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Old 25-06-2015, 21:19   #61
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Helia 44, let me know if you change out your davits. They could find an home on an Orana!!
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Old 08-07-2015, 17:15   #62
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello DTM,

I have not decided on the Davits, to replace or modify the existing... Or just leave them as is.. But I will keep that in mind... Heh heh..

Report on current improvements, in practice, visiting remote islands in the Great Barrier Reef:

On the Tankage: The added weight of the tankage dropped the waterline about 30mm on the starboard side, but in seas up to three meters and a few sets larger, I could feel no difference. Water running off the coach roof out of the gutter under the solar ran to starboard primarily, so you could see it was slightly out of level.. That is understandable as the helm, and batteries weighing two hundred kilos are on that side as well. Now the effect on cruising? Endless power, low wind so power on without considering fuel allowed us to visit many out of the way islands. From the Great Keppel group to Percy Islands and all in between, and now north to a half dozen more destinations on the way to the Whitsundays, low wind just run on the motor or even both. It is a great success. A transfer of say 1/4 tank to fill the main port tank, is only say 120 kg off starboard, but added to port is a 240 kg change, and it soon evened things up. It is nice to have the range, and I hope to live long enough to wear out my D-2 55 HP Volvos... Heh he

Also, the weight factor will be diminished by going to Lithiums (coming) that with two 300 AH (fit better in the dead space to port of the main salon door) there will be a 50% efficiency increase in battery capacity and charging efficiency, but also about 60 kg weight savings magnified by moving from the starboard engine room to mid ships....

On the hydraulic steering: The adjustable Capilano comes with my recommendation. The ability to change the pressure allows some variability with the seas. The feel of a wave coming under the hull and responsive counter steering has diminished, but is still there.. All in all a fabulous improvement giving confidence..

On the rubber stops and bumpers on the main sail track: I boo-booed again and gybed the main in moderate winds, released the wrong traveller sheet, and WHAMO! It would have blown the Traveller right off the track, but instead it was stopped with a soft thump... See the previous pictures of that early mod...

One more on the improvements list coming:
IMO, the running lights on the bow of the Helia are USELESS F.P. They really should be split and moved to port and starboard bow pulpits to be effective. Right now they are tight together in one unit, and hidden behind the screacher roller furling... I will be doing that...

Outer Islands benefits: I love beach combing.. Here is some of my treasure haul so far for your enjoyment... In the Caribbean I had a float tree done up with goodies, looked like a nautical Christmas.. Probably coming again.. An added benefit of feeling easy about diesel and range of travel... remote spots for beach combing.. Here are some samples:

White rope tangled mess off the beach tied off to boat shedding sand. Then second picture all untangled and washed down, good rope.. Maybe just decorative.. Floats, more rope, shells, all part of remote island beach combing. I need a bigger boat as we have about 8 weeks or more of exploring to do yet...
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Old 12-07-2015, 14:48   #63
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Just a note to say thanks Helia 44 for this thread. As a new FP 40 owner, it is my intention to reference all these lessons learned as I (we) put together the options list.

My hope is FP is paying attention to the quality comments made here and occasionally respond. Has there been any feedback - as a rule?

I do know AYC, the FP dealer in the USA, monitor this site but to date I have not come across the actual manufacturer responding. Do they issue Engineering Bulletins or similar to FP owners?
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Old 14-07-2015, 18:08   #64
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Latchdaddy View Post
Just a note to say thanks Helia 44 for this thread. As a new FP 40 owner, it is my intention to reference all these lessons learned as I (we) put together the options list.

My hope is FP is paying attention to the quality comments made here and occasionally respond. Has there been any feedback - as a rule?

I do know AYC, the FP dealer in the USA, monitor this site but to date I have not come across the actual manufacturer responding. Do they issue Engineering Bulletins or similar to FP owners?
Thank you for the kind words of appreciation LatchDaddy.... It makes my efforts seem worthwhile, and not just wasted time.. Thank you, keeps me going...

Yacht AVALON here, in the Great Barrier Reef islands, currently anchored a Stonehaven anchorage on Hook Island in the Whitsunday group.. Possibly headed out to the atolls of the GBR as there are light winds tomorrow.

