I once hitched a ride on a Peterson 44 from Grenada to St. Lucia with an Aussie skipper. On the way, we stopped in the Tobago Cays; then the Aussie took sick, and I spent most of the rest of the trip at the helm. The passage was a hard slog to windward in a leeward-setting current, but the Peterson sailed beautifully and had a very comfortable helm. That kind of sailing performance is worth something.
The Peterson 44, which had another incarnation as the Kelly-Peterson 46, seems to have been solidly put together at a time when Taiwanese builders were responding to calls for proper construction and not just cosmetic carpentry.
I think the layout below decks is as practical as you’ll get with a center cockpit. It has a big secure galley, a real chart table, and places in the saloon and aft cabin to crash when under way and luxuriate when at rest. I thought the cockpit coamings were rather low, but that’s a cosmetic detail a competent woodworker could address handily. I’ve read that some people have complained about the low headroom in the aft passageway. It’s a passageway, not a ballroom. An attractive feature of the boat is its low profile, which is related to that low headroom.
My feelings for this boat were reinforced years later when, as an editor at this magazine, I fielded many stories from cruisers on Peterson 44s. And it continues to be a popular choice for world girdlers.
Price range: $73,500 (1976) to $229,000 (1986 KP 46)