Salt & Light is a rare Bruce Farr designed Beneteau 44 Center Cockpit. Built to a high standard by the Wauquiez yard in France, Salt & Light has proven herself as a fast, seaworthy and comfortable cruising vessel. Her raised salon layout with large windows and raised dinette provides great views. A spacious galley, master stateroom with walk around island berth and two guest staterooms makes her accommodations impressively large for a 44 footer, but not at the sacrifice of tankage, storage space or performance.
The designers/builders of SALT & LIGHT managed to create a very nice three stateroom layout in a forty-four foot hull, seemingly without compromise. The companionway has a smoked acrylic slider and washboards which let in plenty of light when closed. Four steps down the curved tread companionway is the elegant interior. Joinery is satin varnished and stained cherry with white vinyl overhead with varnished cherry staves in the main salon. The cabin sole is teak and ebony. From forward the forward stateroom has a “V” berth. Aft to starboard is the forward head and to port is a bunk room. The main salon has a raised dinette to port and two easy chairs to starboard with the aft one seating the navigator at the chart table. The galley is in the passageway to starboard which accesses the master stateroom with queen sized island berth. The master head is to port with a separate tub/shower. Headroom is generally 6’ 4” throughout. Curtains and mattresses are dark green. All overhead hatches and ports have removable insect screens. All lockers are fitted with Modelo push button closures. Red courtesy lights, 110V electrical outlets, task and overhead lights are located throughout.
Starting in the Forward stateroom, one finds a “V” berth measuring 6’6” and fitted with a removable infill. There is one large overhead hatch and one opening cabin side port. Two reading and one overhead light provide illumination at night. There’s a cabin fan and 110V outlet. Storage lockers and shelves are located along the “V” berth beneath the deck edges. Additional storage is found in a hanging locker aft to starboard, beneath the V-berth, and in two drawers fitted under the bunk. Hull sides are finished with cherry staves. A centerline bunk board will divide the berth for underway sleeping. Exiting the forward stateroom through the privacy door is a small passageway where a door to port opens into the bunk room. Two over/under bunks run along the hull side and measure 6’ 3” in length. A cabin fan, reading light and overhead light are fitted. Two opening ports and one overhead hatch allow for light and ventilation. Inboard and forward is a hanging locker while a locker with shelves is aft. The forward head is to starboard of the passageway and is constructed of a white-gelcoated fiberglass providing wipe down/easy to clean surfaces which are accented with wood trim and cabinet doors. The head is a Jabsco manual and a Tankwatch alarm for the holding tank will keep users mindful. The sink faucet nozzle pulls out for showering while a fold down fiberglass seat covers the head. One overhead and one opening port are fitted with privacy shades. Storage is beneath the sink and in one shelf locker. Towels are hung from two towel rings.
Up one step from the forward passageway one enters the main salon. A raised dinette allows level vistas out the large fixed side ports. This curved dinette settee has comfortable seating for eight. Upholstery for the dinette and two chairs is an elegant tan ultrasuede and in excellent condition. The varnished teak table has an attractive radial grain pattern top and expands with an infill and also lowers to convert the dinette into a double berth for sleeping two when there’s a crowd aboard. Opposite the dinette are two easy chairs. The aft one provides seating for the navigation station. A bookshelf is built into the forward bulkhead. Shelves and cabinets are located beneath the deck edge to port and starboard. Very large storage lockers are located outboard and below the dinette as well as beneath the salon sole on centerline. A removable hanging light is centered over the salon table and two sconce lights are mounted on the forward and aft bulkheads. A cabin fan, clock and barometer, and stereo are also located in the salon area. The NAVIGATION STATION has a chart table with top opening desk top. The electrical switch/breaker panel is outboard and the navigation electronics are mounted on an eye level partition. A red lens light is provided for night. The passageway galley is down one step from the salon and ideally situated; close to both the cockpit and salon. With counters on either side, the cook will be able to work underway without getting thrown about. One overhead hatch and three opening cabinside ports will cool things off and allow natural light while overhead and undercounter lights will illuminate the area at night. Countertops are of Corian and edged with high fiddles. Starting forward and outboard is the top opening four cubic foot refrigerator. The lid is help open with a gas lifter spring and space is maximized with acrylic dividers. Next aft is a cup storage locker. Below is a Tasco three burner stove/oven fitted with a stainless steel safety bar. Pots and pans are stored below the stove. An extractor fan and hood are fitted above the stove. Further aft and outboard of the counter is plate and bowl storage with nine sets of Beneteau signature dinnerware. A double stainless steel sink is set into the counter where hot and cold pressurized fresh water is controlled with the Grohe single lever faucet. Also at the sink are a Seagull waterfilter tap, and spigots for fresh and salt water foot pumps. A spice rack is located outboard of the sink. Plastic cutting board covers are provided for the sink. Furthest aft is the top opening three cubic foot freezer. Starting forward along the inboard galley side is a tall hanging/wet gear locker with curved door. Beneath the inboard counter is a cabinet with three wire sliding vegetable bins, a silverware drawer, shelf locker, and a trash bin locker. A microwave oven is built into a cabinet all the way aft. Wine glasses hang above this cabinet. A removable grating and dust catch bin are mounted in the galley sole. Through a door at the aft end of the galley one enters the master stateroom. A centerline walk-around berth measures 6’ 6” long by 4’ 11” wide. The mattress is divided and fitted with a centerline bunk board for use offshore. Sitting on the forward end of the berth one can use the writing/cosmetic desk with shelf and mirror. A bookshelf is recessed into the forward bulkhead and there are hanging lockers to port and starboard. Additional storage is found in lockers to port and starboard beneath the deck edge. Two reading lights are mounted on the aft bulkhead. Overhead lights and a cabin fan are also found. To port and forward is a door to the aft head. This compartment is constructed of white gel-coat over fiberglass providing wipedown/easy to clean surfaces. The sole is molded in non-skid with a removable teak grating outboard of the head. A medicine cabinet with mirrored door is outboard of the sink. The Jabsco head covers with a hinged seat/cover. There is tank watch alarm and cabinet with wooden door outboard of head. All the way forward is a sitting tub/shower with a Grohe shower mixer and nozzle. A fixed soap/conditioner/shampoo dispenser is mounted on the shower side wall. Two towel rings and one bar are fastened to the inboard bulkhead. A tinted green glass panel partitions the shower from the head area. Lighting and ventilation are through two cabinside ports, bar lights and overhead lights.
