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Najad 440 AC

2007 December 12
December 2007

Family cruiser

This new Najad model was designed by Judel/Vrolijk and uses the same hull as its center-cockpit 440 model. What I find interesting about this boat is that the brochure promotes the boat as a club racer and family cruising boat. The cover picture of the boat shows it hard on the wind with six men sitting on the rail. Perhaps this is done to draw attention to the fact that the new model will be faster than the center-cockpit model. There is no question that armed with a friendly PHRF rating this new boat could be fun to race if you lived in an area with plenty of breeze.

Judel/Vrolijk is one of the most successful racing yacht design firms working today and are perhaps best known for its work with the Alinghi America's Cup team. There is no question that this design group can produce a stellar hull design. The 440 AC has a D/L of 220 and a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 34 percent. The L/B is 3.34. As you would assume given the D/L there is considerable rocker to the hull profile and the forefoot knuckle is well below the DWL. The ends are short to maximize sailing length and the stern is reasonably broad. Draft with the standard bulb/fin keel is 6 feet, 9 inches, but Najad will offer two additional draft options with keels drawing 6 feet, 2 inches and 7 feet, 9 inches. The spade rudder is big and well aft where it will help the 440 track nicely.

The interior is laid out with three staterooms, but Najad may offer a two-stateroom model that would add a large cockpit locker where one of the aft staterooms is on this layout. The galley is on the small side for a 44-foot boat. Of course if you eliminate one of those aft staterooms, as Najad is proposing, you could wrap the galley around to the companionway and that would certainly make a very nice galley. There is no area devoted to a nav station. The dinette looks tight and there are chairs to port rather than another settee. I suppose the table between the chairs is intended to double as a chart table. The roomiest component in this layout is that amidships head. There is a lot of locker space in this design and that's good. I like having the large wet locker located in that amidships head. If I were taking off wet foul weather gear in that head I'd appreciate the room.

The rig is not huge. The SA/D is only 16.9 and that is using the figures for working jib and mainsail. So you can assume the mainsail area includes roach and the working jib has an LP greater than 100 percent. But over the years I have come to appreciate efficient, short-rigged boats. Reefing is never much fun, so if you can just hang on, flatten the sails and carry on without needing a reef for control or safety, then you have a good boat. Given how many boats I see motoring these days in winds below 8 knots I wonder what is the use of light air boat speed for the typical cruiser. My own boat is a bit of an oinker in the light stuff but I can hang on and tough it out in a breeze without needing to reef. Note the running backstay shown on this rig.

The 440 AC has a big cockpit that opens to the transom swim step. I like this deck layout. I'm confused that the sailplan shows two mainsheets, one forward of the companionway and one adjacent to the twin wheels aft. The photos of the boat show it sailing with one forward traveler so I'll assume that's the way it is. The backstay is on centerline and bisects the transom opening but I like this. It gives you something to easily grab when you come up to the boat in your dinghy. It's also very convenient for men standing on the swim step checking the wake. The windshield is a signature Najad component and for cruisers it makes a lot of sense. I also find it adds visual interest to the design.