I’d met the Fountaine Pajot 44 at her world debut in a convention center at the Düsseldorf boat show. There, resting on the hard, her hullsides appeared expansive; the space between her hulls cavernous.
One of the things that first impressed me about the Fountaine Pajot 44 was the accommodations. Most cats I’ve been aboard boast some combination of equally sized mirrored staterooms, which makes sense, with so many catamarans serving double duty in a charter fleet. Some private owners may opt for an office or crew’s quarters in one hull corner, but that’s usually where the surprises end.
The 44 MY is different because there’s a full-length owner’s cabin in the port sponson, with an entrance to port of the aft galley. The master berth is athwartships, which makes the most of the space. The head forward of the stateroom is a comfortable size, though the shower is a bit of a tight squeeze.
In the starboard hull, there are indeed two mirrored staterooms, again with athwartships berths. There is a fourth cabin forward in the salon with a double berth, although the company is quick to describe it as a crew’s quarters or a room for the kids. No one’s asking, but I’d gladly take that stateroom. With standing headroom and reading lights, it looks like a cozy spot to hide away with a book.
“We don’t compromise for charter, so we can build a more luxurious boat,” explains Deputy General Manager Romain Motteau as we step from the salon to the cockpit. “Also, no charter company will use IPS; they don’t want clients to be going 25 to 30 knots anyway. This is why we are focused on targeting private owners.
He has a point. One of the biggest differences between this power cat and others intended for charter is the level of fit and finish throughout. And speaking of more LOA, the impressively bright salon feels like it belongs to a motoryacht in the 60-foot range. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Of the eight 44s sold between the Düsseldorf show and the time of this writing, most were bought by owners who had come down in size from much larger monohull motoryachts.
The prime social area on the 44 is the flybridge. With plenty of seating around an aft dining area and a large sunpad with fold-up seatbacks, it’s a versatile space in which to soak up the sun and sights.
Spooling up the engines, with the rest of the crew relaxing throughout the 44, she easily climbs to 25 knots, with no discernible bow rise when getting on plane (another benefit of the twin hulls). Turns were sharp and smooth. There was little in the way of chop during the test, and the 44 leaves such a small wake that running the boat in circles to try and simulate some sort of sea conditions didn’t work well. Still, you can tell this boat is solidly constructed. As for those pods, with 20 knots of wind, they admirably moved the boat in any direction desired. The combination of IPS and multihulls is in fact a winning one, with the pods seemingly taking advantage of the leverage afforded by the spacing not available on most monohull installations. —Daniel Harding Jr
DISPL.: 45,000 lb.
FUEL: 528 gal.
WATER: 185 gal.
TEST POWER: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600s
BASE PRICE: $675,000