his sexy-looking center-cockpit cruiser is built to last
When you first look at the profiles of the new Gunfleet 43 and the Allures 40.9 you might peg them as very similar boats. The profiles look very similar and LODs are within a foot. But they are really quite different boats. The biggest difference is that the Gunfleet is a center-cockpit design while the Allures is an aft-cockpit boat. I like the way the Gunfleet profile, a design by Tony Castro, is configured to hide the bulk usually associated with center-cockpit boats that often creates a wedding cake look. This is a sexy looking center-cockpit boat.
The hulls are similar, with broad sterns and short overhangs but the Gunfleet has twin rudders and is a much heavier boat at 28,109 pounds with a D/L of 225 compared to the 170 D/L of the Allures. The Gunfleet gives you the option of a fixed, deep keel drawing 6 feet 9 inches, or a retractable centerboard coming out of a bulbed fin with a board up draft of 4 feet 6 inches and board-down draft of 8 feet 10 inches. With nice U-shaped forward sections and a moderately firm turn to the bilge aft, this looks like a fast, medium displacement hull.
There is no comparison in the layouts. The Gunfleet gives you a separate stateroom aft with a big, centerline double berth. There is an adjoining head with shower stall. The galley runs down the side of the cockpit well. To starboard there is a generous, forward facing nav station. You step up from there to the saloon with settee berths port and starboard and a drop-leaf table.
Forward of the saloon there is a “space of mystery” to starboard. Not sure what this accomplishes. I did it on one of my own designs that I owned and I never figured out why I did it. It looked good on the drawing. The forward head is to port and it is spacious because it lacks a shower stall. There is a V-berth that I assume can convert to a double berth. It’s a fine layout despite the fact they should have put the double sinks in the middle of that counter and not on the end.
I was a bit surprised to see a SA/D of only 14.21. With a fractional, deck-stepped rig carrying a 113% working jib, I think this boat might be a wee bit sticky in light air. But the good news is that you won’t have to reef often and that has its appeal. The chainplates are outboard.
I really like this deck. The center cockpit is tucked down into the profile and there is a recess to hide a canvas dodger when it’s down. Mainsheet traveler is at the aft end of the cockpit giving almost end-boom sheeting. I like that even though the helmsman will have to learn to duck the mainsheet in jibes. Aft of the cockpit there is another recessed area long enough for two settees. This would be a good place to get out of the way while the rest of the crew made the boat go. There is a small swim step cut into the transom.
I don’t often talk about structural details because often I’m not provided with the information, but this hull features balsa-cored topsides with a solid laminate reinforced with Kevlar for impact resistance below the DWL. This combination reduces weight up high while adding durability and puncture resistance below the DWL. Tony Castro has been around just about as long as I have. He’s a very good designer. The more you study this good-looking design the more you appreciate it.
LOA 44’1”; LWL 38’2”; Beam 13’4”; Draft fixed keel 6’9”, centerboard up 4’6,” down 8’10”; Displ. 28,109 lbs; Ballast 5,044 lbs.; Sail area 937 sq. ft.; SA/D 14.21; sq. ft.; D/L 255; L/B 3.3; Fuel 100 gal.; Water 100 gal.; Auxiliary 55-hp.
Our best estimate of the sailaway price:$737,069
Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 8NJ
44 (0) 1473 694747