Choosing the right boat for us: the Fountaine Pajot Helia 44

in Life at Sea / Travel
26 Comments
fountaine pajot helia 44 turf to surf

It’s 2008 and Ryan has suggested that we buy a sailboat with some of the profit we made in our first year of running our own business, Teaching House.

“But what the hell would we do with a boat?” I protest. “We don’t even know how to sail!”

“We’ll learn,” says Ryan, with the kind of bold confidence he exudes in every aspect of his life, a quality that is both endearing and infuriating. Endearing, because his enthusiasm for venturing out into the unknown is infectious. Infuriating, because if you’re trying to talk Ryan out of one of his mad ideas, you’re doomed to fail. You can throw every solid rationale you have in your arsenal at him, and he’ll just swat them to the floor, one by one, responding with statistics of how many more people die every year driving a car than doing any of the ridiculous things he’s trying to convince you to do in this very moment.

And, let me tell you, it’s hard to argue with statistics and double-dog dares. Especially when delivered in a charming British accent.

But, I am also stubborn. So, in my mind, I have written a list of all the good, solid, rational reasons as to why we definitely should not buy a boat.

Reason #1: Boats sound like a lot of work. And we already work around the clock because we’re in the first year of building a company. Plus, on top of running our own company, I’m doing my Master’s degree while working full-time as a public school teacher in the Bronx. If there is an hour of my day that I’m not working, then, well… let’s just say there isn’t an hour of my day that I’m not working.

Reason #2: The Perfect Storm. Yeah, I read the book. I saw the movie. Spoiler alert: EVERYONE ON THE BOAT DIES.

Reason #3: Capsizing. For our second date in Qatar, where I was teaching English at the time, Ryan was keen to impress me with a mini adventure. So he rented a little Hobie catamaran and proceeded to take me out on the water in a gale. This was fun at first, what with the wind whipping us along at speeds that would make me nervous in a car. But the out-of-control speeds combined with our sluggish reaction times resulted in us flipping the cat over rather quickly. And this was an old cat, so it wasn’t self-righting — the mast stuck straight down in the water below us with no hope of ever coming back to the surface. Luckily, the Arabian Gulf is as warm as a jacuzzi, so it was no big deal, even as we were treading water for 2 hours, waiting to be rescued. But — and let me be clear about this — I have absolutely no desire to recreate this adorable second-date scenario in the frigging Hudson River.

I don’t know about you, but I think these are three pretty solid reasons not to buy a damned boat.

But Ryan is clever. He doesn’t even flinch when I blurt out all my reasons for not wanting to own a boat, starting with “I DON’T WANT TO DIE.” Instead, he takes me boat shopping and says, soothingly, “We don’t have to buy anything. Let’s just see what’s out there.”

And that, my friends, is how we find and fall in love with a boat. Two weeks later, we are the proud owners of a Catalina 34 we call Hideaway.

 

hideaway 2008 turf to surfHideaway, on the dock where we bought her in Stamford, Connecticut.
hideaway interior 2008 turf to surfKnowing nothing about boats, we chose the Catalina 34 for her interior.

Now fast forward to 2014. We’ve sailed on Hideaway for six years now, in and around New York Harbor, then in 2012 we sailed her down the East Coast of the U.S. to the Bahamas and on to the Dominican Republic. Then we hauled the boat out of the water and stored her in Luperon, so we could go to England to participate in the Clipper Round the World Race.

The race took us from London to Rio de Janeiro, then Cape Town to Albany, Australia and segued into a road trip around South Africa and then a camper van trip across Australia, followed by a two-month stay in the rice paddies of Ubud, Bali.

Sure, it may have looked like we were land-lubbing travelers again for a time, but we only dreamed of returning to Hideaway and sailing her south through the Caribbean.

 

 

hideaway ryan in bimini bahamasArriving to Bimini, Bahamas on Hideaway in 2013 was a huge buzz.

But then, early in 2014, we returned to New York City to tend to our companies, which were struggling in our absence. And for that entire year, we dreamed incessantly about getting out of New York and getting back to Hideaway. But we also wondered if such carefree living could ever be possible while we were still tethered to our businesses in New York.

