Yacht Review: Pacific Seacraft 44Sep 30, 2014
Improvements on a noted designer’s ocean-tested approach
In 1948, the now legendary yacht designer W.I.B. Crealock set out with three friends in a small English cutter to study the behavior of small boats at sea. Two years later, the Glasgow University-trained naval architect arrived in the U.S. and documented not only his adventures, but also all he had learned about small boats at sea and what went in to the design of a proper voyaging craft.
In 1959, Crealock put all he had learned sailing into practice as a small boat designer in southern California. His designs were embraced for their economy of build, offshore stability, seaworthiness and overall ease of handling.
Today, Crealock’s no-nonsense designs continue be the choice of serious offshore sailors and continue to evolve despite his passing in 2009.
Thanks to the yacht manufacturer Pacific Seacraft, which built a number of his designs, Crealock’s vision is still very much alive in the company’s newly designed PS44.
There are significant design modifications in the new PS44 for 2015. Through the application of updated methods, materials and equipment, the design is seeing a rebirth with an improved sail-plan, equipment/hardware upgrades and a semi-custom interior that can be arranged to any voyager’s needs.
In general, the lines are that of a much more powerful hull with less overhang and a longer waterline. The yacht’s deep curvaceous hull sections enhance seakindly motion and provide a structural shape that distributes ballast keel loads throughout the lower hull. Like other Pacific Seacraft yachts, the hull is hand-laminated with vinylester resins and reinforced with E-glass for added stiffness and impact resistance.
Pacific Seacraft custom builds most of its stainless steel hardware.
Courtesy Pacific Seacraft
Below the waterline, the PS44 underbody layout and proportions mimic those of the smaller Crealock-designed PS37. A long, robust modified fin keel, in combination with a skeg-hung rudder, offers good tracking and stability without sacrificing windward ability. A monolithic, heavy fiberglass keel stub provides added athwartship strength unlike most conventional fin keels that bolt directly to a flat bottom. The yacht’s external cast lead keel is attached to the base of this keel stub with 13 one-inch stainless steel keel bolts. Monel or Aqualoy keel bolts are also available. The external lead keel provides shock absorption from harsh groundings and is more easily repaired when there is nothing more than a dent in the leading edge.
Semi-custom below decks
Below decks, a semi-custom interior allows for enhanced interior flow and comfort, additional stowage and improved equipment/machinery access. The layout is ideal for two cruising couples.
There is an aft master stateroom with adjoining head and separate stall-shower. The stateroom features a large double berth, dressing seat, a cedar-lined hanging locker, shelves and storage compartments. The head compartment has a Corian counter, stainless steel vanity sink, mirror and cabinet for toiletries. The separate shower stall has a teak sauna-style seat and teak shower grate.
The forward stateroom has a double bed offset to port, with port and starboard drawers and shelves. There are cedar-lined hanging lockers, a dressing seat and a vanity. The enclosed forward head has a stainless steel sink in a Corian counter with a chrome faucet/pull-out showerhead.
The galley features a large J-shaped cooking area that is convenient to both the cockpit and the main salon. Counters are Corian with a centerline double stainless steel sink. There is pressurized fresh water with a backup foot pump. The galley is also equipped with a gimbaled Force 10 four-burner stainless steel stove with oven and broiler, an icebox with freezer compartment, and a built-in trash bin. The refrigeration equipment consists of 12 VDC powered SeaFrost cold plates.
Standard accommodations layout.
The interior has 6-foot-5-inch standing headroom. The main saloon has a 7-foot U-shaped dinette to port that converts to a 50-inch wide double berth. There is ample storage, bookshelves and mahogany ceiling grabrails. The navigation area has its own storage, bookshelves and lockers, in addition to a padded swivel seat. The interior is almond-colored laminate where appropriate; the joinery is all mahogany finished with five coats of Epifanes rubbed effect varnish. The cabin sole is teak and holly throughout.
Hard dodger option
On deck, there is the option of a hard dodger, now a popular choice for offshore sailors as it adds protection from the elements as well as providing a convenient structure for mounting solar panels. There are two Harken #60.2 primary winches, three Harken #40.2 halyard/utility winches and one Harken #46.2 mainsheet winch. Deck organizers and foot blocks are also Harken. There is a custom stainless steel bowsprit with bobstay, two anchor rollers, locking pins, and divided chain locker for two anchor rodes. All exterior teak trim is finished in Epifanes High Gloss varnish.
The cockpit features bench seats with contoured backs and sea drains, a contoured helm seat with safety harness pad eyes, two large cockpit lockers, coaming boxes with teak fiddles, and a vented stern lazarette for propane storage. The yacht is equipped with Edson CDi rack and pinion pedestal wheel steering, single lever throttle/shift controls, and deep cockpit gutters with 1.5-inch drains for fast bailing. The cockpit coaming provides security in all conditions.
The rig is tall and powerful at 62 feet. The mast is from Sparcraft with double foil spreaders. Harken MKIV Unit 2 makes up the genoa furling system with Harken ESP block for the running rigging. Main and genoa and boom topping lift halyards all lead to the cockpit. The standing rigging is 1X19 wire.
Interior with two club chairs.
The electrical system includes a 110-volt AC shore power system, AC/DC master control panel, one Lifeline AGM group 31 deep cycle marine engine starting battery (105 amp-hours), two Lifeline AGM4D deep cycle marine house bank batteries (210 amp-hours each), a Blue Sea battery switch, and Magnum AC inverter with ME-RC remote control panel rated at 2,000 continuous watts with a 100-amp battery charger.
For auxiliary propulsion, the boat comes with a Yanmar 4JH5E — a four cylinder, 3,000-rpm, 53-hp marine diesel with freshwater cooling and an 80-amp alternator. The engine drives a conventional three-blade bronze prop with a three-blade Max-Prop feathering propeller as an option.
Other options include a shoal draft keel, cruising spinnaker with sock, in mast/in boom furling and a staysail. Electronics are typically chosen by the owner, and B&G, Simrad or Raymarine packages are the usual choices along with ICOM, VHF and SSB communications.
The new design Crealock/PS44 is a serious offshore voyaging yacht with long distance racing potential. The yacht’s sturdy build and improvements in hull design have resulted in a very fast sea boat that holds up to Crealock’s recognition of the PS44 as the “ultimate evolution of the breed.”