The Fountaine Pajot MY4.S is a boat specifically designed for a cruising couple that wants to cruise in the 20-knot realm. With her low bridge clearance of 12.4’ (3.78 m), she’s ideal for the canals of Europe and certainly the North American Great Loop.
Fountaine Pajot is having an exclusive showcasing of their entire Motor Yacht range in La Rochelle, France: May 12-14, 2022. Attendees can sign up for private sea trials and a special tour of their La Rochelle shipyard. For more information, click here...
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|0 to 30||10 seconds (0 to 20)|
|Load||2 persons; 212 gal. fuel; 59 gal. water; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||72 deg.; 90 humid.; winds: 20-25; seas: 4-6'|
2 x 250-hp Yanmar 4LV
2 x 150-hp Yanmar 4LV
2 x 250-hp Yanmar 4LV
Fountaine Pajot MY4.S: A Cruising Couple’s Catamaran
Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
More than 20 years ago, Fountaine Pajot launched its first trawler catamaran. Ten years ago, the Fountaine Pajot Motor Yachts brand was launched, which gave rise to the MY 37, the MY 40 and the MY 44. However, these yachts weren’t being compared fairly to monohulls of similar size. The MY37 offered the volume of a 40- to 45-foot (12.19 m to 13.72 m) monohull, the MY40 was more like a motoryacht of 50-55' (15.24 m to 16.76 m) and on and on. So, a name change was in order. The MY40 became the MY5, the MY44 became the MY6 and this test boat with an LOA of 36.1’ (11 m) is the MY4.S. Presumably, “S” is for Sedan.
The Fountaine Pajot MY4.S is a boat specifically designed for a cruising couple that wants to cruise in the 20-knot realm. Not 30, and certainly not spend all day at a 6-knot trawler speed either. With her low bridge clearance of 12.4’ (3.78 m) thanks to her not having a flying bridge, and no plans to add one, she’s ideal for the canals of Europe and certainly the North American Great Loop.
Major Features (Including Distinguishing Features)
- Electric Sunroof
- 136.97-gallon (518.5 L) total storage in galley
- 196.98 sq ft (18.3 sq m) interior main deck living area
- 96.88 sq ft (9 sq m) owner’s cabin
- Convertible cockpit seating
- Wide side decks
- Top speed over 20 knots
- Excellent rough water handling
- Companion seating at helm
With the twin 250-hp Yanmar diesels spun up to 3800 RPM, our speed topped out at 21.4 knots. Best cruise came in at 14.5 knots and 2800 RPM. At that speed, the 12.2 GPH fuel burn translated into 1.2 NMPG and range of 339.9 nautical miles, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat's 316-gallon (1,196 L) total fuel capacity. In acceleration tests, we reached 20 mph in 10 seconds flat in 4-6’ seas with the occasional 7’.
Running in the “less than ideal” conditions of our test day gave us some nice opportunities to really get the feel for what this boat is capable of. And she’s well suited for snotty conditions. Once you get the hang of how this yacht handles, it's a lot of fun and she has some interesting personality traits. For example, running in head seas at about 13-14 knots, there's a pocket of air that gets underneath the hull and it has a bit of a sneeze effect as we come down on the waves. And I can create that at will. Just slow down and, as the bow drops, she’ll sneeze and spray over the front of the boat. But if you add power and get her up to around 18 knots, she’ll start slicing through these waves and things smooth out considerably. That’s her sweet spot, at least in these conditions. Slowing down is not necessarily the proper course of action in heavy seas.
Now with following seas, the opposite is true. You want that pocket of air to work with the molded-in spray rails to cushion and keep from stuffing the bows and bring her up and over the back side of each wave. She can keep up a good speed and slice right through the waves. She will have the stern get pushed around a bit so be prepared to get more aggressive on the steering, but it’s a much smoother ride.
These are wetter but entirely more stable. The waves hit the high topsides and throw spray into the wind and on the boat. It’s simple physics and it is what it is. The point is, we were out testing this boat and got full speed numbers in rotten conditions when others were running back into the inlet for cover. That speaks volumes about this boat and why I love cats so much.
Power choices for the MY4.S are twin 150 hp or 250 hp. This boat is powered by twin 250-hp Yanmar 4LV engines. The engine compartments are small but that's to be expected in a catamaran of this size. Everything is still orderly and easy to get to. Both port and starboard compartments are largely identical. The main difference is that the port side has an inverter and hot water heater while the starboard has the 8kW generator. Behind and under the aft deck are the running gear. The starboard side also has the hydraulics for the swim platform.