So to keep the dream alive, we went to boat shows, drooled over monohulls and catamarans and we ate up cruisers’ stories on their sailing blogs. And at each boat show, we picked out our if-money-were-no-object dream boats, and we listed our what-we-can-afford top choices.

And, similar to our experience of falling in love with Hideaway, Ryan and I found ourselves pretty much on the same page when it came to what we wanted for our next boat and what things were deal-breakers for us.

So, as we’ve fielded so many questions lately about why we specifically chose the Fountaine-Pajot Helia 44 as our next boat, I’d like to take this opportunity to bring you inside our minds and through the process of how we decided what was the right boat for us. Note, I did not say the “perfect boat”. Because there really is no perfect boat. There’s only the boat that’s right for you, right now.

To give this chaotic process of ours some structure, let’s run through the questions we’ve asked ourselves recently and in the past when shopping for boats:

1. What’s it for?

When we started looking for a monohull in 2008, we had absolutely no experience with boats apart from that time we capsized a Hobie cat four years earlier. So, we were certainly not in the market for a blue-water boat that could also, possibly, take us to Antarctica in case we decided our older, future selves might want to anchor near a glacier with our grandchildren on board one day.

Our basic criteria was a boat small enough for two people to sail and roomy enough to have guests on board. Because adventures are much more fun when shared with friends.

 

sailing hideaway in rain 2008Friends are helpful for helming in bad weather when you want to keep dry ;-).

We also, against our nature, did a little bit of future planning. We were thinking ahead to a time when we might be adventurous enough to leave the vicinity of our marina and head to such exotic destinations as Staten Island or Long Island, and maybe even the Jersey Shore, if we really got ballsy.

Which means, essentially, we didn’t need a big, expensive blue-water boat. We needed a solid coastal cruiser with a roomy cockpit, a fridge for cold beer and at least two state rooms for overnight guests.

But what if you want to sail across oceans one day?

This was a question other sailors seemed to contemplate seriously when buying a boat, which always confused us. Our answer to that question was always, “We’ll sell Hideaway and buy something else.” It’s as simple as that.

Hideaway is a great coastal cruiser and live-aboard boat. She is not an ocean-going boat destined to cross the Atlantic. She was also a fraction of the cost of a blue-water boat, so one of the advantages of going small and local was that buying a boat didn’t plunge us into debt.

In any case, I don’t believe in buying a boat that I’ll keep for the rest of my life any more than I believe in buying a pair of shoes that I’m going to wear in 20 years’ time. I’m looking for a boat that will get me through the adventures I can envision for the next five years, at best. Beyond five years, who the hell knows what will happen or what I’ll want?

It’s the same with my shoes. I don’t go into a shoe store and think, “I’m looking for the perfect shoe for all future possible situations. They need to be dressy enough to wear to a wedding but also sturdy enough to get me to the top of Everest, just in case I feel like climbing it in 10 years’ time.”

In our fickle lives, a boat can only serve a purpose that is limited to the foreseeable future, and even then that can be a sketchy outline. I mean, we had only just decided to sail out of New York to go cruising to the Bahamas in 2012 when we also decided the following year we would leave our boat somewhere to do two legs of the ’13-’14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. See what I mean by fickle?

 

tasha ryan clipper race 13-14Seriously. The Clipper Race was never part of the original plan.

So, then, why the Fountaine-Pajot Helia 44?

The answer to that is we have a very specific plan: to circumnavigate the globe over the course of roughly five years.

Hideaway is not the boat for that purpose, and we knew that when we bought her. But, also, when we bought her, we weren’t sure if we’d even like sailing or how long this hobby would last. [Ryan’s edit: When we bought her, Tasha wasn’t sure she’d like sailing. Ryan never had any doubts.] Ahem, see what I mean about infuriating?

There are many reasons why we chose the FP Helia for our circumnavigation. So let’s outline the other questions we asked ourselves in the process of choosing the right boat…

 

fountaine pajot helia cockpit turf to surfJust imagine lounging in this cockpit off a beautiful island in the South Pacific.
2. Can you picture yourself on this boat?

The first time I stepped foot on Rainmaker, the Gunboat 55, at the Annapolis boat show, I looked at Ryan with pure delight scrawled across my face.

“This is number one on my if-money-were-no-object list,” I said to him.

