I had the chance to bring Helia #1 from Istanbul
to Marmaris (app. 500 nm) and wanted to share with you my experiences. The boat is hull
# 1 that was shown in Cannes and Istanbul
boat shows and had 2X40 HP Volvo
engines with Volvo
3 blades folding props, a spinnaker
with socket, 4 cabins model. Most of the sailing was DDW that we did mostly with spinnaker
only, sometimes spi+main. The wind
was very light (0-6 kts) until Dardanelle Strait and had to motor
quite a bit. Then we had vey good winds from 15 to 33 kts true and we averaged over 7+ miles until Marmaris.
First of all, if you are familiar with FP range, forget all what you have seen so far; Helia is one or two levels higher in every standard when it comes to build quality and materials used. She also has a fly bridge, if this does matter for you. And yet, she sails
much better than Lagoon
450, parity or slightly better than Orana
. She sits very good in water
and I pushed her to the extreme; 33 kts of true from 100 degrees making 11+ knots with the spi, close reach (35-40 degrees app, no reef) making 9,2 kts SOG. The boat handled those conditions perfectly well and didn't seem like too much pushed.
Designwise, it is a beauty as you can also see in the pictures. However there are couple of problems.. (my humble opinion..)
-there are too many sharp corners everywhere in the saloon
. These may create a lot of serious troubles in hard sailing conditions.
-the position of the instruments in the helm
station are not ideal. I couldn't see them clearly unless I heeled every time.(I am over 6 ft..)
-I didn't like Garmin
instruments in overall. Autopilote was not holding well, I had to steer manually in heavy conditions. (they may not be properly calibrated. I am not good in that and didn't attempt to change the response times, etc) The chartplotter
has many new features but I still prefer my old Raymarine
-The starboard aft cabin
is smaller than the one in Orana
. However, the front cabins are clearly larger than the ones both in Orana and Lagoon
-the feeling of the helm
is strangely very very light. There virtually is no feed back from the helm. Maybe one may get used to it over time.
For the rest, she is particulary impressing on close reach (not the strongest point for Orana), seems to be less impacted from the waves, cuts the water
very smoothly, no protrusion under the bridge, never had a serious banging or squealing even in rough conditions. In DDW sailing. she seemed a bit slower than Orana but this may be due to the spinneaker that we used. (didn't measure it but probably a bit smaller than mine and definately thicker..)
All the lines, including the reef lines are to the helm station and the first reef is "one line reef" that we didn't try.
The boom is a bit higher than the one in Orana to give a space to fly bridge, but nothing comparable to L 450. Nevertheless, hoisting the main with square head
is a bit challenging.
, 40 HP's were (to my surprise..) very satisfactory; 6 kts at 2200 RPM
with one engine
, over 7 kts with two engines at 2200 RPM
and 8,5 kts at 2300 RPM with two engines. (All this, with no or light wind
, flat water.) Maneuvrability of the boat, docking/undocking in tiny places was perfect.
Overall, a very well thought and built, one of the fastest catamaran
in her class..