Yacht Class magazine, Christophe Varène

Even if most of the catamarans are designed to sail under a warm, bright sunshine, sometimes the conditions of our sea trials can also be closer to those in the polar zones than in the Caribbean. Late January in La Rochelle, the thermometer indicated – 2°C on board the first Bali 4.4, a biting sensation accentuated by a light breeze oscillating between 10 and 15 knots. With somewhat numb fingers, the notion of easy handling took on its full meaning. Thus, leaving the port, with frozen fender knots, then hoisting the sails, with blocks of ice falling from the folds, were carried out from the flybridge, which houses the helm station and all the halyards and sheets, around the three winches. After leaving the exit channel with the help of engines – the two 57 hp Yanmar (optional configuration) propelled the Bali 4.4 at nearly 7 knots, for 2 200 rpm and 20 knots of apparent headwind – this cruising catamaran allowed to enjoy, under Code 0, a cruising speed of between 7 and 8 knots, and even 9 knots when borne away a bit. To sail closer to the wind, the furling solent was set up: it makes tacking easier when the Code 0 requires to be furled and unfurled to go from one side to the other, but impacts performance.

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