The cockpit looked more like a Buddha lounge in TriBeCa than the deck of a racer/cruiser. If this boat looks fast, that’s because it is – it cruises at speeds up to 25 knots. I could easily picture myself racing around the globe on this mad piece of carbon fiber but, let’s be honest: the $2.5 million price tag is a little off-putting. (Oh, and there’s the small problem of Rainmaker’s rigging having come down in a storm after we saw it, rendering it useless and adrift somewhere on the Atlantic.)

After the Gunboat, we stepped on board the Fountaine-Pajot Helia 44 for a little realism, and both Ryan and I sat down in the saloon and sighed. It was like the time we sat in the saloon of our Catalina 34 for the first time…just much larger. And much more expensive. But we both leaned back, put our feet up and pictured ourselves with a glass of wine in hand, enjoying the tranquility of our own private anchorage somewhere remote and beautiful.

The things we fell in love with on the Helia were the modern design and the open, airy living space, which made us want to invite guests on board for long journeys. It’s not a bad-ass racing machine like the Gunboat, but it certainly isn’t sluggish either with cruising speeds of up to 15 knots.

 

fountaine pajot helia 44 galley turf to surfThere is so much gorgeous space in here, I could do cartwheels.
3. The monohull vs. catamaran debate: how much space do you get for your money?

I adore sailing monohulls. Okay, there was a time when I first started sailing that I screamed with terror any time the boat heeled beyond 15 degrees. But I barely remember what that feels like anymore. I think the Southern Ocean slapped it out of me.

Now, there is nothing I love more about a monohull than the way it heels when it’s cruising at hull speed on a beam reach as you frantically trim the sails to eke the most speed out of her.

So, when Ryan first proposed we buy a catamaran for our circumnavigation, I was slightly horrified. What about the heeling? Where’s the thrill in sailing a boat that’s always flat? How the hell do you dock something that wide? Won’t we be trading the fun of cutting through waves with our bow for the misery of water constantly slapping the underside of our floating condominium?

But then I stepped onto a few Lagoons, Leopards and Fountaine-Pajots at boat shows, and I started to think about life on a boat a little differently. I could see a time when I wouldn’t have to climb over Ryan in the middle of the night, kneeing him in the ribs, just to use the head. I saw spaces on a catamaran where I could be alone with my laptop, writing, while Ryan burned off his frenetic energy elsewhere, out of sight. I saw a fantastic workout space on the foredeck with enough room to make full use of my TRX and maybe a few kettle bells. I saw space enough for surfboards, kiteboards and diving tanks.

 

cheeky monkey davits surf toysWe’ve already loaded up our davit with toys. Cuz that’s what this boat is for: FUN.

So the question about space boiled down to this: How much of a circumnavigation is about sailing and how much of it is about living on the hook?

To answer that, we had to examine our priorities for this trip.

We are planning to travel slowly, taking five years or so to work our way around the planet so we can see a lot more than just oceans as we go. We want to reach idyllic harbors and get off the boat to go surfing, snorkeling, running and fully exploring the places we sail up to.

We are not looking to recreate the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on our cruising catamaran. As in, we don’t want to spend three weeks at sea and then come to port for a mere five days, four of which are spent cleaning the boat and repairing everything that broke on the last crossing.

I’ve had that experience on the Clipper and I loved every moment. But this is a different kind of trip. And it needs a different kind of boat. It needs a boat with comforts, space and plenty of room for toys we can use to explore the hard-to-reach spots we’re planning to sail to.

So, that said, catamarans beat monohulls hands-down for comfortable live-aboard space. Not to mention the speed of our new Helia leaves most monohulls behind in its wake.

 

fountaine pajot helia 44 miami boat showWe visited the Helia at least 4 times at the Miami Boat Show. It was true love.
4. Budget: How much can we spend?

Obviously, money is a huge factor in what you can buy when boat shopping. When we were shopping for our first boat, we agreed to split the cost of the boat with a friend, and together we decided the maximum amount we could spend was $40,000.

We bought Hideaway for $39,000 and for the next five years we also split the mooring fees, the maintenance costs and the insurance, which was a brilliant way for all of us to explore the sport of sailing and keep costs down while we figured out if we liked the lifestyle.

