The wait is over. When the Kadey-Krogen brand was launched with a 42-footer that appeared in the December 1982 issue of this publication, no one imagined what was in store. Conceived by enthusiast Art Kadey and designed by naval architect James S. Krogen, the boat was a hit: 206 were built before the model was discontinued in 1995.
Since then, fans of the capable little cruiser have been longing for her replacement. While James S. Krogen passed away in 1994, sons Jim and Kurt have carried the torch, introducing a fleet of new models from 39 to 58 feet over the years. Thanks to Jim, all have followed the sound principles of naval architecture that James S. espoused. Thanks to Kurt, who minds the company, the fit, finish and outfitting of the products they build has kept pace with the market. The result is the sort of boat that the sons of James S. feel their dad would be proud of.
The 44 was a special project for the Krogens. “The 42 was one of Dad’s favorite designs-we feel he would have been very pleased with her replacement,” says Kurt.
The core values that made the 42 successful were chosen as the foundation of the new design. While designers and builders have long sought ways to fool Mother Nature, James S. believed in working with her. “Dad’s pure, full-displacement hull forms are just that-no tricks, no nonsense, just easily driven hulls,” says Kurt. The 44 has no hard edges, no bilge keels or bulbous bow; her form is a proven amalgam of what has come before in the proportions James S. believed in. “Like the 42, the 44 has a relatively light displacement-length ratio, a deep forefoot, a high-aspect keel and end-to-end symmetry,” he says. “These features lend to her natural motion at sea.”
As was the case with the 42, the 44 is not designed purely for passagemaking. “Dad believed that such designs involve far too much compromise.” The 44 is comfortable and has far more living space than you might expect for a boat her size and type. She could easily accommodate a couple living aboard. Though many 42s have logged ambitious bluewater crossings over the years, the bulk of the fleet is still in service plying the coastal waters of the U.S. and the Caribbean. “Our owners tend to be experienced cruisers that use their boats-not for a specific mission, but to support a cruising lifestyle,” says Kurt.
Fans will be pleased to find that the 44’s added length overall has been used wisely. The pilothouse, for example, which was a bit tight on the 42, now has enough space for a full-sized helm chair. Dutch doors are stout, weather-tight welded aluminum; the windshield and windows are manufactured in the U.S. There is of course a destroyer-style stainless steel wheel and more than enough space for instrumentation and full-screen electronics. The traditional raised pilot seat/berth is standard on all Krogen-cruising yachts.
The open main cabin is several steps below the pilothouse. A U-shaped galley area forward has Corian countertops, a gas range, a microwave oven and dual-voltage refrigeration. A saloon area aft has built-in L-shaped seating, space for chairs and an entertainment center with flat-panel TV. Stairs in the main cabin lead below deck. An owner’s cabin has a queen island berth and a second cabin/den has a seating area that converts to a double berth as well as a Pullman berth. The passageway leads to a head with a separate shower and a cabinet with a stacked washer/dryer. Throughout, hardwood soles and teak joinerwork with a satin finish are standard. While this specification is similar to the 42’s, the craftsmanship and detail in my opinion have improved. The interior soft goods and fixtures are first class.
Exterior fit and finish has also matured. The 42’s superstructure was built with a variety of sub-moldings that were screwed together. The 44’s pilothouse top, flybridge and boat deck are molded in one piece and mechanically fastened and fiberglassed to the one-piece superstructure and deck. This results in a cleaner look and a stiffer structure that offers fewer opportunities for water to find its way into the interior. Teak covers a portion of the main deck and is bonded to the fiberglass substrate. Those who are tired of teak can opt for fiberglass decks. The flybridge has a full helm station and the covered afterdeck has space for a table and chairs-another improvement over the 42. A walkaround side deck is standard and a wide-body version (full-beam port side) is offered.
With length overall on the rise in recent years, Kadey-Krogen delivers fewer boats these days. “Our mission is to build the best production-displacement trawlers in the world-period,” says Kurt. The 44 is built by Asia Harbor Yacht Builders in Kaohsiung, Taiwan-a yard dedicated to Kadey-Krogen’s product line. The 44’s solid hull bottom is hand laminated with a blend of stitched fiberglass and Kevlar reinforcements. The latter is used to reinforce critical areas such as the transom and the forward bulkhead. The hull bottom is supported by fiberglass stringers and Airex coring is used to stiffen and strengthen the hullsides.
There is no better way to appreciate the approach of James S. to full-displacement hull forms than to take the wheel of the 44 offshore in sloppy seas. Recently, Kurt and I did just that off Stuart, Fla. The wind had been blowing 20 knots for several days and as we approached the inlet I could see the outgoing tide colliding with the 6-foot seas. Even given her Naiad stabilizers, the 44’s motion in the confused seas was surprisingly comfortable. While the bigger seas that exceeded 6 feet seemed a threat at first, they simply passed beneath the boat without a fuss. Once clear of the inlet, she had the same comfortable motion in all directions. With a quartering stern sea I pointed her at the sea buoy a quarter-mile distant and set the autopilot-she tracked as true as an arrow. The decibel readings I recorded in the pilothouse at cruising speed were a pleasantly low 68 dB(A).
The 44 is an honest full-displacement form-her optimum speed of around 8 knots is a function of her waterline length. With her single 154 hp John Deere turning 2050 rpm I noted a cruising speed of 8.8 knots. Kurt considers this an ideal “high cruise” and the 7.5 knots I recorded at 1700 rpm an ideal “low cruise.” While you could push her harder, it would be wasteful; that’s simply the nature of full-displacement designs. You can see this in the numbers. At 8 knots she has a range of 2,120 nautical miles. At 9 knots her range drops to 1,390 nautical miles. Pull her back to 6 knots and she can wander almost 5,000 nautical miles.
When the Krogen team put ink to paper to pen the 44 they were clearly inspired. She is not simply a rehash of an old idea, she is the broadening of a gifted designer’s vision crafted by his creative and capable sons. “We are very close to this design,” admits Kurt. “I suppose it took us a bit longer than it should have to bring her to market.” In my opinion the 44 was well worth the wait.
Contact: Kadey-Krogen Yachts, (772) 286-0171; www.kadeykrogen.com.