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Fountaine Pajot MY5 Power Catamaran review
Familiarity makes tasks simpler. Organised workshops are more productive; supermarkets with the same layout make return visits easy and recognisable. Fountaine Pajot has taken something very familiar and placed it on a modest 40-foot print. It’s an apartment with a modern free-flowing layout enabling the transition to time on the water smooth and trouble-free. Responsive, peppy, and pirouettes on a dime, the MY5, formerly known as the MY40, is an agile, light on its feet dance partner. It effortlessly offers open-air seaside benefits with an ever-changing neighbourhood, and it’s all about the location without the body corporate fees of apartment ownership. A boat for the hit the road types, who have seen the country by land. Now its time to swap the trailer hitch for an anchor and start exploring this incredible country from a different perspective.
The aspects onboard are impressive; each of the three levels maximises the view. The owner cabin has a large picture window framing your toes when in bed. The raised saloon maximises the water’s sightlines, and the flybridge is a multizone extravaganza with a helm unrestricted by moulded combings. The MY5 is an immersive experience boat with a breezy connected environment, but when you want to close up and cool down in comfort, this seaside retreat has you covered.
Small touches enhance the onboard experience, and these start from the moment you step aboard. The continuous level swim platform adds another dimension to life on the water. A push of a button either with the wireless remote or physical switch lowers a platform low enough to effortlessly launch and retrieve a tender and works equally well as a beach or diving platform. The two entrances to the cockpit lack symmetry. To port, a proper wide entry allows for loading bags and provisions. To starboard, more subtle and narrower access is right next to the swim ladder and the shower. You can pass straight up to the foredeck without wetting the cockpit. This slimmer entrance helps maximise the seating in the cockpit, allowing an expansive L-shaped lounge.
This pleasant open cockpit can have a removable table for dining if desired. The standard layout encourages an unfettered interactive connection with the galley and saloon. The modern textured fabric that covers the seating uses a simple and effective technique to attach the cushions. To stop them from flying away, they have done away with the hard to manage snap buttons and instead use a simple fabric tether that loops around the stainless steel railing and easily secures with velcro back onto the cushions. It makes installing and removing much less of a task.
Curved stairs minimise the main deck space’s impact and lead to the open flybridge, a surprisingly big area of approximately 17 square metres on the upper level. On this MY5, the dining is on the upper deck, with the optional dining table installed in place of the standard coffee table. Fresh air and cross breeze pass by diners at the c shaped lounge that surrounds it.
Whatever the occasion, the optioned hardtop’s protection and the optional clears make this an all-weather spot. Subtle pop-up lighting allows for quiet evenings without the stadium effect of overhead lights. The amenities centre keeps you up top and in the moment. Perfect for drinks preparation and snacks, this one has the optional drinks fridge below the sink. There’s still room for an optional icemaker and bbq grill for complete independence. Back on the starboard side, the lounge’s forward end shows the age we live in, charging options and cutouts for phones to stay in place underway accessible from the helm. Replacing the standard single helm chair with the double helm lounge option is perfect for a cruising companion to enjoy the journey. If you’re bringing the tribe and everyone wants a front seat, the adaptable forward portion of the sunlounger lifts from flat to create seatbacks for additional forward-facing seating. The helm is probably one of the most reassuringly placed helms on a flybridge. It has the best vision I have seen in a long time. The lack of moulded combing surrounding the flybridge opens up the view through the spray dodger. Seated, you can see all corners, including the aft corner on the opposite side, thanks to the sightline through the flybridge entrance. Having this vision is a real bonus for the helmsperson; you don’t need to rely on others’ judgment. To further enhance the simplicity of operation and enjoyment, the process of close-quarters maneuvering is a simple point and go joystick thanks to the Volvo IPS drives.
Powering the MY5 today is a pair of upgraded Volvo IPS 500 engines producing 370hp each. The extra pep from the upgrades gives a fast response from standstill to planing and enables a top speed of 23 knots. The steering feels light and nimble, combined with the Garmin electronics integration; systems operation, observations, and navigation are intuitive.
Anchoring can be remotely performed from the flybridge, the lower helm or at the source on the foredeck. Access to the foredeck is via the vast, well-gripped walkways. These side decks’ width would have you thinking that saloon volume is compromised, but the 6m beam allows for generosity inside and out. Solid railings lead all the way forward and wrap around the bows for safe anchoring. A spacious and very usable foredeck seating arrangement opens up this space for casual seating for at least eight people. Built-in drink holders positioned perfectly for lounging thanks to the tiltable backrests. A large hatch opens the footwell floor to reveal a substantial storage locker for full-size fenders and more.
The flybridge deck fully protects the cockpit. Large engine hatches provide convenient and safe access to each engine room, and the larger port hatch houses the generator. The central hatch accommodates the liferaft; just forward of that below the teak grate is the filling points, centrally located for easy filling no matter which side you tie-up.
The C Shaped galley connects thanks to the wide-opening doors fluidly with both the cockpit and the saloon. There’s a decent amount of workable galley bench space for cooking and entertaining. Optioned with an oven and twin gas hobs, you can also choose an induction cooktop and a convection oven. Bench space and storage give this three-bedroom apartment livability. The galley’s forward end conceals the 40inch TV that slides out on an electric actuator. Views surround the saloon, and it’s flooded with natural light. Fresh air flows in through the opening portlights on each side. A small step up to the saloon and helm enhances the viewing and connectivity with the environment. If the weather is either side of comfortable, you can close up and enjoy an aperitif with a view in airconditioned comfort. A button’s push raises the coffee table, and a simple transformation provides dining for four or five
The MY5 has three cabins. Dedicated to the owner is almost the entire port side. Stepping down into the foyer, you’ll appreciate the convenient access to the electrical panel just outside your cabin door as well as the optioned washing machine. Two simple but handy items to have on hand when you shut the boat down at night and get the systems going again in the morning. Above the washing machine is storage that works well as a linen cupboard, and the area is well-lit thanks to the impressive hull window.
Forward into the owner’s cabin, there are many striking elements. The first is the picture window that frames the calming view of the water. What’s even better is that the substantial king-sized island bed faces this window, and that view is available from the bed. Modern conveniences for charging and bedside storage cater to the longer stays onboard. A decent vanity with good storage works equally well as a work station for the laptop. More extended stays onboard are further enhanced with plenty of hanging locker space before you enter the bathroom forward. The master bedroom has a masterful bathroom. The long bench with loads of storage complements an equally long wetside on the outboard side, a shower that you can stride into it’ so spacious. The beautiful hull window fills this space with natural lighting. The cherry on top is an entirely separate toilet cubicle forward.
All the cabins have the same impressive two metres of headroom. On the starboard side, the guest accommodations share a bathroom that separates the cabins fore and aft. The aft cabin has a spacious queen-sized berth, large hull windows with an opening portlight, plus excellent storage for guests or kids. The forward cabin has a double berth with two opening overhead hatches and another remarkable hull window completing an excellent package for sharing with friends or escaping with family.
Catamarans allow for a comforting and familiar layout akin to a modern apartment. They provide onboard space that rivals monohulls that are 25% longer. It’s the way space is used that it makes them less like their monohull counterparts. They create far more usable space from the foredeck to the flybridge. Fountaine Pajot has done an exceptional job with modern styling and putting this much liveability onto a 40-foot platform. If you’re looking for a change of perspective in an easy to manage format, these are a great boat for a range of ambitions and experience levels.