Now that we know we love sailing, after seven years on Hideaway, and are ready to embark on the next phase of our adventures, we are in a different place, both in our boat needs and our budget.

By the time we sold our companies, Ryan and I had been lackadaisically shopping for our next boat for about a year, with a focus on what we could afford, but also with the expectation that our companies might not sell. And though we’d fallen in love with the Helia already, we knew that buying a new boat was above our budget allowance. So we actively started looking for a used Helia that had been cruising for a few years and was up for sale in Florida, the Caribbean or France.

But, also, we didn’t necessarily want to wait twelve to eighteen months to get our new boat, which is often what happens when you put down a deposit with a factory for a brand-new vessel. We wanted to buy a cruise-ready boat that we could sail away immediately once we’d freed ourselves up from work obligations.

Then, a buyer came forward in November 2014 and by February 2015, we had sold our companies. Both of them. Which freed up a lot more money in our budget for the boat we wanted to buy. But, even still, we were only in the market for used boats because, though money was less of a factor now, we were still fixated on the immediate timing: we wanted a boat we could step aboard and sail away right now.

Let’s just say we are not patient people.

 

turf to surf fountaine pajot helia 44 la rochelleThis is what our hard work has earned us. We are very lucky, I know.
5. So why buy a new boat?

A few things happened just as we actively got on the market for a used Helia, which resulted in us buying a brand-new boat against all our objections to buying a brand-new boat.

It boiled down to the reasons why we specifically wanted a used boat and not a new boat:

a. Value — It seemed silly to pay more for a new boat when we could buy a fairly new and beautiful used Helia for significantly less. Boats are like cars; the original owner takes the biggest hit when they sell.

b. Availability — We did not want to wait around for the time it would take for a boat to come out of the factory. Like I said, we’re impatient. We wanted to close the deal and sail away. NOW.

c. Pain-in-the-ass factor — Buying a new boat vs. a slightly used boat is like building a new house vs. buying a turn-key home. It can be a full-time job to research all the options you can have in your brand-new boat, not to mention the additional options available for installation once the boat has been launched. We were trying avoid turning this boat purchase into a full-time job. After all, we’d just given up our jobs and were not interested in another one.

Then, the craziest thing happened. While we were docked in St. Thomas, we started talking to Caribbean Multihulls in St. Martin about the used Helias they had for sale down there. And while we were considering the four different Helias that were on the market in St. Martin, it became clear that all our concerns were no longer an issue.

So here’s what happened:

First, Greece’s financial crisis came to a head and the value of the Euro plummeted, making the buying power of the dollar incredibly strong. And because Fountaine-Pajot is a French company, their boats are priced in Euros, so for those of us buying boats with dollars, we could suddenly get a lot more for our money. And yet a number of the used Helias for sale in St. Martin were priced in U.S. dollars. So we were now being presented with the crazy scenario that buying a brand-new Helia loaded with all the options would be about the same price as buying a used Helia with minimal options in St. Martin. Not to mention that we’d have to spend a fair bit of money to get any of these used Helias up to the specs we wanted. So in this incredibly rare case, buying a new boat suddenly became much more economical than buying a second-hand one.

Next, our broker informed us that a customer whose boat was scheduled for production in April had pulled out. Which meant we could put down a deposit for a brand new Helia in April and have it ready for us to sail away in July. Which is unheard of when it comes to brand-new boats. So, we gave it some thought, and turns out July was really perfect timing for us since we would both be traveling in June and July anyway.

So, the next thing we did was look closely at the array of options available from Fountaine-Pajot for the Helia and the choices weren’t as overwhelming as we thought. It’s not like we had millions of colors or models to choose from — in most cases, there were only two options to choose from for things like watermakers, generators, electronics, deck material, etc., so the amount of decision-making required didn’t seem all that daunting anymore.

It all seemed too good to be true, but we decided it was the universe trying to make this thing happen for us. So, we put down our deposit and started preparing for life on board the swankiest boat we could ever possibly imagine owning.

 

tasha turf to surf helia 44Well, hello, full-length mirror! Where have you been all my boating life?
6. So why not a Lagoon 450, Catana Bali, Leopard 45 or any of the other big name catamarans?

