Elba 45

The right compromise between performance and comfort

After seven years in production - and 259 units built - the Hélia 44 is stepping down, to be replaced by the New 45, whose name will be announced early September. We carried a preview test out on the occasion of the first very sail of this eagerly-awaited new model.

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Our rendezvous was scheduled on the Troia peninsula, south-east of Lisbon. In early summer, conditions here are most often quite windy - the famous Portuguese trade winds. But we were going to have to be satisfied with a few puffs of northerly breeze... which in the end turned out to suit the New 45 quite well. A pleasant surprise really, because this new baby is rather chubby: 14 tons as opposed to the 10.8 of the Helia 44. We’re not very far off the displacement of the Saba 50 - 15.7 t. The sail area logically follows this increase: upwind, it goes from 115 m² (1,240 sq ft) on the Hélia to 124 m² (1,335 sq ft). The Berret-Racoupeau team of naval architects and the yard's design office obviously took into account the wishes of customers in the market for a 45-foot catamaran intended for long-distance cruising as well as charter: to have maximum comfort. This means more volume - and therefore more material - and additional equipment. Hence a higher displacement. The architects' design feat is to have managed to maintain fluid and harmonious lines on this New 45: thanks to small details such as the very slender bimini, the skillfully cut side windows and the metallic grey trim on...

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