Hanse’s an­gu­lar

Soundings - - Contents - BY DEN­NIS CAPRIO

yet grace­ful Fjord 44 Coupe has a glass deck­house that takes the con­cept of a bright and breezy lux­ury in­te­rior to the next level.

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 CoupŽ. 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 CoupŽ 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

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