is an L-shaped sofa with a low cocktail table, and to starboard is a galley—which again, is so home-like you want to call it a kitchen. I’ve had apartment kitchens that were smaller than this. An upright, home-style side-by-side refrigerator/freezer is just aft of two large sinks on an island. An oven is built into the bulkhead next to the fridge, and an enormous gas range is outboard. You can imagine the countertop space in this arrangement.
The optional “Lounge” layout shifts the galley into the starboard hull and adds a straight settee to starboard so the entire main deck is transformed into a luxurious saloon. This configuration will be preferred by owners who have professional crew, and wish to minimise interaction with the chef. Both versions feature a forward-facing nav station on the centerline in the saloon, where ship’s business and the details of navigation will be done.
The Ipanema 58 is so large that although the owner’s suite lacks nothing, there’s still plenty of room in the port hull for another double cabin forward. When the galley remains up on the main deck, three cabins and three heads are fitted into the starboard hull. With six cabins, up to 12 people may be accommodated. With such a large capacity, this model is already working in high-end, fully-crewed, all-inclusive charters, so it’s possible to spend time aboard before committing to buying one.
The Ipanema is heavy and at around 25 tons, it needs every bit of its 167 square metres (1,800 sq ft) of sail area to move efficiently. It has fixed keels rather than daggerboards, and draws just over 1.37m (4.5ft). This will allow her to get into the shallow waters of the Caribbean but she will still track under sail. When the wind dies, there are twin 75 HP engines (an upgrade is possible) to move her along. The model I was on had over 1,200 amp-hours of battery capacity, so there should be plenty of power for a comfortable stay aboard.
Large and luxurious go hand-in-hand and Fountaine Pajot seems to have nailed it. I certainly wouldn’t mind spending a week aboard—whether I was the one cooking or not. For some interesting comparisons published previously on boats.com see: 6 of the best comfy catamarans or take a look at the Moorings 5800 review. Sailors who want the same large spaces but prefer a monohull over a multihull may want to look at the Beneteau Sense 55.
For more information visit: Fountaine Pajot. See Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58 listings.