Beneteau Swift Trawler 44

Trawlers are not built for speed, right? Wrong. Beneteau has a different set of standards for its Swift range of flybridge motor yachts. Here’s what struck us when stepping aboard the 44, with its blend of classic and modern lines, on a beautiful, blue winter’s day earlier this year.

The Swift Trawler is not only perfect for exploring coastal waters. With its semidisplacement hull, it provides a fair turn of speed. How does 26 knots sound to you?

It is also great for entertaining. Hong Kong owners love packing ’em in and here the 44 rises to the challenge with a spacious saloon, aft deck and flybridge. These areas are practical, too, and are not just designed for the eye. Solid fixtures and fittings and, sensibly, a galley forward of the saloon within arm’s reach of the action.

Up top, and another point in its favour, is deck space for toys. Along with ample seating, there is an area for a tender to be raised and secured (thanks to a swing mast). The upper helm is where it should be (in our opinion) — in the centre.

Leaving Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter at midday, we were told by David Walder of Simpson Marine, Beneteau agent for Hong Kong and much of Asia, that there are three other models in the range — a 30, 34 and 50. The French production giant is perhaps best known locally for their sailing yachts but, no question about it, they make a damn good powerboat, too.

What was immediately apparent is how easily this 45-foot, 7-inch trawler is to manoeuvre. The two 300hp Volvo diesels respond to the lightest of touches and the bow thruster makes micro positioning a dream. A 20-knot cruising speed is advisable although we had our review boat up to 23 knots, whizzing around Chung Hom Wan (main picture).

The 44 has a lower helm, too, which is a subject of much debate: do you need it? Yes, if the weather is unpleasant and no if you have an effective awning and you like Hong Kong’s, er, fresh air. Ah, well, over to you.

The generator comes as an option but, take our advice: go for the 9.5kVA unit which our review boat had fitted. It makes life so much more pleasant in the heat and humidity. And, besides, what do you go boating for — to be uncomfortable or to enjoy yourself? Exactly.

In the accommodations, the 44 features an owner’s cabin forward with a double berth, plenty of stowage and hanging cupboards. On the starboard side, there is a head with a quiet flush electric (thank you Beneteau) toilet. Also a shower compartment.

There is a guest cabin on the port side with a double berth and, starboard aft, is another head, again with an electric toilet.

For navigation, options of a Raymarine 650 AIS, P70S LS RV2 autopilot and Quantum radar are advisable. There were also waterproof speakers on our review boat’s flybridge, nice when cruising the coves and inlets around Mirs Bay.

So, with a boat immediately available, why not give David Walder a call :
2555 8377? Arrange an appointment, take along E575,000 and collect your Beneteau Swift Trawler 44. Not too expensive, and certainly worth it.

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