A proven hull provides the platform for a new coastal cruising sedan design.
Testing a North Pacific yacht is a difficult task for any marine writer. The boats have been designed and built for comfortable, safe and economical coastal cruising on any of the world’s oceans, but they are most at home in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska. It’s very difficult, even for a “cranky” boat tester, to find something major that needs improvement.
North Pacific’s new 44 Sedan is a single-engine coastal cruising trawler, a vessel type rapidly growing in popularity as sailors move to power. For owners, a nice benefit to trawlers’ increased popularity is that it helps keep resale value up.
The North Pacific 44 Sedan is impressive at the dock. It has a big, husky look, yet the molded-in plank lines give the hull texture and elegance. The fiberglass work is bright and shiny without haze or print-through.
With a main-deck interior that’s all on the same level — the head and accommodations are down and forward — the 44 is a sedan cruiser. The helm station is forward and to starboard in the deckhouse, and from that location the skipper can easily see the entire 22 feet of the deckhouse and into the aft cockpit.
The displacement hull, complete with a fully integrated swim platform, features a long keel that helps the hull track and also helps to dampen rolling. The full, almost plumb stem provides good reserve buoyancy up front and helps the bow resist burying the nose as the hull moves through a seaway. Overall, this hull design makes for a very comfortable and quiet boat underway.
The designers provided more than adequate deck space and good stainless handrails, so people on board can move quickly and easily from the aft cockpit to the foredeck. Access to the large, hardtop-covered command bridge is up a set of steps from the cockpit.
The hull is solid, hand-laid glass, and vinylester resin is used on the outer two laminate layers. This type of resin helps the laminate resist wicking water into the hull in the event the gelcoat is damaged. The decks and superstructure are fiberglass with a synthetic honeycomb core, which creates a very strong, stiff, lightweight structure that provides a level of insulation.
One structural feature that is found on most North Pacific hulls but not on other marques is a marine-grade aluminum grid that provides support for all the interior floors. The grid adds massive strength and structural rigidity without adding much weight. It also helps ensure that the floors will not start flexing and squeaking as the vessel ages. Marine-grade aluminum does not corrode.
The NP44’s deckhouse has more window glass than fiberglass and, even on a dull day, the interior is flooded with natural light. All the window frames are stainless steel and need only to be wiped down with fresh water to keep them bright and new looking. The entire exterior of the vessel is wash and wear — a simple hose-down with fresh water is all that’s needed to remove salt spray after a day out.
There’s really not much flexibility when it comes to laying out the interior of any sedan cruiser, because the deckhouse is on one level; however, North Pacific has done a good job laying out a practical and comfortable interior. Teak-and-holly flooring, satin-finished teak cabinetry throughout that’s finished with seven coats of polyurethane (all of the woodwork on board is first class), and 12v LED lighting make for a modern and bright interior. Ultraleather fabric and a soft headliner soften the interior look and help absorb noise while the yacht is underway. Chrome or brass light fixtures, as well as drawer pulls and locks, contrast nicely with the teak.
Another item featured in most North Pacific yachts is a flip-open helm. A touch of a button releases the helm, hinged on the bottom, so wiring connections are open and easily available for maintenance or replacement, which saves time and money if upgrades are required. North Pacific has a number of optional deckhouse features available on request.
The helm is located forward in the deckhouse and all controls fall easily to hand, and gauges and instruments are clear and easy to read. Two large and comfortable U.S.-made fully adjustable helm seats let the captain and mate spend their time at the helm without growing tired. The helm station has electrical outlets for AC and DC power as well as a powered USB connection.
Immediately aft of the console are a pair of comfortable arm chairs, separated by a convenient coffee table. The area is a great place to read or comfortably lounge about and enjoy a snack or a beverage.
The L-shaped galley, complete with a deep, double stainless sink with a pullout faucet/sprayer, is located to port, just aft of the port deckhouse door. It includes plenty of solid countertop space and storage in drawers and cupboards. A propane or electric stove is available. An exhaust fan, located beside the stove and venting outside, makes cooking much more comfortable and ensures that cooking odors and moisture are removed from the deckhouse. A combination refrigerator/freezer is also located in the galley.
Aft of the galley is a comfortable six-person dinette that pulls double duty as a bed.
Two staterooms, a head with a separate shower stall and plenty of locker space are located below and forward. The forepeak master contains a comfortable island queen bed, hanging lockers and drawer storage space. To starboard, aft of the master space, is a side-by-side twin-berth cabin that can instead be laid out as an office in one of the optional layouts. The accommodation space has plenty of headroom, great lighting, good ventilation, and the fit-and-finish is as good as in the rest of the vessel.
The Cummins QSB6.7L fired up quickly and like most computer-controlled engines quickly settled down into a nice purr, without clatter or smoke. At idle, 600 rpm, my noisemeter — placed directly above the engine space — registered 61 decibels, only one decibel higher than a normal library. In fact the 44 is very quiet throughout its entire speed range. Even at wide-open throttle, 3000 revs, the meter read just a touch less than 70 decibels, the same as a normal conversation.
At 850 revs we moved along at 4.2 knots, at which point the 355 hp Cummins was burning 0.5 gph. One thousand revs gave us 4.7 knots and a fuel burn of 0.7 gph. At 6.6 knots the engine was spinning at 1500 rpm and burning 2.2 gph. That speed is roughly under-sail cruising sailboat speed, and that fuel burn yields 3 mpg. When we tapped the throttle up to 2000 rpm, the Cummins burned 5.6 gph and the 44 was traveling at 8.3 knots. Fuel burn at 2500 rpm was 10 gph and speed was 9.7 knots. Wide-open throttle, 3000 rpm, produced 11.3 knots and a fuel burn of 18.4 gallons per hour. At all speeds the vessel responded smartly and precisely to all helm inputs.
This new North Pacific is as good as the other vessels in the line, is very quiet and comfortable underway, and has excellent visibility and ventilation. The builder offers many options that will appeal to different boaters, within a well-designed, well-built hull. A single engine keeps costs down but is powerful enough to allow the vessel to operate in the traditional trawler speed range while keeping fuel costs under control.