The full-beam swim platform is hydraulic. With a 37” (93.98 cm) depth and a lift capacity of 551 lbs. (250 kg) it can be used for launching a RIB or PWC. There's a 3” (7.62 cm) toe rail at the trailing edge that, along with a 27” (68.58 cm) high grab rail along the transom, adds a measure of safety. To the starboard side, there’s a reboarding ladder. It’s a four-step model and it includes high side rails to aid in reboarding.
The cockpit is accessed from stairs to both port and starboard. Because the cockpit sofa is offset to port, there’s a narrower 17” (43.18 cm) entry to that side as opposed to the 28” (71.12 cm) entry to starboard. The starboard side also has an electric grill alongside.
Seating consists of an 8’7” (2.61 m) U-shaped sofa that will wrap around an optional table. We can convert the seating into chaise lounges or a double-wide sunpad. The cockpit area is surprisingly roomy at 8’6” (2.59 m) x full beam, plus there's a 6’8" (2.03 m) high overhead. At the trailing edge, there’s an optional shade that goes to the back of the seating. As we tested on a rainy South Florida day, we can speak from experience that it keeps this whole area dry.
As we make our way up the side decks, there are three 12” (30.48 cm) high steps but that gives us good headroom down below so it's a fair trade off. There’s a comfortable 24” (60.96 cm) wide walkway, plus Fountaine Pajot added a 30” (76.20 cm) grab rail to the cabin side. The side rail height exceeds ABYC standards at 28” (71.12 cm). There are three 12” (30.48 cm) cleats to each side and a Quick windlass is fully forward.
There’s another social zone in the bow with sunpads measuring 97” (249.38 cm) wide and each of the chaise lounges is 77” (195.58 cm) long. They can either lay flat or ratchet up into the chaise positions. A teak assembly with beverage holders is in between. A sunshade can be added to the entire bow area.
When moving to the interior, the sliding doors open three ways -- as a single, double-wide to port or a double-wide to starboard. With the doors slid to starboard, there is the advantage of blending the serving area of the galley with the cockpit deck much more seamlessly. With the doors slid to port, the seating areas are blended and the gathering areas are much larger. That will provide an opening of 69” (175.26 cm), 37” (93.98 cm) at its narrowest right at the aft corner of the salon bench.
As we step inside, there’s a roomy interior with 6’10” (2.08 m) high headroom. There’s plenty of natural light coming in from all the 32” (81.28 cm) high windows surrounding the entire space. Seating starts with a 68” (172.72 cm) bench over on the starboard side and then it wraps around to a 41” (104.14 cm) bench. This is all wrapping around a table that is expandable with two leafs. It’s on a high/low pedestal so that it can drop for conversion into another berth.
Across to port is the galley area. There’s a double basin stainless steel sink, a two-burner electric stove and plenty of open counter space for food prep. Storage is seemingly everywhere and that’s a theme that’s carried throughout the boat. Because this is a cat, there are three huge storage compartments even in the deck. So this is a boat that can spend extended periods of time away from the dock.
Missing from the galley equation is a microwave, but that’s because this owner didn’t request one. There’s a refrigerator/freezer below the counter and forward. A TV goes on top of the counter, but a drop-down version would be preferred to one that doesn’t permanently disrupt the view out the window.
Climate control is hardly a concern on the MY4.S as there’s a 28,000 BTU air conditioning system countering any greenhouse effect of the 360-degrees of glass. If fresh air is desired, just open the side portlights and push a button to roll back the 80” x 65” (203.2 cm x 165.1 cm) sunroof. And of course, there are the aft doors. All of this combined will ventilate the whole deck quite sufficiently.
It’s all About Choices
One thing we can't help but notice is that Fountaine Pajot went the extra effort to maintain neutrality regarding the fit and finish. There are whites, beiges, earth tones… they left it up to the owner of the boat to bring in their own colors because that's a personal choice as you make your way around the world.
The MY4.S is offered as either a three-stateroom/two-head yacht or a four-stateroom/two-head yacht.
