Isla 40 Review

Another sailing catamaran model of the most popular size was presented by the shipyard Fountaine Pajot to the general public at the Bandol show, which replaced the canceled Cannes 2020 Boat Show due to the pandemic. It is no wonder that the Isla 40, a 40-foot (12.1 m) sailing cruiser, caused quite a stir. In addition to the fact that a new “player” of the shipyard entered the field, she became the heir to such a bestseller as the Lucia 40, which in turn continued the tradition of the equally popular Lavezzi 40 catamaran.

Both predecessors brought the shipyard both fame and increased demand. And now we can already say that the Isla 40 has inherited the best features of the 40-footers from Fountaine Pajot, complementing them with technological and design innovations.

Isla 40 Review

Like the previous catamarans of the shipyard, the name of the next model bears a name that evokes thoughts of distant exotic islands. One of the test teams called the boat "a floating Irish island", referring to Isla de Muerta. Although one could suggest also the Caribbean Isla de Yerba or the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego…

The pleasure of sea romance under sail, solitude with nature, family coziness and comfort in an exotic setting - these ideas imbue the spirit and innovative design of the Isla 40.

Features Isla 40

  • Architect: Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design
  • Length overall, m: 11.93
  • Beam overall, m: 6.63
  • Displacement unloaded, T: 9.5 (approx.)
  • Draft, m: 1.21
  • Sail area, m²: 59
  • Genoa area, m²: 36
  • Standard Power, HP: 2 x 20
  • Option Power, HP: 2 x 30 HP
  • Fresh Water, l: 2 x 265
  • Fuel, l: 300
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Virtual tour

Isla 40 Review by topRik Team

While approaching the pier, our team decided that the review would not be complete if it did not compare the Isla 40 catamaran with its predecessors - double-hull sailing Lucia 40 and Lavezzi 40.

Shipyard Fountaine Pajot has chosen the right strategy: they improve the 40-footer with each new model, and do not radically redesign the base. Native DNA is carefully preserved in each model of this size. Designers and naval architects, acting

as breeders for a new project, bring to perfection what was not available in the previous ones due to insufficiently developed technologies at the time or for some other reason.

We also agreed that during testing we will try to find out what distinguishes the Isla 40 catamaran from competitors such as Lagoon 40, Bali 40, Nautitech 40, Outremer 40. After all, 40-foot boats are the most popular boats in the world of catamarans. This is no coincidence: they are cheaper than the next in line in terms of size, yet provide almost the same level of comfort on board.

You can say about Alegria 67 that it is a luxurious and comfortable hotel afloat - then a catamaran 40 feet (12.1 m) long and 6 times cheaper can be described as a luxurious, comfortable and cozy floating home.

Home, Sweet Home

Here’s our floating house and it’s porch - the transoms. It really feels like coming back home, since there are no noticeable changes compared to the well-known Lucia 40. The location of the raft is in the same place, there are also stainless ducks and davits made of the same metal.

The cockpit has not been radically changed either - it still occupies the largest area and volume among the cockpits of all 40-foot catamarans. Lots of space, a comfortable L-shaped sofa in the dining area, a wraparound table, a large aft sofa and a lounger.

The table can be made of teak or plastic - at the choice of the buyer. The buyer also determines whether the table will be folding or not. Here, also optionally, you can place a plancha or a barbecue.

We tested the variation with plancha and a transformer table since there were 8 of us boarding the cat. After all, our goal was to check the readiness of Isla 40 not only for a family vacation or a trip with 3-4 friends, but also for commercial use. A folding table will allow you to increase the number of diners in the open air by two people. We confirm that everybody was accommodated, even with some room left.

Nearly all cockpit sofas have seats that lift up to reveal free storage drawers underneath. These lockers are of different sizes in length, so even rather bulky items can be stashed.

You can optionally add a soft back to the lounger on the starboard side, and then the lounger also turns into a comfortable sofa. We put a small refrigerator in the drawer of the large sofa near the table, and we had soft drinks at hand all the time. Very convenient: you crouch, take out a can, take a step and hand the drink to the skipper at the helm.

To the Helm!

What, just next to the table? Yes, this is one of the many amenities of this catamaran. Just a couple of steps from the table and a couple of steps up - and you are at the helm, if there is a need to replace a tired skipper.

