The Pelorus 44 is a vessel that unquestionably lives up to the cruising purists’ adage, that the voyage is the destination. This is a vessel that makes you want to continue the journey long after it is completed. Barry Thompson takes a look at the newest trawler brand to arrive in Australasia.
The Pelorus 44 may fit in the conventional trawler category, but with its swept back superstructure and targa top, this is more sporty than a traditional trawler. And unlike a conventional trawler that’s happy to cruise at a sedate 10 knots, there’s more with the Pelorus 44! The brochures define the Pelorus 44, as “A gentleman’s cruiser with a young man’s heart”. Very apt, considering that beneath that passive exterior lies a beast that has the power to run at over 20 knots. At the heart of the new Pelorus 44, the latest offering from Sydney based Pelorus Marine, are a pair of Volvo Penta D6 engines punching out 370hp each through ZF gearboxes and conventional shafts at a low 8 degrees. These engines, mounted forward under the saloon, are not the only option. You can also have a pair of similar sized Yanmars.
The Pelorus 44 is a very slippery boat through the water and holds a nice attitude when running at speed. The transition onto the plane is smooth as the semi-displacement hull aided with trim tabs soon breaks loose. Helped by a moderate deadrise and wide running shoulders underwater, the Pelorus maintains a very level attitude when turning. Soft chines forward sharpen to hard chines near amidships, and from there to the transom, the run gradually deepens to the transom. This moderate deadrise at the transom also damps roll, especially when the boat is at rest, but it also should do so in relatively big seas taken on the beam.
The clean hull design imparts a smooth water flow into the propellers which in turn generates better fuel economy than that of conventional keel designs. When you start to look at coastal cruising, one of the first “make or break” features is the boat’s range. Just making it to the next marina on the chart won’t cut it because it may be out of fuel or in today’s climate even out of business! In this case, the Pelorus 44 has definitely got the legs for the job. Like any other cruiser, range is directly related to speed. So if you want to find a “best cruise” in the strict sense of the term, the slower you go, the farther you go. However, cruising at 6 knots all day is something a yachtsman may enjoy, but I personally like to go a little faster. So, like most semi-displacement and almost all planing boats, there’s also a sweet spot and for the Pelorus 44 that’s around 2720rpm @ 16 knots for a total fuel usage of 80L/h. With 1,600 litres of fuel, range is expected to be around 290NM, with the usual 10% reserve allowance. Of course, the range at 6 knots would be very considerably greater, but in between, on the ‘hump’ it would be considerably worse.
But if 6 knots isn’t your thing then give the throttles a push forward and the boat suddenly transforms itself into a moderately quick sports cruiser. In most cases 16 knots is enough to get ahead of a storm front or make a bar crossing before the tide changes.
Construction is hand laid GRP, with a displacement of 13 tonnes, with traditional timbers such as cherry for the furniture and bulkheads and teak and holly for the flooring.
Built in Guangzhou province in China, the Pelorus 44 was designed specifically for the US market. The Chinese engaged US designers although all the tooling and manufacture has been conducted in China. The meticulous detail in the design and construction is obvious from the first moment you step aboard.
While comparable boats in this market segment attract a million dollar plus price ticket, the Pelorus 44 sells for under $A700,000. Considering this is a fully optioned boat that boasts an extensive standard inventory, the price is certainly sharp for local buyers.
Competitive boats will often have a starting price which is the same as the final price of the Pelorus, but by the time you add on all the extras on the name brand trawler boats in this size category, the price has soared to a million dollars and beyond.
“What sets the Pelorus 44 apart is the long inventory of standard equipment,” said Andrew Murray of Pelorus Marine.
“We set about putting a comprehensively decked out boat on the water at an attractive price. On all counts we believe this boat is a stunning success, and this has been reinforced by the strong acceptance of the Australian market.”
Standard equipment includes an Onan 9.6kVA genset, heavy duty battery system, 240-volt shore power, plotter, 7kW air conditioning, plus bow and stern thrusters
If you are going to be spending extended time onboard, then it’s got to be livable and it’s here that the Pelorus 44 delivers. She sleeps four in two cabins, and that makes for a family on an extended summer trip or maybe two couples enjoying retirement.
The forward master cabin is homely and practical, with a nice mix of cherry timber and soft toned furnishings and wall coverings to still impart a feeling of space. You can probably have the all-timber option, but for my mind it tends to make the cabin feel so much smaller. The raised central island berth is easily accessed from either side, plus there are storage drawers underneath. Storage is plentiful with a port side hanging locker and drawers either side of the berth.
You have two options: individual air conditioning or opening ports with fly screens if you prefer the natural air. If you are a reader then there are overhead reading lights and for entertainment a Sony 22 LCD TV with built-in DVD.