You have brought up a touchy point, so let me dance around it a little so no one gets their feathers ruffled. The French have a unique way of doing Business, so much so that picking your "Dealer" becomes a VERY important issue. Here goes and you may have to read between the lines a little:

The French do not want to deal with the Public. I am told by many that they are extremely difficult to get custom features out of, outside of their normal tick the boxes forms. Behind in their Schedules and a big Order Book, this might be an appropriate Business model for them. However, worse than that is their way of handling Warranty issues. They do monitor this Forum, and this Post, as there has been feedback, but not directly to me. If there are Warranty issues, many have told me that it can take months to get action out of F.P. and I mean literally months and months, as if they try and wait out the poor Client to desperation to get it done themselves. This has been so common I am told from many People, that the Dealers often take on the Warranty rectifications on themselves and gamble that they will get reimbursed by F.P. at a later date.

Now this is NOT a bad reflection on F.P. I mean from year so talking with other Owners, F.P. are about the best of the lot, a step well above Lagoon IMO having looked at Engineering and Design, and a step below the strength and build of Catana (but I am too old for the outboard helms of Catana and want the better creature comforts of the F.P.) Having qualified this answer, I must comment that it is not a Manufacturer thing, it seems to be a French thing. It is as if they stall and are really slow to act, to literally whittle down Warranty work by way of attrition. Myself? I have not had any real issues, but I do not agree with that Business Model, and think Fountaine Pajot should light a fire under their Warranty Department. I personally think it is unacceptable from what I have heard from other Owners.

It is a definite credit to Multihull Solutions, that they take a positive proactive response and act on the Owners behalf... Rather than the French Business model, they stick in the Western Business model to get the Owners taken care of in a timely fashion. Then in the long protracted French way of Business they wait it out for them to hopefully reimburse them for their expenses. I would do Business with Multihull Solutions again, and no I do not find the French model on Warranty responses adequate.

Latest improvement suggested:,(I do not know if I covered this one in this Topic, just in case it is my gift to you):
If you want anything more on your mast than the normal wind instruments and VHF normal Coax, you need a better conduit system in the mast. The F.P. (possibly Z-Spar) system is woefully inadequate and waaay too light.. At one year old, the stock conduit failed and was in a jumble at the bottom of the mast with each short section opening up jamming onto the other in a heap with the entire contents clanging around inside the mast. I had to dismast the boat. The new conduit from F.P. was short sections of very light plastic about 1 mm, sliced longitudinally, that slipped over a rib in the mast extrusion. I have an added internet antennae on the top, and heavy shielded coax that was added so I have extended internet range to talk with my Office Staff managing things back home, as I am not going to retire. No questions please on my Business, I am not going to retire as I have people that have been with me for 16-17 years and I have no confidence in this extended GFC not over yet, that the Business could survive without my Engineering and Legal guidance. The Internet is important at least once in a while is important: Anyway the stock conduit collapsed in a heap. In any case, I think it is woefully inadequate and you should upgrade it.

F.P. were slow to respond, and there was secondary rumbles that it was outside of their design, and the added weight of the heavy coax was the cause. Hmmmm.. In my Engineering opinion it was just way to light. The fix is quite simple, about 40-50 mm white PVC pipe in 20' sections, run through a table saw to cut a slice in it... With the mast down, it was split on the end and started up the extrusion on the inside of the mast with the split running over the T shaped extrusion on the inside. You can push it up a short way but: It eventually gets too hard to push, so you end up hammering it up with a block of wood, and the next two bits of pipe as well pushing the other sections up. The PVC pipe is in far larger sections, and probably about five times as strong as the original very light flexible soft tubing that actually collapsed on itself.

To be fair this is only here to help you, if you have any reason to dismast, take it upon yourself to upgrade this if it has not been done already. To be fair it might not even be an F.P. issue, but Z-Spar their Rigger. Anyway, maybe this will filter down to them. I am a pretty fair Marine Engineering sort, and used to be in the Business long ago.

