Buying a New Nautitech 44 Open
10 minute read
Many thanks to Gareth Reeves who was one of the first people to order a new Nautitech 44 Open: Sailing Duality II!
Gareth has kindly agreed to share some of his thoughts on which options he is looking at and an insight into why he chose the Nautitech 44. This should be invaluable for anyone who is thinking of buying this catamaran or in fact any catamaran in this range.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose Nautitech? Just a quick summary. You had a 40 Open previously, right?
Sure, my name is Gareth Reeves and I’m a software engineer. I live outside of Chicago with my wife Mimi and 5 kids ranging from 3 to 18, 3 from previous marriage. I’ve sailed on Lake Michigan for the last 20 years and have owned a monohull there for most of that time. I love sailing and most of my available energy and brain time after work and family goes to thinking about sailing.
The season in Chicago is short and winters are long. I’d sailed previously in the BVI and think its a great place to go and unwind and with the popularity of catamarans I realized that it could work for the family.
Like many, I got into sailing videos on YouTube and when Riley and Elayna got their Outremer it just sort of clicked for me. I like to say my wife has a “2 hull minimum”. I wanted a sailors boat, not a floating condo and I since we couldn’t afford to be on the boat for the entire season (either financially or time wise) it made sense to look at charter ownership.
I couldn’t afford an Outremer but I feel like the Nautitech Opens are a great compromise of performance, cost and comfort and Horizon is a dealer based in the BVI that also is a charter management company, so it all just came together.
I took delivery of a 40 Open in November 2019 and we’ve had some great times on her in the BVI for the last couple of years, but the 44 really caught my eye and we decided to go for it.
After a false start, we were able to sell the 40 for a great price (the used market has been very strong since there is a lot of demand for boats) and are going to be taking delivery of the 44 in Oct/Nov 2022, fingers crossed.
Why did you choose the Nautitech 44 Open? Were you looking at other brands?
As I mentioned, we loved the 40 and we expect the 44 will be bigger and better in several ways. I haven’t had the chance to sail her yet, but I spent a lot of time on board talking with the Horizon and Nautitech guys at the Miami boat show, followed by a great dinner. We do this stuff for fun so its important to me that I enjoy the people that we work with and the Horizon and Nautitech people are great.
There are a few things that I think will be better with the 44, but the boats are pretty similar so nothing too drastic. The main difference is that the traveler is on the aft beam instead of the coach roof. This gets the boom even lower than on the 40 and improves visibility to the traveler.
The layout of the saloon is also improved mostly because of the extra space, but I’m excited to have a proper chart table as opposed to crawling over the day bed or table to get to it. The galley is much improved with a double sink and also the standing island. The saloon windows are also a bit more vertical with more of an overhang from the room which will help in the tropics.
Because of my relationship with Horizon and being really happy with the 40, I didn’t seriously consider any other brands, but I’m a boat nerd and pretty familiar with all of them.
How are you expecting the performance of this boat compared to the 40 Open?
I expect it to be relatively faster because of the increased length and sail area, but not radically different from the 40. I haven’t seen polars so I can’t say for sure, but I did hear a rumor that that was a race between a 46 Open and a 44 Open and the 44 Open won, but it did have a larger square topped mainsail which apparently will be an option.
When will she launch?
October of 2022. I would love to sail her over to the Caribbean, but that likely won’t be an option this time so will ship her over, hopefully to Gaudaloupe so we can have a nice “get to know each other” moment sailing to the BVI.
Which configuration did you go for and why? 2 Cabins, 3 Cabins Owner, 3 Cabins, 4 Cabins etc. Did you go for the Smart Room?
I’ve decided to go for the 3 Cabins owner. The smart room doesn’t make any sense for charter. I would love to see an option for a more flexible space that could be used as a office but with fold down bunks that would be good for kids or non couples.
Can you give us an idea of the options you prioritised on the gear? Eg how many electric winches, engine upgrade?, throttles on both helms, any Sports version options, windlass remote, bowsprit, folding props etc
There are two priorities here. What is needed for charter and the stuff that I want. For charter we need air conditioning and therefore a generator. I’m torn personally since we never use the AC other than at the dock, but in the tropics its important to be able to cool the boat down and dehumidify.
I’d love to be able to avoid having the generator and have the option to run the AC from the batteries but the load requirements are high in the tropics and the technology still relatively new. It needs to work for charter guests so we’re sticking with the tried and tested options.
For me it’s more about the sails. A bowsprit and downwind sails are an absolute must. I also hate running the engines to charge the batteries, so this time I am prioritizing solar and lithium. I’m considering the sports package and in particular the upgrade to the running rigging.
The soft lifelines and the technora chafe protection on the standing rigging was really nice. The cleats and the wheels are less interesting to me, but they look pretty sharp.
My 40 had the electronic throttles at both helms and it’s nice but very expensive and they have had some issues (on other boats, never had problems with mine) so I’ve decided to not go with that option.
The docking position on the Opens is fantastic but with controls only on starboard you will always want to be starboard side too, but the boats are so maneuverable that its easy to dock bow first or stern first and ensure you are starboard side to.
