Skip to main content

New Boats: Roaring 40s

From “cockloons” to “SmartRooms” and innovative nav stations, today’s multihull builders are fine-tuning the layouts of their mid-sized cruisers in increasingly interesting ways. Not only that but as the cruising multihull market continues to mature, the new features are not just gimicks, but genuinely effective ways of making life that much better afloat.

Fountaine Pajot Isla 40


Although it is officially the smallest boat in the Fountaine Pajot catamaran line, you’d never guess it stepping aboard the new Isla 40. As the successor to the highly popular Lucia 40, the Isla had big shoes to fill, which it successfully does by incorporating a number of the design features found aboard its larger siblings. Among these are a pair of sporty-looking inverted bows that serve to reduce pitching while retaining a long waterline in the interest of speed under sail; a reverse sheer that keeps the weight out of the ends while maximizing accommodation volume amidships; an expansive lounging area forward and an intelligently configured saloon that includes a cleverly unobtrusive chart table adjacent to the passageway leading to the cockpit aft. The boat is available with either three or four cabins and includes a single elevated helm station to starboard. A high-aspect square-top main will provide plenty of drive sailing hard on the wind, while the boat’s composite fixed sprit will make for a great tack point when flying screechers and other A-sails on a reach or run.

Nautitech 44


Designed with input from a number of owners and skippers already sailing the Nautitech 40 and Nautitech 46, the Nautitech 44 is configured, in the words of its builder, to be a “perfect owner’s boat.” To this end Nautitech has implemented a number of interior and exterior updates requested by sailors themselves. Perhaps the biggest addition is what Nautitech is calling its “SmartRoom”—a multi-functional space in the forward starboard cabin meant to fill the needs of distance cruisers who might want a washing machine, workshop, storage space or all of the above. Belowdecks, the Nautitech 44 offers an attractively sophisticated yet homey aesthetic, with much attention given to creating a feeling of light and space, aided by a new “cinemascope” window design. On deck, Nautitech has kept its signature double helm stations aft, with all lines easily accessible for convenient checking and replacement. Four configurations are available, offering two to four cabins with or without the SmartRoom.

Neel 43


In its still somewhat unique corner of the cruiser market, Neel has been designing performance-oriented cruising trimarans for a number of years now that combine the space and sea kindliness of a multihull with the sailing experience of a monohull. And though the 43 weighs in as the smallest of Neel’s trimarans, a 43ft boat cannot, by any reasonable standards, be considered small. The boat doesn’t lack for either accommodation or storage space either, with eight berths (three doubles and two singles forward in each ama) and a large “garage”—the latter something of a signature in the Neel line—set low in the central hull for containing things like the engine, tanks and tools. Also like its predecessor, the 43 features a versatile living space that allows for free movement between the indoor and outdoor spaces, and a combination cockpit-saloon Neel has portmanteaued into the term “cockloon,” offering an expansive living area protected by a hardtop. The hulls and deck are constructed in a vacuum-infused composite sandwich with carbon-fiber reinforcements in high-load areas. A narrow central hull, svelte amas and a powerful rig promise the same kind of sparkling performance Neel has long been known for.

May 2022



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 more


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 more


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 more


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 more


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, more


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 more


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 more


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 more