Skip to main content

Best Boats 2015: Fountaine Pajot Saba 50

Our judges felt a little squeamish about this one, as it marks the third year in a row Fountaine Pajot has received a Best Boats nod for one of its new mass-production cruising catamarans.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Our judges felt a little squeamish about this one, as it marks the third year in a row Fountaine Pajot has received a Best Boats nod for one of its new mass-production cruising catamarans. That having been said, there’s no denying the French builder’s ongoing mastery of this important market niche, in which the often competing demands of private owners vs. charter companies and sailing performance vs. posh accommodations must be carefully balanced while also hitting a competitive price point. With its new Saba 50, a stylish cruising palace available with either a six- or four-stateroom layout, Fountaine Pajot has once again managed to push a camel through the eye of the proverbial design needle.

Most notable on the Saba 50 is how outdoor social spaces have been maximized without raising the boat’s profile or unduly prejudicing its handling or performance. A full-width bench seat in the cockpit that can comfortably seat eight or even 10 in a pinch nicely complements a full-size dining table that seats six to eight. Up on the hard targa top there’s an expanded low-profile sun lounge, plus another behind the bow just forward of the cabinhouse. These are both elegant but minimalist spaces that do a great job of increasing comfort without also increasing weight. Meanwhile, the helm station, offset and only slightly raised to starboard, makes it possible for one or two active crew to easily manage the boat and interact with guests without actually disturbing them. Line runs are neatly concentrated just forward of the wheel, with lots of space for handling and stowing line tails, and the helmsperson has an unimpeded view of the sails.

Accommodations inside the boat are suitably luxurious, with a quality of finish that seems to improve from year to year. Our judges were particularly taken with the four-stateroom layout featured on our test boat, which boasts a very spacious owner’s suite that steals nothing from the guest cabins.

fountaine-pajot.com

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more