With the Corsair 49 Euro, which is 1.5m longer overall than the 44, Dean Salthouse has gone for the European trend with more curve in the windscreens, there are more cowlings and overall a softer approach to the external lines. Primarily, the extra length in Black Pearl has come with an extension in the cockpit, although if you wish, you can have the rear bulkhead moved further aft up to 1m, to increase your saloon area, but at the expense of any extra space in the cockpit.
The benefit of being semi custom built means that no two boats are necessarily the same. In Black Pearl for example the owner has a large servery aft of the galley that allowed enough space for a washer/dryer beneath. The next Corsair 49 under build has a large wine fridge and both have taken advantage of the extra space in the cockpit to fit an external day head and shower. Also to port is a built-in BBQ which doubles as a fish cleaning bench. The fact that it is not, as is common, built into a central transom island, means that the very wide opening in the centre of the transom is not impeded.
There’s still space to drag the tender back aboard or should you be so lucky a good sized marlin. Some standard features from the 44 that have been retained are the seating layout, aft rod lockers and cockpit freezer. An interesting extra in Black Pearl is a clay pigeon shooter that bolts onto the rear of the transom.
The Corsair 49 Euro is Ready to Party
The interior, from the aft bulkhead forward through the saloon and accommodation areas is still very much as found in the previous 44s, albeit with some personal changes by the owner. The galley has been enlarged to accommodate an F&P dish drawer under the composite surface and the cupboards have been replaced in the Corsair 49 Euro with more dedicated drawers. There are also twin rubbish bins, an electric fridge, bench top hob, slideout
pantry and microwave.
The interior of Black Pearl is all gloss finished cherry, which has been stained to achieve a darker toning.Forward of the saloon to port is the large, raised U-shaped dining table that detaches from the stainless steel pedestal base and drops in to form another double berth. Following the new modern Euro theme all the squabs have been squared off, a trend that is fast becoming the norm in boats today. The top loading storage under the squabs has been replaced with drawers.
Being a sedan style design with no flybridge, Black Pearl has only one dedicated helm. This has also come in for some changes, with the backrest now removable to provide a better seating aspect when at rest. It is also the first with a full leather upholstery finish. Again, the modern trend is obvious even in the helm, with the layout and instrumentation all with a ‘square’ theme.
Overhead hatches let in extra light and ventilation and come with built-in bug screens. Roller blinds are hidden behind pelmets either side of the saloon and provide plenty of privacy or shade when required. Air conditioning outlets are well placed throughout the saloon and accommodation areas and there are even outlets tucked up under the main forward saloon windows.
However, it is in the cockpit where Black Pearl differs so much from the 44. There is now so much more space available. The flow through at the same level is brilliant and with the extra overhang in the cockpit and alfresco dining you really get the impression of one very big saloon. There’s a huge servery area from the aft galley to the cockpit and by keeping the hot plates and cooking spaces aft, any odours are quickly expelled outside. It also means that you have somewhere handy to put things like the bread rolls, salads and wine, without cluttering the outside dining table.
The cockpit provides seating for near on a dozen people in the L-shaped dining area and starboard lounge. Drop in a couple of loose chairs and you have a great place for a dinner party. The teak sole can be hosed clean afterwards and with the external head your party guests can spend almost all their time outside. There’s loads of storage throughout the cockpit, with a separate freezer under the starboard lounger, a trash locker in the coaming, and a dive compressor and even a drying rack for the wetsuits under the teak sole.
Soft roll-up clears and an all-new fibreglass hardtop, complete with a drop down enclosed rod locker, offer great weather protection for the outdoors area. The hardtop can be shortened by up to 1m and then the same amount of overhead cover can be restored by adding a 1m canvas pull-out extension. There’s also the option of having just a big open cockpit with no seating, head or BBQ. It’s your call.
While the owners of Black Pearl chose a two-cabin layout, you can have it reconfigured for three cabins. To port is a double guest cabin with two lower single berths and a single upper bunk berth. An infill can turn the twins into a very large double. There’s a five-drawer vanity and hanging locker for storage.
