With the new HH44-SC, HH Catamarans is pursuing dual purposes: producing a luxury, high-performance cat for cruising families and couples, and answering what HH CEO Paul Hakes says has been sailors’ frustration at “the slow pace” of the marine industry’s adoption of electric-based technologies.
The result is a sleek, thoughtful, and truly interesting boat on a lot of levels. There are two HH44 models, OC (Ocean Cruising) and SC (Sports Cruising); of the 37 hulls sold so far, the SC is proving the more popular, according to the HH team. So we’ll focus on that.
Construction is a carbon-reinforced, foam composite sandwich with infused epoxy resin. The boat’s entire skeleton—bulkheads, beams, hulls, deck—is carbon fiber, with external e-glass, also epoxy infused. Extra carbon is added for strength in high-load areas such as chainplates, and all bulkheads are bonded in carbon taping and epoxy. Likewise, the long, curved daggerboards are carbon, as well as the mast and rudders (underwater appendages are designed by Morelli & Melvin). This all makes for a strong, light, slippery boat.
This model places two helms in the aft cockpit, with all sailhandling lines led under deck to them. Both have a “swing helm” allowing the wheel to be moved on a single pedestal into multiple steering positions. Behind them, the vertical transoms incorporate drop-down, folding doors that effectively add 4 more feet to the boat while at anchor. In addition to fully enclosing the cockpit for security, this feature “aesthetically helps carry the sheerline all the way to the back of the boat, and that’s why for a 44-footer it actually looks quite a bit bigger, longer, and a bit sleeker,” says designer James Hakes.
Helm placement also let HH lower the coachroof, in turn lowering the boom height, which translates into a lower center of effort and the ability to put more power into the sails. No less important, it let the designers place a whopping 4,232 watts of solar panels on the coachroof as standard, serving a 43.2 KwH 48V lithium battery bank.
This solar array is key to what James Hakes says was the primary design driver—the boat’s EcoDrive parallel hybrid propulsion system. Two 30-hp Beta diesels have traditional gearboxes and shafts, but rather than an alternator, an electric motor generator is connected to the prop shaft with a belt, controlled with a mechanical clutch. The boat’s two 10-kw electric motors (each about 15hp) can be used independently as silent, fume-free, electric propulsion, providing about one to two hours of powering at 7.5 knots. Or, they can be engaged essentially as alternators while motoring under diesel power, generating 5 kw each at 48 V DC power directly into the batteries. And, while sailing, the folding Gori propellers can stay open and free spin, rotating the shafts and allowing the electric motors to act as generators and feed the batteries.
“This is where we decided to really revolutionize our boat, make it different, a special part of the future,” Paul Hakes says, “one that others will follow.”
LOA 49’ 8” LWL 43’ 7” Beam 23’ 5” Draft (up) 3’7” (down) 9’10” Displacement 20,701 lb (light) Sail Area (main and solent) 1,349 sq ft