When I first went through the Outbound 44 at Sail Expo in Oakland, it seemed like just another nice cruising yacht. But when I went sailing with Pete McGonagle of Swiftsure yachts on a boat they’d recently sold in the northwest, my opionion changed. Anxious to get out into a questionable weather window, we headed out mid-November to sail the boat. Needless to say, there was plenty of wind and we enjoyed a brief break in the rain.
The boat was in a tight spot and on both or leaving and returning, it was nice to have the bow thruster to augment Pete’s skill in close quarters. I played with the thruster again out in the lake and it held about even against the wind. We sailed out into Lake Union with about 20 knots of wind and little wave action. Holding the boat into the wind, the electric Lewmar winch made raising the mainsail quite easy. The boat had two sails forward, both on Harken roller furling. We decided to just use the sail on the inner stay, as pictured above (sister ship). With this combination we sailed easily and settled in nicely going to weather. The Carl Schumacher designed hull moved easily through the relatively smooth water. The solid feel of the boat led one to believe that even with more seas, it wouldn’t have mattered. Though not one of the new “light” cruising boats, Schumacher’s design provides performance through shape and weight distribution rather than exotic materials. This not only keeps the price down but provides a “bullet” proof hull. For instance, the hand laid hull is reinforced with two full-length longitudinal members and sizable cross members. Instead of a bolt on keel, the keel is molded with the hull, then 6500 pounds of lead is inserted into the keel and glassed in. Then two 1600 pound “cheeks” are through bolted onto the fin at the bottom forming the bulb keel.
With a large genny on the headstay and the smaller sail on the inner forestay, the sailor has a nice variety of sail sets to choose from, depending on the conditions.
The cockpit is deep and comfortable. I liked the flat coamings, which is really where everyone sits anyhow, they make exciting and entering the cockpit quite easy.
Down below seems pretty straight forward, but with closer examination, it shows a lot of thought. As a semi-custom boat, the interior comes down to personal taste. The boat we sailed had beautiful African cherry woodwork. The Corian counter tops were dark green with ultra-suede cushions. It was a very rich feel, although a bit dark. Handholds were skillfully molded into the woodwork, practical and attractive.
This boat had the Pullman berth up forward (top layout drawing, facing page). Forward of that was the head, then a huge sail locker before the waterproof bulkhead of the chain locker.
One of the most impressive features of the boat was the “tool room.” On the port side aft was a huge space with counter, and cabinets for the non-glamorous but necessary items for a true cruising sailboat. Across from the work bench is space for a generator and access to the engine. A hydraulic lift for the companionway stairs provides access to the front. On the starboard quarter was a double berth.
This is a boat that definitely shows a lot of thought to a purpose. Solidly built, attractively appointed, with an easily driven hull by an renowned designer, this is truly a boat up to any challenge. Thanks to Pete McGonagle of Swiftsure Yachts in Seattle for the sail. For more information visit: www.outboundyachts.com
Visit www.outboundyachts.com for more information.
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