The convertible market is brutal—ask any of the established builders who compete in it. It's tough enough to succeed when you're a recognized name, but when you're an unknown with a new boat—well, just having a good boat isn't enough. You need a hook, something that'll get people to give you a look.
The folks at Heart Marine think they've got a hook—two actually. One is the designer of their new 43-footer's hull, Charlie Jannace. If that name rings a bell, it's because he did all the Blackfins from the 27 to the 46, the Northcoast 25 and 31, and the Shamrock 20, 22, and 39. Jannace has earned his chops, and just to make sure you don't forget he did the 43, Heart's named its boat the Jannace 430C.
The other hook is the boatyard: Cruise Line Yacht Builders of Taipei. Heart Marine knows Far East boatbuilding—it's been building and importing Symbol yachts from there since 1999. The principals know that if you pick the right Taiwanese yard, you get beautiful joinery and a nice price. You can see the joinery in these pictures—I saw it in person, and the cherry and burls are gorgeous. As for price, how about a base of $776,000 with lots of standard equipment, but no electronics?
But back to Jannace. He's a fan of generous deadrise, so the 43 has 201/2 degrees at the transom. He also likes lifting strakes—this boat has three per side, one full-length and the others nearly so. The result is a lot of lift forward but not so much aft, so you get a relatively bow-high attitude. You also get the kind of heeling in a hard turn you'd expect of a deep-V sportboat and the ability to pull a U-turn in about 30 yards at cruising speed. Thanks to vacuum bagging and coring right down to the keel, listed weight is about 30,000 pounds, which I obviously can't confirm. I can say she feels light and quite responsive to helm input and accelerates well with the only available engines, 700-hp Caterpillar C12s. I didn't scare up much of a sea on test day, but what I did find didn't faze the 43 and left her bridge dry.
Beyond price, performance, and pretty wood, Heart says it had two other priorities: the electrical system and the engine room. Both looked good to me. Wiring was all identified, color-coded, and bundled, and the engine room, accessed from the cockpit via a somewhat serpentine passageway, is remarkably uncluttered. The Cats are 360-degree accessible, there are no protrusions on the overhead, all strainers and separators are in the catwalk where they're easy to see, and crash pumps flank a centerline battery compartment. Two of the three fuel tanks flank the engines; they gravity-feed the third, under the cockpit sole, from which the engines and genset draw. None have sight gauges, although the reliable Hart pneumatic tank-sounding system is standard, as is Algae-X, even on the genset. Heart says future boats will have fuel-transfer pumps.
Indeed, a number of changes are reportedly coming. The aft fuel tank will move forward a foot to provide room in the centerline lazarette for a hushbox for the standard 9.5-kW Northern Lights genset, although I couldn't hear it in the cabin. However, that location troubles me. Although this and all hatches are well guttered and gasketed, this is a fishing boat, which means the cockpit could flood. It did when I backed her down hard, and although the large corner scuppers evacuated water quickly, I wonder if somehow sea water could eventually intrude into this compartment. It didn't on test day.
Two cockpit hatches will also be added in each aft corner to improve access to the macerators for the two standard fishboxes (a lighted in-transom baitwell is also standard) and create a space on the port side for a watermaker. Some components will also be shifted slightly aft to improve on-plane performance, and Heart hopes to take about 2,500 pounds out of the boat by tweaking the laminate.
Future boats will also reportedly have a bridge overhang that's a foot longer, providing additional cockpit shelter and more walkaround space for the two pedestal helm seats. That'll improve a driving station that already has great sightlines and plenty of room for electronics in an enormous console. Indeed, there's more stowage on this bridge than any I've seen in a while—under the forward and side seats, inside the console, and up forward behind the bridge cowling. I liked everything here except for the hinged, clear-plastic coverings on the electronics compartments. While they protect instruments from moisture, they also make fiddling with a unit a two-hand operation—one to hold up the lid, the other to work the unit's controls.
No significant changes are proposed for the interior. Two saloon plans are provided; one (my test boat) has the galley aft and to port, an eating bar with stools immediately forward, and a large L-shape settee to starboard. Beneath the bar are four standard Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer drawers, but the counter has no overhang, so it would be uncomfortable to sit and eat at. I prefer the other layout, with the galley forward and to port, an L-shape settee abaft it, and a dinette forward and to starboard. You have more choices below. Our boat had a guest stateroom with bunks to starboard, a small day/guest head across from it, and a master with a big ensuite head and separate shower forward. You can have a second door from the day head directly into the shower and a double bed in the guest stateroom. Not sure which works for you? By the time you read this, the Jannace Web site should allow you to build your own 43 online, including tower and hull color.
The Heart folks say they feel most 43s will be cruised more than fished. Either way, owners will like the cockpit sink/prep center and freezer built into the forward bulkhead, although I can't figure out why they put the hot/cold shower forward, too, especially when a two-part, 29-inch-wide transom door is standard. (The swim platform and ladder are optional.) They'll also love the generous side decks (courtesy of the 17-foot beam) and nearly flat foredeck that make line handling a lot easier. They may even appreciate the comfort of the standard one-piece molded inwhale padding on each cockpit side. But I suspect that when all's said and done, the two features that will hook buyers of this boat will be the beautiful wood and the price. That is until they run her.
Maxwell windlass; 4/Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer drawers; fighting chair reinforcement; transom door and gate; Glendinning electronic controls w/ electronic backups; 4/rod holders; Hart fuel tank gauge; Oil Xchanger for engines and genset; PYI dripless shaft seals; 30" Sharp LCD TV; Bose DVD/CD system w/ subwoofer; 12-kW Northern Lights genset; 2/16,000-Btu A/C units; 13" Sharp LCD TV in master; 40-amp Newmar battery charger; Cantalupi 12-volt interior lights; Grohe plumbing fixtures; Corian countertops
PipeWelders half-tower package: electric teaser reels, radar box, 4-side Strataglass enclosure, molded-in nav lights, and 32' dual-spreader Lee outriggers; 13" Sharp LCD TV in guest stateroom; swim platform; master stateroom DVD/CD player; swim ladder; satin nickel hardware; Furuno High Seas package (radar, autopilot, Seatel, two displays)
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/700-hp Caterpillar C12 diesel inboards
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF3251A/1.485:1
- Props: 26x291/2 4-blade Nibral
- Price as Tested: $910,169
This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.