Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? If you subscribe to this theory, then you understand that beauty takes as many forms as the number of observers. But the most difficult of these forms to realize is form and function working together to create a beauty of purpose.
Consider the Hanse Group’s Fjord 44 Coupé. The substantial freeboard—nicely split by vents for the engine room and dark panels concealing the portlights—allowed the design team to protect the wide side decks with high bulwarks. Anyone aboard the boat should feel safe moving forward and aft, and yet those bulwarks also disguise the cabin’s height. In profile view, the cabin appears as a gracefully crowned structure, but even from a higher perspective, the bulwarks make it look lower than it is.
A great many designs, past and present, have relied on the sheerline to establish a boat’s identity. The reverse sheer—with the curve of a frown—places a boat within the high-performance category that Reggie Fountain and Don Aronow helped make famous. A sweeping, or springy, sheer has identified a century of wholesome designs derived from the workboats of New England and Chesapeake Bay. Nowadays, the sheerline often takes a back seat to curvilinear superstructures and topsides that are carved into submission by oddly shaped windows.
The Fjord 44 Coupé has a conventional straight sheer that’s softened by beveled edges. A stunning glass deckhouse seems to state the boat’s reason for being. Fjord calls the house an arc-saloon, with the moniker referring to the arc that anchors the after end. Made of glass, stainless steel and fiberglass, it defines the boat’s role as a safe and visually dramatic family cruising boat. Two side doors forward, two electric windows, an electric sunroof and twin sliding doors aft enhance the structure’s versatility. You can close every opening against the cold or open each as needed to let fresh air wash the space. Every part of the arc-saloon has standing headroom and panoramic sightlines. Open the bulkhead doors to create a continuous entertaining space from the cockpit to the cabin and encourage good times for everyone aboard.
The nearly plumb stem fits nicely into the current aesthetic trend. It is a dramatic motif to be sure, but it also provides the designers more length for accommodations below (berths for four and a head) and an oversized sunpad in the bow.
At planing speeds, the knuckle at the bow is designed to ride clear of the water to eliminate rooting. A pair of chines in the forward sections of the hull—one quite high, the other just above the static waterline—should subdue spray and increase buoyancy as the bow fights the seas. According to the builder, the boat should cruise at 30 knots with a pair of 370-hp Volvo Penta IPS500s (standard power) and 36 knots with optional 435-hp IPS600s.
As of this writing, Fjord had plans to debut the 44 at the Cannes show. I’m eager to see this interesting blend of form and function at the dock. hansegroup.com
LOA: 44 feet, 1 inch
BEAM: 13 feet, 11 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet, 9 inches
WEIGHT: 24,802 pounds
POWER: Twin 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels w/IPS500s
TANKAGE: 237 gals. fuel, 77 gals. water
BASE PRICE: $660,000
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue.