Huckins Atlantic 44 — By Jeffrey Moser
— January 2006
Can a hull based on the design that helped win The Big One make a fine cruiser?
I have grown used to waiting for ladies. It no longer bothers me that my female friends take a bit longer to get ready than I do. Heck, I’ll even go out on a limb and say that waiting is a treat. Why? Because I’ve come to value these moments as precious down time for catching up on reading, channel surfing, or sneaking in 40 winks.
Recently, I had to remind myself more than once of my Zen approach to waiting. It was Monday morning—breakdown day at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show—and I was sweating too much, tapping my toes, and pacing. Why was I so impatient? Because I had an impending date with a classic beauty: the retro-style Huckins Atlantic 44.
Little wonder I was edgy. Huckins Yachts occupies a stately position in U.S. powerboating, its name conjuring images of American yachts from a bygone era. Frank Pembroke Huckins founded the yard in 1928, and he dubbed the first Huckins, a 42-foot Express Cruiser, the “Fairform Flyer.”
The 44 utilizes a version of the patented Quadraconic hull, a term Frank Pembroke Huckins adopted to describe a design of his own invention. In an effort to combine the best attributes of displacement and planing hulls, his Quadraconic hull featured a sharp entry with four distinct conical sections and a flat aft section. He also employed a series of steps he described as “resembling the teeth of a saw,” to help the boat plane more quickly. Both the design and the theories behind it were dismissed at the time, but they were redeemed during World War II when the Quadraconic hull was chosen by the Navy for its PT boat, which Huckins and two other yards ended up building.
The 44 I was about to test also has a history: She is actually a re-engineered version of the Atlantic that Huckins built in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But in place of a jig-built wooden design, the yard now employs hand-laid fiberglass, CoreCell below the waterline, E-glass, and vinylester resin. The latest 44 took nine months to complete at Huckins’ Jacksonville yard.
And speaking of time, I was still waiting, this time for traffic to clear. As Cindy Purcell, Huckins’ marketing rep, welcomed me aboard Hull No. 454, I hustled onto the teak swim platform and through a 1'9"-wide transom door that provides access to the cockpit. When the boat is docked at higher quays, the cockpit can be accessed on either side via the aforementioned step plates and ladders. Stowage here is excellent: Two forward lockers flanking the two-foot-wide centerline saloon door are each wide enough to swallow a few scrub brushes and their 48-inch-long handles, with room left for a five-gallon bucket and 100-foot hose.
This article originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.