British designers and builders have a well-earned reputation for creating cruising boats that can stand up to the rigors of offshore and even high latitude sailing. There’s a good reason for that. Britain is pretty far north and swept by North Atlantic weather systems that regularly pack gale-force winds. Among the offshore brands that have met this high seas criteria are Oyster, Moody, North Shore, Nicholson, Southerly, Discovery and several more. Rustler is surely a name that rates near the top of that list.
Plus, Britain is a sailing nation and always has been. With a population of 60 million or so, roughly a fifth of the U.S., the country has almost twice as many regular sailors as does the U.S. One in 10 Brits sails as their primary pastime so they know boats and they demand cruisers capable of handling their local winds and weather. (In the U.S. fewer that one percent of us go sailing annually and fewer than one-tenth of a percent sail as a primary pastime.)
The Rustler 44, which is now being represented in North America by Scandinavian Yachts in Newport, R.I., is as good an example of solid, quality boat building as the Brits can offer. An aft-cabin, aft-cockpit design, the 44 was designed by Stephen Jones to be a fast, blue-water cruiser that combines exceptional build quality with well thought-out cruising comfort.
The Rustler 44 is not a trendy boat designed to make the most of a new model year. It is a wholesome offshore cruiser that will be chalking up blue water miles a generation from now with another circumnavigation on its dance card.
The design offers a moderately heavy displacement hull with a traditional spoon-style bow and a broad, traditional transom. The hull has a beam of 13-feet, nine inches and the beam is carried well aft to create enough space for an after stateroom and sail lockers port and starboard plus ample lazarette lockers. Low bulwarks run around the deck for added safety.
The “raised saloon” design provides enough space beneath the cockpit for the aft stateroom and the visibility through the side ports from the raised dinette in the saloon that cruisers like so much. With the raised saloon, the tanks and engine room can be built into the space beneath the floor, which becomes a proper—albeit crouching—engine room where the skipper can disappear on a daily basis to check the engine and all of the ship’s engineering systems.
The galley lies forward and down a step from the saloon where it is over the 44’s center of gravity and thus the point of least motion in the boat when the sea gets rough. With plenty of counter space, big stainless steel sinks nearly on the centerline, a three-burner stove and a vast top-loading fridge, this will be a gourmet’s galley that also will work very well at sea.
The 44 offers two large double cabins. The master cabin aft has centerline double berth with lockers on both sides and a large hanging locker. The aft head has a separate shower stall that will double as a wet locker for foul weather gear. The forward cabin has a V-shaped double, a small settee and a second head.
With long haul cruising designed into the 44, the designer and builder have ensured that the boat has plenty of convenient storage space for personal gear as well as all of the spares and equipment that cruisers need to carry with them. Plus the 44 carries nearly 200 gallons of water and 110 gallons of fuel. Under power alone, the boat will have a steaming range of close to a thousand miles.
The quality Rustler builds into their boats is from the old school with finely detailed teak joinery work below deck that is varnished and hand rubbed and fine stainless steel detailing on deck. Teak decks give the boat an elegant look and provide excellent non-skid when wet.
For those looking for a serious cruising boat that will carry them far and wide in safety and luxury, the new Rustler 44 has a lot to offer.
LOA 44’ 6”
Beam 13’ 9”
Ballast 10,140 lbs
Displ. 30,000 lbs.
SA 950 sq. ft.
Water 195 gals.
Fuel 110 gals.
Engine 80-hp. Diesel