|The Leopard 44, designed by Morelli & Melvin offers more performance in a better looking package|
|Nice proportions on the Nautitech 441|
|Efficient hulls, long and shallow keels and a short but wide rig. Most new cats incorporate a square-top mainsail instead of the one shown in the drawing.|
|N441 with square-top main sail|
With all that said, let's start with the hulls of the Nautitech 441. If you visit the web sites for the Lagoon and Leopard boats you'll get a sense of how much bigger they are than the Nautitech. For the way we cruise, just the two of us with occasional guests, this boat has more than enough space. These hulls are relatively narrow compared with the other boats which translates to less drag. The Leopard hulls incorporate substantial chines above the wateline, while the Lagoon's hull are just plain beamy. These factors indicate that the 441 should be the better performer. All three boats have shallow fixed keels, so none will be particularly fast upwind, but that's not what these boats are about. They all have fairly large fuel capacity, over 100 gallons in the 441 and 170 gallons in the Lagoon, so my guess is that the serious upwind work will be done mostly under power. The shoal keels will enable the 441 to venture into lots of places where deeper boats can't go, and also protect the sail drives from harm, but they don't help much in getting the boat upwind.
The deck plan shows that not only are the hulls significantly narrower than the other boats, but there is less deck area and the deck house is relatively smaller as well. I like the wide open spaces on deck. Also notice that the anchor is stored on the port bow. I would prefer to see it mounted on a bow-plank along the centerline of the boat. The helmsman's perch is on the port side of the deck house and elevated so the driver can see over the top of the cabin. The photos show a hardtop over this area, I'd like to have a windscreen as well. It will be a cold helmsman that stands the midnight watch on this boat in anything less than balmy weather. The trade-off is much better visibility compared to helm stations located in the cockpit or at the aft end of each hull. The sail controls are also clustered in this area. This can be a good thing for the shorthanded crew, but it can make for a very busy helmsman at times and I question the ergonomics of this arrangement. Notice the locations of the jib sheet winches on the cabintop. There is a pair of winches at the aft end of the cockpit for spinnaker sheets. The drawing shows a mainsheet winch also located there, but I think it has been moved to the cabintop along with the other sheet winches.
|Unique deck arrangement lines on the N441|
|The helm station is set up with instruments and sail controls. A dodger would be a welcome addition|
|Condo-like accommodations in fairly slender hulls|
The main cabin works really well. The galley is large and the sinks, with lots of counter space, are located along the centerline of the boat. This makes them accessible from both sides, making the galley seem bigger than it already is. Opposite the galley is a large nav station with a large desk and plenty of room for instruments and all the other items I like to have handy when I'm navigating. The forward part of the cabin is dedicated to a large wrap-around dinette that incorporates a circular coffee table.
|Lots of hatches and light colored wood adds to the sense of spaciousness|
There has been a significant migration of sailors from monohulls to multi's in recent years and it's not hard to understand why. Vast amounts of living space, sailing flat instead of heeled, more speed, and shoal draft all add to the appeal of catamarans. I think it's worthwhile to give these boats a look if you searching for a family style cruising boat.