While there is private access to the single head/shower ensuite from the owners’ cabin, it is also accessed from the companionway by your guests in the port side cabin. The Pelorus 44 has a generous size bathroom, with a full sized, self contained shower suite behind the hinged glass door. The vanity top is finished in composite and the flooring is teak and holly.
The guest cabin is spacious and can be either configured with two single berths, or as a very large double with an infill. Storage is generous and like the forward cabin it also has an individual air conditioning handler as well as opening ports and its own LCD TV. Like all the interior accommodation and areas, the headliner is white acoustic vinyl, with teak and holly flooring and the headroom is ‘over the top’.
Open plan saloon
The Pelorus 44 is a cruiser with an expansive and open cabin design with excellent sightlines from the helm to the transom. Wide, high saloon windows and a full width glass sliding aft door mean that there’s loads of light and a feeling of easy living aboard. Access to the saloon is via broad sliding stainless steel and glass doors; when open the inside and outside morph into one.
With cherry wood furniture and bulkheads, the initial impression upon entry to the saloon is impressive. The saloon is open and spacious with a generous dinette and sumptuous plush seating. The starboard settee provides plenty of seating for guests around a hand crafted timber dining table.
Here is a saloon which includes as standard a 37” LG LCD TV complete with autolift so as to tuck away into the cabinetry when not in use. The saloon is serviced with a 7kW air conditioning system.
The galley is sensibly arranged to the port for’ard end of the saloon. Here even the keenest chef will be delighted with the fit-out. There is a three-burner electric stove, 1000W microwave oven, generous sized refrigerator and enough bench space for cooking, serving and washing up…. all at once.
To starboard is the lower helm station where the skipper has a comprehensively equipped console that lacks nothing in technology. Our boat came with a Raymarine C120W chart plotter, GPS and of course a full Volvo Penta engine management system.
There is a large console for the electronics and instrumentation installation, plus an overhead console for the VHF. As this is always a popular gathering spot while underway, there’s a double settee behind the helm. A sliding side door affords the skipper quick and easy access to the wide side bulwarks.
Boats like the Pelorus 44 are designed to make the most of outdoors living, whether moored or underway. The upper helm station is very generous and will ensure that the skipper can enjoy the company of family and friends. There is fixed seating upstairs for guests plus an expansive upper deck area that can be used to stow the tender or as a sunpad. Access is from the cockpit via a stylish stainless and teak tread open staircase, so designed as to be hands free when going up with a few light refreshments.
A GRP targa arch and bimini sun cover give you the necessary protection from the sun and a Dometic fridge helps keep the drinks cold.
A big feature of the upper helm station is that it is fitted with the exact same instrumentation as the helm station below. The upper helm station is fully featured and a delight to drive from.
The increasing popularity among cruising orientated boaters itching for the adventure of voyaging to distant ports shows no signs of abating. Coastal passages require boats that are built and equipped to operate continuously and safely in a wide range of weather and sea states. Finding the boat that fills these needs – and your dreams – is paramount. The Pelorus 44 offers boat buyers sound construction, excellent cruising range and all at an affordable price. The trawler lifestyle is for those who enjoy getting there as much, or perhaps even more, than being there. The traditional style of most trawlers also tends to result in more brightwork to maintain, attracting owners who either enjoy maintaining their own boats or don’t mind paying the added cost of professional maintenance. If you are so inclined you may just find what you need in the Pelorus 44.
- Boat Design Name: Pelorus 44
- Year Launched: 2011
- Designer: US consultants
- Builder: Pelorus Marine
- LOA: 13.38m
- LWL: 10.85m
- Beam: 4.35m
- Draft: 0.88m
- Displacement: 13.0 tonnes
- Max Speed: 22 knots
- Cruise speed: 16 knots
- Construction: GRP
- Fuel capacity: 1,600L
- Water capacity: 750L
- Engines: Twin Volvo D6-370
- Gearboxes: Twin ZF HS80AE
- Drivetrain: Shaft
- Propellers: 4-blade fixed
- Generator: Cummins Onan 9.6kVA
- Air conditioning: 3 x Cruisair
- Bow thruster: Side-Power
- Stern thruster: Side-Power
- Anchor winch: Quick
- Anchors: 45lb CQR
- Steering: Vetus hydraulic
- Engine controls: Morse
- Woodwork: Teak and cherry
- Tender: NoahYacht 2.4m RIB
- Upholstery: Leatherette
- GPS/plotter/sounder: Raymarine C120W
- VHF: Raymarine
- Entertainment systems: Stereo and 3 x LCD TVs
- Base price of boat: $A692,000
- Price as tested: $A692,000