The single bathroom is shared by the two cabins and now has a raised ceramic basin on a cherry vanity, glass shower doors and again the modern them is obvious with a square pedestal tap. The forward cabin can be configured with a single island berth or four singles. There’s excellent access either side of the king size island berth and good storage in hanging lockers and drawers. A nice touch is the low fiddle rail around the custom made mattress, which makes making the bed a much easier task. Four opening ports and an overhead hatch provide extra ventilation and light. Black Pearl’s owners chose a malas timber floor, but there is the option of carpet throughout.
Every hull is hand laid GRP with an end grain pre-sealed balsa core, with a vinylester osmosis barrier below the water line. The Corsair has extra strengthening below the forward soles to allow for today’s higher speeds and an extra engine room bulkhead to strengthen the saloon sole and minimise hull flex. The hull has a fine entry to cut through seas effortlessly, with an 11-degree deadrise aft for economical cruising. The specially designed spray rails built into the hull give added lift and deflect the spray, making the Corsair an extremely dry boat even in heavy weather conditions.
A few years ago Dean changed from the traditional twin rudders to a single and skeg keel and the handling and performance of the boat improved impressively. A single central rudder reduces drag, giving improved fuel economy without any detrimental effect on the handling. In fact it’s got even better and anyone who has experienced a Next Generation boat in the moderate to rough seas would have to agree they don’t really have any vices. The extra length of the hull certainly makes what was already a very good sea boat even better. The Corsair 49 Euro doesn’t pitch fore and aft in a sea and the side stability is even better with the extra displacement. It feels like a rock in the water, although it’s actually still the same beam.
When I reviewed the first Corsair 44X with the new hull design in 2010, I commented on the vast improvement over the old original Corsairs that had a bad habit of bow steering and wandering from side to side when running downwind or quartering large seas. In fact, since the first trial of the skeg keel, no Cabriolet has been launched without one, such was the improvement!
The skeg also gives full shaft and propeller protection from sand bars, logs or rocks. The bottom of the keel has a 200mm wide shoe, to help avoid sinking in if the boat is grounded on soft sand or mud.
Other subtle changes to the original Corsair include 200mm more beam aft, a smaller 100mm full length keel to reduce drag, and midships underwater exhausts, with a low-drag conical exterior protrusion.
With 1.5m added to the hull length, the correct balance of the boat was restored by repositioning the water tank saft. With an extra half a tonne of displacement, maintaining appropriate weight distribution was critical to ensure the ride and handling didn’t suffer.
Black Pearl has a dry weight of 9.5 tonnes and a laden weight of just under 12 tonnes, with 1220 litres of fuel and 720 litres of water. Although there are many features added to this model, most of the extra weight is due to the 9.5 kVA genset, water maker, air-conditioning, dive compressor, household washer dryer, dishwasher, aft heads and BBQ. The second 49 will be over a tonne lighter!
Powered by twin 345hp MTUs, through conventional shafts and Veem propellers, Black Pearl recorded a maximum speed of just shy of 30 knots. Interestingly, the 44 with exactly the same power and two tonnes lighter does 33 knots. At 29.6 knots, Black Pearl burns 150L/h, which is the same as the Corsair 44 at maximum speed, although during trials the engines were 100 rpm over revving, so there is still probably a little more speed to be found. At a cruising speed of 20 knots the 49 burns 70L/h total, at 12 knots 26L/h and idling at 4.5 knots she is sipping only 2.6L/h!
The most economical planing speed is 17 knots, for a total burn of 50L/h, which is exceptional economy that I venture to say very few other boats of this size could match. Following the trend for pod drives, Dean is considering Zeus drives, but says that the engines will be left in the current position, each connected with a jackshaft to its pod drive unit.
Next Generation Boats now offers four variants on either the 44 (13.5m) and 49 (15m) hull platform; the traditional Cabriolet, the picnic style Classique, the very modern Euro styling and the Huntress which is targeted at serious fishermen.
When Black Pearl was launched, there was a second 49 following soon after for another Kiwi owner and a third destined for Sydney Harbour where it will be used for charter. It will also be the first Next Generation boat to be fitted with a Seakeeper gyro and a Williams jet tender. Next Generation Boats is certainly bucking the trend and are unquestionably the busiest of all the Kiwi semi production boatbuilders. Look for bigger things from this company in the future.