From the archives 2011 - Salthouse Corsair 44
There is something very familiar about the feel of the Salthouse Corsair Classique 44. It’s not surprising, given the boat’s pedigree. In the 30 years since she was originally conceived, the Corsair has come to represent much that is symbolic of New Zealand launch design. Think practical layouts designed to be used by the whole family, good sea-keeping and no-nonsense, reliable, working systems — all perfectly suited to the local boating scene. This is what you get when the designers are well acquainted with the lifestyle they are selling to their customers.
The Salthouse Corsair Classique is the latest take on the classic Salthouse Corsair from Next Generation Boats. Dean and Treena Salthouse, who head the company, are carving a considerable reputation presenting remodelled Kiwi classics from Bob Salthouse’s (Dean’s dad) original portfolio. The fact that the boat has thrived during these darkest of times for the industry is testament to the demand for those functional and fundamentally flawless Kiwi designs.
Dean is a qualified boatbuilder with years of experience in all facets of the industry and has a real grasp of what the end-user really wants. His upbringing on the water is probably of equal value to his experience as a designer and tradesman.
FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
It is always a coup to have the new owner involved with a boat test. When I arrived at the marina, slightly before the agreed time, I was pleased to meet Geoff, the owner of this boat, who was lovingly preparing his pride and joy for the photo shoot. He has previously owned a Genesis 360, which he liked and had used enough to have a clear idea of what he was looking for in his next boat.
The first criterion he had was a galley located in the aft section of the saloon — a layout style that keeps the chef involved in social activities as the galley becomes the “hub of the party” much like at home.
Perhaps, even more importantly, Geoff and his wife were looking for a vessel to really get the whole family — kids included — involved with the experience. The single-level format of the Corsair 44 is a nice fit for that.
The Corsair was not the first boat Geoff’s family took for a spin. But it was the first one on which his wife sidled up to him to give her approval. From that point the deal was pretty much done.
Once the decision was made, Geoff had only good things to say about working with Dean and Treena on the project. Some of the better features of the Genesis were to be included in the Corsair build; most notably the barbecue pod in the cockpit. Any customisation on a boat-build is a costly affair. In fact, on a production boat customisation is usually “off the table”. This, however, is not a production boat and Dean works closely with the owners to ensure all requirements are met.
Corsair: A privateer authorised to conduct raids on shipping traffic from any nation at war with France — Wikipedia.
Such a name could only be applied to a vessel that looks capable of engaging in such action with style. The Corsair Classique 44 fits the bill. The lines are certainly sleek and suggest efficiency. The powder-blue hull and varnished timber trim add a touch of elegance, finishing the vessel in a way that ensures it will stand out in the crowd, albeit in an understated manner.
By luck rather than good management, we had managed to pull together this boat test on an absolutely perfect day. Our plan was to rendezvous on the Waiheke side of Motuihe Island for the photo shoot and a barby lunch.
To get there, we had to make our way down the restricted speed section (12kts) of the inner Waitemata Harbour (Auckland). While this clearly reduces the likelihood of collisions, it is a particularly inefficient speed for most vessels. They tend to dig their stern section into the water in an attempt to get up on the plane, creating an enormous wake and burning excessive amounts of fuel.
Not so the Corsair Classique 44. True to Dean’s word the boat maintained almost perfect trim, resulting in very little wake — in contrast to our photo boat, where I struggled to maintain a constant speed and had to continuously adjust the revs to keep near 12kts and not gliding up to 15kts.
Eventually, we cleared the restriction zone and increased speed. With in excess of 30kts, the Corsair has the sort of performance that is demanded these days but she achieves that with great efficiency throughout the range.
As I said, the Corsair Classique 44 is a contemporary take on a classic Kiwi stalwart. Internally, all the familiar features are present and yet improved. The choice of timber cabinetry is a nice touch. Fitted carpets and quality upholstery lend a comfortable and liveable feel.
Geoff opted for the “four single-berth” option in the forward cabin with an additional three single berths in the port cabin. The two floor-level berths in the port cabin can be converted to a double with the use of an insert.
From a family point of view, single berths maximise the available sleeping space; particularly useful when the kids have friends onboard for a few days.
While there is no en suite-style access to the single head and shower facilities, the boat is designed for the family foremost. The shower and head are nicely finished, with plenty of head and knee room. The bigger lads out there will appreciate that feature.
