Yacht Class n°15 (dec 2018/jan-feb 2019)
Fjord Yachts – HanseGroup
The Fjord 44 comes out this year in her Coupé version, which offers a real alternative to owners of large yachts wishing to explore the dream coves without checking the weather forecast. This new 44-foot that has a covered saloon / wheelhouse is inspired by her elder sister with her seafaring qualities and functional luxury. But the Open argues a sportier steering and a more fluid line … A judgment call?
Written by: Philippe Leblond – Photos : Nico Krauss et Philippe Leblond
Since 2007, the Norwegian-born brand founded in 1960, has joined the “galaxy” of the German Hanse group, which also owns: the Hanse, Delher, Moody, Varianta and Privilège yachts, as well as the Sealine motor boats and, therefore, Fjord. The latest addition to the range, the 44 Coupé was presented as a world premiere at the last Cannes Yachting Festival. She presents herself as an alternative to the 44 Open, launched two years ago, with which she shares most of her components, starting with the hull, the front axle and the cabin space.
The lighter and brighter Open
It was on the occasion of the Barcelona show that we were offered to have both versions of this 44 feet. Tests that took place on a residual swell of more than two meters. Despite these unfavourable conditions, our two Fjord have reached maximum speeds very close to those claimed by the yard. With the 44 Open, 39.5 knots instead of the 40 announced, and 37.4 knots instead of 36 with the 44 Coupé. Note that the two boats were equipped with the same propulsion, namely two 435 hp Volvo D6 driving transmissions IPS600. The swell picks our two boats right out of the port of the Catalan capital. No worries for the hull of the Fjord (the same), which shows from the outset an important quality, namely that it effectively deflects the spray and its wave of bow, and that it relieves well in deep hollows, meaning that it does not dive and it goes back at once helped by its powerful chunks. And even if it is difficult, when approaching the maximum speed in front of the wave, to avoid some dry impacts, by reducing a bit the pace, to 25 knots, the two Fjord find all their comfort of navigation. As expected, in curves, you cannot shoot as fast as with Z-Drive transmissions. On the other hand, the IPS take their revenge during the manoeuvres of port, where the control with joystick, soft, intuitive and precise does almost the job in the place of the pilot, to the point that a neo-owner can display the insurance of a professional skipper. But, back to the behaviour of these false twin … If their “sea touch” is similar, it seems to take control of two boats of different power. The Open is much more alert than the Coupé, both for her responsiveness at the helm, with sharp course changes, as accelerations, times in support. While the Coupé takes 12”9 to plan, the Open hovers in just 6”7. And to cross the mark of 20 knots, she takes the first 13 ”, while 8 ” are enough to the second … Two explanations to that. First, the Coupé, with her superstructure with glass windows, accuses 1,680 kg more, two the choice of her propeller was less suitable since full gas, and she was missing 250 rpm, unlike the Open, which reached the turn near the engine speed of 3,500 rpm. The little extra speed obtained with the Coupé of our test, 37.4 knots instead of the 36 announced, obviously reflects the presence of propellers with a step too long, favourable to the speed but quite penalizing for the climbs in regime. In terms of autonomy, one and the other can “buckle” a Cannes / Calvi, return, without refuelling.
More cosy comfort on the Coupé
The major difference between these two Fjord: the larger superstructure of the Coupé, of course! Some will find it a little massive to the eye … But other peculiarities appear as soon as you put your foot aboard the Coupé. The stern is treated differently, with a fixed bathing platform (it is submersible on the Open), a rear bench module that can stretch by partially covering the bathing area, to give the solarium a good size, and only one cockpit square table instead of two. If the rear square of the Open is a little more spacious, the Coupé adds a second one inside a living space that also brings together the kitchenette and wheelhouse. This small “living-room” is quite cosy, and we almost want to talk about living room. This closed place is however fully glazed, offering a sea view almost 360 °and electric openings that allow you to enjoy the sea breeze. In case of excessive heat, the optional air conditioning takes over … The deck plan of the Coupé, is not far from offering the same freedom of movement as the very nice and functional of the Open. Thus, one ought to mention the wide access from the cockpit, and the two sliding doors that open on the passageways of each edge. Since, one of the great qualities of the Coupé, is to maintain a deck plan “walk around”, so that it is possible to circulate easily and safely (the bulwarks are high) all around this structure. For the rest, the Coupé is identical to the Open: a cabin in the bow (headroom: 1.90 m, and in the bathroom) with double berth 200 x 160 cm, and a mid -cabin, located under the cockpit, offering two berths of 198 x 80 cm. Everywhere the finish calls for praise (uniform shine of gel-coat, impeccable installation of solid teak, deco zen cabins, high-end fittings …), as well as the functionality largely using electrical controls. In short, everything is done on these two Fjord to facilitate life on board and provide an addictive comfort.