10 minute read
Thanks so much to Leah and Kyle from SV Jubel for helping on this article about buying a new HH44. They are swapping their lovely looking Gulfstar 44 ketch for a new HH44-SC catamaran!
They have kindly agreed to share some thoughts on why they chose this forty-four footer from HH Catamarans and what options they went for so far. This should be useful information for anyone who is thinking of buying this yacht or in fact any performance catamaran in this range.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Kyle and why you chose the HH44? You have a nice looking Gulfstar 44 ketch right? What inspired the switch to a catamaran?
Ahoy! We’re Leah & Kyle from the Canadian prairies, sailing around the world… very slowly. We’ve lived aboard our current sailboat for 5 years with our 2 salty cats and a salty shiba with one eye and a silver tooth. We’ve sailed through glaciers in Alaska, anchored in uninhabited Canadian islands, through the Mexican desert, crossed the bar in El Salvador, near Costa Rican jungles, and beside palm tree lined islands in Panama.
But sadly we’re starting to outgrow Jubel and want to start a family soon, we actually had our eye on another monohull but the HH44 caught our attention with the hybrid setup, all of that solar, lithium, plus those sexy sharp body lines. We love that it’s not just a floating ‘condomaran’ that sails like a tank, it’s really the best of both worlds for livability and performance.
Were you looking at other brands?
We really wanted our friends boat that was for sale at the time, a beautiful & very well maintained and upgraded Tayana 58. Catamarans really weren’t on our radar but once we found the HH44 we looked into a few others including a Balance 442 but nothing really came close to the HH for us. This was it, she checks all of the boxes, plus more.. she really is our dream boat!
Is there one thing that swayed it for you? Or a combination? eg Eco power, solar, parallel hybrid system, performance in light winds, swing helms, extending transom, overall finish
I can’t pick just one thing because it has so much to offer, but I’ll try to keep it short.
– Eco friendly: parallel electric/diesel hybrid engines, 4232 watts of solar, and a large lithium bank which means we leave behind much less of a carbon footprint…it also allows us to run AC overnight & continue to have all electric cooking, laundry, dishwasher, plus even more luxuries than we have on Jubel.
– C-shaped daggerboards provide vertical lift and impressive upwind sailing performance.
– The ability to nearly match speed for wind making passages much quicker. (& more fun.)
– Folding transoms, not only is it safer than having an open cockpit for many reasons, but they also bring the LOA to 48ft when they’re open.
The bright & airy, open concept and amount of living space inside and out. I no longer have to cook in a heat trapped dungeon (that’s how it currently feels).
The HH really is the perfect balance of style, performance, safety, and innovation, & we’re very excited to be a part of the HH community.
How much solar are you going for? Did you go for the extra on the davits? Can you give an idea of the power set up, generation, power usage, etc
We’re not going to add any to the davits (maybe in the future) but for now that amount of solar will be more than enough. Jubel currently has 1340watts of solar which is just enough to run our induction and electric cooking, air conditioning, Starlink, dive compressor, tv, etc. The HH has more than triple that with a much larger lithium bank than we have.
There is also hydogeneration on the hybrids right? Will you have wind generation too? or did you go for standard diesel power?
We’ve thought about adding a wind generator to our current boat and the cons outweigh the pros for us, we’ve come this far without it so the solar set up and regen seems like enough to keep us going. There’s no way to really know until we get onboard but it’s always something we can add on afterwards.
How are you expecting the performance of this boat compared to your ketch?
Our current max speed is 7.5kts with (rare) perfect conditions. Jubel is a fat bottom girl, she glides so beautifully but she also needs at least 12 knots to get going. The HH44 test sails have pushed out some really impressive numbers, in only 10kts of AWS they were sailing at 8.8kts SOG. That’s going to be a huge game changer for us, we can get to anchorages much faster, get out of the way of storms, and it’ll just make passages much more enjoyable.
The helm position is quite a bit different to your Gulfstar. Any thoughts on that?
Neither of us have really sailed a catamaran before, we spent 3 weeks on Kyle’s parents Nautitech but we were mostly just along for the ride. To be honest it kind of turned us off of catamarans, the motion is very different than monohulls, the bridgedeck slap was really loud, and the performance just wasn’t there. (I don’t know if I should say that lol, no offence Nautitech.)
So it’s going to be a learning curve for both of us but we love to learn new things and change is what keeps life exciting.
When will she launch? Are you going OC or SC (Ocean Cruising with keels or Sport Cruising with boards?)
We’ve opted for the SC, by the time we added the add-ons that we wanted the price difference was pretty minimal since the SC already comes with most of those options. Our current completion date is January 2026. Which gives us enough time to do a Carribean loop, cross to the South Pacific and make our way with Jubel to the Philippines.
Which stbd forward cabin configuration did you go for and why? Standard layout with a single double bed/pullman berth above the bed/large work bench with shelves
We’ve decided on the workbench and we’re hoping we can add a fold down bunk in there.
Can you give us an idea of the options you prioritised on the gear? Eg how many electric winches, engine upgrade?, throttles on both helms, any Sports version options, windlass remote, folding props etc
The HH44-SC comes with a lot of the options we were looking for such as the solar, and electric-hybrid engines. But beyond that, we are still in the decision process for a lot of the items. Some of the big considerations are the electric winches, line drivers for the dagger boards, the type of decking and the sail plan options, like the self-tacking staysail. We want the boat fitted out that will best suit our sailing style, and so we’re generally going with any of the structural items that would be difficult to add later.
