Finding yourself fantasizing about going on a catamaran for long, comfortable and luxurious cruises around the world is a common idea for many of us.
This type of boat has undeniable qualities that make it the best choice to realize our dream which, almost always, takes for granted that cruising catamarans pay the price of the comfort they offer, with sailing performances that we certainly could not define "intoxicating".
This at least is what we thought until we laid our hands on the wheels of the new Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 which, in a totally unexpected way, surprised us, both for its sailing performance and its ability to tighten the wind.
The proof of the Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67
The day chosen for the test is perfect. The sun is shining, the sea is slightly rippling and the 10 knot breeze, which is channeled between Miami and Key Biscayne, is tense. They are perfect conditions to test a sailing catamaran, it is indeed, in this wind range that we can appreciate its quality. I get on board and, before leaving the moorings, I inspect the cat far and wide, visiting a 67-foot catamaran it is normal to expect to find large, spacious and functional rooms but here, on board the Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67, the reality far exceeds the imagination. Arriving at the bow I even have to rub my eyes to believe what I see: a hot tub, suitable for two people, is set in the cockpit. On a sailing boat of this size, even though a catamaran, I had never seen one. I doubt that the many comforts and gadgets that I discover in every corner of the deck, all designed to embellish the stay on board, can, due to their weight, negatively affect performance. The main fuel of the catamaran is the wind and we are really at full load. The Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 is back from the show and is loaded both with all the material necessary for the exhibition, and with the necessary for the long cruise for which the owner will leave directly, immediately after our test. But, as I already told you, I will soon have to change my mind.
We let go of the moorings and get on the flybridge. From here you can easily carry the boat, all the maneuvers are in fact postponed in the middle of the two wheelhouses, easily reachable both from the left and from the starboard. As an aid to the maneuvers, four electric winches are available, all grouped together and very close to the quickdraws. We take off and we head to the center of the bay where the wind seems more stable. During the approach, before hoisting the sails, I take the opportunity to detect the motor performances. The cruising speed is 7.6 knots at 1800 rpm, while the fast speed is 9.5 knots at 2400 rpm. These are interesting numbers, especially if we consider the weight we are carrying. Just the time to open the bag of the lazy bag mounted on the V-boom, a simple operation that can be carried out easily by climbing onto the hard top, and we hoist the mainsail with the help of the winch. I press the button of the electric winder, placed on the side of the helm console, and we also unroll the Genoa. We have not struggled to unfold the sails, another irrefutable sign of how the Alegria 67 allows a very simple management, based on easy sailing. But now let's turn off the engine, it's time to test the sailing gaits.
I start with the most congenial for a multihull: the wide bowline, the one close to the crossbar. I maintain an apparent angle of 50 degrees and, in a flash, the Alegria 67 accelerates up to a speed of 8.7 knots. A great ride, with a real wind blowing around 10 knots! The rudder is direct and sensitive, I did not expect it so on a boat of this size. Driving the boat at this pace is definitely fun and undemanding. Barley gradually and I begin to haul the sails accordingly. I discover that it is an operation that I can perform alone, thanks to the arrangement of the equipment and the use of electrical devices. The mainsheet has an electric winch dedicated to it, while the transfer is regulated by an electrically operated sliding system, signed by Antal. I tighten the wind and bring the apparent angle towards the gaits that are usually less congenial to the multihulls. At 45 degrees I lose only half a knot of speed, this is where I begin to understand that the Alegria 67, besides being comfortable, sails well. I decide to go further, I bring myself up to 40 degrees and, again, the catamaran amazes me with a speed of 7.3 knots. I exaggerate and hold still the wind and the Fountaine Pajot 67 upsets me, managing to sail upwind, at 35 degrees, at a speed higher than 6 knots with only ten knots of real wind!
Let's try to tack, we have to do it by rewinding the bow. The staysail is already armed, so the boat is ready for any eventuality during the next cruise. Never mind, I press the button on the winder, let go of the sheet and in a few seconds the bow disappears. I'm determined in the wind, the mainsail turns and the bowline widens to then reopen the bow. I keep a few seconds between 50 and 45 degrees, just long enough to create more apparent wind and the boat starts up again, another uncommon characteristic for a cat of this size. Poggio decided up to 80 degrees of apparent. At this pace with a real wind angle at the garden and with the genoa alone, I register the speed of 6.7 knots. I pay for the performance, insert the autopilot and enjoy the navigation. I leave the helm with a smile between my lips, this Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 won me over. It is fast, simple and responsive, a "machine that mills miles" that is as beautiful as it is capable of really sailing.
The interiors of the Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67
The Berret - Racoupeau Studio has not only designed a fast and spacious catamaran. The Alegria 67 is a boat where the excellent performances are paired with a fine interior architecture, able to generate every single square centimeter of the enormous spaces available. The result is a project that, through the introduction of intriguing innovations, perfectly succeeds in reconciling large areas on board with the need for privacy for the owner and his guests. The beautiful bow area is a clear example of this concept. Here a whirlpool bath and a private and reserved dinette have been positioned below the deck level. The result is an environment that, while on the one hand does not hinder forward visibility during navigation, on the other hand offers moments of precious privacy, both in port and in the harbor. The aft cockpit and the dinette, separated only by a long sliding glass door, make up a single, very large, loft overlooking the sea. The rectangular table, located to the left of the cockpit, can accommodate 12/14 people and communicates directly with the kitchen, located on the same side. This central arrangement makes it possible to serve both external and internal areas with a solution that, in addition to being blatantly beautiful, is functionally perfect as it is at the center of the convivial life on board. For those who wish to try their hand at preparing outdoor barbecues, a large piece of furniture has been provided with a BBQ, sink and refrigerator, placed at the extreme stern and perfect for making the smoke and odors flow away when cooking at anchor. . Privilege the owner, although Alegria 67 has as many as 5 cabins plus 2 for the crew, it is certainly a cornerstone of the project.
In the version we tested the master cabin and its huge bathroom, occupy the entire central part of the right hull. To give you a yardstick, just think that in the same portion of the hull on the left there are two double cabins, both of excellent size, and both with private bathrooms. The owner's cabin also has two entrances. The first one, classic, from the dinette and a second one that gives it a direct and reserved access to the bow sitting area and the adjoining whirlpool bath. A configuration that once again confirms the exceptional nature of the work carried out by the Berret - Racoupeau studio. Going down to the cabin there is a comfortable sofa to the left, while on the right a large double bed develops transversally to the hull. Continuing towards the stern, one enters, or rather one finds oneself in the bathroom, whose first part, equipped with a shelf with two basins, is in fact open space. This area is surprising in size and is equipped with a walk-in closet and two rooms that, closed and separated, function as showers and toilets respectively.
In the aft part of the two hulls we find two other VIP cabins which, with a queen-size double bed and a dedicated bathroom, enjoy a particular privacy, as each has an independent access to the outside. Finally worth mentioning is the tender housing which, cleverly, is placed on the stern platform which, by means of a hydraulic mechanism, rises and lowers until it reaches the water. A solution that on the one hand is very practical for launching and launching the tender, on the other, when the beach is immersed in water, it gives functionality and fun to what becomes a real beach area.
Arriving at the end of our tour we sit down and take the sum of the visit, this Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 is an extraordinary catamaran. Fast sailing and studied in the smallest detail for sea life can only be considered practically perfect.
The price of this jewel, as is logical for these boats, depends a lot on its configuration and the list of options that we will choose, but another reason to consider it interesting, it should be around 1,700,000 euros.
TUTTOBARCHE MAGAZINE - 25.03.2019