General Thoughts on Gulfstars
We had a 1981 44 Cruising Auxiliary that we kept for 11+ years. The only problem we had with her was blistering. After chasing them around the bottom for a couple of years we had the gelcoat removed from the bottom, epoxy applied and Interprotect 2000/2001 applied. Used Interlux BottomKote over that and never had any further blistering.
Unfortunately we were in the working phase of our lives when we owned her and never had the time to take her cruising for more than a month or two to the Keys as well as short cruises on Florida''s west coast. For that type cruising I''d give her very high marks. She was very comfortable to sail although somewhat wet as I understand most center cockpits can be but a good dodger remedied that aspect. We were never in more than 30 kt blows (that only once for a couple of days). She had a Perkins 62hp and a three-blade fixed prop and motored very easily which you seem to do a lot of in Florida especially in the summer doldrums and when you gotta get to work, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Sorry, no bluewater experience. The rigging certainly seemed strong enough though and after we cured the blisters we never had any kind of major problems in the 11+ years we used her. All the systems worked as advertized although we did increase the wire size to the windlass on recommendation from a knowledgeable friend who helped us do it. Had I had the time I wouldn''t have hesitated to take her anywhere...but that comes from someone who hasn''t been ''out there'' so to speak. I never felt that she couldn''t handle much more than I was willing to subject her to.
I understand that after 1981 Gulfstar built some 44s for another company that were not up to Gulfstar specs. I believe they were known as Hirsh-Gulfstars but I''m not that familiar with them although I think they were to be used in the charter industry.
The interior was beautifully done except for the overhead which was cloth. We removed that and installed teak battens which gave us easy access to the underside of the house. The engine room was large and even with the 7.5 Onan, water heater and inverter/charger there was ample room to perform routine maintenance. Other than the suspect size wire for the windlass the wiring was nicely laid out and easy to follow.
Hope this helps some. We sure enjoyed our 44.