And once more, in the Southern Hemisphere, "Multihull Solutions" are the best to deal with that I have encountered. Before Sales, they are all good. It is the "After Sales Service" that is the most important. Possibly by design, in a nutshell, the French do not want to deal with the Public and use the Dealership Network to buffer themselves. From our end, that is not a good thing, but it might be a very good functional outcome for them. Personally, I may be in the Market for a larger Cat.... This would be one of the reasons I might look at the Leopard 48 from an Engineering perspective as well as a Saba 50, both in the Owners Layout model (not multi cabin charter layout...)

Additional Improvements coming up:

1) The big Genoa "Screecher" is too hard to furl when on the take utilizing the Harken 46 on the Port side. You need two winches in weather over 15-18 knots, one to furl when under heavy wind load while the other manages the sheet on that tack...

2) Feeding the sheets on the Starboard side up to the winch island on the helm is functional, but nasty in medium weather. You need another Harken 46 on the starboard side in the same position as stock, out on the end of the starboard cabin roof. Then in my case, a zip up in the window of the clear on the cockpit enclosure... AND I am considering more power winches as the only one now is the Main Halyard winch. It is a only a Harken kit that can convert the standard Harken to power.. They are all made for the upgrade.. Easier for single handling, and the winch handle pushes down a pin that automatically disengages power to revert to two speed winch anytime...

3) The Windlass that comes stock, the Loffrans Caiman, is a bit light when anchored in deep water (now in 50') with all chain rode. I am going to upgrade to the "Tigress" the next size up in power. The rode is right, 3/8" (10mm high tensile) Armagal chain, but the power is a bit light and the windlass is working. The "Tigress" is about 500 watts more powerful...

Kind regards, from "Avalon" which is probably the most well equipped Helia 44 in the world... All this luxury is loading her up, I may need a bigger boat... heh he....
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Old 17-07-2015, 06:06   #65
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Helia44, Love reading all your ideas and suggestions. I am looking into possibly buying a Saba down the road. I am really hoping that in the next year or two that the solar outputs and batteries will greatly improve. I had heard that Tesla is working on a much smaller and more powerful battery for backup home use. Possible use at sea? How many solar panels is right for a Saba? How much output can one expect? Are there good and bad manufacturers?? Go with factory or aftermarket? I don't know much about any of this, but will appreciate your knowledge down the road. I think your folding fish table is fantastic. Well done on your tables and the covers! Safe sailing. Rob

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Old 21-07-2015, 17:27   #66
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello LiveLife....

WELCOME TO THE CRUISERS FORUM!

I am still running on the Vartas, two years old, but Lithiums are definitely in the works... At last look, you want to know what Lithiums, Google lists 255 Manufacturers.. That narrows down to Service and Shipping in your area being most important for backup. You will have to source your own as my sources are from China under Australian Supervision and design then shipped to Australia Now, two things are very important:
1) First and foremost: You have to have built in BMS (Battery Management System) as sealed circuitry on each cell. That is a must for longevity and maintenance..
2) Secondly you have to look at where you will put them. I wanted to go for two 400 AH Lithium batteries, each 400 AH would be equal to the 600 AH in AGM batteries I have now which would double my holding power. However, on cutting a smaller inspection hatch it, it is going to be tight, I may have to go two 300 AH, which would be 150% of what I have now. That would be about a 60 kg savings, more importantly it would move the weight from the starboard hull to midships in the dead space just aft of the galley.

Now, on your SABA idea, I am still not sure it is the way to go. The Helia 44 is plenty without Guests, I mean waaaay plenty. You had better be experienced as the SABA would be a bloody handful coming into docks with a 2 knot cross current (happens) or a 15-20 knot cross wind (happens) and handling sails in white horses weather would again be a handful when something went wrong. I am forty years experienced and am still not convinced. Out now up in the GBR for going on a month, and the Helia is just GREAT. Yes I am a bit overloaded, but I can use the 450 kg in extra fuel before I head home, and with the water makers I can run on about 500 kg less water making water with the bottom 1/4 of the tank... I still look at the Leopard 48, and the Saba 50, been aboard both, done virtual tours of both as well and I am not sure that it is not too big to single handle or necessary... Hmm, undecided.

On Solar, the more the merrier, but you will rely on the diesel Gen Set for the bulk of things.

I will share more on this when I make the move, to either a larger boat, or the Lithiums. I just do not want to waste the Varta batteries.. So will continue on with them for now..

