Author : Barry Tyler
Many serious cruising folk will of course be well aware of the Fountaine Pajot range of sailing catamarans; perhaps not so many however will know the French manufacturer also produces a range of equally serious ocean-going power catamarans, the latest addition to the range being the Fountaine Pajot Summerland 40 Trawler Catamaran.
Those folk perhaps no longer so keen on hoisting sails will be most heartened to learn of this bonafide 12.2m very serious power-dedicated stand-alone ‘Trawler Catamaran’ range, a continuation incidentally of the current Trawler range of the Highland 35 Pilot, the Cumberland 46 and the Queensland 55 models. Designed by the renowned Michel Joubert / Bernard Nivelt team and built at Fountaine Pajot’s new 130,000sq m state-of-the-art ISO 9001-accredited facility in Aigrefeuille, France, the company is describing this as its best Trawler yet. Big call, but it does offer some hint as to the high regard they have for this new ‘power’ model.
Following its world debut at the Sydney International Boat Show earlier this year, demand in our region, according to Australasian master distributor Multihull Solutions, has been intense. And the reason for that is perhaps best quantified by the very people who purchased this first example; a consortium of family and friends who quite simply were in search of an efficient, cheap to run and maintain, durable, sea-kindly and forgiving style of vessel that would lend itself well to a ‘sharing’ situation.
That’s the operative word, affordable, for this boat in its standard, quite acceptable form, was just $720,000. Add the toys such as the teak laid decks, cockpit and transom, the 24-inch TV and DVD player, the additional battery charger, the Nav Pilot and FI-50 Multi-system, the bimini and clears set and even the Living the lifestyle!
My first perusal of the Summerland suggested that yes, it was redominantly more of the same from FP, yet with quite a few new twists and turns that set this boat apart from previous models. Decor was certainly consistent with the Fountaine Pajot (lightweight) way of thinking; a mix of practicality, serviceability and functionality with modulated light cherry wood panelling and furniture, leatherette upholstery, wood floors (maybe it was wood look-alike) and gelcoated wall and ceiling panels.
The lifestyle was enhanced though, with the ‘living’ very much commencing the moment I entered through the two overlapping saloon doors, which incidentally overlapped either to port or to starboard. To portside was a U-shaped dining setting which would very easily seat six adults, and opposite this the rather eye-catching galley.
In the context of this being in the saloon, FP had done a brilliant job with presentation. And specification, for this galley boasted a servery bench, dishwasher, decent-sized sink, plenty of bench space, good cupboard and drawer storage, a 4-burner gas stove and below it, a real oven! And yes, there was even provision for a seemingly must-have convection microwave also, in the space atop the refrigeration module for’ard of the stove. The other seemingly obligatory item, the Panasonic 24-inch television with DVD, was sited just above this module.
For me, this refrigeration aspect was a bit of a disappointment in that FP had seen fit to provide just one 120-litre refrigerator – aboard an ocean-going vessel! “That is done on purpose,” Gold Coast Multihull Solutions representative John Gifford explained. “People have different ideas on what constitutes the ideal refrigeration package, so with the plethora of spaces available around the boat, buyers can, at the time of purchase, fit exactly what they want in the way of refrigeration and freezer capacity.”
The galley and dining settings were cleverly designed so that the living area was nicely distanced from both the helm and the two stairways to the accommodation below. The helm especially was, I felt, a real statement; from a visibility perspective with its raised level; from a specification perspective with its competent array of Furuno electronics, Morse steering, Volvo remotes and digital engine read-out; and from an eye-catching presentation perspective, with the chart table to the right of the skipper, a guest seat to the skipper’s left and a bulkhead top with fiddles around the perimeter.
Other ‘special’ helm items or features that caught my eye were the nice wooden helm wheel, the grab rails beside the accommodation stairs, the map light on the dash, foot-rests for skipper and guest and the (good) natural ventilation (no air-conditioning on this model) courtesy of side opening windows, the overhead hatch and of course the overlapping aft saloon doors.
Us …. and them
Below decks, the ‘private’ layout option consisted of the owner’s accommodation to starboard, “and whoever else comes along can fight over the other accommodation in the portside hull”. On this level, the perhaps more clinical ‘gelcoat and wood panelling’ look of above was replaced below by plush vinyl wall and ceiling panels, opening portholes and hatches, wall and overhead lighting,
open pigeon hole storage lockers, hanging wardrobes and plenty of secreted storage provision. The portside accommodation consisted of an aft cabin of ‘double’ dimension. With a full wall-to-wall berth, this room was your typically aft cabin on a catamaran. Tastefully presented and with room to change with the door shut, the slight downside was the exterior overhead mouldings which impinged slightly on space within this cabin; not however to the point where it could/ would be claustrophobic.
The forward cabin was smaller in area than the owner’s cabin opposite, understandable and totally acceptable though when one considers the additional space the owner enjoyed. This port forward cabin can be a generous double or two singles, in this instance the owners opted for the ‘double’ wall-to-wall version. Offering some insight to the amount of space available in these two hulls, the central ‘house’ bathroom bisecting these two cabins boasted a shower cubicle at one end and head at the other, with a vanity in between. Again this portside accommodation was light, bright, comfortable and functional.
The owner’s accommodation in the starboard hull was up a notch in presentation, not so much in appearance but certainly in space and specification. With an athwartships queen-size island berth in this instance, the forward master’s cabin also enjoyed sea views from the side porthole-style viewing window, plus a vanity for the ladies.
