Islander 44 information
I'm looking for information on Islander 44's. I have been refitting a 1973 I44 for a couple of years now and would like to get a little more info from other owners. The project has another year to go guidance at this point may save me a lot of time later on.
Re: Islander 44 information
Just purchased one myself last year. It is a great boat. I have the 41' Lapworth Islander which is identical to your boat in every single way, except that Islander chopped 3 feet off the stern in 1975 to make a shorter boat more competitive in the market place so buyers could fit it in a smaller slip. But all other it is the exact same boat, interior, exterior, keel, bow, sails, etc. Again all they did was mold the 44, take it out of the mold and they did a straight chop off of 2.9 feet of the stern to make it the "41".
Not sure if you know the history, but here where I am located in the SanFran Bay Area I have access to one of the original Islander company execs who told me the entire history and performance on this boat.
It was designed by Bill Lapworth (founder of Cal Yachts), probably one of the best yacht designers of the 20th century. He got in a dispute with Islander, and they used his design apparently without fair compensation, or some type of deal. I guess originally he took credit for his design, but as he started getting up there in years, still bitter about them stealing his design he disavowed it. But he did design it, and the looks and performance of this great boat show his mark everywhere! Everyone calls this boat the Lapworth 44 or Lapworth 41 if you have my chopped version.
According the the Islander guy I talk to, now in his 70's he said this boat was always sold as a kit boat. Islander would help outfit or the person could outfit himself. Thus you may find many boats out there, where the structure, hull deck, etc is great, but the wiring and other internal done by a do-it-yourselfer and quite suspect work. Mine was the later, thus we rewired, and upgraded many things to create a very solid boat.
You can find my boat still listed on youtube, it was the ad listing I responded to to buy the boat. Just type into youtube "tata iv". It will pop up.
These boats are gorgeous when fixed up. The best we have seen was one with a navy blue hull/top sides red bottom hull paint up in Wisconsin. A 44'. In total the Islander guy said he thought maybe 30 to 40 some Lapworth 44's were sold and only 3 Lapworth 41's (the chop version) were sold. When Islander closed their doors in 1983's, there were still some molds and kit boat Lapworth 41's still sitting in the warehouse. My boat, made in 1975 did not hit the water until 1999.
As for performance. Man, what can I say....awesome! Here in the SF bay last weekend we had 30 kts winds. New boats, bigger and smaller Beneteaus, Hunters, Catalina's heeling over as if they were in a hurricane. This boat barely heeled. When it got up to 25 kts we just rolled up the jib, and sailed on the mainsail alone at 8 kts and hardly any if at all of a heel. This boat handles rough weather like you would not believe. Similar to the Islander 36 you barely if ever need to reef below 30kts, you can just sail this boat with the mainsail only and no reef. Alternatively we reef our jib furler a bit, and reef the main and go 8+ kts in 20+ winds also. For a cutaway keel this boat is fast! I am no engineer, don't understand why it is so fast, but man it goes. But it is so cool that this boat sails so well in heavy weather with just the main, as if you want to just relax in heavy weather you can by just using the main.
As for heading upwind into large waves, the spoon like bow just cuts through the waves like a knife through butter. I have owned two previous boats before this, a Catalina and an Islander 36, and this boat compared to those just slices through the waves. My wife commented, as a novice "wow, why are all the other 40-50 boats out here today heeling so much and bouncing up and down so much and we are just gliding straight through the waves". Answer, our boat designed well.
The only negative on this boat, is that for 41-44' foot boat (again the interiors are the exact same size) it is a very narrow boat. But the positive thing, when we are out the Golden Gate bridge rounding the farallones in some of the worst weather I have every seen, when down below the narrow cabin become such a huge plus. I have been on huge, beautifully spacious beneteaus in this type of weather and thought I was going to break and arm or neck bouncing from side to side with the wide beam. This Lapworth/Islander 44, you just stretch your arms out like a bird in flight and can hold yourself in the side to side rolling.