Improvements will still rock on... Regards, Yacht AVALON in the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef area...
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Old 22-07-2015, 06:13   #67
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Thanks for the battery info. It will be interesting to see how soon the lighter, stronger batteries make it to market. Will ask more about this down the road. I also appreciate your perspective on the Saba size. Hope to be trying one up in Annapolis in Aug or Sept. Safe sailing : )
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Old 22-07-2015, 07:58   #68
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

When looking at batteries, does one need to specify 12V or 24V or 48V? How does this work with the solar charging?
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Old 11-08-2015, 19:08   #69
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

I have hull #86, Blues Traveler. Does anyone have a recommendation(s) for a storm jib and Tri sails?


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Old 19-08-2015, 20:32   #70
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Helia 44, you're awesome! I would love to get more details on your fuel tank project...pictures, list of materials and steps involved. What a bonus to have all that organic carrying capacity. I schlepped a dozen Gerry cans around on my last journey and would much rather have not. Btw, I'm hull #13, which hopefully is an early enough model to benefit from the additional tank.
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Old 21-08-2015, 14:50   #71
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Definitely interested in whatever detailed information you have and are willing to share concerning the fuel tank work. That's just too good to pass up!
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Old 16-09-2015, 04:28   #72
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hi All, Looking to buy a new Helia 44. First CAT. What would people say would be the Top 5 options to get? Husband & wife team.


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Old 17-09-2015, 14:43   #73
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

[QUOTE=auspower;1915418]Hi All, Looking to buy a new Helia 44. First CAT. What would people say would be the Top 5 options to get? Husband & wife team.

Take some time to go through ALL the options available at the price list and to fully understand everyone of them. Some are unbelievable like: automatic bilge pumps (the default aren't automatic!!!).

The gray water tanks are mandatory in some areas and some marinas. The water maker is a great bonus when doing some long sailings or going for some time to remote places. And the salt water at the sink saves a lot of fresh water when cleaning the dishes.

The solar panels installed by the factory are too small to seriously handle any load (only 4 x 100W) and some people have gone up to 1200W! We installed 2x130W + 2x100W aft of the main traveller and 2x130W on the port side, a total of 720W, completely out of the way.

I think the helm and cockpit bimini and enclosures are essential, as are the curtains around the main cabin, to protect everyone and everything from the sun (we use the boat near the Equator, and it burns here!).

Freezer is necessary nowadays, but be aware that the one installed by FP is small and enclosed in the cabinet, badly ventilated, and due to poor air circulation, ours didn't worked properly, becoming so hot outside that was burning anyone who dared to touch it.

Inverter is also a necessity now that we have so many computers, phones, tablets, TVs, etc to power onboard.

The automatic reef is very nice, but you will need to upgrade it with a better line (all lines supplied by FP are not of prime quality) and some solid rings forward (at the sail and mast, to better direct the line path). We have done it for our 1st and 2nd reefs and they are now working flawlessly, allowing us to reef without leaving the helm area and facing the elements forward. (We had also redirected the boom lift to an empty 3rd reef stopper, so together with the main halyard, all control now are at hand).

The VHF at the helm is IMHO also very important, and we upgraded the chart plotter at the helm (the one that we really use onboard) to 12".

The boat is great! We love it! She sails very well for the comfort she provides, and the deck layout is easly handled by a good sailor alone (fundamental if you are sailing as a couple).
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Old 19-09-2015, 20:09   #74
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

You need to focus on those items which are not easily retrofitted past the factory.

IMO

(1) 55 HP motors are an absolute must
(2) Bowsprit for Gennaker/Screecher add on
(3) Hatches for the forepeaks (yes they are an option)
(4) Slats for the beds

All of the rest can be done more cheaply aftermarket.
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Old 04-10-2015, 00:49   #75
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

to helia 44... thanks for all the useful info...sort of puzzled by your fuel tank mod???....why didnt u just go with a west system for fabbing the baffles, they would be lighter and stronger....it looks like u used 6000 grade 1/4 inch alum???,the angles attaching the baffles to the lid look about .063 thick and the welds???, I wouldnt fly with that....any thoughts on this....rick.
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