We looked at all of the comparable brands and models in the size and price range of the FP Helia and, in some cases, there were clear deal-breakers involved. But in other cases, it was less about the deal-breakers and more of a feeling in our gut when we stepped on board the boat.

My love for the Helia is based on the grin that spreads across my face when I step into the cockpit, as well as the ecstatic tingle I get when I imagine sailing her to faraway places. It’s a feeling that will be different for every individual and will be inspired by different boats; hence why there is so much choice in the market. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I’m just lucky that Ryan and I have always had the same gut reactions to boats. Well, apart from the Gunboat 55. I was all for it and willing to give up living space for speed. Ryan, on the other hand, would happily sacrifice 10 knots for an ice-maker, underwater lighting and a sub-woofer.

So, what were the deal-breakers?

This is a personal preference, but Ryan and I hate raised fly bridges, which both the Lagoon 450 and the Catana Bali have.

 

lagoon 450See that dude up there? That other dude is just visiting because he pities him. (Photo Credit: Nicolas Claris)

Though it’s true that the time spent on anchor on a circumnavigation outweighs the time spent sailing, we still love sailing and want a comfortable ride at the helm while underway. When the helm station is connected to the cockpit, you not only have more protection, but you’re also socially connected with the rest of the boat. We don’t like the idea of one of us being sat on our own, isolated up on top of the boat while underway, especially since most of our journeys will only have two of us on board.

The Leopards were the catamarans we had our eye on for a long time before we came across the Helia, and the Leopard 45 is certainly a popular cruising model in the charter industry. And if the Helia didn’t exist, I’m sure we would happily cruise around the world on a Leopard 45, as it has all the comforts we like, the size is right for a couple, and the helm station is connected to the cockpit rather than isolated on a fly bridge.

The choice of the Helia over the Leopard really came down to personal taste. Quite simply, we prefer the look and feel of the Helia over anything else in this range of catamarans.

Our experiences on Hideaway have taught us that there isn’t a perfect boat for all situations in general. But there are lots of perfect boats for lots of specific purposes, and preferences boil down to your priorities, your tastes and what you plan to do with the boat for the next five years.

And for us, this new Helia, Cheeky Monkey, is the perfect boat to take us around the world. It’s fast, it’s plush, it’s modern, it’s loaded with sports equipment, it has space for all our friends, and between Ryan’s upgraded Bose stereo, the blue underwater lighting and the ice-maker, we’re sure to bring the party with us wherever we go.

 

tasha ryan turf to surf fountaine pajot heliaToasting the purchase of Cheeky Monkey, which is now officially ours.

post-line-divide

In case you missed it…

tasha ryan turf to surf

I’m thrilled to have been listed by Boats and Outboards as one of their Top 20 Sailing Blogs, which includes a whole host of incredible blogs that I love reading myself.

So if you’re looking for some inspiration in the form of blogs, you should definitely visit this list and check out some of the other blogs: www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/advice/top-20-sailing-blogs/101

26 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Ric August 4, 2015, 11:09 pm

    Filled with insight, covered in overarch, wrapped up in details. A well written and complete explanation of your decision in this matter, built upon a stable base of the history of your adventure to this point. Your time at that writers seminar in Greece is showing. (not that you didn’t know what you were doing before)
    All that aside, I completely agree with your choice of boat. Someday I hope to hear that stereo. I have a special copy of Aldo Nova, Fantasy, I use to test out my Bose in the house. One question I do have is about a projector for “drive-in” dinghy night projected on the biggest sail in the port,,,,

    • Tasha August 5, 2015, 3:27 am

      Thanks so much for the compliment, Ric! And funny you should mention the drive-in projector on the sail… that was exactly one of Ryan’s latest mad and wonderful ideas he came up with. We are, in fact, shopping for a projector to do the job. Great (insane) minds think alike, I guess!

  • Mark Burkes August 5, 2015, 5:44 am

    Cracking blog Tash – as ever. Glad to see the blog a day is on track : ) But if they are all as informative and thorough, you’re going to have sore fingers by September!

