2010 April 12


Designed by Persak and Wurmfeld, the new e44 will be built by Lyman-Morse up in Maine, so you can rest assured we are looking at a very high-quality boat here. The basic package, if you add some extra LOA for overhangs, is not far off the Farr-designed Beneteau First 40. Meaning they are similar boats in general bulk. But the e44 is designed to appeal to someone with no interest in racing, with considerable effort made to make this design a cruiser's delight. The styling is in the style of the classic American boats of the late 1940s and 1950s.

Jeremy Wurmfeld sent me a great package of drawings including a full set of hull lines. The hull shape is very moderate with a D/L of 145.6 and an L/B of 3.6. The DWL is about the same length as the First 40 but the e44 adds a short spoon profile bow and a traditional transom on a stern with some counter. In sectional shape the two boas are very different. The e44 shows 10 degrees of deadrise amidships flattening out to around 3.5 degrees at the transom. You can fair out the deadrise aft to get a flatter run but removing deadrise in the stern almost always results in a very ugly transom if you go with traditional rake. I think giving up a few fractions of a knot in favor of a pretty fanny is well worth it. The topsides are flared and the turn to the bilge is soft. It's a very shapely hull. The keel planform shows an upside down taper. That is, the chord at the tip is longer than the chord at the root. There is a beaver tail flare to the small bulb at the tip. This is a feature we don't see much today but after having the chance to redesign the earlier e33 and try this shape the designers were so happy with the results that they used the shape again on this bigger model. The generous planform area of this fin, drawing 8 feet, makes for a forgiving keel that will give you a nice wide groove on the wind.

As long as we have been comparing the e44 to the First 40 I'll stick with that for the interior. The layout of the 44 is almost identical to that of the First 40. The forward V-berth of the 44 is considerably bigger and the double quarterberths are smaller due to the reduced beam of the 44. You have the option with the 44 of having one stateroom aft and moving the head to the starboard side aft. This really opens up the area in the forward stateroom. The galley is on the small side for a 44-footer but there is little you can do here if you want access to the stateroom aft. Like the First, the nav station of the 44 is big. If you go with the single quarter stateroom layout the main cabin moves forward slightly and this provides a little more room in the galley. I like this layout better and the huge cockpit locker you get by eliminating that starboard stateroom will really come in handy.

Fat-head mains are pretty popular today. They almost look like gaff-rigged mainsails. Certainly getting sail area up high where the wind is more stable is an advantage and in a breeze the top of the main will twist off to depower the mainsail. The spreaders are swept 29 degrees. That's a lot but that amount of sweep eliminates the need for a backstay. The jib is self tacking with a short track on the cabintrunk top. I'd like to see this track a lot wider to offer more options in sheeting angles. If I use the published sail area for upwind I get an SA/D of 29.46. That's generous for a cruising boat.

The cockpit is very interesting. There is a big door in the transom wide enough so that you can pull a small dink up into the cockpit. It beats using davits aft and it will be easy to deploy the dinghy but it's not a pretty feature. Without the dink in the cockpit there is a lot of room in this cockpit. There are twin wheels and sheets led under the deck to winches on the bench aft of the wheel.

I like this design for its fresh approach to some old problems.

LOA 44'10"; LWL 35'10"; Beam 12'6"; Draft 8'; Displacement 15,000 lbs.; Ballast 7,000 lbs.; Sail area 1,120 sq. ft.; SA/D 29.46; D/L 145.6; L/B 3.6; Auxiliary Yanmar 30-hp; Fuel 40 gals.; Water 100 gals.

E Sailing Yachts, 43 Norman St., Marblehead, MA 01945, (877) 439-2248, www.esailingyachts.com.

OBE: $750,000
Our Best Estimate of the sailaway price