In our last Day Boat Showdown article, we compared the Riva Rivale 52, the 44 Zeelander and the Mochi Craft Dolphin 44. One of the most important things to consider when making a decision in this class and style of yacht is how you’re going to use it and where you’ll take her. Geared more for day trips or short weekend trips, these vessels provide an upgrade as a tender or entertaining and simple cruising with the option to stay on board should the occasion arise. If that occasion arises, you’ll want to make sure your belowdecks allow comfort for all with adequate sleeping options, ample galley, storage and lounging area. In addition, you can look at manufacturing aspects as well as styling, power configuration, ease of use and maintenance considerations. In this article, we’ll float the Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht, the Zeelander Z44 and Hinckley T44 MKII for comparison.
Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht
The only outboard in our line up in this article series, the Intrepid 430 is American-made in Largo, Fla. Around since 1983, Intrepid’s first launch was a fused-hull-and-deck, 30-footer with a core composite system complemented by a vacuum-bag infusion process that delivered a lighter, stronger hull. This produced highly desirable speeds with a smooth, fuel-efficient ride. Despite turning relatively few boats out of its facility each year (compared with the big guys), they have been absolute trend setters in the offshore, outboard-powered, open-boat arena. You’ll find Intrepids used as megayacht tenders, fishing boats and day boats for adventurous owners.
Intrepid boasts many customizations on its powerboats including the following:
- Hull color (applied with Imron paint for deep gloss and easy maintenance) with matching engine colors and powder-coating in custom colors
- Custom consoles, seats, windshields, hard or canvas tops and fabrics
- Optional scuba diving side door
- Optional cold stowage
- Optional engine brand and configuration, stern thruster
Intrepid prides itself on strength of design that includes a uniquely shaped, deep-V stepped hull. She’s completely different than the other models in this comparison since she is a much sportier, racy yacht without the classic lines and tradition that shape the Zeelander and the Hinckley. In essence, she’s a high end center console. While certainly well-appointed, the Intrepid 430 does not reflect the luxurious finishes offered on the other vessels.
Intrepid claims it has perfectly placed its CG (center of gravity) in the 430, giving it a well-balanced ride, “You’ll take off level, and actually feel like you’re levitating onto plane – a unique feeling only experienced on an Intrepid.” In addition, her advanced hull seems to do a pretty good job at knocking off wave tops comfortably and quietly.
Topped by an optional power sunroof, the modern helm—with commanding views through an optional, wraparound plexiglass windscreen—is outfitted with a pop-up console and the latest technology. The skipper can enjoy the company of others underway (and under cover) thanks to an eight-person, Ultraleather L-shaped settee, part of which can be electronically converted into a two-person sunpad. A wet bar is not standard as it is with the Zeelander. An aft cockpit holds many precision-fit hatches which can be customized to fit your needs. A convenient boarding door and platform provide access to the water at the transom adjacent to a removable bench seat in the cockpit.
Intrepid capitalizes on having outboards in this day boat by maximizing space offered belowdecks, including a queen-size berth forward with walk-in headroom. There is a head opposite this cabin with a stall shower. The owner’s queen-berth cabin is amidships, and a salon sofa converts to a guest berth so all told, the vessel sleeps up to five. The forward berth and aft stateroom both feature large, fixed hull windows. More skylights brighten the galley, salon settee, master berth and head vanity—and illuminate the teak/holly sole.
The beam of the Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht measures 12’8”. She can be configured with power of your choice in two or three outboards. Configured with three, 350 hps, she’ll do around 55 mph, faster than the Zeelander and Hinckley, but that is to be expected.
Zeelander’s fresh, clean, modern twist on a classic vessel has certainly captured attention. Attractive to many owners, Zeelanders are USA-built in Tiara’s S2 facility in Holland, Michigan. The shipyard offers 900,000 square feet of space, a skilled workforce and a Dutch yacht building tradition. The result is a fine build with European design and American quality and convenience.
The sporty Z44 features a handsome, rounded transom and exquisite appointments throughout. She’s easy to operate and offers superior comfort complemented by a smart layout conducive to many uses—in fact, she’s been labeled as a “mini superyacht.” Her draft is a mere 3’, and her beam a generous 13’2”.
Accessibility to the natural environment has been thoughtfully considered with raised seating in the wheelhouse for 360-degree views and oversized sunroof above the helm. In its modest 44’ size, the Zeelander packs in many areas to lounge and entertain. For starters, there’s aft seating for eight on a C-shaped settee along the transom adjacent to a high-low table (which can be converted to a large sunpad) and rear-facing L-shaped settee that backs up to a dinette. Across from the forward settee is a wetbar with sink and ice-maker. A door conceals a small refrigerator and freezer. The rear-facing settee is protected by a zip-in canopy. Moving forward, under the hardtop, a C-shaped settee, captain’s chair, helm and one more foldable table complete the main deck. If it seems like there is a lot of seating, there is! The Zeelander 44 can accommodate up to 14 for entertaining (but not sleeping).
In the main cabin, a fully equipped galley, head and two staterooms accommodate owners and guests although the guest quarters offer little privacy (as is the case our other two vessels). The owner’s cabin features a king-sized berth. Surprisingly, head room below in most parts is 6’8”!
