It can be defined as the best of Made in Italy: from the project, to the interiors and the shipyard. The project is by Roberto Biscontini and the interiors by Nauta Design
TO TELL THE STORY OF THIS BOAT, WE NEED TO GO BACK TO LAST AUTUMN. The plan was for her to make her debut at Cannes, but at the last minute, she wasn’t quite ready, so it was postponed till the Genoa Boat Show in October. That was when we visited her, even though we couldn’t take her out on the water. She made a very strong first impression.
Advanced 44’s beam is remarkable: 425 cm for an overall length of just over 13 meters. But what is truly outstanding is that her beam is just about equal from amidships all the way aft to the stern. Her shape is reminiscent of open ocean-going vessels. Roberto Biscontini, who until recently worked for Coppa America, is responsible for her design. That is to say… that’s no small fish! In this case, however, they had to take “earthly” concerns into consideration as well, in the sense that what was imperative was not only the need to make a fast boat, faster than any other in the race, but one that would also appeal to the owner’s tastes, would not be outrageously expensive, and would be easy to handle, even with a limited crew and on short trips.
Her DNA is that of a weekender or a day sailer, with a very open-plan interior design by Nauta Design, ideal for short or medium-range cruises. Before heading below, we check out the exterior. In addition to her wide “hips,” we are struck by how the Advanced A44 is outfitted. The mainsheet traveler has been replaced by a fixed point in the center of the cockpit. There are jib cars, but they can’t be regulated, and the boom is so high there’s no risk of bumping your head. The reason for this is soon revealed. The owner wanted the whole set up to reflect ease in sailing. He isn’t an expert sailor and for his first experience, he didn’t want to deal with delicate adjustments or a square-top mainsail, which would have meant at least an additional ten meters of sailcloth, requiring a lower boom, with relative risks to the noggin for everybody in the cockpit when tacking or jibing.
The cockpit is as big as a penthouse. This is not only due to the ample beam, but also to the “cleanliness” of the layout. The stays slant out on the exterior of the hull, the winches are retracted and near the helm, the mainsheet winch is situated between the two wheels and, finally, the halyards are hidden below the floorboards. The stern platform can be lowered and there is a special space to store a self-inflating raft. The layout below is semi-customizable. For this particular owner, Nauta created a layout favoring open spaces in lieu of privacy. In true weekender style, there is no dividing wall between the forward berth, nestled into the bow, and the dinette. This is perfect for a couple traveling alone or for taking her out for day trips.
Customers who desire more privacy or who intend to cruise with more crew can, of course, opt for a dividing wall, transforming the berth into an actual double cabin. The dinette table is cleverly designed, with two collapsible leaves, with only the two linear sofas for seating. Essentially, this means there are no “L” shapes, protuberances or hassocks to complicate the geometry and hence the ease of movement on board.
Headroom is ample to permit comfortable livability, even in the aft cabin, which is en-suite with a separate shower. Further space may be used either as a locker, accessible from the cockpit, an internal stowage room or as a crew cabin.
When we took her out for a test run, we left the docks of the port at Santa Margherita Ligure with the wind between nine and twelve knots and waves of about 30 centimeters. When beating, it’s best not to sail too closely hauled. Keeping her between 35° and 40°, she takes off like a rocket.
She’s so fast she seems like a car in turbo drive. She accelerates with ease and with less than 10 actual knots of wind, she goes faster than eight. Her width makes her stable without slowing her down. At the helm you almost feel like she’s on automatic pilot because she seems like she’s riding along railroad tracks. The two helm stations are not close together so that her course is practically always centered; so neutral that you almost never feel any need to go downwind when the winds are gusty.
All the maneuvers, at least the ones that are present, are simple and handy. The mainsheet winch is electric and has at its base a large B&G plotter. The only defect is that it is located along the same axis as the helm, making its visibility a bit less than optimal. After sailing close hauled for a while, we hoist the jib. Forward, there is a retractable bowsprit. The sail is a full 178 sq. m. Piloting in this case is not so simple. For broad reach, you need to get just the right angle and need to take her practically downwind. If you keep her at 120°, she won’t take off, whereas if you tighten her up to 95° that’s when she seems to engage her turbo engines and fly. When we hoisted the jib, the actual wind picked up slightly to 12 and a half knots and the Advanced A44 showed off her best qualities, reaching speeds of 9.5 knots. It feels really great: easy but exciting at the same time. The enormous cockpit benches make for truly comfortable sailing.
The forthcoming Advanced A44 is going to be a racing model with everything set up right, starting from the square top mainsail. Only then will we really appreciate the qualities of this boat and her true potential.
Via Brera 6
T. +39 02 433507224
Project Biscontini Yacht Design and Nauta Design
Hull Overall length LOA 13.46 m • Waterline length LWL 12.70 m • Max beam 4.25 m • Draft 3.0 m • Light displacement 7,100 kg • Ballast 2,700 kg • Mainsail squared top 74 mq • Jib 106% 51 mq • Gennaker 178 mq • Fuel tank capacity 200 l • Water tank capacity 300 l
Engine Volvo Penta D2-40F • power 39.6 hp (29.1 kW) • Swept volume 1.51 l • 4 stroke • 4 cilinders • Bore x stroke 77×81 mm • Compression ratio 23.5:1 • Max torque 2800/3200 rpm • Dry weight 178 kg • Dry weight with saildrive 189 kg
(Advanced A44, the mini maxi – Barchemagazine.com – April 2015)