A large battery bank, inverter/charger, wind generator and large alternators nicely combine to meet electrical demand.
The navigation station is to starboard of the companionway. Located in this area are the electrical switch/breaker panel, Globalstar phone, a multifunction display, VHF, and radar/chartplotter. At the steering pedestal are controls for the autopilot, tridata display, compass, radar/chartplotter and VHF radio RAM microphone.
Engine access is excellent. The companionway ladder lifts and is held open by a gas spring allowing one to climb into a large engine space located below the cockpit sole. Additional access is provided from aft, beneath the master stateroom writing desk. Sound and thermal insulation surround the engine space.
This Bruce Farr designed boat has a fin keel and spade rudder. The hull is white gel coat with one thick green boot stripe and thin grey stripe just above it. A teak rubrail is fastened on each side of the hull providing protection from pilings and other hazards. A teak caprail sits atop a slightly raised bulwark. This bulwark is high enough to provide secure footing while low enough to prevent water retention. Deck drains are fitted at the low points port and starboard. The bottom is painted with black anti-fouling. A “scoop stern”/reverse transom incorporates a molded-in swim step overlaid with teak and rubber and a storage locker. An intermediate step from the deck to the stern makes water and dinghy access super easy. Beneath this step are: access to the rudder post for emergency steering, a shorepower inlet plug, a cable/phone plug, diesel fuel tank fill fitting, a salt water washdown connection, and pressure shore water connection. Beneath the starboard side of the swim step is a large locker; a perfect place for storing snorkel gear. A fold-down swim ladder is deployable from the water and a fresh water bathing shower is conveniently located for rinsing off.
Safety and comfort were important to both the designers of this boat and its owners. Crewmembers are kept safely on deck by the stainless steel bow pulpit, stern pushpits and double lifelines with boarding gates port and starboard. Stainless steel “granny bars” are located at the mast on each side. Wichard folding “D” rings are secured fore and aft to the deck on each side for attaching the jacklines. Molded-in non-skid provides secure footing on deck and on the coachroof top. Teak grab rails are located on each side of the coachroof and stainless grab bars are attached to each side of the windshield. A lifesling and a horseshoe ring are hung on the stern rail and a man overboard pole is stowed on backstay mounts. A Switlik six person liferaft in fiberglass valise is stored in an aluminum cradle on the aft coachroof; a nice protected yet accessible location. Four folding Wichard D-rings allow lash down on each corner of this cradle.
It’s unusual to find a production cruising boat with ample deck storage. The Beneteau 44CC is definitely an exception with impressive amounts of storage space accessible from on deck. Starting forward, a large top opening anchor locker has space for anchor rodes and fenders. A propane locker with two twenty pound bottles is located aft to starboard. Three additional top opening lockers are located to port and starboard in the quarters providing space for jerry jugs, cleaning gear, and general storage. In addition, the aforementioned dive gear locker is located beneath the swim step. There’s also a hinged cockpit locker to port with enough space for extra cushions, lines and a fire extinguisher.
A central element of this successful cruising boat is the protected center cockpit. A factory designed and installed windshield looks great and beats a soft dodger hands down for protection and visibility without needing intermittent replacement like a soft dodger. A green sunbrella bimini provides shade. A special step into the cockpit is located to port. Unlike many center-cockpit boats, the cockpit on this model is kept very low which greatly increase crew comfort in a seaway and keeps boom height and sail area low for sailing performance. Cockpit seats are overlaid with teak and rubber and a removable teak grating covers the forward cockpit sole. A storage space is located beneath this grating; large enough for two jerry cans. Seatbacks are contoured and of a generous height. Sailing and engine instruments are located on the steering pedestal as well as the engine single lever control. A varnished teak, drop leaf table is mounted on the forward side of the pedestal. The steering wheel is covered with leather.
Bruce Farr is renowned for designing efficient boats with excellent performance. The Beneteau 44 CC is also rigged for ease of handling and comfort. She has an in-mast furling mainsail and furling genoa with all major control lines led aft to the cockpit where a powered winch will handle any significant work.