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Old 16-02-2015, 17:41   #1
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Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

We recently purchased a Fountaine Pajot Saba 50 - “Cuvée”. She is hull #2, the 4-cabin Maestro version that was featured at the Fall 2014 boat show">Annapolis Boat Show and awarded the Sail Magazine Boat of the Year for the Catamaran 41-50 foot category. Needless to say we’re very excited.

She is available for charter during the winter with CYOA Yacht Charters in St Thomas, and during the summer with Cruise Annapolis in Annapolis.

PATH TO PURCHASE: I began my new catamaran search having previously chartered the Lagoon 38, Lagoon 41, FP Lavezzi 40, FP Bahia 46, R&C Leopard 47, and R&C Leopard 46. I really liked the Leopard 46 design, but for a purchase I wanted something just a bit bigger with more headroom (I’m 6’5”), a larger owner’s cabin, and that could still comfortably accommodate my typical crew size of 5-8 family and friends. This eliminated the cats that to me seemed to be space optimized primarily for a cruising couple (e.g., Antares).

The likely cruising territory would be the US East Coast, Bahamas, and Caribbean. Most of the time my wife and I would be joined by several family and friends that are non-sailors, so ease of singlehanded sailing was a critical requirement. Not having to deal with daggerboards was a plus for me. I wanted sailing performance at least comparable to the Leopard 46 or Bahia 46, but I didn’t need a complex carbon fiber sled (e.g., Gunboat).

Having a boat that was charterable was a big plus. I was turned off by the front porch design of the Leopard 48 and the flybridge helm design of the Lagoons, and I was not interested in experimenting with a new manufacturer’s first time effort (such as the Isara 50).

I became extremely interested with the Saba 50 design brief that I first saw at the 2013 Annapolis Boat Show. While I had long ago told myself I would never buy an early hull number, the Saba 50 is largely a super-sized version of the Helia 44 with many of the same systems, so I was confident (hopeful?) that FP would incorporate the lessons-learned from its 2+ years of Helia 44 production into the Saba 50. I liked the layout of the Helia 44, but I was drawn to the increased size of the Saba 50 salon and useable outdoor spaces. The other key feature was the significantly larger owner’s cabin that still maintained a 4th cabin to increase “charterability” and allow us to comfortably accommodate 6 guests. I was not looking for an owner’s suite that filled an entire hull – the 4th cabin was a more valuable use of space to me than the long couch in the owner’s suite that I’ve seen on many other owner-version cats.

CONFIGURATION:The boat came pretty well configured from the factory, and we added the following key equipment to increase crew comfort and charterability:
- 25 GPH Watermaker (Blue Water Desalination EXS600, 220v)
- Carbon/UV Water Filtration (Water Fixer 1000)
- Electric heads were converted to freshwater flush (a big hit with the Admiral!)
- Ice Maker (U-Line, 23 lb/day)
- Rocna 88 lb primary anchor (a big hit with the Captain!)
- 3-sided cockpit sunshade (70% textilene)
- 4-zone speaker system (salon, cockpit, foredeck, helm/sundeck) (Fusion MS-AV700 w/Bose & Kicker speakers)
- 3000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter (Magnum Energy MSH3012M)

For safety, we added a Fireboy automated fire suppression system to the engine bays, and CO monitors in the cabins. For reliability, we added Raycor fuel filters to the engines and generator.

On deck we added: aft deck cleats (in addition to factory-mounted cleats on the scoops), vertical handrails on each sugar scoop (for dinghy boarding).

Some other items on the to-do list: Coolant overflow tanks for the Volvo D2-75 engines, AIS transceiver, fuel transfer pump (note that fuel tanks not interconnected - generator and stb engine run off stb tank, port engine runs off port tank).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: We recently completed a 19-day inspection and commissioning sail on Cuvée in the USVI/BVIs. The watermaker and icemaker were a big hit and kept us independent from having to plan our trip around water stops. For our charter clients, this also minimizes the number of docking encounters they need to deal with and the potential for yacht damage. Along with the carbon/UV filtration system, it virtually eliminated the need to buy any bottled water.

The upper sundeck was the social center during the day and for sundowners. There is plenty of headroom to the boom while seated and sailing, and when anchored we simply pulled the traveler to port to open up the sundeck. The captain could easily communicate with the crew on the sundeck, and they could easily access the cockpit without interfering with the captain and any ongoing sailhandling.

The boat has hydraulic steering. First time I’ve experienced this. It took a few seconds to realize that the wheel is therefore disengaged when on autopilot and will spin freely! I found it useful to customize the MFD to show the rudder angle on the main display screen.

I had upgraded from a Delta 55 lb to a Rocna 88 lb primary anchor.All our anchor sets were within 3 feet even with a grassy bottom.

PERFORMANCE:
The Saba 50 is set up pretty well for single handed sailing. It does have a square top mainsail so there is a required extra step when raising/lowering the main to go to the mast to engage/disengage the head of the mainsail to the headboard car (about a 10 second roundtrip from the helm). After a week on board, I felt comfortable to single handed sail in wind conditions to at least F5 though having crew sure helps with docking as there is a fair bit of windage.

Winds were unusually light (F3 or less) for most of the trip. With 10 knots true, we saw average speeds of 7-7.5 kts from 50-120 degree apparent and we maintained good speed up to 40 degree apparent. With one day of steady 18 knots true and with single reefed main and jib, we saw average speed of 9.5 kts (max of 10.6 kts) at 120 degrees apparent wind.

