Yacht Class n°18 (sept-oct-nov 2019)
With its Alegria 67, the French shipyard Fountaine Pajot, founded by racers and offshore skippers, continues its impressive development with a performant, easy to handle, semi-custom flagship, built with the greatest care. Presented at the major boat shows, her launch proved it had some flair. Let’s explore the reasons behind this success.
Written by:Christophe Varène – Photos: All rights reserved
away and enjoy the luxury of a high-end yacht. A day after the doors closed at the Miami International Boat Show, we had the opportunity to board Fountaine Pajot’s brand new catamaran and flagship: the Alegria 67. Moored in the marina at the entrance of Key Biscayne, the star of one of the world’s most prestigious exhibition was undergoing a makeover in preparation of the arrival of its first guests. The crew was busy getting her back into cruising configuration while the captain was checking the latest weather forecast. The god Aeolus was in a good mood: the 20 knots of wind expected promised nice conditions to appreciate this great catamaran designed by the famous architecture studio Berret-Racoupeau Yacht Design.
Many controls on the dashboard
Leaving the pontoon could have been delicate, as the Alegria 67 had to go into reverse, against a strong quartering tailwind, while dealing with the extra difficulty caused by the massive windage, common on this type of units. Yet, the young captain, helped by two crew members, easily mastered it, with a moderate use of the bow thrusters. The sheltered water body was slightly rippled: a small lapping was building up while the waves crests became white with foam. The decision was made to sail with a reduced sail as taking the slightest risk with a boat that only had few miles in her sails was out of question, especially on the eve of the charter season. From the flybridge helm station, the Antal XT 66 electric winches make it easy to hoist the mainsail, tensioned to second reef, and the partially unfurled genoa. There are many controls on the dashboard, including the mainsail traveler. And thanks to hard-top hatches, the helmsman can monitor and adjust the sail plan. Actually, it did not take more than a few minutes to carry out all these operations, with Miami’s skyline as a backdrop. Immediately, the Alegria 67 emphasized her sailing performance. With 18.5 knots apparent wind, the two reversed bows passed through the choppy sea at over 9 knots. And luffing up caused the speed to exceed 10 knots at 60° off the wind. In a fine 30 knots puff, the Garmin repeater on the mast, at a see-glance of the helmsmen, displayed 11.5knots. And with a little more angle to the wind, she can gain another knot of speed. At the helm, the Alegria is sensitive, a feature we would like on more big catamarans. Which is another indication that the shipyard, founded by talented sailors and offshore racers, remains true to its DNA, between ease of use and performance. Before heading back to port, after this – too – short outing, we solicited the twin 160 hp Yanmar engines, which at 1 800 rpm propelled the Alegria 67 at a comfortable cruising speed of 8 knots – and even a little more – for less than 20 l/h. She can also speed up to 10.5 knots, but the consumption then increases very quickly while the range decreases accordingly.
A foredeck with sofas and jacuzzi
Chronicle of a predicted success, the Alegria 67 can boast more than just navigation assets – elegance, simplicity and speed – to satisfy a demanding clientele. The layout places emphasis on comfort and decoration, with intimate and conviviality spaces on all decks. Just like the flybridge that, in addition to the two steering stations, features a superb salon with a coffee table, in the shade of the hardtop, plus two vast aft daybeds where people can get together at anchorage to relax or sunbath. There are also a kitchenette and numerous compartments spaces to keep at hand the accessories required for these special moments. The staircase leading down to the cockpit combines aestheticism and practicality: its light steps let the eye through it while the side rails offer a safe support. The size of the cockpit is impressive: it houses a large table to accommodate up to 12 guests, a sunbathing area, a long settee plus a piece of furniture with, among others, a refrigerator. The sense of space is intensified by the sliding partitions bluring the lines between indoors and outdoors. Both hulls end at the stern with a large staircase leading to the swim platforms with, in-between, a hydraulic tender platform. The wide walkways are covered with synthetic teak – a smart compromise between refinement and weight savings – and flush hatches. They lead to a foredeck also designed for the passengers’ pleasure. Between the bows, the platform and its central rostrum are larger than the trampolines and feature, below, a comfortable saloon and a jacuzzi.
Vast, bright, elegant… this is the master
On this unit designed for charter, the saloon is placed between the portside galley, a large table on starboard and forward, a small lounge and the helm station. On the Lounge version, the galley is in the portside hull while the saloon occupies the entire left side and features a bar close to the bow lounge door. On this Alegria 67, there are no less than five guest cabins, each en suite. Those amidships are bathed in light and enjoy a breathtaking sea view thanks to long portholes. The two aft ones are less bright but offer an access from the outside, behind the cockpit. There are also two crew compartments in the bows. Our “coup de cœur” was, without a doubt, the master located in the starboard hull. Large, bright, elegant, it features an island king size bed plus, forward, a sofa and bookshelf and, aft, a wardrobe and a bathroom, with double vanity sinks, shower and separate toilet. With its accesses from the saloon and the bow cockpit, it was designed as the centrepiece of this top-of-the-range catamaran. Be they seasoned sailors looking performance and pleasure at sea or pleasure yachtsmen looking for relaxation and conviviality, those who have the luck of boarding the French Fountaine Pajot’s new Alegria 67 will find much to satisfy their desires. And to reach a wider clientele, a motor-yacht counterpart will be presented during the next Miami boat show, in 2020.
Yves de Kerangat Flagship Director
“The Alegria 67 promises to be a great success since we sold 23 units in 6 months. There is a clientele for these yachts of over €2 million, particularly in charter configuration. The catamaran market is quickly expanding. And it naturally benefits Fountaine Pajot, which achieved a 30 % increase in turnover for each of the last four years. Our production is divided as follow: 80% for sailing catamarans, with 20% growth per year, and 20% for the new power range, which increases by 50% to 60% each year. We must thus accelerate our production rate by investing in people and machines. We have launched a recruitment and training plan for 140 people who will join our 770 employees. We also have new facilities for digital cutting that can be used for partitions, carpentry, but also fabrics. To satisfy our customers, we have also created a service to manage special options in post-production, which allows us to answer 90% of requests.”