Beneteau Swift Trawler 44
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.