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Reply To: Nauticat 43 vs 44

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We looked at both the 43 and 44 before deciding to buy a 1986 44 in September 2019. It took us almost a year to get it from Florida to Southeast Alaska, first with refit work in Florida, then by freighter to British Columbia, then on it’s own up the coast to finally moor in our home port of Sitka, Alaska. We look out onto the Gulf of Alaska just a bit further north than Ireland
We chose the 44 because of much better visibility at the inside helm and a better interior layout for extensive stays aboard. A stern step and davits for the dinghy were two requirements that have been invaluable. To offer my opinions on your specific queries:
1. The 43 will sail better–less wetted surface below, for one thing. How much you sail really depends. In 50 years of boating in Southeast Alaska you can “go sailing” almost every day. If you want to go from point A to specific point B with any sort of schedule, you will likely motor at least 85 percent of the time, in my experience.
2. In that scenario I would expect getting up to hull speed in either boat. Our weighs about 20 tons, so it takes a while to get up to speed. We do about 8.3 knots with a clean bottom. That’s great if the broad reach is in the direction you want to go for the day!
3. Motorsailing fuel economy savings depends on point of sail and sea conditions. If the sail is helping control roll, which can be a problem with the round chine of the bilge on a Nauticat, it will boost fuel economy very little. If it is pushing you along the savings can be substantial–half or less the usual consumption.
4. Try to get aboard each boat a number of times before you make a decision. Have a very clear, written-down list of things that you want to do with the boat. Write down your first impressions when you encounter them on either boat. And when you make your decision GO FOR IT!! Life is too short to waste time with regrets.
David Johnson