The Swift Trawler 44 came online in America in 2011 (read our original review Swift Trawler 44: Well Thought Out), along with its smaller sister, the Swift Trawler 34. Today the company has a wide-ranging Swift Trawler lineup featuring 30’ to 50’ offerings. Filling out the upper middle slice of the range is the 2017 Swift Trawler 44, now improved with customer input, aimed at couples who plan to do serious cruising over relatively long distances. Here in the United States that means folks who’ll likely want to cruise coastal waters and hop offshore when it’s comfortable to do so. That being said, the 44’s B12/C14 CE certification indicates that she’s equally capable inshore and offshore. The “B” rating means she can operate safely offshore with 12 folks aboard in winds to 40 knots and significant seas to 13 feet. Her “C” rating kicks in with 14 folks onboard and limits her to coastal waters and large bays and lakes with winds up to 27 knots, and significant seas of seven feet. In other words, the Swift Trawler 44’s capabilities are likely going to exceed your comfort with operating in the conditions she can ultimately handle. When we tested the 44 the seas were calm but we did learn a good bit about this boat; join us for a quick peek inside and out.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, a large chunk of the trawlers on the market today are no longer the slow but capable long-range passage-making vessels of years gone by. They’re still capable, of course, but during the last decade many trawler builders have transitioned from full displacement designs to semi-displacement hulls capable of higher speeds. Though Grand Banks and other builders were moving to this style of hull before Beneteau’s Swift Trawler line came on the North American scene, Beneteau gets credit for growing the popularity of these “slo-fast” trawlers, many of which cruise efficiently in the 14- to 16-knot range.
We ran the Swift Trawler 44 in Sarasota, FL, on Sarasota Bay in early September. Thanks to the Florida heat, we were eager to hop aboard and check out the 44’s air-conditioned interior spaces first. The interior of the Swift Trawler 44 is typical Beneteau, presenting an upscale and contemporary look. To keep the ship’s meal prep person from being isolated, Beneteau engineered the galley in the main saloon. It’s just to port of the lower helm station and is situated diagonally across from a large and comfortable dinette with room for six folks. Sturdy and solid-feeling cabinetry dominates the port aft side of the main saloon.
Only a couple steps down forward from the main saloon is a common landing that offers access to a guest stateroom to port and a master stateroom in the bow. Guests get an aft-facing double berth and a hanging locker with enough room for a weekend’s worth of clothing and gear. A guest head/shower is located across from the guest stateroom to starboard and shares access with the rest of the boat. The master stateroom, with its island queen berth, has its own private enclosed head/shower, lots of stowage for clothes and personal items, and excellent natural light provided by an overhead hatch and integrated hullside ports. Beneteau tells us that an unintended side effect of the twin starboard head/shower setup is that married couples often take one head each for themselves, instead of sharing only the master stateroom ensuite head/shower—a personal perk owners rate highly.
Enjoying your surroundings is a major part of what makes cruising enjoyable, and Beneteau has done an admirable job of engineering comfort and roominess into every outside level of the Swift Trawler 44. A great place to start is the cockpit. There’s tons of space back here and the only thing that interrupts the rich teak decking is a comfortable bench on the aft port side of the cockpit. Genset access and additional stowage space are accessed via a pair of opening hatches in the deck, and both sides of the cockpit provide access to wide side decks leading forward. It’s worth mentioning that you do give up a bit of interior space for these wider-than-average side decks, but we found the ease of moving about and the security they provided a more than fair trade off. Forward is a bow sunpad on the low-slung cabintop roof, and a spacious foredeck.
Once on the flybridge you’ll find a spacious area equipped with an L-shaped lounge to port and a cushy and comfortable bench seat to starboard. This lounge setup easily swallowed up nine of us, with room to spare. Aft of this area is a mast and boom used to hoist a dinghy up onto a deck area engineered just for this purpose. The flybridge helm has a generous swiveling captain’s chair with companion seating to port, and a commanding view both fore and aft—though you won’t be able to see the stern, since the flybridge deck overhangs the cockpit.
Our test craft was equipped with a pair of Volvo Penta D4 300-horsepower turbodiesels mated to conventional stainless-steel shafts and bronze propellers. Pod drives, unfortunately, are not an option. Still, we found the Swift Trawler 44 nimble and easy to position at slow speeds even without pod drives, thanks to the twin screws and a robust bow thruster.
Once we’d motored out past the no-wake zone and positioned the 44 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway we stoked the coals, and were immediately surprised by how quickly she accelerated. Instead of the slow steady push up to speed like many large power craft exhibit, the Swift Trawler 44 actually reacted with a bit of snap when the throttles were pushed down. Passage-makers will cruise at a most efficient speed of six knots or so, and triple their fuel efficiency. All in all, we were impressed with the 44’s overall range of performance.
There weren’t many items onboard to take issue with, but we did sort of scratch our heads at Beneteau’s decision to use thick teak plywood blocks instead of solid wood for the outside steps leading up to the flybridge. And one (very) tall boater commented about how the overhead stowage bin just ahead of the helm partially blocked his forward view; most folks were short enough for it not to be a problem.
You’ll need to dig around in your pockets for about $550,000 to start your voyage in the Swift Trawler 44, but that price will push easily to the $600,000 mark by the time you outfit her for cruising. While that’s a significant amount of money, the Swift Trawler 44 does have the capability to take you safely, comfortable, and quickly, to just about wherever you want to go. And today, it’s an even better boat than it was upon its introduction.
Other Choices: The Cranchi Eco Trawler 43 is a boat that may be of interest to shoppers looking at the Swift Trawler 44. Those who might consider a power catamaran will look at the Aquila 44, which offers similar (but slightly slower) performance.
For more information, visit Beneteau.
See Beneteau Swift Trawler 44 listings.
|Fuel capacity||370 gal.|
|Water capacity||169 gal.|
|Test conditions: Winds of 10 knots, 10 POB. Performance data courtesy of Beneteau.|
|Power||Twin Volvo Penta D4 300 HP diesel inboards, swinging 24” x 25” four-bladed propellers.|