Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 Review

Our story is about the catamaran Elba 45 from Fountaine Pajot, which took the place of the previous bestseller, sailboat Helia 44. You will find out what we think about this new cat and, traditionally, we also include reviews of leading journalists of yachting magazines who participated in testing the first models. And as always - a lot of photos and videos.

Elba 45 Review

Fountaine Pajot launched its next floating island in 2019 (you probably know that the shipyard gives the names of the islands to its sailing catamarans).

As out tests show, the new double-hull sailboat Elba 45 did not take much risks in terms of exterior and engineering solutions compared to Helia 44. It is a well-designed, reliable and safe double-hull sailing yacht that was presented at the Cannes to become the shipyard's reference model. Olivier Racoupeau developed a cat from scratch, and not just improved its predecessor. As it turned out, this was the right decision: the first hundred Elba 45 boats were sold immediately after the announcement, even before the first hull of this yacht saw the sea.

Olivier Racoupeau completely changed the hull, redesigning the transom and reducing the chine aft of the yacht, which reduced drag and increased performance at high and medium speeds. The naval architect lengthened the catamaran by only 15 cm and expanded it by the same amount. But in order not to reduce the windward characteristics, he kept the oblique cut of the hulls at the stern, inherent in the Fountaine Pajot models, and a slight slope in the bow. For the same purpose, Elba 45 is equipped with shortened keels, which are fixed below the waterline.

For added security, the keels are glued into the hull rather than fastened with hardware. In our experience, this is usually done so that during grounding, the keels come off without damaging the boat, and not break out of the hull along with the bolts.

The production of cases and other parts is carried out by vacuum infusion, fiberglass is coated with a mixture of vinyl ester, polyester and primed with a layer based on epoxy resins. This technique prevents the osmosis process and is designed to lighten the weight of the catamaran.

So you don't have to choose between performance and comfort: the Elba 45 catamaran meets all the requirements of discerning sailors who are not prone to excessive cruising asceticism.

The yacht was recognized as Best Boat 2020 in Best Multihull Cruising Boat 2020 category.

Elba 45 Review

Features of Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

  • Brand: Fountaine Pajot
  • Hull type: Catamaran
  • Overall length, m: 13.45
  • Width, m: 7.55
  • Draft, m: 1.2
  • Displacement, t: 14
  • Water tanks, l: 2 x 350
  • Exterior design (Architect): Berret-Racoupeau Design
  • Interior design: Berret-Racoupeau Design
  • CE Certification: A
  • Mainsail type: Fully battened
  • Jib type: Furling genoa
  • Mainsail area, m²: 75
  • Jib area, m²: 49
  • Engine, hp: 2 x 50
  • Option engine, hp: 2 x 60
  • Fuel tanks, l: 470
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Virtual tour

Review Elba 45 by TopRik Team

TopRik team experts first saw the Elba 45 catamaran from Fountaine Pajot at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. The floating island appeared before us in this form:

Elba 45 Review

At that time, this particular boat had already been sold, but this could not prevent us from repeating its inspection for you. Later, when we were upgrading our “flotilla”, we decided that it should have an Elba 45 cat, which required some sea tests.

So, let's start with the inspection and, as usual, with the transom.

On the Transom

The difference between the Elba 45 and its predecessor is evident right from the get-go. And it's not even about the platform, which can be used both for swimming and as a place for transporting a dinghy. For the convenience of those who use it as a swim platform, a folding ladder is provided for descending into the water, and for the dinghy there is a special folding stand on it, parts of which, if unnecessary, are hidden in the grooves of the platform.

Elba 45 Review

The difference, first of all, lies in the shape and height of the freeboard, which is visible from the transom, and the height of the transom itself. Based on our data, we expected to see a more powerful cat, having familiarized ourselves with its parameters from the brochure. But what did we see? Despite the fact that Elba 45 added 15 cm in length and width, it incomprehensibly seems more elegant than Helia 44, and from the transom it generally looks like an open light terrace of a suburban cottage. This impression is also created by the elongated steps of the stern ladder, which are far from being as steep as those of their predecessor. They are open on both sides and invite you to enter the cockpit.

In the Cockpit

Of course, we couldn't get past the barbecue on the stern, which can be used both from the cockpit side and standing on the bathing platform. Since we wouldn't be allowed to test the grill during the show, we'll post the official photo here.

Elba 45 Review

As our tests had shown, the grill works perfectly.

The spaciousness of the cockpit can be estimated from the photo below. Please note that this is not the entire cockpit, but only its dining area, and without the grill and transom sofa. But even without them, as well as without sunbeds and a second sofa in front of the table, 6-8 people can easily accommodate here.

