Boat Review Date: November 2010
Author: Mike Brown
Catamarans generally need plenty of breeze to give stimulating sailing, conditions we did not have on the review day, but probably the majority of people who buy them are more interested in their other qualities than in stimulation. Space and steadiness are qualities that stand out.
The Fusion 40 has plenty of both. 7.2m of beam to go with 12.2m of length provide a huge platform, and the deck area and hull volumes have been well used. As for steadiness: my wife is reluctant to get on board sailing monohulls – they are far ‘too tippy’ – and I suspect plenty of other spouses feel the same. Catamarans are the cruising craft of choice for a great many serious, long-term cruising folk.
Fusions have been built purely as power cruisers, many powered by the same twin 30hp Yanmar diesels of the review boat. This power is far from puny, being good for 9.5 knots, and giving great range from the 400L tank. The saildrive units have sophisticated Gori reversible pitch propellers that can fully feather, deliver full thrust astern, and can be set for overdrive when cruising. They would be ideal for motor sailing in head winds – conditions cruising cats do not relish.
The cockpit is naturally vast, and its endearing cruising quality is that it is on the same level as the saloon. In power cruiser style this doubles the social space, allowing easy passage between the two areas through the wide doors.
The locally built Fusions are all custom-built meaning that layout is whatever you want it to be, and one of the crucial buyer decisions is where to put the galley. The most popular location for combined Rottnest-cruising boats is in the saloon rather than in the starboard hull: it locates the work centre near the social centre. This is also the spacious choice, giving the cook all the elbowroom in the world. Illustrating the boat’s stability the stove does not sit in gimbals, its three-burner cook top being located above a snugly built-in gas oven.
The fridge and freezer are the ideal kind for sea going, using drawers instead of doors. There are plenty of other drawers housing crockery and the like, and plenty of preparation area.
The saloon seats its occupants on a monster, super comfortable settee. Unlike the settees of monohulls, you can see out of the windows while you sit in it. Window area is vast, and a good share of can be opened for ventilation. Electronics are opposite the settee on the after bulkhead; the main Raymar screen pivots, giving the option of viewing through the window from the helm position.
There are permanent berths for six, and there is no doubt where the owner lives: the whole of the port hull is devoted to one couple. The sleeping cabin forward is very spacious because the queen size bed occupies bridge deck space, leaving the hull volume clear and available for wardrobes and people movement.
At the after end of the hull is probably the biggest bathroom I have seen on a boat anywhere near this size, and between the two compartments part of the alley space is given over to the washing machine.
The inhabitants of the starboard hull are tourist class rather than steerage. The two double cabins and the bathroom are smaller, certainly, but far from cramped. And like the rest of the boat all surfaces are easily cleaned, reducing the time needed for housekeeping.
Most time of course will be spent on deck. The cockpit can take a dozen or more without crowding, and there is side and foredeck area for at least that number again. The cockpit has an upholstered surface, and any number of locker tops to serve as seats.
The Fusion’s rig is the straightforward set-up typical of cats, with most of the working area in the main. The main has a lazy bag, and the self-tacking jib and screecher are on furlers. All control lines lead aft, so it is only necessary to send someone forward for raising and dropping the main. It can still be a single-handed operation, because the Fusion has an autopilot.
Catamarans can have restricted forward vision for the helmsman, but that is not the case with this one. Sitting, the view through windows is good, or you can stand with your head through a hatch in the hardtop. Access to electronic information is good too, with a trio of sailing instruments by the helm as well as the GPS and sounder on the main screen in the saloon.
Cruising boats need tenders, of course, and the gantry across the stern can simply be set up to operate as davits. Boarding platforms are built-in.
A really endearing cruising feature is the shallow draught: just 0.8m. And for big tidal areas like the Kimberley, you can dry out on a beach without falling over.
Price from $750,000
Length overall 12.2m
Displacement, loaded 5.75T
Sail area, main and jib 89sqm
Fuel capacity 400L
Fresh water 800L
Motors 2 x 30hp Yanmar Saildrives