Everyone, it seemed, had a reason to come to Portugal.
Mine was tied up at the marina. The Fountaine Pajot MY40 had traveled on its own keel over 600 miles from La Rochelle, France—company HQ—to be here, cruising down the Bay of Biscay and around the Iberian Peninsula, not unlike the voyages made by galleons when the world was far less explored. The 40 had been designed with that adventurous, point-the-bow-toward-the-horizon ethos in mind.
She had made the trip to Tróia in three days, stopping to refuel once along the northern coast of Spain; her sail-powered cousin, the Elba 45, took decidedly longer. (Not that it was a race, but, if pressed, I know which one I would rather take.) Private sea trials awaited, and more than a few of the journalists and dealers in attendance were itching to see what the new power cat could do.
I would get my chance the next day. The plan was to head due west, retracing the company captain’s tracks on our way to the fishing village of Sesimbra. One of the benefits of a multihull is maximized space, and compared to other boats in this size range, the 40 rings that timeworn cliché: It feels every bit like a larger vessel. The salon brings together an expansive galley, a three-section sofa—lifted, it seems, right from the family living room—two chairs and a foldable table. Thanks to upgrades in engineering and space-saving design, the salon, I was told, has more volume than the company’s 46-foot power cat. Driving from the lower helm will keep you dry in a squall, and the sightlines are excellent, but true joy can be found at the upper helm, whether squeezing out every drop of the 40’s impressive fuel economy or pushing the rpm to a top end of 23 knots.
Fountaine Pajot has long held to the belief that their range be tailor-made for private buyers. To that end, the 40 has been appointed in a way that a cat destined for the charter fleet might not. This feeling extends to the cabins, which are equal parts roomy and luxurious. Multifunctional by design, the three rooms can be arranged as a master with en suite head and two double berths—perfect for three couples—with one berth that can be converted to bunk beds for a young family. The two double berths share an adjoining head.
Comparisons, of course, with the other models in the range are compulsory: The 40 fits neatly between the MY37 and MY44. Though smaller in LOA and beam than the 44, the salon seating aboard the 40 can comfortably accommodate just one fewer guest—not bad. To help maximize space, Fountaine Pajot tapped the same Italian designer, Pierangelo Andreani, who worked in conjunction with naval architect Daniel Andrieu on the 44. According to Andreani, the space in the salon is much bigger than anything you would find on a monohull of the same size—I would add and then some. A shallower draft than her larger sistership will allow adventurous cruisers to nose the 40 up close to their own private beach, wherever one might be found. —Simon Murray
Displ.: 30,864 lbs.
Fuel: 372 gal.
Water: 119 gal.
Standard Power: 2/300-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS400
Base Price: $640,736
Cruise Speed: 10 knots
Top Speed: 23 knots