Alden Yachts 44 FB EX Page 2
Yachts 44 FB EX — By Capt. Ken Kreisler — December 2002
|Part 2: What you don’t immediately see on the 44 is just as impressive.|
I am just as impressed with the layout of the 44's saloon. It features a pair of couches to either side, each with stowage beneath; an entertainment center tucked into the aft, starboard corner; and large windows all around for maximum ambient light and sightlines while driving from the lower, starboard-side helm station. Also of note is the high level of fit and finish, a hallmark of Alden Yachts. To learn how it's done, I am taken on a tour of the woodshop, where I note that all the drawers are dovetail-joined, a sure sign of quality craftsmanship. I see craftsmen working on round-topped, cold-molded cherry door frames that are used on doorways for the 44's starboard Pullman-style guest/kids quarters, head forward of the galley, separate shower compartment forward of the guest quarters, and owner's forepeak stateroom. I also see rooms designed for clean air and proper humidity and temperature where the varnish is painstakingly applied.
What you don’t immediately see on the 44 is just as impressive. The engine room, accessed through a large hatch in the teak-soled cockpit and also equipped with gas-assisted rams for effortless operation, offers suitable space for hands-on maintenance. It's not a stand-up space, but there is enough room between the 600-hp Cats for me to comfortably kneel. I can clearly see the stringer system, four fore and aft and the four athwartships girders that are Divinycell-cored fiberglass. What I can't see is the eight-pound-density foam and the thicker laminate in way of the engine, including an encapsulated, half-inch steel plate that is drilled and tapped for the engine mount bolts. A PSS shaft system is used for vibration control.
The hull is cored with end-grain balsa with solid FRP at the chines, and it's vacuum-bagged using an isopthalic gelcoat and a vinylester osmotic barrier. The hull laminate is solid from the sheer down to about four inches, then again from the keel up about eight inches, with Divinycell core between. The top and bottom laminates lock the coring into place, says Alden Yachts.
While I admire the woodwork and attention to detail, I'm also impressed by Tonic on the water. "The owner commutes between Fishers Island (New York), where he lives, and Connecticut," says Ewing as we begin our sea trial. "He's an avid boater and uses the boat five or six days a week." Once I get my hands on the wheel, I can see why. The 44 has a modified deep-V hull with a bottom that flattens slightly as it goes aft, which, according to MacFarlane, gives her a soft entry and a good turn of speed in adverse conditions.
While conditions in the bay are fairly calm--the 10- to 15-knot wind has little effect, as we are in the lee of the land for most of the day--I am unable to judge her seakeeping abilities in challenging water. I do, however, put her through a series of hard-over turns and 360s, with her losing no more than about 200 rpm during one at WOT. She also tracks well on straight runs. Indeed, with the Providence skyline visible in one direction and Newport just around the bend to the south, I am tempted to just keep on going.
As I’m packing up, Ewing tells me that in a twist, the builder has an issue with the owner. Seems he likes to drive the boat with the bimini up in conditions that one shouldn't. "So we're going to design a bimini that he can use while running Tonic at 25 knots in six-footers," says Ewing, with an obvious tone of confidence and pride in his voice.
Alden Yachts Phone: (401) 683-4200. Fax: (401) 683-3668. www.aldenyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.