Ever since Henry Luhrs built his first Sea Skiff over half a century ago, the boat company that bears his name has had a reputation for no-nonsense designs that got the job done. In that span of time, however, technology has improved the way boats are built and buyers have grown to want more than just the basics.
The 44 Convertible is the latest model to be transformed in a remake of the Luhrs line. Beneath the stylish and classic exterior are a host of expanded features and options — not to mention a better way to build rugged, seaworthy craft in the Henry Luhrs tradition.
The 44 Convertible retains its proven Bob Sherbet hull design. The deep forefoot, wide flare and efficient bottom make for an excellent ride in any sea. However, new powerplant choices increase both speed and fuel economy.
Exterior trim details, such as specially designed Imron-coated rails, give the boat a custom look. Many of the features found as options on other brands come standard on a Luhrs. It's a result of improved production techniques that reduce costs and allow more boat to be built for the same price tag.
Some of those standard features include a cockpit refrigerator/freezer, a livewell, a bait prep area with sink, tackle drawers, dual washdowns and a coaming fishbox. Rocket launchers are also included, as is the hardtop above them.
The cockpit area has ample space to work around an optional fishing chair. One standard feature found on almost all Luhrs convertible models that everyone appreciates is the BridgeWalk stairway from the flybridge. It gets you to the cockpit in a hurry when the action starts.
The 44's bow is broad enough to accommodate a tender, and its high, welded aluminum railing makes it a secure casting platform. Outriggers and a center rigger are available factory options, as are a windlass and removable bench seat along the transom.
The flybridge layout is both functional and comfortable. The helm console rises from the center of the space. A three-across bench seat forward features a footrest built into the forward bulkhead.
Behind the helm, you have a choice of the standard pair of swivel bucket seats or an optional bench. To port, there's a sideways facing jump seat that's the ideal perch for keeping an eye on trolling lines.
The steering position is on the centerline and affords outstanding visibility of the entire boat. A gleaming chrome steering wheel is set on an attractive polished teak pedestal that's complemented by a chrome-trimmed window covering the engine gauges. There's space for small electronics and controls above the wheel.
To starboard is a large sloping panel that will take a couple of electronics displays with room to spare. And if that isn't enough, there's an electronics box molded into the underside of the hardtop.
Really Get Into It
One of the advantages of having a boat the size of the Luhrs 44 Convertible is that you don't have to deal with cramped quarters inside. The broad beam and length allow you plenty of elbow room.
The main saloon has the galley set aft to starboard and features an under-counter side-by-side Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. Other standard appliances are a microwave/convection oven and a coffee-maker (both of which are built in), along with an electric three-burner cooktop set on the Corian countertop.
A unique, custom-made two-basin sink fits in the aft corner and uses space that ordinarily would be wasted. The galley, along with the rest of the saloon, has an easy-to-clean hardwood sole.
Opposite and forward of the galley, you can stretch out on either of two L-shaped seating units. The one to port is served by a removable dinette table.
For entertainment, there's a 17 inch color flat-screen television and an AM/FM stereo system with DVD player built into the cabinet in the aft port corner of the saloon. A bottle and glass storage compartment and an ice-maker are also in the attractive teak wood fixture. All are standard features you'd probably pay extra for on other boats.
A Good Night's Sleep
The 44 has conventional sleeping accommodations for four in its two staterooms. The lounges in the saloon can also be used as berths.
There is a set of bunks with innerspring mattresses to starboard in the guest suite. The master stateroom is built around a pedestal queen-size berth (also with an innerspring mattress) that's accessible from three sides. You'll find an impressive amount of storage space in both compartments, from cedar-lined floor-to-ceiling hanging lockers to drawers and small cabinets.
The head is positioned to port — opposite the guest stateroom — and has three separate spaces. First is a toilet compartment with its own sink that's accessible from the companionway. Another is the main lavatory with a vanity sink and storage for toilet articles and towels. The enclosed shower stall is situated off that. The countertops are Corian and the VacuFlush toilet is a standard item.
A few other options available for the cabin include a separate washer and dryer that can be located off each side of the companionway in the sleeping area and an additional 15 inch flat-screen television for the master stateroom. The television in the saloon can be upgraded to a 22 inch flat-screen, if you prefer.
Making a Run
Often, a boat with high-horsepower engines and large props will be jumpy when running at cruising speed — but the Luhrs designers did their homework on the 44. With a pair of 635 hp Cummins diesels swinging 30 inch props, our test boat handled with predictability.
The sports car-like steering inspired confidence. The boat would go where you wanted it to go. I tried a few evasive maneuvers and immediately felt comfortable with the 44's handling.
Slow-speed maneuvering is equally responsive. I had no trouble backing down in a straight line or doing docking moves. Visibility from the helm is excellent, as the seat is overhung a bit from the flybridge. You don't miss a thing.
The Cummins engines give the 44 Convertible a cruising speed of 32 mph at 2,050 rpm, while burning 48 gallons of fuel per hour. That's a reasonable figure for a boat that tips the scales wet at around 45,000 pounds.
I measured a sound level reading at cruising speed of 89 dbA. I'm certain that some of it was wind noise, because there was no flybridge enclosure installed on our test boat. At idle, the engines could hardly be heard.
Luhrs 44 Convertible: Specifications
|Dry displacement||33,500 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||700 gallons|
|Water capacity||125 gallons|
|Props||30" x 50" four-blade Nibral Lt. Tip Cup|
|Price as tested with twin 635-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesel engines||$599,993|
|Top speed||30.1 knots|
|Miles per gallon at 20-knot cruising speed||.78|
|Fuel cost for 100 miles||$192.31|
|Range at 20-knot cruising speed||546 miles to empty|
|Sound level at cruising speed||89 dbA (no flybridge enclosure)|
(Fuel cost estimate based on a fuel price of $1.50 per gallon.)
Hardtop w/four-sided flybridge enclosure; 17 inch flat-screen television; AM/FM stereo system w/DVD player; microwave oven; coffee-maker; Corian countertops; teak interior; recessed halogen lighting; Oil-X-Changer system; 13.5 kw generator.
Options on Test Boat
Helm bench seat; spotlight; electronics package; washer and dryer; Rupp outriggers; windlass.
The hull features a fiberglass bottom and is cored from boot stripe to sheerline with Baltek. The deck is Baltek-cored fiberglass.
For more information:
St. Augustine, FL