    I just finished building a house (if you ever really finish such a project) and guess what I have in my living room? a ceiling mounted projector with an HD image thrown onto a 5 metre wall. Tell Ryan I’m going shopping for the blue lights this afternoon – if the rain stops : )

    • Tasha August 5, 2015, 5:48 am

      Ha! Our boat is our house on the water and your house is your boat on land, it sounds like! I’ll get Ryan to reach out to you so you can trade research on projectors. I’ll leave you to it…

      As for the blog a day… I started this the day before yesterday and fell asleep in the middle of writing it at 3:30 am, so that day got missed. It got finished the following day and posted, so I’m writing that day off because technically it was a 2-day post. I am already exhausted and it’s Day 5, so I’m working on strategies to provide short story snippets so I can get through this month working on the boat, writing AND sleeping as well. Not much sleeping going on so far.

      Glad you found it informative and thorough, though! My mission today is to write the shortest piece I can possibly write and get to bed at a reasonable hour 🙂

  • Mark Burkes August 5, 2015, 5:59 am

    I suggest a video blog on how to make a dark ‘n stormy.. Kill two birds with one stone : ) Blog’s looking and reading great! Can’t get the feed reader to recognise me though – probably me.. Enjoy.

    • Tasha August 6, 2015, 9:27 pm

      That’s a GREAT idea. In fact, we are working on the production of a You Tube channel, as we’ve got nothing better to do in our retirement than to entertain others. So I will run that video theme by my assistant (aka Office Bitch) Ryan Horsnail and see what he says. BTW, when are you coming on board?!

  • SV Gimme Shelter August 5, 2015, 8:57 am

    That’s a great point about sticking with the type of boat you need right now — although I can’t seem to convince Mary that we don’t need a cat anytime soon.
    SV Gimme Shelter recently posted…The Adler/Barbour Historical Preservation SocietyMy Profile

    • Tasha August 6, 2015, 9:25 pm

      Well maybe you just need a furry cat? We have two… I definitely recommend furry animals to distract women from shiny objects like large boats 😉

  • Jessica August 5, 2015, 10:11 am

    I’ve missed your posts so much! This one was amazing, hilarious, and very informative all at the same time. Plus the photos crack me up. I love the one of Ryan sitting in the master cabin, he looks like he’s ready to go into a business meeting. Plus it also looks like your master cabin has more space than our entire boat. Enjoy your Atlantic crossing, can’t wait to hear about all your adventures!
    Jessica recently posted…Hello, My Name is Daze Off, and I Have a Drug ProblemMy Profile

    • Tasha August 6, 2015, 9:24 pm

      I absolutely adore following your insane progress on the boat you’ve bought. Like I said, you two are totally badass! I miss you both and really hope that we can convince you to depart from your boat work for a week or two and come sailing on a passage with us. We would so love that! I’ll provide the Cafe Patron free of cost 😉 xx

  • Cheryl Geeting August 5, 2015, 1:40 pm

    How could one not LOVE your new boat?! Absolutely stunning!

    Anyway, it does seem that the timing of things worked out perfectly for you two … the boat was meant to be yours. How lucky for you that the boat was priced in Euros and someone had backed out of their spot in production!

    That’s one serious party boat … hope to sit in the cockpit with a cocktail someday!
    Cheryl Geeting recently posted…Loose EndsMy Profile

    • Tasha August 6, 2015, 9:23 pm

      Aww, thanks Cheryl! Cheeky Monkey is pretty stunning, and there is definitely something fateful about the way everything came together. Being fellow Catalina owners, I hope we can have you on board one day and show you what life is like on a catamaran!

  • Charlotte August 15, 2015, 12:56 am

    Your photo of the FULL LENGTH MIRROR is so compelling. Yes, there is a reason we are looking at cats when we buy again.

    • Tasha August 15, 2015, 4:54 am

      Ha! Yeah, I tried to fight Ryan for a monohull for a while, but the space! Oh, the space. I LOVE my full-length mirror and all that space to get away from each other on board — so many nooks and crannies 🙂

  • Lee Maunder August 15, 2015, 9:32 am

    When planning our escape from land 20 years ago, my (now ex-) husband and I stepped aboard and fell in love with our 36′ Solaris Sunstar catamaran. Cats were a new thing in the UK at that time and we couldn’t afford it but bought it anyway, leaving for the Caribbean with no cash to spare. We found work along the way and our two-year ‘sabbatical’ turned into life, though we went in different directions 5 years ago…..very amicably.

