Offering space and a comfortable interior while keeping a cat light enough to perform is a tough brief. Does the Nautitech 44 Open deliver, asks François Tregouet?

Product Overview


Nautitech 44 Open review: space and performance?

Price as reviewed:

£602,464.00 (As tested ex VAT)

It’s been more than six years since the Nautitech yard in Rochefort launched an entirely new design, but this Nautitech 44 Open marks the company’s return to the forefront of the multihull scene.

It shares the Open layout of Nautitech’s past models, but embodies the brand’s new strategy to address owner-operators rather than the charter market. We were able to judge the concept during an early sea trial on the Bay of Biscay.

The Nautitech 44 Open was developed in just 14 months during the middle of the pandemic and owes a great deal to the dozen owners and dealers consulted to define their ‘ideal’ catamaran. The feedback from this working party convinced the yard to focus on cruising owners and to go for a more performance-oriented design than the market average.

Marc Lombard’s design team has succeeded in expressing this externally by using fine bows, a narrow waterline and controlled volumes. The line of hull windows is more tapered than in the past, and the nacelle is less pronounced and voluminous than typical production cruising cats.

Nautitech’s Open concept, which was initiated nearly 10 years ago on the Nautitech 40 Open, allows the length to be contained by merging the interior and exterior into a single volume. So the true saloon is located outside, protected by a long, rigid bimini and coachroof windows that extend beyond the sliding bay window. Not splitting the saloon/cockpit function saves space – and weight, which is crucial on a multihull, especially at this size.

Good performance, a covered saloon. Photo: MULTImedia


The chart table and L-shaped bench seat on the port side, and the galley to starboard, are thus able to benefit from the entire interior space. Facing forward, the chart table is a proper indoor navstation, while the bench seat can be transformed into a watch-keeper’s berth. Strategically positioned between control screens and cockpit winches, it will be ideal for night passages.

The galley benefits from a large 144lt fridge and optional 75lt freezer, anticipating the demands of owners wishing to sail with complete self-sufficiency wherever possible. Designer Christophe Chedal-Anglay, known for his work on the Gunboat 68, has incorporated a clever bar unit in the centre of this living space, which works very well to distribute guests, and naturally becomes a focal point for discussions.

Aft helms remain key elements of the Open concept. Photo: MULTImedia

In the three-cabin version we sailed, reflecting the emphasis on owner-sailors rather than the charter market, the port hull is dedicated to the owner’s cabin with aft double berth, separate heads and large washbasin and shower room forward.

On the starboard side double cabins forward and aft are separated by heads and washroom spaces – the yard preferring to offer more volume to a heads and shower/washbasin area on one side instead of duplicating identical bathrooms.

Photo: MULTImedia

A ‘SmartRoom’ concept allows for a forward cabin to be fitted out to suit a choice of uses: office, dressing room, technical room, workshop or stowage.

On deck, Nautitech remains faithful to its double aft helm stations which are protected from the sun by two small biminis. They remain exposed to the apparent wind and spray, but the view of the sails is excellent and the view forward is better than you might think. The blind spots forward are very small – apart from when the removable cockpit enclosures are in place, which will likely only be in port or at anchor – and a step to the side immediately remedies this.

A central bar area divides saloon and desk/chart table, and gives the interior a social heart. Photo: Nautitech

When manoeuvring in marinas, a camera mounted under the radar antenna and pointing towards the bows, gives the helmsman an accurate and useful picture of the distances available.

Nautitech continues to improve the comfort, design and ergonomics around the aft helm set up. The winches are within easy reach, and well separated from the lounging area, and the moulded dash binnacle elegantly accommodates all the necessary elements (engine controls, plotter, repeaters, etc.).

Access to the deck to go forward, to take care of the anchor or lower the gennaker, is a formality thanks to the two teak steps and the handrails integrated into the coachroof and around the deck.

The main saloon is outside aft, but there’s also a dinette inside. Photo: MULTImedia

Handy performance

The sporty first impression that the fine bow sections give is confirmed once at sea, where they are also noticeably dry. Nautitech has managed to keep the Open 44 to the designed light displacement of 10.9 tonnes. However, the standard configuration with a self-tacking jib giving 110m² sail area proved to be a minimum in the 10 to 12 knots of cold wind we encountered.

Narrower hulls than many of today’s cruising cats, but still plenty of comfort. Photo: MULTImedia

I’d have liked to have tried the overlapping genoa, which increases the sail area to 133m². Once the Code 0 was unfurled, however, the boat came to life. We reached 8.4 knots at 55° to the apparent wind in only 12.8 knots of breeze. Of course, if you bear away a little, the pace becomes even faster, and we regularly exceeded 10 knots at 110° to the wind.

The extensive design resources used for the first time, with three digital models tested in virtual reality, have clearly had an effect. The helm is direct and offers just the right amount of feedback to steer accurately but without too much effort. The new hexagonal shape of the Goïot steering wheels quickly overcame our conservatism, as their shape allows an easy understanding of their degree of rotation. Switching from one side to the other without rushing to get the best angle of vision on the telltales is straightforward, as the boat is so stable.

There was no slamming when going through waves thanks to good speed under sail and a comfortable bridgedeck clearance. And when returning to port, powered by the two optional 50hp engines (30hp as standard), the Nautitech made 7 knots at 2,000rpm. French tradition dictated that we would be home in time for lunch!

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The non-slip surface lacks a bit of texture to offer good grip in wet weather, but this is one of the only minor niggles we found with this well-founded Nautitech. The ‘Open’ concept involves a smaller coachroof but, conversely, a very large exterior saloon. And in this context we can say that the 44 Open keeps its promise to improve the comfort-performance compromise, a factor cherished by the brand. The abolition of the inside-outside boundary serves to limit displacement and help deliver attractive performance. That lack of boundary is underlined by the continuity of the lighting between the two areas, while inside, the quality of the finish has improved and the layout is intelligent. With its smart positioning between industrial yards which are very influenced by the charter market, and specialists with more radical (and expensive) choices, Nautitech has created a ‘sweet spot’ with this new model, which will appeal to many multihull enthusiasts.


LOA:13.30m / 43ft 8in
Beam:7.36m / 24ft 1in
Draught:1.45m / 4ft 9in
Light Displacement:10,900kg / 24,035lb
Engines:2 x 30hp Volvo Penta
Diesel:2 x 250lt / 2 x 66gal
Fresh Water:2 x 300lt / 2 x 79gal
Berth:4 to 8
Mainsail:75m² / 807ft2
Self-tacking jib:30m² / 323ft2
Genoa:53m² / 570ft2
Gennaker:98m² / 1,055ft2
Architect:Marc Lombard
Designer:Christophe Chedal Anglay
Standard price:€539,280 ex VAT