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. fountaine-pajot.com
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. nautitechcatamarans.com
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. neel-trimarans.com