By Emmanuel Van Deth, Multihull Mag, Editor in chief & Boris Compagnon, Sales director

La Rochelle, february 2022

The all-new BALI 4.4, a catamaran that’s more than ever dedicated to comfort and family time, features all the attributes of the BALI DNA – the BALI door, the opening lateral bay windows, the integral deck, the large chilled capacity, the flybridge, and a large aft platform with bench seat and storage locker. As a bonus, a usable area of 87.9m², unique for a model of this size.

We set out from the port of La Rochelle with a north-easterly wind of 8 to 15 knots, and a very light chop.
The very early-season conditions weren’t that great: freezing temperatures, thick fog and frost… but inside, with the BALI door closed, the temperature in the saloon/ galley area was much more agreeable. We were comfortably installed inside, but with the same sense ofspace and openness.

Departure

“Volunteers were, however, required to step out onto the frosty deck to try and release our stiff-asa-board mooring lines. And once clear of the dock,
retrieving the fenders wasn’t so easy either – frozen clove hitches are a nuisance too. We managed to avoid getting wet, but it was a close call.” explains Emmanuel Van Deth, journalist.
Coming out of the Chenal des Minimes channel under engine, we were making about 7 knots at 2,150 rpm. The boat was silent and ready to sail. Despite the cold, the halyards and sheets manage to run over their respective sheaves, round the winches and through the clutches. The deck layout remains perfectly functional with fluid circulation everywhere on board “Underfoot, the composite sandwich is very stiff, proof of careful and generously sampled construction”, recounts Emmanuel.
Up on the flybridge, accessible from both sides, manoeuvring is simple: everything happens from the helm station, which is offset to port, and features a comfortable seat. The rest of the flybridge is fully equipped, with the height of the boom lowered, making the lazy bag easily accessible, and the mainsail area larger. Up front, the hard deck is entirely coveredvwith sunbeds, all we need do is wait for somevbetter weather to enjoy them. Aft, av large bench seat, the sugarscoops and the hydraulic platform.

Under sail

We hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the Code 0,vthen proceeded to trim the traveller and the sheets.vWith the wind oscillating between 8 and 15 knots on the beam, our boatspeed was between 7 and 8 knots with a few peaks at 9 knots during little gusts. When the big headsail is trimmed just right, with all its telltales fluttering nicely horizontal, you can clearly feel the Bali’s power and seakindliness. To get closer to the wind, we rolled up the Code 0, and unfurled the self-tacking solent. We weren’t in the ideal conditions for a comfortable cruising catamaran for sailing 100% under sail – the engines (or one of the pair) were there to help us maintain our course.

Interior space

During most of our day of sailing, we stayed warm inside; “The perfect view over the water allowing us to keep a close watch and the autopilot remote control did the rest..” explained Emmanuel. We even got to taste some oysters – the famous Marennes-Oléron, of course – while on a heading towards the island of Ile d’Aix. We really liked the “Elegance” finish on the BALI 4.4, with its two club chairs, bar and leather finish on the handles. Boris Compagnon, sales manager, did us proud in the L-shaped galley with plentiful storage and worktops, making us a wonderful lunch with a Catalan flavour… and let’s not forget the galley’s XXL-sized refrigerator! Heading back to harbour at the end of the day, the fog finally deigned to lift, giving way to bright sunlight. It was time check out the open space feature, by opening the bay windows, the forward door and also the BALI door. The entire nacelle is then open to the rear, while the door at the front leads directly to the foredeck. The circulation is thus very fluid, and the natural ventilation particularly effective. We can finally make the most of the forward cockpit and the sun loungers!

“Far from being reserved for tropical or summer use, the Bali concept has shown us that it can also be used in much less favourable climates. It comes as no surprise to hear that the range is proving to be a big hit in Scandinavian countries…” affirmed Emmanuel.

Multihulls World