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Old 20-10-2012, 15:33   #1
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Helia Detailed Review

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 450.
-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.

Under motor, 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..

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 20-10-2012, 18:05   #2
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Thanks Yeloya,

I have been looking forward to your review as I knew you would be sailing her on a real passage.... sounds like you were satisified with her performace... I am thinking a guy could make some rubber fittings for some of the sharp corners.... I can't wait to see her in person, but will probably have to wait til the Miami Strictly Sail show, I am hoping FP will have one there...

Thanks again for your thoughts on the Helia...

Cheers
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Old 20-10-2012, 23:14   #3
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Great review! Thanks.


We are shopping seriously for one and are considering the 55HP engine upgrade.

It seems from your post that may be unnecessary.

Thoughts?

DH
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Old 21-10-2012, 01:38   #4
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

The price difference between 40 HP and 55 HP is around 4.000 € if I remember correctly. 40 HP does the job but if you have to motor against choppy sea and wind 55 HP would pay off.
I have ordered another Helia for our fleet and this will be 55 HP, so yr call..

Yeloya
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Old 21-10-2012, 03:32   #5
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Thank you Yeloya for sharing your thoughts.

We are particularly happy to read your words as we have placed our order for an Hélia last week. We’ve seen her several times but never sailed her.
Though we’ve been told by the FP team who took her down from La Rochelle to Cannes that her behaviour at sea was fantastic (what else could they say?), it remained the only unknown factor.
So, very “reassuring” to have a second positive opinion.

Very interesting also the different problems you point out.
About the instruments we’ve already asked them to be changed place & put higher, visible from cockpit and helm, and thanks to your post, we will have a serious look at this non reliable autopilot.
It’s true, the starboard aft cabin is small in the 4 cabins version, but it seems to be OK in the 3 cabins one.

We’ve chosen the 55 HP. Safer they all said…
And the upgrading is not that expensive. Compared to other options!

Bye.
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Old 21-10-2012, 06:28   #6
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Just some additional information that, in FP aft canins not on the engine room. İn İagoon aft cabin little bir bigger than FP because aft cabins longer against to over the engine room. Thats bring a noise problem on the lonf engine cruising.
Bye.
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Old 21-10-2012, 07:44   #7
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, domuzes, and eraykucuk.
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Old 21-10-2012, 17:26   #8
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
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.
Thanks for a great real world review - really appreciate it. Like you would expect under 6 knots TWS you would motor though per an ealier FP agent post it can sail at 5 knots in 7...

Im a bit over agents claims these days. (apparently per the catana websight I see yesterday the catana 42 can sail "to wind at 12 knots" maybe at 89 degrees on a lake...) Looking forward to the marketing claims as the Helia gets reviewed by the pros.

Very surprising motoring speeds too as you say. What are the cruising revs for the volvos? If its 2300 rpm then im jealous - only get 6.5 knots at cruising revs from my yanmar 30s and there hasnt been alot of wind around the western med this year.

I like the layout of this boat from the pics though and its on my list if we end up going for a bigger boat in a few years. One thing that seems odd is the coffee table in the saloon - assume thats convertable to a dining table somehow?
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barra

I like the layout of this boat from the pics though and its on my list if we end up going for a bigger boat in a few years. One thing that seems odd is the coffee table in the saloon - assume thats convertable to a dining table somehow?
Not convertible, but there is a dining table option. However, I think this is a great feature of this boat. Other cats I've chartered have the big dining table, but we'd rarely eat there & they took up a bunch of room and everyone had to do the butt scoot shuffle to sit around them. Much more like sitting at a restaurant booth than on a couch. I LOVE the coffee table concept.

DH
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:14   #10
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Not convertible, but there is a dining table option. However, I think this is a great feature of this boat. Other cats I've chartered have the big dining table, but we'd rarely eat there & they took up a bunch of room and everyone had to do the butt scoot shuffle to sit around them. Much more like sitting at a restaurant booth than on a couch. I LOVE the coffee table concept.

DH
Yeah its good idea for a charter in nice weather but if you cruise for longer then inside dining table is a necessity
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:19   #11
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Originally Posted by Barra

Yeah its good idea for a charter in nice weather but if you cruise for longer then inside dining table is a necessity
Ps the best way to go would be convertable dinong table like in the seawinds best of both worlds
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:39   #12
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
----
Under motor ---- over 7 kts with two engines at 2200 RPM and 8,5 kts at 2300 RPM with two engines. ----
That seems to be quite a difference for only 100 more rpm. Perhaps you meant 3300 rpm?
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Old 22-10-2012, 01:15   #13
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Helia #1 had the Volvo D 2 40 HP is exactly the same used in upgraded Orana's. (Orana came with 30 HP standard) The max RPM is 3000, crusing 2500. I never use above 2200 as the consumption and noise increase substantially but speed very little. Actually the highest torque is at 1850 RPM with only 2 l/hour consumption.
My Orana had the same engine and 2 blades 18 inch folding prop; the performance is significantly lower than I had with Volvo 3 blades folding prop on Helia. (I don't know the diameter and pitch of this latter..) Moreover, the numbers I gave were SOG and we might have had 0,2-0,3 knots of current behind.

Coffee table is very nice and has a wine storage and large bin inside. But I agree that in long passages and bad weather you need a table in the saloon. Salon table convertible into berth is an available option at 1.712 € from the factory.

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 22-10-2012, 06:22   #14
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloya View Post
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.Cheers

Yeloya
You were not kidding when you said that you pushed her to the extreme - running a kite when you have 33 knots true on the beam - you are a braver man than me!

I agree with your comments about all of the sharp edges - which I would expect to be a bit of a problem as well rounding them off would have been more practical and also look a lot better in my opinion.
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Old 23-10-2012, 05:18   #15
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Re: Helia Detailed Review

Great review, thanks for posting.
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