She is outfitted with the optional Volvo D2 75 HP engines and Volvo 4-blade folding props. Performance under power alone (2 engines, flats seas): 9.3 kts @ 3000 rpm WOT (9.5 gph), 8.3 kts @ 2300 rpm (3.9 gph), 7.4 kts @ 2000 rpm (2.6 gph), 6.8 kts @ 1800 rpm (2.0 gph). Speeds dropped by about 0.8 knots at these rpms with just one engine. Optimum cruise looks to be to run one engine – 7.6 kts @ 2300 rpm (1.9 gph), 6.5 kts @ 2000 rpm (1.3 gph), 6.0 kts @ 1800 rpm (1.0 gph).

More to come.
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Old 16-02-2015, 19:17   #2
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Is the purpose of this post to drum up charter business ?



All the Best
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Old 16-02-2015, 19:52   #3
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Well, I appreciate the post. Thanks for the info.
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Old 16-02-2015, 20:06   #4
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

No. This was not intended to drum up charter business - don't need to. I have really appreciated all the CF posts from the Helia 44 owners of their lessons learned and upgrades, which I found invaluable during my due diligence on the purchase of this boat and the subsequent commisioning. There is currently very little first-hand online feedback on the Saba 50. I thought this would be useful to prospective buyers.

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Old 16-02-2015, 20:08   #5
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Congrats Cuvee, great boat. Thanks for the detailed info. Best of luck!


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Old 16-02-2015, 20:16   #6
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Cuvee, when are you going to be back in MD? My wife and I are in Baltimore and usually charter a few times during the summer through boat bound. Would love a chance to get on a new FP!

Thanks, Josh
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Old 16-02-2015, 21:15   #7
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Josh - She should be in Annapolis by late-May and ready by June 1st.

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Old 17-02-2015, 02:57   #8
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Garfield View Post
Is the purpose of this post to drum up charter business ?



All the Best

I encouraged him to join the forum. Cuvee was actually worried that it would seem self serving. He is a very analytical owner. There are a lot of people interested in this boat and his observations should be valuable to anyone considering buying a Saba.

There are also a lot of people considering placing boats in charter. Having feedback from boat owners that have done this versus hearing from those of us that actually manage the boats also adds value to the conversation. There are several of our owners that post here. Mowzer, Wide Ranger, and now Cuvee.

For the record for those that don't know I am the fleet manager at CYOA.

Jay
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Old 17-02-2015, 05:54   #9
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Cuvee,

Thanks for the great write-up!
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Old 17-02-2015, 09:00   #10
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

thanks so much for your input, i really appreciate it.
Question: somebody somewhere on this forum said that the saba50 has the same exact hulls as the helia44, just elongated... is it true? is the width of the hulls on the saba50 the same as helia? or are they wider?
cheers
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Old 17-02-2015, 11:24   #11
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

As one that loves the Helia 44, I too admire the 50 from afar. I thank you so very much for the information about your fine yacht. Didn't know about the flush toilets until you wrote of them. My Admiral said "All right!" when I told her about yours so I take it to be a good sign.

My planned sailing is up and down the ditch with heavy leaning on the great loop so the 50 is bit tall in mast and a touch deeper for junk holing. Likewise, I love that yacht too. Anything that you care to share, I'll shall read with interest.

I myself am of the technical minded type and truly appreciate details. Copious details.

Kindest,

Sundae
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Old 17-02-2015, 12:46   #12
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Might I crassly ask what that fabulous vessel cost you?
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Old 17-02-2015, 12:58   #13
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexxx View Post
thanks so much for your input, i really appreciate it.
Question: somebody somewhere on this forum said that the saba50 has the same exact hulls as the helia44, just elongated... is it true? is the width of the hulls on the saba50 the same as helia? or are they wider?
cheers
I have looked at the undersides on the youtube videos as well at the inside cabins. Those hulls are clearly different, especially the bulges and depth of the keels. Both are beauties though but for different reasons.
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Old 17-02-2015, 13:01   #14
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Nice summary.

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Old 17-02-2015, 14:06   #15
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Re: Owner's Initial Feedback on Hull #2 - Cuvée

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexxx View Post
thanks so much for your input, i really appreciate it.
Question: somebody somewhere on this forum said that the saba50 has the same exact hulls as the helia44, just elongated... is it true? is the width of the hulls on the saba50 the same as helia? or are they wider?
cheers
I don't have specific measurements on the hull widths, but the Saba at least carries its maximum width through a longer length of the hull. It also looks to be deeper.

The Saba has 79" headroom in all 4 cabins. The door heights are 73", and the owners cabin as a mid-cabin brace that is at 74.5". At 6'5", this is the first time I've ever sailed for a week and not come off a boat hunched over.

The engine bays on the Saba 50 seemed wider and deeper than the Helia. I had plenty of room to access the engines, generator, batteries, chargers, breakers, FW pumps, etc.

Comparing photos of the aft cabins, the cabin width at the bunks appears to be about the same, but looking at the walls and ceiling it appears the Helia cockpit encroachs a bit into the cabin whereas the Saba carrys the full cabin width to the ceiling.

In the forward cabins, the Helia has fore/aft bunks with very little room on the sides by the foot of the bed. The Saba has wraparound athwartship bunks that are 63" wide and 78" long (same throughout the boat) plus a ~10" wide nightstand on both sides of the bunk and there is perhaps 3 feet of space from the foot of the bunk to the hull.
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