Competition is fierce in the world of catamarans, so to stay in the game, a builder has to stake out market territory. Nautitech Catamarans is laying claim to that segment of multihull devotees interested in the sailing as well as the après-sail aspects of cruising. Telling first impressions of the Nautitech 40 are the fine-entry, high-freeboard bows and the twin steering stations, one on the stern of each hull.
On the water in Miami, twin 29-horsepower Volvo saildrives provided typical cat agility for maneuvering around the marina, but we learned quickly not to be shy when applying power to counter the effect of a locally gusty crosswind on the high freeboard. Motoring out of Government Cut into the eye of the wind, the boat was unfazed by the mix of tide rip and boat wakes.
Under sail, the helm stations came into their own, giving the helmsman wind-on-the-face input to back up the instruments. Sailing upwind in a fluky, light southeasterly breeze, we saw steady speeds above 6 knots with bursts to over 7 in the puffs. The tacking angle was about 100 degrees, limited by the sheeting angle of the genoa, but with fixed shoal-draft keels, footing off is likely more profitable than pinching anyway.
The long, deck-mounted traveler permits incremental adjustments to the powerful roachy mainsail, and the double-ended mainsheet can be tended from either helm. Because main and genoa share the same winches, tacking entails a little ballet with the sheets and stoppers. Doubling up on the winches would simplify maneuvers and provide more options for handling such add-ons as a preventer or a light-air funsail.
Boathandling arrangements are simple and seamanlike. The main halyard and reefing lines are tended from the mast, and it's an easy step up to the cabin roof to stow or deploy the sail. No centerline nacelle or strut breaks the trampolined expanse between the bows. Hefty cleats integrated into the crossbeam anchors stand ready for bridles or mooring lines.
Inside the house, the saloon provides a second large social area. Considering that the boat can be set up with four double cabins, the galley is small, but from its location on the aft bulkhead, the cook can converse with the crew through a large sliding window.
Even indoors, the saloon has a pleasant, outdoorsy, summer-cottage feel due to the light through the wraparound windows and reflected off large areas of white fiberglass.
Down in the hulls, wood paneling lends a warm tone to the sleeping quarters. Space is a little tight down here, a measure of the slippery slender hulls, but by judicious use of the bridgedeck volume, the designers have created comfortably sized cabins with queen-size athwartships berths. In the charter version, there are two in each hull. In the owner version, which would make a commodious liveaboard vessel, the starboard hull is devoted to a suite: A huge fore-and-aft berth fills the stern, a large head and separate shower occupy the forward part, and, in between, there's a settee, a desk, and copious storage for clothes. Two extra crewmembers or children can be accommodated in small cabins in each bow.
A simple layout below, clean-cut lines above, and neatly sculpted details everywhere suggest that the Nautitech 40 will appeal to sportif catamaran sailors, while their children will find the one-piece trampoline irresistible.
Nautitech 40 Specs
LOA: 39' 4" (11.98 m.)
LWL: 37' 9" (11.50 m.)
Beam: 21' 4" (6.50 m.)
Draft: 3' 11" (1.20 m.)
Sail Area: 936 sq. ft. (86.9 sq. m.)
Displacement: 16,280 lb. (7,385 kg.)
Water: 158 gal. (598 l.)
Fuel: 71gal. (269 l.)
Engine: Two 29-hp. Volvos with saildrives
Designer: Mortain & Mavrikios
Price: $376,598 (FOB La Rochelle, France)
C.A. Marine Group, (954) 627-6862, www.nautitech-catamarans.com
Jeremy McGeary is a Cruising World contributing editor.