Anyone who has followed Chuck Paine’s career will recognize this 44-footer as a derivative of the artist’s early work. Paine refers to her as a scaled-up version of his 30-foot Annie, a boat he dearly loved.
“She had everything”, he wrote about Annie. “She was beautiful; felt twice her size in a seaway, owing to her heavy displacement; and never finished worse than first in any race she entered.”
This design pushes most of the right aesthetic buttons. I adore what a raised flush deck does for a boat’s looks. My all-time favorite belongs to Paine’s Frances 26 design, his first commercial success. A flush deck, in addition to being lovely to look at and safe to negotiate at sea, is extremely strong, eliminating the extra wrinkles in the mold that a deckhouse creates. It quickly sheds green water, too, but a flush deck may make a boat uncomfortably stable upside down if she turns turtle. The deck needs a generous camber, as found here, to encourage the boat to roll upright.
At almost 14 feet of beam on an LWL of 36 feet, the 44 is a fat little boat, but you’d never guess it from the profile. Looking at the profile drawing, most people will unconsciously regard the line defined by the juncture of dark hull and light sheer plank as the actual sheer. This bit of visual tomfoolery, like dark clothing on a chubby human, slims the boat and lowers its apparent height. Elliptical portlights reduce the visual height even more.
The real sheerline takes a subtle dip a short distance abaft the last portlight, reducing bulk in the after sections. Even more important, this dip in the sheer allows the windshield to become an elegant device, instead of a clunky excrescence. Follow the line of the windshield’s wood frame to its terminus at the cockpit coaming. Do it again, only this time take in the sheerline and see what a wonderful combination of subtle curves Paine has drawn. Eliminate that dip in the sheer, and you’ve created a less attractive boat.
Equally enticing are the lines that form the underbody. The spoon bow hints at what to expect-a fine entry of substantial deadrise, transitioning to soft but not slack bilges, a sweeping run and not a single flat surface, except for the foot of the keel. This hull has “seakindly written all over it.
The keel, relatively shallow and long of chord, also recalls Paine’s early designs. This modern iteration of his long keel has a big bite out of the after sections, creating a huge aperture for the propeller. Conventional thinking says to keep the aperture as small as possible, but Paine discovered that making it very large improved the flow of water to the rudder. This configuration lets the partially balanced rudder steer with much the same precision as a spade rudder hung far abaft the keel.
This boat is nearing completion in cold-molded wood at French & Webb in Belfast, Maine. She’ll beautify the harbors and roadsteads all right, but she’ll also treat her owners to miles and miles, years and years, of cruising pleasure. n