Fountain Pajot have, in the Helia 44, created a new standard in this size of catamaran which, no doubt, will in due course be copied by others in the industry. There is a huge cost of such a new design with so many innovations. These are not obvious from the photos which are to be seen on this website. The actual cost to redesign this 44 ft. remarkable catamaran is in excess of twenty million Rand. [two million Euros]. There are not many boatyards who are prepared to spend such funds to create what is undoubtedly a new bench mark for catamarans in this size range. What is also of interest is that this is model number 23 designed and built by the team of Naval Architects and Fountaine Pajot in their 30 year history where they have been leaders in their field of Production catamarans.
The Helia 44 was released at the Fountaine Pajot World Dealers conference in La Rochelle on the 27 June 2012. Fountaine Pajot are confident that the Helia 44, being the most exciting new catamaran on the market today, will take the market for this size range by storm.
The name, Helia, is derived from the Greek word meaning, " Ray of Light". This is very apt as the saloon is bathed in light with the wrap around clearstory widows giving almost 360 degree visibility. The cabins are also high volume with plenty of light from the many hatches and widows giving views not
offered from other catamarans of this size.
What are the outstanding features?
1. The open cockpit on the saloon and cockpit solid bimini. This has only been seen on larger catamarans, usually in the mid to upper fifty foot
range. On the Helia 44 this can seat eight persons and is an ideal place to sit in mild sailing conditions and also at anchor. While sailing this offers an excellent place to be part of the sailing experience giving a convivial atmosphere which includes the helmsman, who would normally be isolated from the rest of the crew and passengers, friends and family. Not so with the lounge deck!
This would also be the place to sit and enjoy a panoramic view which it offers when at anchor.
2. The cockpit is vast and the designers have ensured that it leads into the saloon in such a way that the total volume becomes one. Another important consideration is the positioning of the sliding door leading from the cockpit to the saloon which opens in such a way that part of the galley
preparation area is opened to the cockpit. This has two advantages. The one is that the person preparing food is not isolated from those sitting in the cockpit. The second is that food can be passed easily from the galley to the cockpit. The cockpit table is vast and there is ample seating for eight to ten persons around it. There is also a day bed / lounger on the side away from the cockpit table which enables the person sitting or
lounging on this to have a clear vision aft at the wake of the catamaran. The whole
cockpit can have a tent which closes it off completely. This gives vast area protection during poor weather conditions, particularly when in
port or at anchor.
3. Access to the helm station is either from the transom or, more importantly, from within the cockpit. This is particularly relevant during inclement weather. This same stairway also allows persons to access the lounge deck through the cockpit.
4. The deck is very uncluttered. Many catamaran builders say this, but Fountaine Pajot have ensured that in the case of the Helia 44 all the halyards run under a special cover on the coach roof and are presented at the helm station winches with proper rope receptacles to store the halyards for the sails when raised.
5. Solar panels are installed behind the helm station and the lounge deck. This ensures that they are always exposed to the sun and that they are away from where persons normally would be walking.
6. Another factor which is not evident from the photos is the relatively light displacement of the Helia 44 when compared with other catamarans in the same price and length categories. The table below indicates this.
Helia 44 = 10.6 tons
Leopard 44 = 14.9 tons = +40%
Lagoon 450 = 15.5 tons = +46%
The mass of a catamaran is extremely important when sailing. For competitors to
maintain a semblance of the same performance of the Helia 44 they will have to compensate for this additional mass by having a higher rig with bigger sails and heavier rigging and will have to have bigger motors with larger fuel tanks. Fountaine Pajot, with their 30 years experience, 23 new models introduced into the world markets and over 2 300 catamarans launched, have a vast bank of experience and knowledge in the design and manufacture of their catamarans and all this has a strong influence when a new design such as the Helia 44 is created.
Should you require any further information , a price list and / or a brochure, kindly e mail us at: operations@ yachtsman.co.za or phone our Durban office at : 031 3077 944.