Talaria 44 Jet — By George L. Petrie — May 2000
The Maine Attraction
|Part 2: Hinckley has cut no corners in engineering.|
Pushing the Talaria 44 through two- to three-foot swells off Miami Beach at about 30 knots, I felt the finely sculpted bow slice through the seas. Try as I might, I couldn't make her pound, shake, or rattle. Well-balanced, with a low center of gravity, she banks like a runabout in a tight, high-speed turn, snapping out of the turn without any hint of cavitation. Healthy freeboard forward and beefy chine flats aft kept the deck and windshield dry as a bone. And with only a 2'3" draft and no running gear beneath the keel, she'll tempt you to pull ashore on any secluded beach you might care to explore.
Underway she is very quiet, with no vibration even when backing down hard. With the Yanmars turning 2750 rpm (about 26 mph), sound level at the helm was only 79 dB (65 dB is the level of normal conversation), respectable for an open-bridge layout. Bulkheads and overheads are covered with two-inch-thick foam/lead insulation, and machinery space bulkhead penetrations are acoustically sealed. Mounted in a soundshield, the 10-kW Fischer Panda genset was almost inaudible at dockside, even with the engine hatch open.
I had good visibility from the helm position at all speeds. The helm station is comfortable and well laid out, with gauges, switches, and controls in plain view and easy reach. Powered hatches provide overhead access to the 420-hp Yanmar diesels, while smaller hatches in the cockpit sole lift easily for routine maintenance and inspection of the genset and other machinery. The roomy lazarette provides access to the jet drive's hydraulic system and cleaning ports, with plenty of space for stowage.
One of the many things that impressed me about the Talaria was how solid she felt underway. Reviewing her construction specifications back ashore, I could see why. Hinckley has cut no corners in engineering the state-of-the-art structural system it calls DualGard Composite Construction.
The structure has an outer skin of Kevlar and E-glass reinforcements and an inner skin of stiff, strong carbon fiber, laminated over a core of aircraft-grade balsa. The combination of Kevlar and E-glass is highly resistant to impact. Carbon fiber offers tremendous stiffness and strength in proportion to its weight. The balsa core enhances hull stiffness while providing thermal and acoustic insulation. An outer layer of chopped E-glass and vinylester resin provides a superior surface finish and greater resistance to blistering due to osmosis.
Internally, the hull is stiffened by four primary longitudinal stringers and three main transverse bulkheads, with additional web frames and stiffeners to provide local reinforcement. All stiffeners are constructed from foam-cored composite beams, with engine beds reinforced by layers of carbon fiber, E-glass, and vinylester resin over a high-density core. Laminates for the entire hull and stringer system, including all core materials, are laid up dry. The entire structure is then resin-infused, using the patented SCRIMP process, creating a single molded piece with no secondary bonds. (SCRIMP is an advanced closed-molding technique that uses a strong vacuum to infuse a composite laminate with resin in a single step.) Not only does the SCRIMP process create a stronger, lighter structure, it also virtually eliminates emissions of styrene and other harmful products.
The Talaria is as beautifully styled and meticulously finished as she is well built. Joinery is traditional satin-varnished, hand -rubbed cherry, with teak and tulipwood cabin soles. Side ports and hatches bathe the lower deck areas with natural light and ventilation. The head and shower are in separate spaces, so two people can use the facilities at the same time.
Opposite the galley, a large U-shape dinette with a satin-finished cherry table converts to a comfortable double berth with a five-inch-thick sleeping cushion. In the optional double-cabin layout, there's a second stateroom with twin berths in place of the dinette. Reverse-cycle air conditioning provides climate control for the entire lower deck.
Clear plastic curtains install easily to close off the back of the air-conditioned bridge deck, while large side windows and opening hatches provide natural ventilation. Aft of the helm station, plush lounge seats flank an adjustable pedestal table. In the cockpit, double lounge seats face aft, looking out over the beautifully curved transom.
All told, the only notable downside to the Talaria 44 Jet is her price. Our test boat, as equipped, would sell for about $1 million. That might seem like a lot for a 44-footer, but considering the quality of construction and the advanced control technology, a lot of boaters find the price justified. And once they get behind the wheel--or rather stick--chances are they'll be sold.
George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at the University of New Orleans and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is www.maritimeanalysis.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.