We will do regular fixed blade props for charter and I think the remote windlass is more trouble than its worth, its best to be at the windlass checking on whats going on. Most charters will pickup mooring balls in the BVI.
How about options for the living space? Upholstery, teak, frontdeck lounge, shade canapy, helm biminis, saloon blinds, table/convertible table, Plancha ENO gaz, berths in forepeaks
For upholstery we will do leather because its much easier to clean, important with young kids! I will do the external shades for the saloon windows instead of the internal blinds.
The front deck lounge is great and I love the new built in lights, but I’m hoping to secure the cushions better while sailing than we could on the 40. I think there needs to be a solution where a strap comes over them after they have been folder up.
I had Horizon make me a canopy for over the bows and will probably do the same thing for the 44 instead of going with the factory option. The 40 had the cockpit enclosure and we’ve never used it once, so not going with that.
I’m going to go with the regular table in the cockpit and the footstool instead of the table in the saloon. My 40 had both berths in the fore peaks but I’m going to just have one done on the 44 so I can put wet stuff like my kitesurfing gear in the other one.
What did you prioritise on the electrical equipment? Watermaker, cockpit fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, A/C, heating, electric heads (fresh/seawater)
Still deciding on some of these items but leaning towards the following. Freezer and Fridge in the saloon, not in the cockpit. AC. Electric seawater heads.
How about the power system? Invertor, Service battery upgrade, Lithium upgrade? Solar, genset, lighting options, Nav Pack, radar
Solar on the roof and on the Davits and the lithium upgrade. We need the genset for the AC. Lighting is tough because the options are expensive, but I think we will go with the courtesy lights and the under bridge deck lights.
I have the spreader lights on the 40 and they work great but I think you can get away with just the deck light.
For the nav pack, I think 2 MFDs (Multifunction Displays) on board is plenty and I actually prefer to use my iPad. I think the display is much better as long as you can keep it out of the elements, which of course you can on boats like these.
Radar would be nice but would rarely be used with the majority of sailing we do. For long passages I would want it for sure.
What sail options did you go for? Hydranet, Overlapping genoa, gennaker, Code 0, Assym Spinnaker etc
Regular Dacron main and Solent. The self tacker is great for the BVI where the winds are generally blowing quite well. It’s obviously good for charters as well. I had an asym on a top down furler on the 40 which I love and will go with the same sail, but this time probably in the standard sock instead of the furler.
I actually always thought you and I had the same sail but I noticed recently that yours is not loose luffed which I believe makes it the gennaker. I can still get up to 50-60 degrees apparent with the spinnaker so I think its a good choice. On a reach the boat goes like a rocket, regularly hitting low teens in less than 20kts of true wind.
I will also add the code zero gear and maybe the sail, or maybe add the sail later, but I want the gear added in the factory.
Are there any options you think are better to source yourself after the purchase? eg anchor, chain, dinghy, lithium upgrade, solar etc. What kind of anchor/chain set up will you go for?
The tender, galley equipment, bedding etc we will source ourselves in the BVI, but generally speaking I believe in having stuff done in the factory. It’s just better to do it when building the boat than afterwards. The code zero gear is a good example, you can do it afterwards but its best to do it during construction.
How was your experience with Nautitech and your dealer?
Horizon is my dealer and my charter management company and we have a great relationship. It’s very important to me that I like and trust the people that I have my boat with. It’s an incredibly expensive asset a long way from home in a very challenging part of the world.
Horizon is big enough and well established enough that I trust them, but also small enough where I know all the people that take care of the boat. Thats super important to me and I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. I’m at the boat for 1 to 2 weeks every 3 months or so.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Nautitech 44 Open?
Nothing much comes to mind other than get in line quick, the demand is high and prices will keep going up.
Can you give people who are looking at a Nautitech 44 a rough price range for a sensibly optioned boat? From day cruiser to longer trips say
It really all depends. AC and a genset is going to add around $50k. Delivery is going to cost a significant amount if you aren’t picking up in France. Also prices are going up quickly, I understand more than 10% since I locked in.
I can tell you that I’m looking at between $750k and $900k for a fully equipped for charter boat delivered in the BVI and ready to go, with $750k being the bare minimum spec for charter and $900k having a full sail locker and must of the options, but again its would be more than that now.
Are there any key areas you are keeping a close eye on in terms of quality checks?
Not really, I’m pretty happy with the quality of my 40 and every other Nautitech I’ve seen. I know you have mentioned the gray cabin top issues before but Nautitech have decided to stick with white for the 44.
By the way, If I had kept my 40 I probably would buff it regularly instead of trying the vinyl cover, but I will be interested to see how that turns out for others that have the issue. The davits are another issue of concern and I think you really need to keep an eye on the weight ratings and stay well under it with the static loads, because the dynamic loads will be higher. The 44 has newly designed davits so I will be keeping an eye on them.
Charter a Nautitech 44 in the BVI
If you are interested in chartering Duality, contact Horizon Yacht Charters here.