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Old 22-10-2014, 21:29   #1
sdf
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Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Questions

Hi everyone, I have some questions on the Helia 44.
Is the boat suitable for LONG distance offshore sailing (like transatlantic and long passages around the pacific)?
Is the bridge deck clearance adequate in rough seas?
Is the boat good for short/single handed sailing (using autopilot, of course)?
Is the interior appropriate for living aboard?
Is there much storage space on board (on deck and inside)?
How does the boat point upwind?
Does it make much leeway?
How maneuverable is the boat?
What is the build quality like?
Is there room for a watermaker/generator?
How much room is there for solar panels?
And finally, How likely is it to do this? (click the link) (capsize, if anyone didn't want to watch)

Sorry for asking so many questions, and thanks to everyone that replies.
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Old 22-10-2014, 23:02   #2
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Re: Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Questions

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Originally Posted by sdf View Post
Hi everyone, I have some questions on the Helia 44. Helia 44 here, happy to answer, in bold and italics in the context of your questions.....
Is the boat suitable for LONG distance offshore sailing (like transatlantic and long passages around the pacific)?
With forty years of sailing, I would say Fountaine Pajot have done an excellent job of designing a full on luxury yacht for just exactly that.... I mean everything of course, with care and seamanship..
Is the bridge deck clearance adequate in rough seas?
Yes, bridge deck clearance is excellent..
Is the boat good for short/single handed sailing (using autopilot, of course)?
I single handed race mine. You stand in front of the helm and work the winches... Autopilot is optional, and not reliable in rougher conditions while tacking, and that is the usual case..
Is the interior appropriate for living aboard?
In 267 cats in study for six months, this is the best I have seen.... The Maestro edition that is, full starboard cabin is Owners Staterooms laundry and head. I like the full cabinetry version instead of the lounge at the foot of the bed, and it is an option...
Is there much storage space on board (on deck and inside)?
HUGE, after forty years of a packrat style I use less than half of it..
How does the boat point upwind?
I would like to think less than 45 degrees but it depends on sea conditions. I get down to 40 at less speed, and 50 with a lot more speed. I aim for 90 degree tacks but it is more like 100 degrees. I can tell you the Helia sails better than She looks like she would...
Does it make much leeway?
Yes, not excessive, the mini keels hold her quite a bit, they are about three meters long and will support the boat quite nicely purposely going aground... In racing the daggerboards would be my guess worth 5 degrees, but a lot more work to manage..
How maneuverable is the boat?
I routinely spin her on her mast, like it was driven into the ground. Under about 2 knots you have massive engines in the later engine size and they are 20 feet apart. Run one in forward and on in reverse and She will spin on her mast pivot point. I also can steer her around in reverse with the rudders just fine. She handles very well. I single handed race her for the challenge..
What is the build quality like?
I think the best value for money... Catana is stronger for circumnavigation, maybe 25-30% more money, Kevlar and carbon fibre, arguably stronger but questionably not worth it or necessary IMO.. The outboard helms and main salon are no where near as nice, and the daggerboards are a lot of work. I could not live with the exposed helm out in the weather on each stern of the hull... I have never seen one anywhere near the livability of the Helia..
Is there room for a watermaker/generator?
Yes, massive. I have a Cummins Onan 9.5 kva in the starboard forward locker, plus the Cape Horn Extreme water maker, and I can still sit down there facing any direction. I like my luxury, and have 6 salt water condensed air units, one in each port queen cabin, 2 in main salon, 2 in Owners Stateroom. It is a redundancy factor if one fails. Mine was done like that for boat shows, I would only have 3 or 4, but love the idea of plug and play backup. I have three refrigeration systems, one all freezer, one in the outdoor cockpit area, plus the two drawer system. Also have an icemaker in the port companionway. I like the Cummins Onan larger genset, Onan plus a Kubota motor and they run forever, for all this gear and AC it works well normally about half loaded but I will turn on extra AC just to load it up for maintenance.. I also recommend the larger engines, 55 hp Volvos..
How much room is there for solar panels?
It is a huge boat... Besides the F.P. option panels (4) of, I also have two Projecta 120 Watt panel sets that fold up to a briefcase size. I will add water proof mini cig plugs Port and SB so I can move them to the sunny side of where ever. I may buy an addition 2 more as I like solar myself..
And finally, How likely is it to do this? (click the link)
I hope for my time spent you are not just a joke.. You would have to be really silly and try really hard to capsize a large cruising cat like this... Start reefing the main at 18-20 knots (depending on your point of sail) but there is almost nil chance of turning her over. I mean loaded up mine is about 12.5-13 ton, and even racing in 25 gusting to 30, I have never lifted a hull and do not intend to. Racing I might clear a hull half way down breaking through seas but there is just no chance unless you almost tried to do it.. You would have to be really silly. Keep someone on the helm at all times, and if in a reach something freaky like a water spout or freak downburst happened with extreme gusts/winds, the person on watch just releases the main sheet and traveller... Honestly, that is almost not even possible to turn over such a big Cat if you are sailing with ANY sense and experience.
(capsize, if anyone didn't want to watch)

Sorry for asking so many questions, and thanks to everyone that replies.
I have given you serious answers, I hope you are not just joking. I have forty years sailing, 11 major yachts, had a business outfitting major yachts years ago, and when I decided to go Cat I spent six months studying and looking before settling on the Helia. I think it is the best value for money in new or near new. Nicest layout, best value all around.
In all fairness to you, I stand by this assessment.. I think it is the best value for money of the Production Cats out there... Not because I own one, because I studied the market and this is what I have done... I am a fair Engineering sort..

Regards, Helia 44
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Old 22-10-2014, 23:09   #3
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Re: Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Questions

oh and BTW ......

WELCOME TO THE FORUM... There is a lot of good help here...
I hurt myself, not acting my age, and will not be sailing until maybe this weekend. I have been very active here on the Forum of late in the last couple of weeks since I could not sail, and there is a lot to learn if you are serious...

I hurt myself doing something else, not sailing, just strained by back and coming good now. The highlight is just walking down the gangway and even looking at Helia..

Kind regards, Helia 44
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Old 22-10-2014, 23:41   #4
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Re: Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Questions

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Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
oh and BTW ......

WELCOME TO THE FORUM... There is a lot of good help here...
I hurt myself, not acting my age, and will not be sailing until maybe this weekend. I have been very active here on the Forum of late in the last couple of weeks since I could not sail, and there is a lot to learn if you are serious...

I hurt myself doing something else, not sailing, just strained by back and coming good now. The highlight is just walking down the gangway and even looking at Helia..

Kind regards, Helia 44
Thanks so much for answering in so much detail it really helped and I greatly appreciate it. I hope you get better and get back out there as soon as possible. Cheers.
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Old 23-10-2014, 11:45   #5
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Re: Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Questions

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Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
In all fairness to you, I stand by this assessment.. I think it is the best value for money of the Production Cats out there... Not because I own one, because I studied the market and this is what I have done... I am a fair Engineering sort..

Regards, Helia 44
You deserve an A+ for a great write up.
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