Aft of the central stairs to this hull, the bathroom was more expansive than the portside example, but still it served the same function. What this side did have though, that the portside didn’t, was a utility room off this bathroom. As with the case of every facet of this boat, items can be modified, added or removed at the time of purchase; therefore items such as airconditioning, laundry, genset, water maker or dive compressor, and/or, a workshop, spare parts and/or food storage – could all be housed in this void which was accessed through the aft wall of this master head.
Love the outdoors
From an outdoor living perspective the Summerland had it all; practicable, durable and appropriate in specification and appearance – without being flashy or overdone. Balancing the different areas of a boat are a headache for even the best of designers but in this instance Michel and Bernard got it dead right. The boarding platforms were appropriate – I loved the significantly high tunnel too – and the cockpit was uncluttered and deceptively roomy.
The generous flybridge overhang only required the addition of an overhang extension and it would offer complete overhead protection from the elements – for six to eight people to enjoy late afternoon drinks. Features here included a rear lounge recessed into the transom beam, tender davits mounted on the aft beam above the tunnel extension, a deck shower, aft mooring cleats, an extendable swim ladder and teak decking. This latter ‘optional’ feature was a must for it certainly transformed what would be a rather bland gelcoated cockpit area, into a very upmarket visual delight – a very prudent, sensible move!
Moulded steps each side in the cockpit, complete with grab rails and a bowrail assembly which extended well aft, provided safe access to the foredeck area. This foredeck area I must say surprised me somewhat, for while it soaked up the full 5.45m beam, it was quite short in fore and aft dimension. I hasten to add that I had absolutely no problem with it – liked it in fact – for while there was still plenty of room for a sun-pad if required, the ‘trade-off’ of the forward helm and generally more depth in the saloon, was a far better option. The very serious Lofrans 1000W Cayman 88 windlass was secreted inside a deck locker, with the chain feeding through the inside of the deck to the under-deck permanently mounted Delta plough anchor. Nothing on deck, good!
On top of the world
Another ‘big’ Summerland feature was the set of moulded stairs, complete with strategically-placed grab rail, which provided access to what was a most generous-sized open flybridge level. Again durable rather than pretentious and flashy, this was an area capable of accommodating 10 people. Yes, it was approved to carry that many, as dictated by MSA buoyancy and stability requirements/criteria.
A bimini and set of clears were about to be fitted by Multihull Solutions, that would protect guests seated on the massive lounge to portside, opposite the skipper and friend seated on the bench style two-seater helm chair. This lounge continued on round the aft perimeter of this flybridge level, to form an exceedingly large sun-lounger.
Nicely protected from the weather by a sensible-height dodger, the helm itself was understandably not as comprehensive as the lower helm. Features included the steering and remote controls obviously, plus a compass, autopilot, Furuno FI-50 read-out and VHF. Importantly, the bench seat, steering, remotes, and footrest were all ergonomically ‘sited’ so as to maximise the comfort level on extended passages.
Passages incidentally which were taken in their stride courtesy of the power of a pair of the new generation Volvo Penta D3- 220i, common rail, fuel-injected 220mhp, 5-cylinder, 2.400-litre all-aluminium diesel inboards through an HS63IVE (1.99:1 ratio) hydraulic V-drive gearbox and conventional shaft drive, to the Volvo Penta 4-blade propellers.
With three recommended Volvo Penta power options available, 160hp, 190hp or 220hp, it came as no surprise that the top-ofthe- line 220hp versions, albeit relatively meagre in 40ft cruiser terms, still managed to power the Summerland to a maximum top speed of 24 knots. As well as a snappy and accurate ride that offered a feel akin to ‘running’ on rails (without hull banging in a sea, thanks to the tunnel deck height), the real forte of this brand was its rather conspicuous efficiency characteristics.
At the slow or eco cruise speed of 7.5 knots (10.6L/h) the fuel economy was 1.4L/NM for a range of 990NM, at a fast cruise speed of 15 knots (40L/h) the fuel economy was 2.7L/ NM for a range of 525NM and even at the maximum 4000rpm at 24 knots (92L/h), the fuel economy was 3.8L/NM for a range of 365NM.
The more I looked around this Fountaine Pajot Summerland 40 Trawler the more I came to appreciate its inherent qualities as a Bluewater cruiser. Tailor-made for charter, that was not however, what this boat was initially designed for; it was quite simply the perfect non-glitzy, practical and efficient platform for the cruising sailor, with its sea-keeping capabilities and its efficiency obviated by the nearly-1000NM range. It was well thought out, well planned if you like, equipment was appropriate (or easily capable of being made appropriate, as in the case of refrigeration), nothing was surplus to requirements; quite simply it was what I would call a good wholesome boat, designed and built sensibly well, to last a long time! And the price; how many passage making 40-footers have a price tag of $768,000, as tested?
- Boat design name: Summerland 40
- Year launched: 2010
- Designer: Michel Joubert / Bernard Nivelt
- Interior designer: Coste Design & Partners
- Builder: Fountaine Pajot
- LOA: 11.98 m
- LWL: 11.45 m
- Beam: 5.45 m
- Draft: 1.07 m
- Displacement: 12 tonnes (lightships)
- Max speed: 24 knots
- Cruise speed: 16 knots
- Construction: GRP sandwich, & PVC core
- Fuel capacity: 1400 litres
- Water capacity: 600 litres
- Engines: 2 x Volvo Penta @ 220 mhp