The Nautitech 40 Open, designed by Marc Lombard, has gone through one design tweak in its lifetime. You could call the latest boat the Mark II or should we say the Marc II.
Nautitech is now owned by Germany’s Bavaria Yachts, but their boats continue to be built in Rochefort, France. These catamarans are constructed with a resin-infused technique that results in a light, strong finish. The decks include a closed-cell foam core. The joinery is high quality on these cruising cats – especially considering their price point.
This review is from personal experience- we’ll try and keep it objective! You can also read our Owner’s review that we compiled for a prospective buyer that has more detail on it. We wrote this up following the boat delivery from La Rochelle to Barcelona. Our 40, Gecko, is available for charter near Barcelona and the Balaeric Islands, please contact us for more details.
Marc Lombard´s Open design gives you a big living space for a forty foot catamaran, the most in her class with the exception of maybe the Bali 4.1. Once you slide those doors open, she has plenty of space under way and at anchor.
She´s light for a production cruising cat and accelerates quickly compared to other brands. The Nautitech 40 Open is a good compromise between speed and comfort.
For a 12m boat, she is very seaworthy in heavy conditions. In a real blow, the 3rd reef takes you down to a small centralised mainsail (with no jib) and she handles waves well. With the 2nd reef in and 60% solent you are good up to 35 knots apparent.
The boom tucks in low over the coachroof which gives her a low centre of effort and means it´s easy to access the mainsail and reefing lines. It´s one of the reasons why she feels so seaworthy in a blow.
That helm position is easy for docking if you reverse her in. The person at the helm can throw the lines if he or she wants to and you can keep an eye on everyone if you are under way (important with kids). You are in constant contact with the cockpit from here.
At the same time, Nautitech have done a great job of making you feel safe aft under way with those aft helms. There´s a bench that runs along the aft beam and the helm seats are substantial- when you are tucked into one, it feels very secure.
The flip-side to those aft helms is visibility to the opposite bow. If you can afford it, go for the option of throttles on both helms so that you can easily switch sides. I generally just nip up to the deck every now and then.
The aft helms can get wet in a blow or in bad weather. If you are offshore, this just means heading inside to helm from the nav station (great visibility here), but you might have to get your wet weather gear on if there is rain coming into the marina. For sailing feel, however, you can´t beat them.
All the reefing is done at the mast. OK, it´s not far to hop up there, but I would have preferred a similar set up to the bigger 46 where all the lines run aft to the helm.
With narrower hulls designed to slip through the water faster, the cabins are not as big as a Lagoon or Fountaine Pajot. That´s your compromise. Personally speaking, I find the cabins very comfortable- they´re big enough for me. I went for speed over fatter hulls, Lombard is a master shaper.
With so much space given over to the aft cockpit, the saloon is smaller than many other 40 footers. That works well in warmer climes, but if it is colder I would recommend the clear enclosure. Once these are down, it´s pretty cosy.
This is a cruising cat, but with an eye on performance compared to other boats like the Lagoon 380 and the “Open” concept has proved hugely popular.
Nautitech have kept an eye on the weight of the boat (she´s only 8.5 tonnes light) and as long as you don´t go crazy on the gear, she accelerates quickly. Our top speed on our boat so far is 19 knots (OK we were surfing, but even so). In decent conditions, you should hit the early teens easily.
The Nautitech 40 comes in all sorts of configurations- it’s worth ordering the bowsprit as this opens up all sorts of options for head sails to complement the efficient square-top mainsail. She typically comes with a self-tacking jib and a light asymmetric sail at the bowsprit. The mainsheet leads to a traveler on the bimini and down to the cockpit, and the solent/jib sheet (stbd) and furling line (port) run back to winches and clutches at twin outboard helms. There are also 2 winches and clutches on the aft beam to help with the traveler and raising the tender.
The main halyard also comes aft to the starboard side and you can order an electric winch as an option to help you raise the mainsail. Or you can use the winch at the mast.
All the reefing lines and the topping lift are managed from the mast which is a negative. I am going to try to reorganise our boat and run all of the lines back into the cockpit like the bigger boat, the 46. One thing I have noticed is that there are plenty of places to clip on, and a nice sturdy rail on the coachroof aft. There’s a deep well after that to grab onto as you move forward towards the mast- she feels safe in that respect.
The boom is very easy to access from the bimini top. There are some open steps by the mast to climb up.
