Boats

SAIL's Best Boats 2014: Xp 44

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Step aboard the Xp 44 and the first thing you might find yourself wondering is: what’s not to love? This mid-40-foot racer-cruiser is designed to deliver decades of racing and cruising pleasure while offering a wealth of the kind of design features sailors have long since come to expect from this high-end Danish builder.

 

In the 1980s, X-Yachts introduced a galvanized keel-hull girder to add significant strength should the boat ever suffer a high-speed hard grounding. Flash forward 30-plus years and these girders are now carbon-fiber. Carbon fiber is also used to reinforce the keel floors, which are integral to the hull liner, adding stiffness and support, as well as in the hull itself, which is built using a state-of-the-art vacuum-infusing process to ensure that there are no voids. 

Below the waterline, a deep-draft keel strut and T-bulb keel provide plenty of righting moment, while composite chainplates secure the keel-stepped mast. Dual wheels and clean sight lines make driving a pleasure, while the traveler track and car are contained in a cockpit trench, so that there will be one less thing to trip over. Four big cockpit winches tackle the loads from the jib and A-sail, which is flown off an optional bowsprit. A low, wide toe rail provides security going forward, but will be easy on the legs of the boat’s “rail meat.”

Belowdecks, the boat’s handsome interior is both comfortable and seaworthy. There is also a sturdy cockpit table that can either be stored beneath the sole or removed entirely before racing, a nice touch aboard this truly spectacular boat. x-yachts.com

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