How about options for the living space? Upholstery, teak, shade canopy, saloon blinds, table/convertible table. Can you share which colour option you went for, for example, or are those decisions to come?
We haven’t really gotten that far yet, we like the Bali interior and the Ad Blue for the hull paint. But that may change, we’re heading to Annapolis to meet with HH, hopefully get a tour of hull #2 if it arrives in time, and we will pick up our colour option swatches then.
Did you go for the BBQ option? 😉
We’re still thinking about this one, we’re leaning towards no because the extra seating will be more functional for us. Again that might change once we actually see the layout in person. All we’ve had to go off of so far is digital renderings.
What did you prioritise on the electrical equipment? Watermaker, additional fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, A/C, heating, electric heads (fresh/seawater), winches, track etc
Our current boat is a marvel of an electrical system, so the power systems on the HH need to be just as robust. We enjoy our power availability and having the solar & lithium means we have the capability to recharge. Adding systems that increase our comfort is a priority, so we’ll be adding extra freezers, a dishwasher, a 100Lph water-maker, washing machine, air conditioning, fresh water electric heads just to name a few. That being said we haven’t missed a microwave in over 5 years so we’ll pass on that one.
How about the power system? Invertor, Lithium batteries set up, genset (?), lighting options, Nav Pack, Radar
The power system in the HH44 is already well built. We’ll have an 8kw inverter to power everything, 25k BTUs of air conditioning, there are 43,000wh of batteries as standard, recharged by the 4,232w of solar and the electric hybrid drives on the engine that act as massive alternators.
For the NAV system, we will be adding a custom B&G setup with full nmea and wifi capabilities to interact with the victron power setup that allows remote monitoring of the boat.
What sail options will you go for? Solent, self tacking staysail, gennaker, Code 0, Parasailor etc. How will you keep sailing for longer in light winds?
For sail plans were not sure yet. There are so many options available so we’re waiting a bit to see what the hulls before us do, and how they perform. Ask us again in a year!
As this is a performance boat, are there any safety features to help you manage the sail area safely when the wind picks up?
The fold up transoms are a big plus for keeping us on the boat and keeping unwanted guests off. We have 3 pets and possibly a baby on the way, we plan to add lifeline netting halfway up the stanchions as we do on Jubel.
Electric winches with emergency stops all over the boat are big, and the high dyneema lifelines are a big plus. We’re not sure yet whether we will be adding the load pin cell sensors, which will give us a readout on the stresses on the rig.
Are there any options you think are better to source yourself after the purchase? eg anchor, chain, dinghy, What kind of anchor/chain set up will you go for?
The hh44 will be our 3rd sailboat together and the first thing we do is add an oversized Rocna. (Oversized to whatever the windlass can handle.) Chain and a proper anchor are so important for a good night sleep and we’ve ridden out major storms in the PNW and the Sea Of Cortez, I don’t care what other people say about Rocnas, ours have held every time.
We will be keeping our OCtender, we purchased ‘Big Dinghy Energy’ in 2021 and haven’t looked back. Us and inflatables just don’t get along very well.
On the tender and power options. Any advice on that front from HH44 purchasers?
We’re going to keep our current tender as it’s super light, nimble, and durable. Anyone considering an OCtender it is worth every penny. We went through plenty of inflatables over 5 years and the OCtender has proven itself time and time again.
Are there any key areas you are keeping a close eye on in terms of quality checks?
HH builds to a really high quality, and we’ll have a better idea once we have seen a few of them in person, starting with the Annapolis boat show.
How was your experience with HH Catamarans. Did you have a dealer/agent involved?
We have been extremely happy with communication back and forth with HH. We emailed them directly and they have been happy to answer any questions and they send us constant updates. Their pride in the company really shows.
When will she launch? Can you share some of the process you’ll go through with HH up to the splash day?
Our launch is targeted for January 2026. That can always change of course, but as of now and with 2 factories on the go, HH is fully on schedule- the last we have heard.
This is a performance cat, so there is less space down below than some other brands. Any thoughts on that?
Yes, one of the big reasons we bought it was it’s a performance cat. We carry a lot of gear and spares on our current boat, mostly because it’s so old. With a newer boat, we won’t have to carry ‘as many’ spares as we do for some of the systems. We’re happy to offload some of our gear in exchange for a better sailing speed/performance. That being said, going from a 40 year old monohull to a bright and open catamaran it feels like we’re moving from a small basement suite to a New York style penthouse!
I know you have pets, did their needs come into the decision making process. I thought at the Cannes Boat Show that the closed transoms would be great for our dog.
Yes, the enclosed cockpit is a huge bonus for us. Our cats are going to love looking out of all the bright open windows and escape hatches. Our dog loves laying in the sun on the deck and there’s way more room to move and lounge around. I think they’re going to really love the change.
Looks like you have done some great sailing down the West Coast from Canada. Any quick tips on that sailing area?
We are so lucky to have started in such a beautiful area, the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, and all around coastal BC are some of the absolute best cruising grounds. If it wasn’t so cold and grey we could have spent a lifetime there. We were happy to ditch the diesel heater and foul weather gear for sunshine and minimal clothes!
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying an HH44?
Their passion and quality speaks for itself. Watch their YouTube videos along with the Wynns build process videos. These are not cheap production boats, they are build to last, and built to perform. We’re so excited to start this new chapter in our life and continue our cruising dreams.