A fast and easy to handle walkaround boat. A lot of open-air space, without giving up the classic lines of a lobster boat. A project by Fulvio De Simoni Yacht Design
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Andrea Muscatello
THE HULL WAS DESIGNED BY FULVIO DE SIMONI, WHO DIDN’T just concentrate on the part that stays underwater: he handled the entire 44 Ibiza project, including both the interiors and the deck. Ibiza is the range that has the most Mediterranean and walkaround feel of all the Austin Parker output. In addition to the Ibizas, there are the Palma range boats which have a flybridge, and the Mahons, which have a deck that is more closed and protected. The 44 Ibiza handles well in the waves and it is also no problem for it to turn as tightly as possible. The bow wave does start fairly well forward, but the deck always stays dry, even when you turn tightly.
Stable, calm, and it handles well. Performance is well balanced and without any excesses. The spray rail that runs from bow to stern means the boat starts planning easily and gets out of the water in just six and a half seconds. To keep it there you need just over ten knots, with engines at 1600 rpm and total fuel consumption of just 49 litres an hour. The ideal cruising speed is around 28 or 29 knots, while top speed is at nearly 33.
The boat handles the waves well and is easy to steer. Balanced performance levels and low consumption levels are what characterize this 44-footer.
There are two 550 hp Cummins engines, with the straight-shaft transmission. Despite that, the boat is always easy to handle. You don’t need a lot of water to turn, and the boat doesn’t need to be asked twice. It responds quickly to changes in course and, thanks to the joystick that controls the thrusters, you don’t need to be especially skilful even when mooring. At 25 knots the hull doesn’t even feel the effect of rough seas. That was something I realised when I crossed over the wakes of the many megayachts that crowd the part of the sea between Rapallo and Portofino, and I did it in all kinds of different ways.
The feeling at the helm is of having a boat that is always stable and safe, but not “deaf”. It is easy to manoeuvre and to handle. The feeling is that it is a boat that can handle tough conditions, without any particular issues. Visibility from the dashboard steering position is good, not least because the windscreen is made from a single piece of glass, without any support columns or anything else to block the view. But I was less convinced by the ergonomics of the steering position. The chair is comfortable when you use it as back support, but it is too far from the wheel when you sit on it. And the throttles are not very well positioned as there isn’t enough room for your fingers when you open them right up.
But the dashboard does provide plenty of room for the two large displays with maps and navigational data. And we are in any case talking about minor defects, for which a solution can probably be found. The most positive note, along with how the hull performs, comes from the low fuel consumption. You just have to bear in mind that to do 20 knots you need around 100 litres per hour in total, and 130 litres to do 25 knots. That is a decidedly low amount, especially if we bear in mind that the transmission is the straight shaft, which doesn’t include low fuel consumption amongst its benefits.
There are two 550 hp Cummins, each with the straight-shaft transmission, although you can also opt for Volvo IPS engines. Sound insulation in the engine room is excellent, as is the lack of vibrations.
Another positive factor can be seen in the lack of noise. Decibel levels at cruising speed are low, both at the helm and in the area below decks in the bow. In the bows, it is the waves beating on the hull that most affect the sound meter, rather than the noise of the engines. There is a good level of sound insulation in the engine room, but there is something else as well because what you feel is also the complete absence of vibrations at any speed. The deck set-up looked very well done to me, and I liked the way you can get around aboard.
Going forward from the stern beach area, the sun pad isn’t in the way because it is split in two by a central walkway. That way you get two sun loungers in the stern, each just under twin size, so that creates a total of four comfortable places. The seat in the cockpit and the table – which opens out – also have a central walkway and that way the first thing that gets in your way is the mobile bar that you can set up with a fridge and cooking rings, located aft of the helmsman and co-drivers seats.
The layout has been designed to mean you can get around extremely easily. All the gangways are wide, and there are lots of grab handles. Furthermore, there is a very practical central passage from right in the stern to the seats used by the helmsman and assistant.
Contributing to the ease of getting around are also the gangways, which are 40 centimeters wide and the sides, which are high and protective, providing a feeling of safety when you are walking on the deck while underway. The bimini gives an excellent feeling of protection, with darkened glass and an awning extension that covers the cockpit.
And finally, the layout of the forward area includes both a sun pad on the deckhouse and also a linear sofa deep in the bows. Below decks, headroom is a full two metres, and there are three set-ups available.
The designs drawn up by De Simoni give the option of personalizing the layout of the two cabins below decks to give a version that is more open, or one with more privacy in each room, according to whether they are more for night-time or daytime use.
The first is for a double berth in the bows in an open area, with a second cabin with two single beds arranged along the beam that is below the cockpit, as well as a bathroom. But you can also go for the three rooms – two cabins and a bathroom – all divided by bulkheads that means you can have more privacy. And finally, rather than the double bed in the bows, you can have a convertible dinette. That is the most open-plan solution of all, with an area below decks for day use which can also be transformed to house a double berth at night.
AUSTIN PARKER YACHTS ITALIA SRL
Via Giotto, 9
MAIN SALES OFFICES:
T. +39.02.39288743, +39.0185.699022
PROJECT: Fulvio De Simoni Yacht Design
HULL: LOA 13.70m • Length 12.50m • Maximum beam 4.21m • Draft 1.18m • Full load displacement 15,000 kg • Fuel tank volume 1,500 l • Water tank volume 400 l
MAIN PROPULSION: 2×550 Cummins QSB6.7 • 410 kW (550 hp) • 6 cylinders in line • Swept volume 6.7 l • Bore&Stroke 107mm x 124mm • Maximal rotational speed 3300/min • Weight 658 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT A – 12 people
PRICE: 750,000 €, full optional
(Austin Parker Yachts 44 Ibiza, Fast Lobster – Barchemagazine.com – October 2020)