PxPixel
Boat Review: Orana 44 - Sail Magazine

Boat Review: Orana 44

Author:
Publish date:
orana44


Stylish French crusing catamaran

Fountaine Pajot has been building cruising catamarans for a long time, and the company makes a refined product. I sailed the first one imported into the U.S. as well as most of the subsequent models, and I’ve also visited the factory, so I was expecting no surprises with the new Orana 44.

Construction
The hull is solid-glass laminate below the waterline, foam-cored from the waterline to the sheer, and entirely vacuum-bagged. The deck is balsa-cored glass laminate, laid up dry between two molds and then injected with resin. The hull and deck are bolted and adhered together. The interior furniture is plywood with a sycamore veneer. The floorboards all lift for easy bilge access to through-hull fittings and other systems, but they creak when walked on.

Deck and cockpit
The cabintop of the Orana 44 continues straight onto a hardtop over the cockpit, making a level surface that translates into easier access to the end of the boom and to a top deck area large enough to tango on. The helm, with a seat wide enough for two, is easy to access through a cutout in the hardtop (with its own sliding hatch), and the cockpit flows easily into the cabin at the same level, through double sliding doors.
All the sail-control lines except the halyards lead simply to a cluster at the helm (the traveler is on the hardtop), so a singlehander can reach everything while steering. There’s also space for a crewmember to crank the winch while standing on the nearby starboard side deck. The only thing that limits the helmsman’s control is a long reach from the helm to the traveler line stopper. Visibility from the helm is excellent.
It’s a big vertical distance from the foredeck onto the cabintop, and there are no steps. Once you’re up, though, the huge, high expanse offers a perfect platform for a lookout to see the route through coral or shoals, and it’s a short distance for talking to the helmsman, who also enjoys a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

Under sail
A delightful 10-to-12-knot breeze off Annapolis produced 7 to 7.5 knots of boatspeed. Tacking and gybing were simple with either one or two crew. I think the helm area needs better line-tail stowage; otherwise, it’s nearly perfect. The Orana 44 tacked easily through about 90 degrees and accelerated quickly coming out of the turns. I felt a slight springiness in the wheel from the steering cables; perhaps it needed some adjustment after the transatlantic voyage.
There was some kick to the rudders when backing down, but nothing dramatic or difficult to control. The boat turned smoothly in about 11/2 boatlengths with both engines running at 1,500 RPM and within its own length using opposite thrust to the two props, like other twin-engine cats. A 2,800 RPM setting produced 74 dBA of noise in the saloon and 8 knots of boatspeed. The top speed was 8.5 knots at the 3,000 RPM engine redline. With motoring speeds like these available in a cruising catamaran, who would want a trawler?

Accommodation
The nav station is forward, to starboard, while the galley is abaft that. This puts the navigator in a spot with excellent visibility through the big saloon windows.
The joinery is of good production-boat standards, and the feeling of the light-colored wood interior is modern, bright, and open, almost to the point of starkness. The hull liner is a foam-backed plastic fabric.

I sailed the four-cabin version, best suited to charter service. The optional three-cabin version dedicates the entire starboard hull to an owner’s suite. There’s ample headroom in all the cabins, and the bunks are low enough to be easy to enter and exit. I especially liked the dual-purpose saloon table, which not only mounts either inside or in the cockpit, but flips over for a choice of wood or laminate surface.

Conclusion
The Fountaine Pajot Orana 44 is not a radical departure from the builder’s earlier boats, but it’s a significant evolutionary step. The new hardtop design, improved helm station, pleasant interior, and good sailing qualities add up to make a comfortable, swift cruiser.

Specifications

Price: $469,000 (approx. FOB factory) includes depth, speed, wind instruments, full-batten main,
furling genoa, refrigeration, and windlass.

Builder: Fountaine Pajot, Aigrefeuille, France; www.fountaine-pajot.com

Designer: Joubert Nivelt

U.S. distributor: Bay Yacht Agency, Annapolis, MD; 410-263-2311

LOA: 43’
LWL: 41’9”
Beam: 24’1”
Draft: 3’9”
Displacement: 17,637 lbs
Sail Area: 1,179 sq ft (actual)
Power: (2) 30-hp Volvo saildrives
Tankage Fuel/water/waste: 105/140/60 gal
Electrical: 395-Ah (house) plus 100-Ah
for each engine
Displacement-Length ratio: 134
Sail area-Displacement ratio: 18.4
Certification: CE Category A

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more