    Long story short (in case you’re yawning) my new honey and I stepped aboard a Helia 44′ two weeks ago in Virgin Gorda to visit the couple who had purchased it a year ago, selling their U.S. company to run a charter business from it. Above all the other beautiful/practical/desirable cats, the Helia has the edge….in spades! Hmmm…even above the Gunboat…..

    Hope to see you to hail sometime! Enjoy yourselves,
    Lee

    • Tasha August 16, 2015, 6:46 pm

      Lee,
      Thanks so much for sharing that story! I love how these little steps turn into such twisty turny paths… 🙂

      We absolutely love our Helia, and I think Ryan is wiping his brow with relief that I didn’t push for the pricier Gunboat! We’ll be heading for the Caribbean this winter, so come say hi if you see us out there!
      Tasha

  • Colin August 26, 2015, 4:01 pm

    Hi Tasha

    Finding this blog and the info is perfect timing for Lesley and I (my wife of 30 years) as we complete our Yacht Master training (UK). We have had motor yachts before but have also decided to take a 5 year or so sabbatical (OK early retirement) with a bit of string and canvass.

    Our own research has led us to the Helia 44 or perhaps if in a year or so there are some around, the Saba 50.

    I would be interested to know how storage works out on the Helia and with some sea miles under your belt your experience of sailing as a couple when handling the yacht. We like both models but are not sure if for 2 only most of the time, the Saba is a little adventurous.

    If you have AIS, it would be interesting to track your progress.

    Kind of wish we had taken the decision a little sooner but we are sure your blog will provide not only more enthusiasm but also welcome comments, advice and info.

    As they say. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning!

    • Jim September 19, 2016, 3:13 am

      Hi Colin.

      I found Tasha’s Vlog because I have a dream of owning a FP one day. There are a couple of vlogs out there with Helia, but nothing yet with a Saba 50. If you get one, PLEASE start a vlog as well so I can watch!! I’ll gladly subscribe.

      Thanks!

  • Chris Rypkema November 3, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Hi There, Read your blog. We are looking at a lightly used Helia 44 and really wonder about speed. How tight to the wind will the boat go and what kind of speeds should we expect in various wind speeds. How about off the wind using a gennaker? We really like the feel and atmosphere on the boat as well. Thanks in advance. Chris and Suzanne

  • pl December 2, 2015, 7:23 pm

    Have you checked Bavaria Open 40?

    • Tasha December 3, 2015, 7:03 pm

      I have! It’s the Nautitech, right? Looks like a lovely boat. We’ve bumped into a few cruisers on new Nautitechs.

  • Evan February 1, 2016, 2:15 am

    What broker dis you use? Do you recommend them?

    • Tasha February 9, 2016, 2:48 pm

      We used Caribbean Multihulls and I do recommend them. They have been really great in solving problems we’ve had with our post-factory outfitter. I’ve got a post coming up on that in detail next – stay tuned!

      Tasha

  • Jean-Charles Lopez February 1, 2016, 4:14 am

    Hi Tasha,
    First of all, thank you for all your videos on Youtube.
    I’m waiting for the delivery of my FP Hélia 44 on june 2016… and i would like to know if you have taken the “gennaker” option. Is this option necessary ? You seem to opt for a sail “parasailor” or “parasail” also. Do this sail replace the gennaker ? Are you satisfied ? Thank you for your return of experience.

  • Peter Dunham May 22, 2016, 5:36 am

    Thanks for the great article.

    My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a cat after a decade of monohull sailing, to become liveaboards. The FP looks fabulous but I think we have found a 1 yr old, high spec Nautitech open 40, exciting times.

    Loving the youtube channel and stories here, good luck for the future.

  • Roland Reyes December 2, 2016, 11:56 am

    Howdy Tasha,
    I’m currently learning how to sail and researching on a Macgregor 26M which is a tow able power/sailboat. Were a family of four living in LA. You’re story is very inspirational. Someday I can see my family in a Helia 44 or a Leopard 45 crossing the Pacific to visit my family in the Philippines. Is Ryan’s ice maker and the Auto Pilot working now?

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