Nau­titech Open 40

Cruis­ing cata­ma­rans can end up be­ing a com­pro­mise, with sail­ing per­for­mance and con­ve­nience traded off against in­te­rior vol­ume. Bavaria’s Nau­titech Open 40 puts paid to that, be­ing both plea­sur­able to sail and roomy enough to re­ally stretch out.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY SARAH ELL

In­vite the fam­ily and a few of your best friends. This is a fun cat de­signed around easy en­ter­tain­ing and com­fort.

Carte Blanche II is the first of this new model in New Zealand, ar­riv­ing on a con­tainer ship in Tau­ranga a few months ago and be­ing craned straight into the wa­ter. Her de­liv­ery up to Auck­land was a bit of a bap­tism of fire – or wind and wa­ter – and she is now hap­pily snugged up in Westhaven. It’s a gor­geous late spring day when the Boat­ing team ar­rives to take her out, al­though the bright sun­shine is ac­com­pa­nied by an al­most com­plete lack of wind. No mat­ter: this com­fort­able cruiser is more than happy to mo­tor, and we set off down the har­bour pow­ered by a pair of 30hp Volvo diesels with saildrives. Cruis­ing speed un­der power is around 8 knots, and with the en­gines mounted well aft in the hulls their pres­ence is un­ob­tru­sive.

For the past decade or so, owner Win­ton Jones has been rac­ing and cruis­ing on a Du­four 40, af­ter years as a Noelex owner, but so­cial­is­ing in the bar af­ter­wards had be­come more ap­peal­ing than Wednes­day night rac­ing.

“It was time to move on,” he says. “With my wife, kids and grand­kids all com­ing away cruis­ing with us, this is go­ing to be a much bet­ter op­tion.”

Mov­ing to the Nau­titech doesn’t mean he’s quite given up com­pet­ing though; he started this year’s Coastal Clas­sic in the brand-new boat, only giv­ing it away when it be­came ap­par­ent it was go­ing to be a long, light night on the wind to get to Rus­sell.

As a life­long sailor, Jones was at­tracted to the Nau­titech be­cause of the twin helm sta­tion po­si­tions, well aft at the end of each hull – a con­fig­u­ra­tion that af­fords ex­cel­lent for­ward vis­i­bil­ity.

“With the helms down at this level, you can be steer­ing but still com­mu­ni­cat­ing with fam­ily and friends,” he says. “It also means you can swap from side to side to be in or out of the sun – and be­ing down low it’s less ex­posed. It’s also a great po­si­tion when you’re leav­ing the berth – you just drop the lines and go.”

Board­ing/dis­em­bark­ing is easy thanks to large plat­forms at the back of each hull, and for ex­it­ing the wa­ter, there’s a tele­scop­ing swim lad­der on the star­board hull. Be­tween the two hulls, the ten­der’s sus­pended on eas­ily-op­er­ated davits.

Both helm sta­tions have B&G Tri­ton screen dis­plays for nav­i­ga­tion and in­stru­men­ta­tion, with the au­topi­lot and en­gine throt­tle con­trols at the star­board helm. Short­handed sail­ing is easy: the main­sheet and trav­eller con­trols also run to the star­board helm sta­tion.

The trav­eller runs across at the back of the large solid bi­mini which comes right to the back of the cock­pit, and its con­trol lines and the main­sheet drop down to winches by the helm. The

...its fine-en­try hulls and de­cent amount of sail area pro­vide a plea­sur­able sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

furl­ing jib is on a self-tacker, with its sheet also run­ning right back to the star­board helm sta­tion. Jones has had a furl­ing code 0 made lo­cally by Doyle Sails, which is also eas­ily con­trolled from the cock­pit.

The bi­mini top also makes it easy to ac­cess the main if it needs a lit­tle help to fold neatly into the stack pack – the boom’s within easy reach when stand­ing on the bi­mini top. Hal­yards are all con­trolled up at the mast, keep­ing the ‘so­cial’ end of the boat free from sheets.

Mast and bow ar­eas are eas­ily ac­cessed along the wide side decks, and there’s a large tram­po­line be­tween the hulls for­ward which would make a fun loung­ing area for the kids, and a prime dol­phin-watch­ing spot.

For those who are just along for the ride – well, there’s plenty of space for that.

The Open is just that, with a mas­sive cen­tral out­door liv­ing area which is ef­fec­tively the boat’s sa­loon. Shel­tered by the bi­mini above and the wing-deck for­ward, with clears to be made for the sides to en­close it, this area is sim­ply enor­mous, pro­vid­ing seat­ing down each side and a ta­ble to star­board. With the ad­di­tion of a bar­be­cue on the rail at the rear of the cock­pit, there’s enough space to host the whole bay.

Slid­ing doors open up the rear of the wing-deck cabin, pro­mot­ing the in­doorout­door flow. The gal­ley is po­si­tioned to star­board and has the sink and hob fac­ing aft, so who­ever’s on cook­ing duty won’t feel dis­con­nected from the party out­side. There is a large prep area with stor­age fac­ing for­ward.

To port in the wing-deck is an­other, smaller seat­ing area, which can be used as a chart ta­ble. The ta­ble-top also pushes down to cre­ate a larger set­tee. The switch

panel and con­trols for all the boat’s elec­tron­ics are po­si­tioned here.

The Open 40’s avail­able in a three-cabin con­fig­u­ra­tion, with one hull set aside as an owner’s re­treat with a larger bath­room po­si­tioned for­ward. But Jones has opted for the four-cabin ver­sion. This of­fers a queen-size (aft) and a dou­ble berth, and a head and shower, on each side. There is plenty of hang­ing-locker and other stor­age in each hull, and lots of nat­u­ral light flow­ing in thanks to through-hull win­dows and deck hatches.

Un­der the set of steps go­ing down into each hull is the manda­tory es­cape hatch, in case the boat flips. But th­ese lit­tle hatches make a cool win­dow for kids to watch the sea be­low, and would be great spot for them to fish through when at an­chor.

We aren’t hav­ing much luck with the wind, so an­chor up off Chel­tenham Beach for some lunch – it’s im­por­tant to fully test just how well-suited this boat is for en­ter­tain­ing! Just as we de­cide to give up and head in, the breeze de­cides to make a guest ap­pear­ance, and we get a de­cent sail back up the har­bour.

The Nau­titech might be a cruis­ing cat, but its fine-en­try hulls and de­cent amount of sail area pro­vide a plea­sur­able sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The helm is light and re­spon­sive, and tack­ing is easy with the sails ba­si­cally do­ing all the work them­selves, while the crew en­joys re­lax­ing in the cock­pit sa­loon with­out hav­ing to raise a fin­ger.

Choos­ing a cata­ma­ran means you can have so much more space than you could in a sin­gle hull. For a boat that’s just a smidge un­der 12m, the Nau­titech has an al­most ridicu­lously large amount of room for so­cial­is­ing and fam­ily time.

But at the same time, it’s still a boat you can ac­tu­ally sail, and achieve sat­is­fy­ing per­for­mance on those days when you don’t just want to take it easy. I sus­pect this boat is go­ing to see quite a lot of both.

ABOVE The chart ta­ble is in­te­grated into the sa­loon. Check out the panoramic views.

BE­LOW A re­ally cool view of the wa­ter from the berth. Par­tic­u­larly en­joy­able with a hot cup of cof­fee!

ABOVE Self-tack­ing jibs are usu­ally blan­keted by the main – a code 0 fixes that prob­lem.

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