The Z44’s lightweight composite construction with Kevlar and carbon fiber provides the perfect shell for European styling, rich, mahogany accents and luxurious appointments at every turn thanks to the Dutch dream team of naval architect Frank Mulder and designer Cor D. Rover. State-of-the-art features like the Seakeeper gyro-stabilizer, a hydraulic swim platform and teak-like Esthec composite decking for easy cleaning, maintenance and sure-footing contribute to the noteworthy ease of operation. Interiors sport the finest woods, leathers, wools and metals.
High gloss metallic paint makes this charming vessel pop in standard colors such as Bentley Blue, Stunning Gold, Cocoa Brown, Majestic Blue, Velvet Green and Rolls Royce Titanium. Exterior styling is equally complemented by seamless stainless rails in a low profile around the vessel. The cap rail (and windshield frame) mimic a dark, rich wood but is synthetic and therefore easier to maintain.
With her twin standard Volvo Penta IPS 500s (375hp) with pod propulsion, the Zeelander Z44 will reach maximum speeds of 30 to 34 knots. With optional Volvo Penta IPS 600 (435hp), she’ll top 38 knots and cruise at 28 knots. Her cruise range is about 300 to 400 nm. The ease of operation of the Volvo Penta IPS rests heavily on a joystick which allows an owner to intuitively dock a boat. Zeelander’s IPS system is enhanced by another smart Volvo feature called DPS or Dynamic Positioning System. Controls have buttons for low-speed mode, single-lever mode and cruise control. The system holds the boat’s heading and keeps it there even in tough conditions, coming in handy while waiting to fuel or for a bridge, allowing time to position fenders and prep lines if needed. Thanks to the Silent Line Group, a sound vibration specialist, sound levels can run as low as 64 decibels at cruise speeds, even with the open bridge deck.
Hinckley T44 MKII
The Hinckley T44 MKII is a 2010 improvement on Hinckley’s original 2000 Talaria 44 and now comes in a flybridge version. In this updated version of the extended range cruiser, Hinckley has enhanced speed and pilothouse sightlines and ventilation, in addition to adding a head and shower to the master stateroom. Established in 1928 with a base in fishing and lobster boats, Hinckley still builds their state-of-the-art, highly customized, yet traditionally styled jetboats out of their Maine manufacturing facility with fine attention to detail in hull construction, joinery, performance, comfort and quality appointments.
The Hinckley T44 MKII features the beloved, classic styling of a high bow and sweeping sheer to a low transom. The outside pours into the climate-controlled pilothouse through the power-operated hatches over the helm and side windows. Ample lounging areas like the Zeelander include the sheltered pilothouse with its raised L-shaped settees and adjustable table or individual seats facing one another at the four corners of the cockpit which steps down from the bridge deck. A teak swim platform beckons on the opposite side of a sturdy transom door.
Down below, there’s a U-shaped galley to port with dinette to starboard (which can convert to a queen-sized berth) and a forward master stateroom in the bow. In addition to the head and shower in the master, there’s a day head starboard, forward of the dinette. Similar to our other comparison models in this article, the Hinckley T44 MKII features only the one fixed berth down below, however a two-cabin layout is available. High quality woods selected from the same groves to perfectly match grain elicit a feeling of timeless luxury. Much of the hardware is Hinckley’s, made of 316L stainless steel.
Twin, 550-hp Cummins common-rail fuel-injected diesels allow cruising at about 29 knots and top out at about 34 knots—similar to the Zeelander 44. Hinckleys uniquely operate with Hamilton waterjet drives controlled from their patented JetStick joystick steering system that allows for excellent maneuverability that’s very handy in tight spaces. JetStick operates in three modes: docking, power steer and helm mode which allows the driver to combine the use of the steering wheel and the JetStick to throttle forward and reverse and as a bow thruster control. (JetStick is a precursor to Volvo’s IPS that’s configured on the Zeelander.) Underway, the conventional steering wheel can be used. The jet drives create a shallow draft of only 2’ 4” and remove the downside of having prop shafts, struts, rudders or other underwater protrusions. Her beam is 13’6”. The Hinckley T44 MKII features a proven DualGuard™ SCRIMP® Carbon E-glass composite hull with vinylester resin.
As far as manufacturing, all three builders are American, but recall that Zeelander has heavy Dutch/European influences. Certainly, Zeelander offers the most dramatic and eye-catching metallic color choices. Both Zeelander and Hinckley offer the classic styling most expect from a down east boat, and Intrepid is more modern and sportier. Zeelander and Hinckley are built for entertaining, and while the Intrepid is certainly suitable, it definitely has more of a center console, go-fast feel to it as opposed to motoring around some beautiful harbors with friends, family and the dog. While they all offer customization, Zeelander and Hinckley are going to include more luxuries as standard and they’ll be more sumptuously outfitted. Hinckley’s got the most shallow draft. In terms of belowdecks accommodations, hey, you’re on a day cruiser! On all three, you’ll sacrifice some privacy in sleeping areas. With regard to power and maneuverability, they’re drastically different—outboard/throttle vs. jet drives/JetStick vs. Volvo IPS DPS pod/joystick.