Huckins 44: Stay the Course

The Huckins Atlantic 44 proves to be a modern classic.

Owning a classic boat usually means forgoing modern conveniences that make cruising more comfortable, but the Huckins Atlantic 44 belies this theory. With its enclosed pilothouse and three-level deck, the Atlantic 44 takes you back to a bygone era (remember the 20th century?), but comfort-oriented items bring you quickly up to date. Air conditioning helps you sleep on humid nights. A galley with a microwave, refrigerator, and stove facilitates meal preparation. And we hope we don't have to explain why we appreciate a head with a vacuum-flush toilet and a hot shower.

You can have the cabin arranged with single or twin staterooms forward. Our test model had the latter ($10,000). The port quarters include twin bunks and a hanging locker, and the forward master stateroom offers a queen berth with stowage and its own hanging locker. One shortcoming: You can't enter the lone head directly from the master stateroom.

The boat's mahogany steering wheel is surrounded by a full array of gauges arranged by function. Share the Atlantic 44's doublewide starboard helm seat with a friend. Passengers on the aft salon lounge have a great view through sliding windows. A removable hatch in the salon sole provides entry to the engine compartment. There's excellent access to the engines and mechanical accessories and ample headroom.

Some things have remained the same since Huckins began building boats in 1928, such as the unique Quadraconic hullform. This strakeless design starts with a deep entry forward that flares in concave sections as it runs aft, eventually flattening out at the stern. The design acquitted itself well in a two-foot chop, producing a dry, level ride. Our inclinometer never registered above three degrees.

That traditional bottom design is complemented by the latest lamination techniques, including vacuum-bagged foam cores and foam stringers, which help keep the Atlantic 44's weight down to 23,000 pounds. This translates into a top end of 33.5 mph at 2800 rpm and a cruising speed of 25.6 at 2100.

Compare this with the Grand Banks East Bay 43, which is more than a foot shorter but weighs in at 29,000 pounds and runs at an estimated top speed of 32 mph with 375-bhp Cat 3208s. Grand Banks' dealers set pricing; for an East Bay 43 Hardtop Express with the same equipment as our test boat, we rounded up a price of about $550,000 to $600,000.

Last Word: Old-school style meets high-tech comforts to create a modern classic.

LOA..........44'10"
Beam..........13'9"
Draft..........3'0"
Displacement (lbs., approx.) ..........23,000
Transom deadrise..1°
Bridge clearance..13'0"
Minimum cockpit....depth 3'2"
Max. cabin headroom..6'4"
Fuel capacity (gal.)..406
Water capacity (gal.)..115
Price (w/standard power) ..........$740,000
Price (w/test power) ..........$740,000

Standard Power: Twin 350-bhp Caterpillar in-line-6 diesel inboards.

Optional Power: Twin diesel inboards to 840 bhp total.

Test Boat Power: Twin 350-bhp Caterpillar 3116 in-line-6 diesel inboards with 402 cid, 4.13" bore x 5.0" stroke, swinging 24" x 35" three-bladed Nibral props through 1.5:1 reductions.

Standard Equipment (major items): Electric opening windshield w/wiper; chromed- bronze cleats; aluminum mast; ss bowrail; 12v anchor windlass; teak transom platform; full instrumentation; bridge curtains; master stateroom w/queen berth; head w/Corian sink, vanity, vacuum-flush toilet, and shower; refrigerator; electric cooktop; microwave; ss sink; entertainment center; hydraulic steering; a/c; 5 12v bilge pumps w/float switches; freshwater system w/12v DC pressure pump and 10-gal. heater; 5kW genset.