This summer I had a chance to sail all of the FP range catamarans in our charter
fleet and pulled down a summary for those who are interested. The trials were made under similar conditions and at the same place, minimum for 5 hours and not less than 15 nm and in almost every angle to the wind
. No geneaker was used, except for Lavezzi
that has a furling
one, which worked perfect in light winds.
5=outstanding, 4=excellent, 3=fair,acceptable, 2=poor, 1=not acceptable
:speed, comfort and control under sail, ease of handling under sail,etc.
, Athena:4, Orana
: 3,Salina: 2
Fidji is by far the winner in light winds, thanks to her norrow hulls and light weight, norrowest pointing angle to the wind
is the best in overall; perfect handling and feeling under sail, Orana
probably the best but just above 20 knots of true wind.. Salina reached barely 7 knots @ 22-24 kts of true, way too heavy.. Belize
and Athena are sailing reasonably well beetween 10-20 kts of true. (app. 55-60 % of true wind) Above this level, they definately need to be reefed and still they are not very comfortable in high seas..
Fidji was tested under flat water
@ 22 knts of true and sailed easily 14,5 knts @ beam reach !! (Normally, we should have reefed but we didn't..)
Generally speaking , with the exception of Fidji, none of them are particularly good at close hauled sailing. They can sail up to 35-40 degrees to apparent wind but VMG is probably at around 50-55 degrees. They are all tacking pretty well at around 95-100 degrees if the boat speed is not less than 4-5 knots.
Orana is spectacular in this respect, if it blows 18 + knots..
Comfort/space utilization/design factor
: behaviour in high seas/strong winds both under sail or while motoring, offshore
Orana: 5, Belize,Salina, Lavezzi :3,Athena, Bahia 2, Fidji: 1
All FP's are coming with galley
up. It should be noted that every new generation is clearly superior to its predecessor, in terms of overall design and , space for a given size.
Again, bridge deck
clearance is more than acceptable in all of them. The least slamming was with Bahia and Athena, (no protrusion whatsoever..) worst with Orana.
:Note that FP range factory standard engines are claearly underpowered. One should definately go for one size larger engine
All of the FP range is using Volvo
engines sail drives (Yanmar is optional and the cost is € 2-3M extra) and with the exception of Salina's, no major issue with them. Latest generations (Salina and Orana) are heavier and much comfortable when motoring upwind and against high seas.
Orana,Salina, Bahia: 4, Lavezzi: 3, Athena, Belize, Fidji 2
Reliability, overall strength of the boat and rigging
Orana 4, Bahia, Athena, Belize, Fidji 3, Salina 2 , Lavezzi 1*
*serious problems with the gear
and sail drive of Salina, frequent osmose problems with Lavezzi.
It should also be noted that new generation FP's are coming with Furuno
instead of Raymarine
and Furuno equipment
which means ongoing problems..New Lipari
has been ordered with Raymarine
at extra cost.
in FP's are not particularly strong and careful/periodical checks and maintenance
are necessary althought we didn't have major problem with the exception of Bahia's mast
The new generations are using Incidence sails
and they are OK both in terms of performance and durability. Factory lazy bags last only 2 years max.
Generally speaking, few quality issues with FP's and the factory was allways helpful in warranty issues. Some of the boats have been in charter
for 20 years (Fidji) and they still are in perfect conditions.
Buttom line, FP's for some reason are believed to be "lightly built" and for charter purpose primarely. I have seen many other cats (Catana, Lagoon
, et.) since we have the service
company as well. I can clearly say that this is not the case. They are not the lightest in weight, neither the fastest. But they all sail easonably well, easy to handle, maintain and reliable.
Very comfortable in general, capable of making long passage
(I have some reservation for Salina..) with some extra like water
maker, extra batteries, etc. The standard list of inventory is not complete and many items that are standard in some expensive boats are optional. Nonetheless, I believe they are reasonably priced for the value. Obviously design factors is a matter of taste. They go for galley
up, sail drive, engine
aft cabines and no retractable dagger boards
but sacrificial keels.. All of that have some cons and pros.
company serves every kind of boat including monohulls and have no commercial
interest with FP, thus, I have tried to be as candid as I can be. Unfortunately, I have sailed many monohulls as well but not any other brand of cats to be able to make side by side comparison beetwen various brands.
Hope this will help giving another perspective to people who consider owning a FP, new or second hand and answer some of the questions raised for different models of FP range.