John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Luhrs 44 Convertible
AUGUST 2004
 
   
Length overall  44'6"
Beam  15'9"
Draft 42"
Displacement  32,000 lb
Fuel Capacity  600 gals
Water Capacity 130 gals
Bridge Clearance  18'2"
Standard power  Twin Cummins QSM-11 580hp diesel 
Base Price  $592,564


The U-shaped galley has plenty of work space on the Corian countertop.. (below) Captain George Bischoff takes the helm. Notice the large expanse of dash available for electronic displays.



This is one big, beefy boat for a midsize convertible. You sense it as you step onboard, into that 60-square foot cockpit. Deep macerated fishboxes are set in the sole on either side of a large blank space available for a fighting chair, with an aluminum plate bonded into the sole to accommodate the installation. Two big fishboxes are molded into the transom. A bait prep-center lines the forward bulkhead featuring a 37-gallon bait well with a high-capacity pump, tackle drawers, bait freezer and a sink. There are four rod holders and fender storage under the gunwales, plus fresh-and raw-water washdowns.

There's a broad step leading up to the hefty sliding door to the main saloon, and that step doubles as the hatch for the engine room. The boat I inspected at the Luhrs dealership at Clarks Landing Marina in Point Pleasant, N.J., was equipped with twin Cummins QSM 11 580-hp diesels, though the Cummins 535-hp engines are standard. Other Cummins and Caterpillar options are available up to 700 hp. The hull features shallow propeller pockets, allowing for a reduced running angle for the Aquamet propeller shafts, providing improved efficiency and a relatively shoal draft of just 42 inches. The welded aluminum fuel tank is mounted low on the centerline and comes equipped with a fuel sight gauge. An aft lazarette tucked under the cockpit houses the battery banks, strainers, day tank and generator, plus overhead rod storage. These areas are fully lined in gleaming white fiberglass.

Step inside the saloon and you'll find a classy interior paneled in cherry. There's a faux leather upholstered L-shaped settee to starboard with a custom dinette table and a pair of comfy chairs to port. The settee converts to a double berth with the flick of a button. A handy computer desk comes equipped with an internet access port. The forward port bulkhead features an optional entertainment center behind a cabinet door with a a Bose 3.2.1 system and a 17-inch flat-screen TV and a DVD player.

The galley occupies the starboard corner with a U-shaped Corian countertop, a deep double-bowl stainless steel sink, a three-burner flush-top electric stove underneath counter lids, and a dual-voltage side-by-side refrigerator/ freezer under the opposite countertop. The only disadvantage in the galley is the placement of one of the Bose speakers , it's mounted in the ceiling so that it blasts right into your left ear as you're working at the sink. The coffeemaker and stainless steel microwave/convection oven are mounted in the cabinets.

Five steps down the companionway takes you to the accommodations deck, where you'll find the single head to port with its granite tiled sole, Corian-topped cherry vanity, Vacu-flush marine toilet and a separate shower stall. To starboard is the guest cabin, a comfy, cozy stateroom behind a sliding pocket door, complete with a double berth, a tall cedar-lined hanging locker, and a flat-screen TV mounted into the cherry-paneled bulkhead at the foot of the berth. A screened overhead hatch provides light and air.

The master stateroom forward features a queen-size island berth with an inner spring mattress flanked by roomy cedar-lined hanging lockers. Overhead cabinets and a drawer underneath the berth provide plenty of stowage. A private door opens up into the head. This cabin, too, has a flat-screen TV mounted in the aft bulkhead, viewable from the berth. A large screened overhead hatch provides light and air circulation.

A molded fiberglass staircase leads from the cockpit up to the flybridge, which is protected by a hardtop and plastic enclosures. There's a lounge area forward of the helm, with a comfortable settee and a sort of 'fainting couch' on the starboard side and a fold-down table. This is an ideal spot to perch in comfort while watching the world go by.

The helm is centered behind a high dash, which provides plenty of room for three 10-inch displays and other electronics, but somewhat obscures the view of the bow while seated. Standing gives you a good view of the bow rail and anchor pulpit. There is also an excellent view of the cockpit below and the entire stern while seated or standing at the helm. This boat features the new Glendenning electronic controls and a polished tilt wheel. There is a companion chair to starboard, and a jump seat to port, perched as it is over the staircase. Overall, this is a roomy and comfortable arrangement.

As we headed out the Manasquan, the wind was picking up and shifting to the south, and the gentle swells from earlier in the day had broken up into a blocky three-foot chop. While Captain George Bischoff boxed the compass, I copied down the numbers from my little Garmin handheld GPS. The best we got running wide open was heading east, taking the waves on our starboard beam, making 29.3 knots at 2380 rpm. At 2100 rpm, we were doing 24.7 knots.

Taking the wheel, which I found rather stiff for some reason, I found the ride remarkable under these conditions. The hull tracked well, and its 32,000-pound dry-weight displacement, broad beam and low center of gravity provided a sure, solid feel. The exaggerated Carolina-style flare of the bow provided a dry ride.