Stylish and seaworthy, this spacious 44-footer works well at anchor and underway. Boat Review from our July 2012 issue.
Furthering that trend, Jeanneau now produces a line of boats ranging from 30 feet to the flagship 57 that cater to both the “performance” and “cruising” markets, and the company’s even subdividing the cruising market into two distinct concepts.
By utilizing identical hulls in the Sun Odyssey 439 and the Sun Odyssey 44 DS (for deck saloon), the company’s betting that once potential customers are comfortable with a certain size and price point, they’re more likely to refine their purchasing decision down to either the sportier 439 or the 44 DS and its more commodious interior than to stray toward the competition.
Because the interior is the conceptual core of the 44 DS, the traditional role of the designer has been divided into two camps. Philippe Briand has drawn a hull that retains Jeanneau’s signature look and features while incorporating an increasingly popular hard chine. And Franck Darnet has created an interior that’s visually spacious, very bright, and possesses a clean, modern appeal. Because a raised-deck saloon presents topside aesthetic challenges, he was also given charge of the deck design.
Briand is of the “wide is wonderful” school of thought. The 13-foot-11-inch beam is carried well aft in the typically French fashion. This creates enormous interior volume for aft cabins and offers several additional benefits.
First, the ample beam creates an initial form stability that translates into an upright, comfortable ride. Also, because of the large, flat sections aft, the hull is inclined to surf when approaching top speeds, noticeably enhancing downwind performance. The benefits are even more apparent above the waterline. Starting aft, the beamy transom presents a wide and functional boarding platform complete with stowage lockers, a pullout swim ladder, and washdown hoses. It also accommodates a wide aft-cockpit entry without minimizing the size of the wraparound twin helm seats or pushing the cockpit coaming too far outboard.
The generous area around the twin helm makes for easy movement between wheels and offers handy access to the coaming-mounted winches. Sheets and running rigging are led under sea hoods to minimize clutter. Darnet’s decorator’s touch is found in the taupe accents on the deck coamings.
The forward cockpit benches are long and wide enough for sleeping, and the slight slope of the trunk cabin makes a perfect backrest. A large drop-leaf wooden cockpit table houses a chart plotter that can be rotated for viewing from either helm and for easy input when you’re seated to either side of the table; extra cooler and stowage space; good handholds while under way; and plenty of entertaining space.
In the companionway, a single Lexan board simply drops down into a drained well, eliminating the traditional washboards that must be removed and replaced in rough conditions. Dual access to the latches ensures that crew won’t be locked above or below, as they can be with many conventional hatch setups. At the base of the entrance lies a clever little bin to stow lines from the cabin-top winches.
The flow forward is unobstructed when the fairlead for the headsail furling line is adjusted downward to deck level. Because of the raised trunk cabin, good handholds abound. The windlass is recessed into a deck-accessed rode locker. The addition of a snubber-line cleat at the windlass would be useful, as neither roller has a fair lead to the forward deck cleats.