And the skipper himself freely talks with those sitting at the table almost face to face - there is a special cutout made in the partition for this purpose. Full control of traffic safety and port side stern with simultaneous communication is a great opportunity for family travel and for charters.

So, we are at the helm. And here you won’t really surprise us with anything, since we managed to be surprised and admired by all these solutions when we got acquainted with the shipyard’s previous 40-foot models.

The steering wheel can be found right on the hull of the control post, next to the winches, which are located a little higher. For such a vessel with simple sailing equipment, this is the best solution – this way the designers avoided creating too much space between not too powerful winches and a steering wheel.

All lines, sheets and halyards are brought to the control post, which are controlled by 3 winches, one of which, for halyards, is electric. But this is on our particular version. If you would like to electrify all sail handling, no problem - just message our experts and we will provide the appropriate options.

Oh! Here is the update. Apparently, the developers listened to the reproaches about the not very reliable throttle control knobs and replaced them.

The control panel has several small screens that display information from various devices. Here you can also place a radiotelephone. A very convenient and informative console, where everything is properly provided and is at the skipper's hand, including a box for placing lines.

Just above and to the left of the steering wheel is a chartplotter. Not everyone was satisfied with such a small screen. Disappointed, they hinted that in the cabin ... Yeah, we see it in the cabin, this huge display of the second chartplotter. So how? Can we see it from the cockpit?

From Cockpit to Saloon

Wide sliding transparent panels lead from the cockpit to the saloon. Behind them is a completely refurbished luxurious saloon.

If we continue the analogy with a cozy and comfortable house, the porch of which is the transoms, and the hall is the cockpit, then the Isla 40 saloon is undoubtedly a loft-style living room. In this huge space, there was enough space for a relaxation area, and for a dining area, and for a galley, and for a chart table...

Hey, where is it? The navigation table was removed from the cabin? Removed from the usual place. Now a chartplotter with a large display, a radio station and other navigational instruments, a charttop table are located on the starboard side of the saloon... above the refrigerator.

And in fact, this is an excellent solution - the screen of the chartplotter, as we have seen, is visible from the cockpit, from the central and side sofas of the saloon. Even when resting or having lunch, the skipper can control the situation.

Although it is difficult to imagine how one can work in such an environment - it relaxes and sets one to rest. Take at least the refrigerator, which is located under the so-transformed chart table. Imagine how many delicious things will fit in its 120-liter inside, consisting of two retractable sections.

Opposite the refrigerator is a galley. The food waste compartment is located to the left of the sink with double sinks of different sizes. A very thoughtful solution in terms of saving water. This is also facilitated by both fresh and sea water supply available for use. The surface of the sink is made of artificial stone.

To the right of the sink is the oven and stove. If you are interested in possible options, please contact our marketplace consultants - they will offer you different options for ovens and hobs.

Behind the stove we found another innovation - two drawers, one of which is equipped with a bottle holder.

Cabinets under the worktop are very spacious, here you can not only store kitchen utensils, but also build in additional equipment, such as a dishwasher.

The bedside table in the cabin also suited us, because there are often not enough places where you can store some necessary things. And you can build in an additional small refrigerator of 65 liters here. The owner of the boat decides how to use this bedside table.

The tabletop of the bedside table is designed for working with documents and maps, if someone still prefers paper maps. For the convenience of working next to the bedside table there is a couch - the corner part of the sofa in the bow of the cabin.

The sofa itself consists of many soft backs, pillows, poufs, mattresses. There are also lockers located under the seats. The U-shaped sofa goes around the dining/coffee table and on request can be transformed into an extra bed.

One of us drew attention to the recesses in the panel in front of the central windows, and then together we found out that now this part is not made of veneer, but is replaced with high-quality plastic. We positively assessed this innovation. Now the panel will not deform after water splashes get on it through the open front windows. And the recesses of different shapes allow you to place different things in them so that they do not roll down during movement.

A skylight in the salon roof provides excellent natural light and allows the skipper to watch the sails directly from the sofa.

Excellent large windows add light and complement the impression of the living room of a large cozy house on the water. At the same time, you feel like you are in the middle of the ocean thanks to the panoramic view, you have sails above your head, delicious food is on the table, and family or friends are nearby. Feels great!

And as a small but bright sign of the warm hearth - carefully rounded corners on all the furniture.

But sometimes you just want to be alone. And for this, too, there are all the possibilities. You just have to choose...

