Outbound 44/46: Suspended and Alive
The Carl Schumacher-designed Outbound 44/46 is a voyaging boat that deserves a second look. A boat review from our April 2004 issue.
The six-page equipment list accompanying the Outbound 44 is complete down to the safety flares, making this a genuine turnkey package. Mel and Barbara Collins, the satisfied owners of Ginger, put it best: "They provide strong leadership, and they don't nickel-and-dime you." The Outbound team has clearly discovered the word custom within the word customer, for they happily accommodate wide divergences from the original design and welcome the owner's participation in the process. To best express this, they've included in the sale price a trip to the boatyard in China at any phase of construction.
While a good gale would've more properly assessed seakeeping characteristics, the 14-knot autumn breeze offered on the day of our testing was appropriate for addressing heavy-displacement/light-air performance concerns. With full main and genoa, we held 6 knots on a broad reach, 7.5 on the beam, and a solid 8 knots respectably close to weather. The boat stood up stiffly, answered its helm with precision, and balanced well. With a hanked jib, furling genoa, and a fully battened main with lazy jacks, the raises and strikes were effortless.
E. B. White concluded his description of a small sailing craft with this thought: "It is not only beautiful; it is seductive and full of strange promise and a hint of trouble." The Outbound 44 is indeed beautiful and seductive. Because of its genuine bluewater readiness, it's also full of strange promise. But, alas, because of its thoughtful design and meticulous execution, any new owners will have to provide their own hint of trouble.
Alvah Simon, author of North to the Night ($15; 1999; Random House), has lived for two years in Whangarei, New Zealand, with his wife, Diana.