The saloon and helm station areas are well thought-out. The U-shaped couch and table setup is very comfortable, and the table is fitted with top quality stainless steel hardware, allowing it to be lowered to a height that turns the lounger into double bed.
Directly opposite is the helm station — again, very functional and located to keep the skipper in the action. Visibility is excellent, as it is from every seat in the saloon — a feature Dean specifies. Every seat in the house has panoramic views of the world outside.
Another practical feature is the ability for the skipper to easily climb out the helm window for quick and effortless access to the bow. Seasoned skippers will appreciate it.
This is one feature that has an overwhelming advantage, particularly when used in conjunction with the huge, fully opening aft window. Simply, the chef remains part of the fun. Another advantage is the reduced pitching compared with galley locations farther forward and away from the centre line.
As with the rest of the boat this galley has been refined through hours of boating. Plate and cup storage is purpose-built and lined to prevent breakages in even the worst conditions and the fabulous full-height, pull-out pantry is a coup de grâce for any keen caterer.
While the Corsair Classique 44 has far too many excellent features for me to do justice on these pages, the cockpit is a real point of difference. If the galley was not good enough, then the custom-made barbecue pod on the transom turns this boat into a caterer’s dream — a fact I can attest to after our lunch.
As mentioned, this is a custom-built option requested by the owner that Dean delivered on, and it really works. Easy to use, easy to clean and doubling as a fishing station with a hot and cold water washdown sink, the transom Barbie is a feature I would consider on my boat.
Other features that command special attention are the inbuilt diesel heater and the removable cockpit clears. Geoff was amazed at the performance of the heater, noting that it is almost too hot even in the middle of winter. The clears are a much better option than canvas as they are easy to clean and, of course, see-through.
It goes without saying that the Corsair has plenty of storage for rods, outboards, dive gear, inflatable tenders and just about any other toy you might want on holiday. Completing the picture is a large, open-to-the-water livebait tank built into the swim platform. What more do you want?
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Getting behind the wheel was something I had been looking forward to as soon as I saw the single rudder — I was keen to see how it would respond. It has been a while since I drove a boat with traditional cable morse controls and although I am not a fan anymore, Dean’s reasoning for installing them is sound. Electronics can take a while to get used to and many a boat gets bashed on the dock while the owner gets familiar with the lightness of the electronic controls. No such problem with cables. Every movement is positive and has to be done with a certain amount of deliberateness. Pushing the revs up in sync was remarkably easy with the digital gauges on the Simrad installation. All the engine data is presented in an accurate and easy-to-read manner by the NMEA 2000 interface between the MTUs and the Simrad computer.
The boat quickly climbed to a comfortable cruise speed of 22kts without digging in its tail. The builder claims a top speed of 33kts and high-cruise of 28kts. The trim tabs are particularly effective and make very noticeable changes when adjusted, smoothing out the ride in rougher conditions, while maximising efficiency on smoother waters.
The boat barely heels over into the turn. For this reason, there are no cupholders installed — Dean says there is just no need for them. But I will say that cornering at speed raised my key criticism of the Corsair Classique 44. The single rudder and lack of lean in the turn have significant benefits in their own right but the downside is that the vessel is quite heavy on the helm and does not turn on a dime at speed. Then again, this is not a raceboat.
On the flip side this boat is incredibly predicable at slow speeds and while berthing. She tracks perfectly, both ahead and astern, much like a keelboat. And that made her very easy to dock indeed.
FACTS & FIGURES
SALTHOUSE CORSAIR CLASSIQUE 44
MATERIAL: GRP balsa core
LENGTH OVERALL: 13.5m
WATERLINE LENGTH: 12.5m
WEIGHT: 9.5 tonnes
MAKE/MODEL: 2 x MTU 6R700 M94
TYPE: In-line six-cylinder common rail turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 345 (each)
GEARBOXES (MAKE/MODEL): Twin Disc MG5055A
PROPS: Austral Veem CNC 22in x 31in
Next Generation Boats
Phone: 021 429723
New Zealand launch design at its best. The Salthouse Corsair Classique 44 is an elegant reincarnation of a classic. But this is not a production boat and, as such, you to work with the designer to get what YOU want. Corsair satisfaction.