Elba 45 Review

A more complete picture of the dimensions of the cockpit is given by the photo below, where the door to the saloon, part of the saloon and the gangway to the control station are clearly visible. Pay attention to the bottom edge, where part of the transom sofa is visible. Now you can more fully appreciate the capacity of the cockpit - 15 people according to the most conservative estimates.

Elba 45 Review

And no need to think about where to put them all for the night. This is a place for parties to which you can invite guests from neighboring yachts in the marina. And if you regret that there is not enough space in the cockpit for the entire marina, do not worry, because there is also a saloon and a large seating area above the cockpit. It's not quite a flybridge, as it didn't even require a significant lengthening of the mast.

Not Quite a Flybridge with a Helm Station

We must say right away that we were very enthusiastic about this decision, which allows us to abandon the classic flybridge. Based on our experience, relatively small boats with a large flybridge look like weird Victorian cottages at the open sea. The seating area, which is half raised above the control post, looks very harmonious in this one though. At the same time, the catamaran does not lose its dynamic style, which gives it a rigid bimini over the cockpit. Perfect solution!

Elba 45 Review

To get to the helm station, you can use the ladder from the cockpit or get here directly from the deck on the starboard side. The skipper here can chat with passengers, who sit practically at his eyes level, or turn his attention to those who are resting or having lunch in the cockpit. A can of beer or a soft drink is guaranteed for the skipper in any case - who will refuse the helmsman at the helm! You can estimate the number of places for sunbathing or seating, as well as the area for an additional sunbed or table.

Elba 45 Review

In the meantime, part of the topRik team is busy with accommodation problems, the captain, as expected, gets to know the control post closer. As you can see in the photo below, everything is simple and intuitive.

Elba 45 Review

You can sit or stand at the helm - from here you have an excellent view of the entire area of the catamaran. To see the forward part of the left hull, just bend over a little, as you do when you ask someone from the cockpit to serve you something from the refrigerator.

All navigation is placed on the panel at the helm - a multifunctional marine display, compass, thruster, autopilot, etc. There are also communication devices, gas/reverse switching levers, indicators of the operation of other equipment of the yacht.

Therefore, the skipper doesn’t have to be alone while driving the catamaran, even if he is not on autopilot and not on the engine, but under sail.

Elba 45 Review

The winches are located behind the panel, in order to use them, you will have to leave the helmsman position and move closer to the winches. Halyards and sheets are dropped into a special large compartment, which is very conveniently located. This eliminates any trouble that could arise due to cables scattered on the deck.

In the Saloon

When it's time for dinner, it's better for the helmsman to go down to the saloon to have a quiet meal and at the same time check the yacht's fidelity to the set course. For some reason, we don’t see the skipper’s table here - only a dining table... Wait, what is the usual navigational equipment that we see to the right of the entrance placed on? The freezer? Yes, it’s an interesting solution that may not please conservative yachtsmen. The topRik team is open to all rational decisions, and the lack of a skipper's table seems to be exactly that.

Elba 45 Review

It seems that this place was given to the galley, which is located in the center line on both sides of the front door. Although the door is also not standard - it is a transparent sliding structure that unites rather than separates the cockpit and saloon.

Such a solution, together with panoramic glazing and large skylights, through which streams of natural light pour in, visually expands the already voluminous space.

The skipper can not only dine in peace, but also lie down on the sofa, controlling the condition of the sails through these large portholes in the saloon ceiling.

Coziness is added by soft sofas and poufs surrounding a folding table, and homeliness is provided by a simply luxurious galley located here with a stove, oven, microwave, several refrigerators and freezers, as well as a large number of cabinets where you can store kitchen utensils and products that do not require freezing and cooling.

Elba 45 Review

One of the table surfaces is located under the window with access to the cockpit. This part can be used to serve food in the cockpit or convert the table into a bar counter during a party.

Elba 45 Review

On the Foredeck

Concluding the review of places for recreation and parties, let's go to the bow of the catamaran. During the Cannes exhibition, it seemed to us that the organizers did not fully use the foredeck area, laying short beds only on the hard part of the cat. They simply did not want to draw the attention of visitors to trampolines in order to avoid their strength test. But we know what the charter passengers do with what they call trampolines – they will always find an opportunity to use this area more productively.

