Cherubini 44 Mark II: Rhapsody in Blue
The recent launch of Elysium, an exquisite ketch-rigged Cherubini 44 Mark II, promises new life for one family of longtime sailors and another family of old-school boatbuilders. "Yachtstyle" from our October 2008 issue
That said, materials have evolved since Dave's Uncle Frit was building boats in the 1980s. Looking to the future, Dave took a mold from Elysium and built the deck of the next 44 from Corecell foam-thus removing 200 pounds from the structure and 1,500 hours from the roughly 10,000 labor hours that, on average, have gone into building previous 44s. With that in mind, he estimates the basic sailaway price of a new 44 at $960,000.
The Cherubini 44's interior is agreeable and reassuring in a way that few contemporary yachts are. True, the boat's 11-foot-6-inch beam doesn't afford the volume for the aft cabin with queen-size island berth of so many of its peers in today's 40-something category, but the tradeoff is a traditionally laid out saloon, beautifully suited to the human form, that never leaves you more than an arm's length away from a robust handhold or from a secure place to plant your hip when the boat is under way. And as for the way the 44 sails-well, we'll get to that.
From Elysium's structure to the more nuanced aesthetic experience her owners and guests will enjoy over time, Cherubini exhibits uncommon care. "When you're sitting down here," he says, "you're engulfed by a color value that's going to set the mode of your day." He points out the satin-varnished mahogany, then the white-painted raised-panel bulkhead. "We made that color and sheen," he says. "When you're on the ocean, everything's glare, glare, glitzing glare. But when you come down here, you want to be here. So we softened everything."
Details abound the closer you look. Take the main-saloon table: Its joints are all blind-splined; the sockets it sits in are mounted flush in the sole to prevent stubbed toes if the table's ever removed, say, for racing. Now notice the spirits locker: The spaces are fitted to accommodate bottles of the Ballards' preferred libations, exactly.
Having spent much of his career sailing and restoring older boats, including other 44s, Cherubini redesigned Elysium's interior and mechanical spaces so that everything-engine, air-conditioning, genset, tanks-can be removed through the hatches for easier, less costly maintenance down the line. The engine has two feet of working space on the service side; its oil drip pan comes out for easy cleaning.
"This boat is perfect," says the photographer John Bildahl after looking into Elysium's deepest corners.
"God is perfect," Dave Cherubini replies. "But thank you."