This 44ft flybridge is a serious departure from traditional boatbuilding that will shock traditionalists but inspire those willing to think outside the box
Imagine taking the length and beam of a typical mid 40ft flybridge cruiser and simply maximising the potential accommodation. Actually don’t bother – Raffaele Grotti, founder of Overblue, has already done it for you.
An Italian industrialist and keen boat owner, Raffaele became increasingly frustrated by the internal dimensions of the typical mid forty foot motor boat and the fact that the only way to get the space he required seemed to be trading up to a seven figure 70 footer.
The Overblue 44 is the direct result, and it’s a serious departure from traditional boat building, so much so that it’s not unreasonable to consider this a brand new concept.
Basically, what Raffaele and his team have done is take the dimensions of that typical mid forty foot motor cruiser, and completely max out the volume available – effectively they’ve built from the inside out.
Only the flybridge adds a little style, with curved side spars arcing forward, giving a little relief to the boxiness.
For traditionalists, the looks are likely to be a deal breaker but I actually think it has a real purposefulness about it – absolute function over form.
And those that are willing to think outside the box are richly rewarded once they get inside the box.
Slide open the glass saloon door and you find yourself in an area that defies the word ‘cabin’ – what you have here is nothing less than an aquatic apartment. A large and very comfortable domestic sofa graces the port side.
Opposite, a freestanding domestic six seater dining table with individual chairs provides a proper home dining experience.
This is real ‘home from home’ stuff, and it carries on as you pass the galley and head toward the bow.
Remember, this is all on one level – you wander from bedrooms to kitchen to lounge to cockpit without encountering a single step and the headroom is immense at seven feet throughout.
Flybridge and performance
Stretching virtually the full forty four foot length of the boat, the upper deck is quite simply vast!
From the sunbed aft, past another six seater dining table and a fully equipped wet bar, forward to the huge L-shaped swathe of seating and another sunbed, a dozen or more people could spend the day up here without ever tripping over one another.
The helm is up here too – the only one on the boat. A single seater affair pressed against the starboard side at around the mid point, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is little more than the bare necessity required to shunt this floating home slowly from dock to dock.
But here lies Overblue’s USP – this is no houseboat, incredibly this is a Category B offshore cruiser.
Beneath the deck of the Overblue are two slim hulls that provide stability yet reduce drag. Buried deep within them, the motors are almost inaudible at low speeds.
For all its offshore category B credentials, what you’re not going to get from the Overblue 44 is the dynamic range and performance of something like a Princess 43.
The largest engine option claims an 18 knot top end; with the mid range engine option we top out at 14 knots but cruise easily at 12.
The Overblue 44 isn’t perfect. The square cabin windows for example are practical, but feel like something you might find in a Portacabin, the interior is a touch ‘Ikea’ and the flybridge sides are too low at the front.
But these are easy fixes. The more fundamental issue is one of appearance and for many the boat will fall at this first hurdle.
But those that don’t mind or just don’t care will be rewarded with acres of space way beyond any conventionally styled boat yet without the mooring challenges and expense of a normal catamaran.
As a home on the water the Overblue 44 is untouchable at this size point, and to combine this with genuine sea going credentials is a masterstroke.