By Michael Good, YACHT magazine.

Only four years ago, in the spring of 2008, the French re-entered the mid-sized cruising catamaran segment with the Orana 44. The most notable innovation then was the walkable bimini roof that doubled as sun shade for the cockpit and as a safe and useful platform for setting and dousing the mainsail. In the meantime, this feature has become de rigeur for cruising cats of nearly all sizes.

The Hélia 44 from Fountaine Pajot carries several good design features that have evolved in cruising catamarans in recent years.

In addition to being a formidable source of shade, the hardtop has several other practical uses, either as a flybridge or as a lounge spot for sun-starved. It is part of a two- or three-story living and leisure space that has become another trend for cruising cats.

The new Hélia 44 aims at incorporating all these benefits. Like on the Orana, the steering station is off-center and elevated, affording the helmsman a full view  of the surroundings, for example during maneuvers under engine in port. In addition, his workstation is also partially protected from wind and weather. New for the Hélia is the steering column that is now set back from the cabin house, which creates easier access to winches and sheets on the cabintop. Another step up is the lounge  area with a tanning pad and a sofa.

For accommodations, the Hélia 44 keeps the layout of the Orana 44. In the “Quatuor” version, which is designed for charter service, the hulls are arranged symmetrically with four double staterooms and en-suite heads. The owner’s version is called “Maestro” and has a large stateroom in the starboard hull that includes a spacious double berth and a giant lavatory with a separate shower.

The Hélia 44 was designed by Berret/Racoupeau and is scheduled to debut at the in-water shows in the fall, including Salon Nautique in Cannes and the Grand Pavois in La Rochelle. The pricing has yet to be announced.

For more information, contact Fountaine Pajot.


  • LOA (Hull): 13.30 m

  • Beam: 7.40 m

  • Draft: 1.15 m

  • DSPL: 10.8 t

  • Mainsail:  70 sq.m.

  • Genoa: 45 sq.m.

  • Water capacity: 2 x 375 l

  • Fuel tank: 470 l

This story was originally published in YACHT magazine.


Translated by Dieter