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Nauticat 43 vs 44

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    Hi, new to this forum and not sure if this is the right place for the post.
    I want to purchase either a NC43 or 44 and looking for advice on pros and cons of both.
    The boat usage will be for some conservation work around the Irish coast as well as some pleasure sailing. With the heightened awareness around fuel consumption I will be looking to sail as much as possible.
    From what I have read the NC43 is a better sailing boat whereas the NC44 would probably be better for observational work with it’s higher wheelhouse and bigger 360 deg windows.

    The main questions then are:
    1. On average taking a range of weathers and wind speeds, what percentage of pure sailing in proportion to motoring and in proportion to a combination of motoring and sailing do people do in their Nauticats, in particular the 43 and 44 if that info is available?
    2. What speed could I expect to get from the 43 and 44 in 10 knots of breeze off the wind on a beam or broad reach, with just sailing alone?
    3. How much does the fuel consumption reduce when motor sailing in 10 or 15 knots of breeze?
    4. Any other comments also welcome regarding the comparison between the two boats
    With thanks


    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

    Piers Covill

    Hi Louis

    I have a 43. I think David’s post is probably on the money. The 44 has a more spacious layout and larger pilot house, but the 43 is designed to be a better sailing boat. In my experience my 43 can surprise other yachts with how well she sails, but the cockpit is small and the after cabin more squeezed than a 43. Try to get on both and see what you think. If you are in the UK you are welcome to come and see mine..

    What I would say is either model is fantastic and you won’t be disappointed.

    Best wishes Piers


    Thanks David
    That’s great info thanks you.
    I have booked flights to Greece to look at the 44, so hopefully all will be good.
    What you say about sailing from A to B sounds right although I would hope to improve on 85% by choosing the right conditions where possible.
    When you say 8.3 knots, what wind speed are we talking about?, my guess is you would need at least 15 knots or more of breeze to get that, but maybe not. In Ireland people like to go out in about 10 knots of wind so wondering about sailing speeds at this wind speed?

    My main concern with the boat I am going to see is the engine. It is a Ford Lehman 120 hp and I know these are supposed to be bullet proof but he has had the head off and this is raising suspicions.
    The boat is on the hard at the moment but I have asked that the engine be run up to full working temperature so we can have a good listen and see the exhaust etc. Any advice on this would be helpful.

    Any particular points to look out for that might be an issue with the 44, that you know of?

    Once again, thanks a mill for you help


    Hi Piers
    Yes I had that dilemma about sailing ability versus space. Because of what the boat will be used for, which is basically a sailing observation platform for coastal research and monitoring of sea kelp, dolphins, whales and fishing boats etc. with the overarching project of promoting and helping to monitor Marine Protected Areas. (We only have 1 to 2% protected here, the EU recommendation is for at least 30%, so a lot of work ahead :-))

    I actually really like the layout of the 43, with that little snug opposite the galley and the possibility of the extra small cabin aft. When I thought about bringing out scientists and photographers etc the extra space in the 44 pilothouse seemed to make more sense. In the cold wet days on the West coast of Ireland that shelter, whilst still having a good view will be appreciated especially by those not accustomed to sailing, haha!

    I really appreciate your offer of showing me your boat. If this one in Greece falls through I might take you up on that, seeing as I have not sat in one yet.

    Much appreciated

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