Not everyone is a fan of the Nautitech Open helm position- she sports twin aft helms (read our Excess 11 review for another boat with a similar configuration) and there is an option for biminis for improved protection. Personally we love this configuration- it’s similar to a Catana (with more substantial helm seats) and gives you a real sailing feel when you are under way. Because the fibreglass sides are high by the helms, you feel secure tucked in here. There´s a point to clip onto under the seat if it gets rough.
It’s easy to keep an eye on the tell-tales on the head sail- just as you would on a Hobie 16. If the weather turns nasty, you either helm with the autopilot in the saloon or tuck in under the bimini close to the helm. Make sure you order the electric winch at the Starboard Helm. Raising the mainsail with that is easy.
There is an option for having throttles on both helms. The standard configuration just has them on the starboard side (this is what we went for: the budget ran out.)
Because she’s relatively light, she gets going quickly and Lombard has shaped those hulls so that they slip through the water nicely below the waterline. Don’t load her up too much though. Narrower hulls means less living space down below, so she’s not as spacious as a Lagoon in the cabins (there’s your compromise). In the cockpit, it’s a different story with that Open concept and the twin helms aft.
Docking the boat is a breeze as well, although, to repeat myself, try and go for the option of having those throttles on both helms if you can afford it. Because you are so close to the transom, one person can theoretically helm and throw the ropes. It’s easier with 2 of course.
She tacks easily and as you come off the wind, she’s fast! There’s a Youtube clip showing a 40 doing 20 knots doing the rounds (we saw over 19 knots surfing on our delivery trip).
And when you hit those numbers in that helm position, you’ll have a smile plastered all over your face.
On average, you’ll see 7-9 knots. The nice thing about her is that she gets moving nice and quickly in light winds and this is where that gennnaker option comes in handy. If the wind hits 5 knots, you should be sailing. In a freshening breeze, you should see low and even mid teens on a reach.
Upwind, she’s like most stub keel catamarans. She’ll point at 50 to true but you are probably better off pointing at 55 (more speed, less leeway) or just stick the leeward engine on at low revs to point higher and get where you need to go. That would be about 40 to apparent (she will sail up to 30 but best to drop down 10)
At the end of the day, if you are going to be close hauled all day, every day on a multihull you are best off with daggerboards.
The Nautitech 40 come with 30 HP engines as standard, but I would recommend the upgrade to the 40s. One engine will push you along at around 6 knots at 2200 RPM in calm conditions. With both engines going, she´ll move comfortably at 7 to 8 knots. Depending on the sea state, it´s often advisable to power up both engines to help you punch through the waves for a more comfortable ride if you are heading upwind.
The design of the Open 40 is all about giving you more space in the cockpit and less in the saloon, so this boat is particularly suited to warmer climes like the Med. Below decks, the configuration is either 3 cabins (Owner’s) or 4 Cabins (charter version).
The hulls aren’t as spacious as a Lagoon (there’s your speed/space trade off), but they are very comfortable and there´s still far more space than you would get on a monohull. All the cabins have huge windows through which you can watch the world go by.
There is an option for a telescopic table in the saloon (port side) which we have gone for. This gives you a night watch berth if you need it. The galley is to starboard and is nicely designed with everything to hand. When you are cooking at the burners, you be facing aft connected to that large outdoor cockpit area. The doors can be thrown wide open to connect the two spaces into one joined up area: hence the name, the Open.
Any boat is a compromise, and we think the Nautitech 40 Open is a great sailing boat at a reasonable price. Lombard has done a great job of designing a boat with so much living space (the Open concept) that is this quick. The hulls are narrower than other boats in her class, but there is loads of room upstairs thanks to that big joined up space.
What are good options to go for?
We´d recommend upgraded engines (40HP) if you can manage it in your budget, plus folding props (giving you an extra knot), electric winch on starboard helm, bowsprit with gennaker, radar, the fridge in the cockpit, additional service batteries, solar, inverter, Fusion audio system and the salon dining table (lowerable).
What are the “nice to have” options”
If you can afford it, go for the throttles on both helms, the anchor windlass control at the helm, freezer in starboard hull, heating system. The Explorer version is the pack to go for if you can afford it. The full aft cockpit enclosure is great too.
What´s the Main Difference Between the 40 Open and the 46 Open.
Well, the length obviously, but these 2 designs are very similar. In the larger model, all of the lines come aft to the helms which is a plus. The aft cockpits are a similar length (the 46 is beamier), but the saloon in the 46 feels much bigger – it´s probably around twice the size.
Are there any plans to extend the range?
We have heard rumours that there is a new 50 footer in the works. Watch this space for the Nautitech 50 Open!