Beneteau Swift Trawler 44

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY SARAH ELL

De­spite her fish­ing boat ori­gins, the new­est Beneteau mo­tor launch to reach our shores is a classy lady.

Many Ki­wis as­so­ciate a Beneteau with the com­pany’s well-known range of pro­duc­tion yachts but, in fact, the French man­u­fac­turer’s roots lie in pro­duc­ing work­ing fish­ing boats, right back to the 1880s. This lat­est model in the Swift Trawler range cer­tainly works as a ‘fish­ing boat’, but is more of a plat­form for very com­fort­able cruis­ing.

This boat, called King­fisher in ironic ref­er­ence to its own­ers’ lack of suc­cess with the rod, is one of two Swift Trawler 44s head­ing out on to the Hau­raki Gulf this sum­mer. She’s pow­ered by a tra­di­tional ar­range­ment: a pair of Volvo D4-300 diesels paired with shaft drives, with bow and stern thrusters. Con­rad Gair of Beneteau agent 36o Bro­kers says while many own­ers today are go­ing for an IPS ‘pod’ drive sys­tem, this boat’s own­ers wanted the sim­plic­ity, lower cost and lower main­te­nance of shaft drives.

The Swift has a clas­sic trawler look, with a high, ship­like bow, a walka­round en­closed by bul­warks, and a large fly­bridge which ef­fec­tively forms a sec­ond area of liv­ing space.

Be­low the wa­ter, the semi-dis­place­ment hull (by the late French naval ar­chi­tect Michel Jou­bert) has a deep vee and a large chine with two spray rails be­neath it, mak­ing for a smooth and solid ride. The high top­sides are bro­ken up by a belt­ing which runs along much of the length of the hull, be­low the port­holes in the lower ac­com­mo­da­tion.

For its new own­ers, a big sell­ing point was the large area on the up­per deck which could ac­com­mo­date their Ze­phyr sail­ing dinghy. The own­ers are sailors at heart, and like to be able to drop the dinghy in the wa­ter (us­ing the elec­tric boom) to go for a sail when out cruis­ing around the Hau­raki Gulf or Bay of Is­lands.

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