Elba 45 Review

In the Cabins

At Cannes the Elba 45 catamaran was exhibited in the Maestro version, where one of the floats is given to the owner. The master cabin is designed in a luxury style and doesn't quite look like a cabin. There is a sleeping area with an island double bed, side and ceiling windows. From here, a doorway leads into the living room with table, pouffe, sofa, wardrobe and shelves. There is enough storage space so that you don’t have to limit yourself when choosing luggage for a cruise.

Elba 45 Review

Passing through the living room, you find yourself in a comfortable bathroom with a separate shower. Our expert, almost 2 meters high, was delighted with the height of the ceilings, and the size of the bed, and the doorways where he passed without even bowing his head. But most of all, he was amazed at this spacious shower cabin, where even such a giant would not have to upholster his elbows on the partitions with the risk of breaking through the transparent structure.

Elba 45 Review

Two guest cabins with almost the same beds and each with a full bathroom. Of course, they are deprived of a “living room”, but thanks to its absence, it became possible to maintain maximum comfort in the second float reserved for guests. And this applies to both the aft and bow cabins.

Elba 45 Review

Advantages of Elba 45

Based on our observations, our team concluded there were no serious shortcomings during testing of the Elba 45 – instead we can note the following advantages of this Fountaine Pajot catamaran:

  • Parity between comfort and performance. Living on Elba 45 satisfies the need for sailing and living conditions in long autonomous sailing.
  • Easy, intuitive sail control, which makes it possible to control the boat alone by an experienced sailor and quickly master the controls for a novice sailor.
  • Quality construction materials based on the latest technologies.
  • Optimal selection of productive equipment from the engine to the marine display.
  • Decent comfort and safety for life on board, including a family with children, a group of friends or a solo yachtsman.

This, of course, is not the cheapest serial catamaran, but in some aspects it can if not compete, then at least be compared to cruising catamarans, which are produced in minimal quantities at exorbitant prices. No need to pay more when you can buy an Elba 45 at an affordable price and meet your needs for both speed under sail and comfort on board.

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Professional Reviews of Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

Here we present reviews of the new catamaran by the authors of popular yachting magazines. Among them are yachtsmen who tested the new boat before the Cannes festival, as well as those who took the helm of the Elba 45 later.

Emmanuel was part of the crew that tested the catamaran before it even got a name. Therefore, in the text there is a new cat from Fountaine The author of the review calls Pajot the New 45.

The crew met the new cat on the Troy Peninsula, southeast of Lisbon, during the famous Portuguese trade winds.

The author noted that the northern breeze turned out to be quite suitable for the New 45, which exceeds the displacement of its predecessor: 14 tons versus 10.8 for the Helia 44. This also explains the increase in the sail area from 115 (Helia 44) to 124 m².

The developers at Berret-Racoupeau have taken into account the wishes of customers who want a 14-meter catamaran capable of overcoming long passages, providing the maximum comfort of life on board. The wishes of those who would like to purchase such a double-hulled sailboat for personal use, as well as those who are engaged in the charter business, were taken into account.

These requirements include an increase in the volume of the yacht, additional weight of materials for making it, as well as additional equipment. The way the developers solved this problem for the new cat was called a design feat by the reviewer.

Naval architects and engineers have kept the flowing and harmonious lines of the New 45, giving the catamaran an elegant profile despite its size. This was served by an elongated stern shape and some design details: a sophisticated bimini over the cockpit, side windows, metal trim. Short fixed skegs and a draft of 1.2 m facilitate access to shallow water.

Paying tribute to the joint work of naval architects and designers, Emmanuel van Deth stressed that the deck layout of the catamaran meets the requirements of sailing and at the same time goes well with the wonderful lounge areas.

The sail control panel is intuitive. Maneuvers can be performed and transferred from port to starboard using a channel system. The sail control console is located immediately behind the helm station.

Describing the features of managing the yacht, the author stated that it surprised the crew with its lightness with such a significant displacement. Paying tribute to the excellent sailing wardrobe that the test sailboat was equipped with, Emmanuel admired the fact that this large cat easily starts off at the first puff and quickly picks up speed from 6 to 10 knots (at 35° to 38° from the apparent wind).

After a direct turn of the helm into the wind, the New 45 immediately goes without losing its course. With a light breeze, it showed 7.5 knots and at the same time the team seemed to be ready for acceleration. But to overcome the mark of 10 knots, it still needs wind.

The helmsman can enjoy a good view from the helm. At the same time, he has an excellent view of the entire cat from the seat. Although, to see the nose of the left hull, you have to bend down a little. This visibility facilitates maneuvering during mooring.