Our test boat is the three-stateroom version with the master on the port side. It can be closed off with a sliding door at the 23” (58.42 cm) wide companionway stairs. The berth is aft in a roomy stateroom with 6’4” (1.93 m) headroom. Hullside windows have two opening portlights. A storage cubby is to the starboard side and there's additional storage underneath the 78” x 63” (198.12 cm x 160.02 cm) berth.
Moving forward, there's a 44” (111.76 cm) loveseat just underneath the natural light from a hullside window with an integrated portlight for ventilation. This sits directly across from the companionway stairs. It abuts a hanging locker that's across from a full-length mirror mounted to the open sliding companionway door.
Just forward, there's a doorway leading into a storage area just before the head compartment. This space can be optioned out for a laundry area with a combination washer dryer. The doorway leading into this storage area is part of a structural bulkhead, so in the four-stateroom version, this is the doorway to the optional fourth stateroom. The loveseat area then becomes the head.
In this layout, the head is forward. There’s a sink opposite the electric flush toilet. The walk-in shower is fully forward.
Two more staterooms are to the starboard hull. The VIP is aft with a 79” x 62” (200.66 cm x 157.48 cm) berth mounted along the keel that goes out to the width of the hull. There's a hullside window with two opening portlights and a curtain pulls across for privacy. There's a hanging locker just forward providing the storage.
Moving forward the head is next. It’s a shared head as well as a day head. It has an opening portlight for ventilation and an electric flush toilet. The fiberglass sink has storage underneath. Headroom in this compartment is 6’8” (2.03 m). Directly across from the head is a refrigerator/freezer with four compartments, the top one being a freezer.
Fully forward is the guest stateroom with an overhead clearance at the entrance of 6’3” (1.9 m). This has more of a trapezoidal design that narrows at the front, so its average measurements are 79” x 29” (200.66 cm x 73.66 cm). There's another hullside window with a single opening portlight and a curtain that slides across for privacy. There's a hanging locker and storage alongside the berth. Overhead is a hatch providing more natural light and it can be closed off with a privacy shade.
The helm features double-wide seats with two individual flip bolsters. The console starts with a Garmin VHF, but there's no clip to hang it on, seemingly because the owner hasn’t decided on its location. Right on the side of the main display would be a good spot where it would be easily viewed. The workhorse of the panel is the 12” (30.48 cm) multi-function display. Not only is it delivering the nav, sonar, radar, engine display, etc., but it also interacts with the Scheiber Touchscreen that allows controllability of the vessel’s switching and tank monitoring. So we have that on a separate screen below the Garmin and it’s on the larger screen as well.
The Garmin autopilot is just underneath. The steering wheel is mounted to a fixed base. Interestingly enough, there’s also a switch to have the AIS set to transmit the vessel’s position or be in silent mode. The Yanmar display is just above the wheel.
The engine controls are to the left-hand side, close to the side cabinet. At first glance, seemingly too close, but once underway it became quite comfortable to rest the hand on the side console and manipulate the sticks, or if in sync mode, the stick. At the top of the panel, there’s a light on a gooseneck that switches from white to red. To the other side is the joystick for the bow thruster. Because the props are so far apart, the maneuverability of this yacht is outstanding. I barely touched this control when threading my way out of a very tight docking.
While we have switching for all the electrical functions on the MFD screen, we still need mechanical switching for some things needed right away, such as the horn and the windshield wipers. Those switches are located above the windshield and to the left.
Options to Consider
- Bimini for cockpit: $2,998
- Exterior window blinds for salon: $2,056
- Electrical sliding blind & roof: $30,902
- Sun awning on foredeck: $2,953
- Cockpit table: $2,496
- Hand rails on fore deck accesses: $392
- Hull exterior decoration: $8,101
- Natural teak floor on transoms & cockpit: $17,786
- Synthetic teak floor on transoms & cockpit: $13,750
- Anchor locker & cockpit fresh water outlet: $506
- GARMIN Pack 2 : Autopilot, VHF, AIS, backward camera & Garmin 8412: $18,125
$560,000 USD base price
There’s a lot to like in the MY4.S at the dock and certainly underway. As a cruising couple’s boat, she’s well suited for extended times away from the dock as she has storage seemingly everywhere. The 20-knot speed is a sweet spot of cruisability for the distance crowd. Slower will get more distance and loiter time but there’s little need for speeding faster to those distant locations. It’s a nice mix of form, function and good looks. Fountaine Pajot should be proud of this yacht.