Maestro or Quatuor

It has nothing to do with a conductor or a quartet, or with music in general. This is how the designers named the options for cabin packages on the Isla 40. There are four options in total - two Maestro and two Quatuor. See the layouts below for details, but for now we will go down to the owner's cabin.

By the way, the option we are on is Maestro with three cabins and three bathrooms. Let's immediately anticipate the question: yes, in both versions of the Maestro, the entire right float is given to the owner as his cabin. And both of these options are ideal for a comfortable cruise with family or friends.

Quatuor cabins are more suitable for charters. Although, we were able to comfortably accommodate the entire team of 8 people on the Maestro thanks to that transformer table in the saloon.

Here from the cabin, we go down to the owner's cabin. Our “owner”, who is also the skipper, who is also the captain of the topRik team, likes literally everything here. Especially the spaciousness of this private space, a lot of light and room to store clothes, shoes, books and other things necessary for personal comfort on a long voyage. A huge and very comfortable island bed can be approached from three sides and promises a restful, healing sleep after a work shift.

Portholes at the headboard, to the right and over the bed provide perfect natural light. A large drawer under the bed is designed to store bed linen, blankets and other accessories.

At the exit from the "bedroom" there is a table that can become a study desk or a dressing room if equipped with mirrors. Above the table are shelves for books, documents or accessories. Electricity is supplied here - you can connect a lighting fixture if needed. This section has a large tall wardrobe.

On the left side there is also a large number of cabinets and lockers. In a full-fledged large double wardrobe, you can hang outerwear, suits, evening dresses without folding them, put linen, shorts and T-shirts on the shelves. Plenty of room for empty or full bags and suitcases. You can take any number of things with you to feel at home as if you are on the longest cruise with a full entertainment program.

To the right is a separate, uncombined latrine. At the request of the buyer, a manual toilet can be replaced with an electric one - for this you just need to contact our consultants.

In the well-equipped spacious bathroom, the largest, two-meter-tall member of topRik team feels at ease. He does not have to try to take up as little space as possible in order to wash over the sink in a big way or take a shower, straightening up to his full height and freely wielding a washcloth.

It seemed to us that there were not enough shelves in the shower, even though the place allows for that.

Where does this shower door lead to? Yeah, here is a niche where you can install a washing machine. Who to contact for that - you already know.

And now let's see where and in what conditions other Isla 40 passengers will be accommodated in the Maestro layout version equipped with 3 cabins and 3 bathrooms.

The aft cabin has not undergone noticeable changes. Double island bed with upholstered headboard, hatches at the headboard, on top and to the right. There is much less space for storing clothes and other things than in the owner's cabin.

The bow cabin has grown compared the same layout in the Lucia 40. Now it has a wide double bed instead of the narrow berth that its predecessor had.

In our version, each of the two cabins has a private bathroom. Of course, this reduces the space for each of them. But here you have to choose - either privacy, or freedom of movement, which is present in the combined bathroom. The latter option is provided in the Maestro configuration for 3 cabins and 2 bathrooms.

Let’s return to the deck.

On Deck

A couple steps from the cockpit lounger is a hatch to the engine compartment. Looking around, we decided that the designers here decided to do without changes. Understandable, since the compartment is still spacious, access to the engines is excellent from several sides. And if any of our future customers are not satisfied with Volvo Penta D1-30 which are standard, we can always offer the Isla 40 with Yanmars installed.

But on the foredeck, the change immediately catches the eye - the reverse post, which improves the overall appearance of the catamaran, lengthening it and adding not only to the external design, but also speed wise.

A bowsprit can be ordered as an option if you plan to use a gennaker. The same applies to the bow trampoline and mats for creating a sunbathing area. Under the mats there is a hatch leading to a huge locker.

On the Roof

What wide and reliable steps lead to the cabin roof - no need to turn your foot or balance on your toes to climb, even for the tallest of us. And the access to sailing equipment (boom and lazy-back) is easy for people of any height.

If you unfold the lazy-back, you will free a 60 m² Ensidans mainsail. Together with a genoa of 36 m², this is enough to reach a sailing speed of up to 8 knots, which we have confirmed in practice.

On the roof there is a place for solar panels, the number and power of which are determined by the buyer.

Advantages Of Isla 40

By tradition, before talking about the advantages of Isla 40, we note the shortcomings we have identified. We mentioned some of the shortcomings during testing - they were minor and did not affect safety, seaworthiness or reduce the comfort level of the vessel.