Emmanuel correctly guessed that the New 45 would not go unnamed for long. He then made an attempt to predict what name the shipyard would choose for the new catamaran. He listed the requirements for such a name: island, ending with letter a. In addition, he managed to "elicit" that we are talking about Tuscany. Emmanuel lists three possible island names that could give a name to the novelty: Elba, Pianosa and Capraia. But he suggests waiting for the Cannes Yachting Festival, where it was promised to present the cat under its real name. Concluding these "guesses", Emmanuel admitted that he himself would have chosen... Capraia.

Concluding the review, in which the author devoted a lot of space to describing the amenities for passengers and crew, he states that the New 45 developers of this model have focused on comfort compared to its predecessor. But at the same time, the catamaran remains efficient, productive and elegant. She is ideal for long cruises with comfortable cabins, a huge galley and plenty of storage space. A simple and intuitive sail setting ensures that this twin-hull sailboat is quickly mastered.

Mark was a member of the crew who tested catamaran Elba 45 on Chesapeake Bay together with judges of the Boat of the Year.

With a wind of 12-16 knots per hour, Elba 45 turned at a speed of 6.4 to 7 knots. The crew quickly found out that the boat was easy to handle. And this was one of the reasons for her to be recognized as the Best Charter Boat 2020 a week after the start of the work of the jury of international Best Boats 2020 competitions.

Mark elaborated on the description of the layout of the cabins, which the developers have traditionally offered in the Maestro and Charter versions.

In the version for the owner, he fully owns the left hull, where a double bed is located at the stern. The master cabin is furnished with a table, wardrobes for clothes and things amidships, in the bow there is a bathroom with a shower and a closet separated by a partition, as well as a washbasin.

Guest cabins share the starboard hull. Each of the cabins aft and forward has its own bathroom with a separate shower.

The charter version repeats the layout of the guest cabins of the Maestro version in both hulls of the catamaran.

A feature of the saloon - bright and roomy - is the absence of a skipper's table, since most of the yachtsmen surveyed said that they do not use it.

Mark appreciated the large skylights, through which it is convenient to view the sails when you are in the saloon, for example, during lunch.

The reviewer also liked how the developers solved the problem of the flybridge. A full-fledged flybridge requires a significant increase in mast height, which is undesirable for sailing . At the same time, when creating a boat for charter, it should be taken into account that it expands the zone of presence of passengers.

The naval architects found an excellent solution by placing the helm station on the starboard side, halfway between the bimini seating area and the lower cockpit deck.

Video Reviews of Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

It always better to have a full picture of whatever it is you want to purchase and video reviews really help to paint this picture. Let’s start with the Fountaine Pajot’s short, yet still informative teaser:

Next, 11-minute walkthrough tour of Elba 45:

Great commentary and even better footage – different features explained in detail:

BoatTube hits us with another high-quality interior tour:

And even more interesting information about stylish Elba 45:

Conclusion

Based on our own experience, the topRik team came to the conclusion that this catamaran is comfortable, productive and easy to manage even alone, perfect for the following categories of yachtsmen:

  • lovers of solitude under sail in the middle of the sea;
  • supporters of productive sailing without sacrificing life comfort;
  • fans of family cruises in safe and comfortable conditions;
  • wishing to travel with friends without losing experience in sailing;
  • lovers of long sailing trips, but without ascetic restrictions.

We usually evaluate the commercial suitability of a yacht too. Catamaran Elba 45 by Fountaine Pajot is not suited only for personal possession. It is also ideal for renting out to a family, a couple, a small group of boating friends or a solo boater.

Our opinion of the boat can also be confirmed by the above reviews of the Elba 45 sailboat from yachting journalists representing the leading maritime media.

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Where to Buy Elba 45 at a Bargain Price

If you have read up to this section, then you already know the answer to this question. And for those who ignored the main text of the review and immediately went to this section, here’s the answer – you can buy Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 at a bargain price through the topRik marketplace. Contact the marketplace experts, state your requirements for a catamaran, and your worries will end there. We will provide at your request:

  • negotiations with the manufacturer or dealers;
  • registration of necessary documents on sale and purchase, as well as, if necessary, customs documents;
  • control over the complete set of the catamaran according to your requirements;
  • delivery of the yacht to a predetermined point.

If necessary, we will complete the yacht with all accessories and equipment that are not provided in the standard or optional list. We have a large selection of watermakers, table and bed linen, tools and spare parts, dishes and other kitchen utensils, anti-slip mats, dinghies etc.

Call the specified phone number, communicate with marketplace experts via the feedback form or send an application by e-mail.

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