By admin ~ April 26th, 2011. Filed under: New Boats.
Beneteau adds a bright new
model to its trawler series.Story by Louisa Beckett Photos by Billy Black
Swift Trawler owners, many of whom are liveaboards, really get involved with their brand. When Beneteau, the trawler line’s parent company, was working on plans for the new Swift Trawler 44, the design team incorporated several owner suggestions into the boat. One stylish solution I particularly liked was to cover the area above the lower helm station with a faux leather anti-glare mat.
The Swift Trawler 44, which falls at the midpoint of the line, was introduced this winter as a replacement for the eight-year-old Swift Trawler 42. The two models share the same proven hull, designed by noted French naval architects Michel Joubert and Bernard Nivelt, but thanks to technology advances in the intervening years, the new boat features upgraded equipment and more efficient propulsion. The interior, designed by Pierre Frutschi, also offers more flexible living arrangements.
LOA: 45′ 6″
Beam: 13′ 11″
Draft: 3′ 5″
Disp.: 24,019 lbs.
Fuel/Water Capacity: 370/169 gals.
Power: 2x 300-hp Volvo
Penta D4 diesel
Max/Cruise Speed: 24.8/20.5 knots
Range: 648 nm @1500 rpm
Price: $436,000 (base);
Beneteau Powerboats America
“It’s in the details,” said Delphine Andre, chief product manager for the Swift Trawler range, who rode along when we ran the boat off Miami Beach.
A transom door makes it easy to board the Swift Trawler 44 via the swim platform. The roomy cockpit, which is shaded by the flybridge overhang, holds a built-in, L-shaped settee. A portable dining table built to fit both here and in the saloon, gives owners the choice of dining alfresco or in air-conditioned comfort.
You step up from the cockpit to enter the house, but the saloon, galley, and bridge are all on the same level. This saloon has more volume than in the previous model, thanks to the 44’s all-new, wider house and asymmetrical design, which incorporates a slimmer, elevated starboard walkaround.
Forward, the U-shaped galley is one of the best-equipped I have ever seen in a boat of this size. It has black Corian counters, a three-eye stovetop, oven, two sinks, pull-out trash bin, and even a small Danby dishwasher. The refrigerator is located in the base of the double-wide helm seat. You can flip this seat over to reveal additional counter space as well. “That is an idea that came from a 42 owner,” said Delphine.
The lower helm has good visibility through the wraparound windshield, and you can stick your head out the pilothouse door to get an even better view behind the boat. On our 44, a 12-inch Raymarine E120 multifunction plotter was neatly mounted in the center of the good-looking dashboard, along with digital Volvo Penta engine controls and a toggle for the Max Power bowthruster.
During our run, we also drove from the flybridge helm station, easily accessed from the cockpit via a flight of ergonomic stairs. The upper helm has a full complement of electronics and comfortable, swiveling bucket seats for the driver and a passenger. With the bimini top in place, the 44’s fly is sure to be a popular spot to drive from; two long settees also make it a prime lounging area. In addition, there’s a molded wet bar with a fridge and a place for a barbecue grill.
The Swift Trawler mast, which gives the 44 a bridge clearance height of 25’5′ (with the mast folded, it’s only 12’9″), is more than a traditional styling element. You can raise a sail to help steady the boat in a seaway, although the fuel tanks also were moved to improve the new model’s stability. In addition, the boom acts as a crane to lift a good-sized dinghy up to the flybridge.
Swift Trawlers are designed with safety in mind; that’s clear from the high stainless steel rails that enclose the big boat deck. (On our boat, they were sheathed in brown canvas to match the seats.) Grabrails are also mounted throughout the boat.
The re-designed lower-deck accommodations include a master stateroom in the bow with an island queen berth, two hanging lockers, a flat-screen TV, and an ensuite head. A second cabin, aft, has a large, comfortable double berth and a single hanging locker. Its head, across the companionway, doubles as a day head. Beneteau also offers an alternative arrangement that converts the day head to a spacious shower room; an option that undoubtedly will please some experienced cruising couples. Storage space is maximized throughout the boat, including deep hatches beneath the saloon sole and even a couple of shallow ones in the swim step!
Our ride on the 44 in choppy seas off Miami was solid and stable. Equally impressive were the fuel consumption numbers posted by the boat’s twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels. Idling at 1000 rpm (5 knots), they consume 0.6 gallons of fuel per hour. At 2000 rpm (9.3 knots), fuel consumption is 6.6 gph; at 3000 rpm (18.4 knots), it’s 17.2 gph, and at wide open throttle—3600 rpm (24.8 knots)— it’s 25 gph. Quick and efficient, with a shallow draft that’s perfect for the islands, the new Swift Trawler 44 is destined to be a star.