Separately, we highlight the unfortunate location of the electrical panel. In our case, it was on the bulkhead, past which you have to go down to the cabins on the port side. Even our sailor, accustomed to the sea waves, almost leaned against it. And an unprepared passenger may not be able to fight the swaying and accidentally shut down some of the hardware on the catamaran.

As for the benefits, they will have to be numbered, since there is a lot of them.

  • First will be the comfort of life on board and control of the boat. Although earlier we primarily talked about safety and quality, here the designers, creating comfortable conditions for the crew and passengers, did not sacrifice one iota for either safety, quality or seaworthiness of the boat. Passenger comfort is comparable to that of a much larger yacht.
  • Fiberglass sandwiches with a balsa core for infused hulls that exclude osmosis; molded vacuum lamination of the wheelhouse and deck surface; four buoyancy zones - just this is enough to confidently talk about the safety of the Isla 40. But you can still list the characteristics of carefully selected equipment, ranging from sailing equipment to capacious water tanks.
  • If we add the selection of equipment from leading manufacturers, stainless steel handrails, natural wood veneer, natural textiles to the safety components listed above, we will get a complete picture of the high quality of life and work on board.
  • Ample choice is provided to future owners of the Isla 40 due to the multiple layouts of the living space in both floats.
  • And from the previous point right the next: multifunctionality. Because you can buy a sailing Isla 40 catamaran for family trips, sailing with friends or use it for charters.
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Reviews of Isla 40 from Professionals

Sailing catamaran Isla 40 has collected excellent reviews from professionals. First we will give you the words of the team that did the testing right after the presentation of the cat in Bandol, France.

Test . Isla 40. To chance upon an island…

Testing group invited by Fountaine Pajot, immediately noted that the helmsman is managing the vessel easily thanks three winches and three clutch blocks. The successful compromise between comfort and seaworthiness of the cat was highly appreciated. Other than that, the testers noted that the safety of navigation is ensured by the method of manufacturing the hulls, lamination the top of the roof and deck, electrics installation practices, as well as the presence of 4 buoyancy zones.

Katherine Stone and three yachtsmen were testing the catamaran in Toronto.

Cat tested by Katherine Stone was equipped with powerful Volvo engines Penta 30 HP. With a wind of 20-25 knots and rough seas, the boat was moving at a speed of 7-8 knots upwind and with a double reef on the mainsail. With such a wind, the team easily managed to tack and gybe, which was facilitated by the optimal equipment of the control post.

Mark likened Isla 40 to a home, comparing the area of the cat - 850 ft² (259 m²) - to the area of some city apartments. He explained one of the reasons for the popularity of catamarans these days in his joking manner: the steak may slide a little when the cat turns sharply, but the drinks will not tip over.

Mark also commented on the good sailing characteristics, the ease of handling the boat even when alone, and the ability to use it for family cruising and charters.

Video Reviews

We also provide you with some great footage of the catamaran from various reputable sources.

The Fountaine Pajot shipyard’s commercial:

Teaser by Multihulls World magazine:

Quick, yet informative interior overview by SK Yachting:

More extensive interior review from Trenton Carroll:

And another silent footage of home-like catamaran from the inside by Ultra Sailing Croatia:


As you can see, not only we noted the versatility of the Isla 40 sailing catamaran. The cabin layout options and comfortable living conditions on board allow us to recommend it for various uses:

  • family trips in coastal waters and the open sea;
  • cruises with a large group of friends;
  • charters;
  • corporate events.

And it is also an ideal, safe and comfortable boat for those who love solitude and life in complete harmony with nature.

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Where to Buy Isla 40 at a Bargain Price

When you decide it's time to buy Isla 40, marketplace experts topRik will take care of:

  • search for the best price offer for the Isla 40 catamaran;
  • selection of equipment, packages and level of comfort in living spaces;
  • negotiations with the manufacturer, equipping and delivery of the catamaran to the specified location;
  • will fulfill requests for the supply of any accessories and equipment for a comfortable and safe life at sea (watermaker, fenders, transom dinghy etc.)

All employees of the marketplace are active yachtsmen who are well aware of the features of all types of motor and sailing yachts, including catamarans. Our experts give practical advice and will recommend trusted manufacturers of marine equipment and boats.

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