Hope you can find the youtube pics. If you would like more, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org I have pics of my boat you can use for ideas in your refurbishment, also have pics of that beautiful Lapworth 44 that was up in Wisconsin with the blue hull.
If you are up in Seattle, in the Puget Sound, this boat will handle any weather thrown at you, and you can easily and comfortably head out the Straits of Juan De Fuca on this boat. I am from Everett, so trust me, this boat will keep you in good stead up there. Oh.......and the engineering guy I had go through this boat said the thickness of the fiberglass on this boat is like a Hans Christian. You could hit a rock and bounce off. Well.....let's hope. :-)
Re: Islander 44 information
BTW I have all of the original blueprints for the boat, etc, if you ever want copies I can try to get. I am up in Seattle every other month, as though I live down in the Bay Area I still have a rental house my mom lives in up in Everett. In our boat we have installed sump pump, hot water, shower, electric winch, holding tanks, 90 gallons of water tanks, etc. Perhaps some of our diagrams might help you for ideas in trying to fit things in different places.
Re: Islander 44 information
Since I am also in the later stages of resurrecting a 1979 Islander Peterson 40 [#005], I watched the video of the 41 – Lapworth designed the 44 in 1966 and I found it striking that the interior looks pretty much exactly like my P40 designed in 1979. The only exception is that the floor grates and bilge access are totally different.
I love the way the P40 sails, she is fast with a PHRF of 80 compared to the 120 for the L44. The deep heavy fin keeps her upright and sliding through the water on all points of sail.
The L44 has a rated draft of 5.3. Do you find this to run true? While the P40 has a rated draft of 7.2, I find after measuring that my boat draws closer to 7.5. This is an issue in the large lake where I sail just north of Atlanta. The center of the lake is very deep but the sides and coves are very shallow with under water ridges all over the place so I have to keep a close eye on the depth meter when sailing with other boats that draw 4-5 feet.
Since there were only about 3 dozen of the P40’s built between 79 and Islander closing up, I find almost no information on the boat. Wish there was more.
Re: Islander 44 information
Looked at the youtube video. Nice boat. My guess it took the original finisher a lot more than two years to finish off the boat. He did a fabulous job.
As mentioned in my posting of 6 months ago, I'm well into the refit on a 1973 I44. I still have much to do and a set of drawings will definitely help. I would like to talk to you directly about that and what arrangements we can make to get them copied.
From 1999 to 2006 I owned an Islander 30 and got into following the history of the company and its boats that was being put together by several people at that time. It's unfortunate that so much of it has been lost. There is another Islander web site out there with more of that history.
For the record, here are a few things that I have picked up on the I44 / I41's over the last few years of trying to get info on them.
The estimate of 30 to 40 I44's may be accurate but 3 I41's probably is not. I am familiar with 4. Yours, one in Poulsbo WA, one in MA for sail on Yachtworld right now, and one in VA owned by the former sailing instructor for the Annapolis Naval Academy. I talked with the last fellow about a year ago. Like you, he loved the sailing characteristics of the boat and I would guess he would be a good judge.
If you look around a bit, you can find two different designs for the "Lapworth" I 44. One with two quarter berths and a boxy cabin top with a step in it, and the more common one with one quarter berth, a U shaped galley, and a contoured cabin top, like the I34 an I37. From Bob Perry's book, it wasn't uncommon for boat builders at the time to make modest changes to a boat designed by a naval architect and then claim the design as there own and stop paying royalties. Don't know that happened here but could have. I've read that Lapworth was bitter with Islander over this boat.
Though this boat may have always been available as a kit boat, for sure Islander did sell completed I44's. One broker/seller claimed that they had finished off 10 of them though I don't know where he got his info. There is one in Kingston WA that I check out regularly tha t was definitely completed by Islander. The current owner bought that boat in 1982 from the original owner who bought it in 1968. Again, he attests to it's seaworthiness. He has sailed it through two hurricanes while cruising in the 80's.
Let me know the next time you might be in Seattle. My boat is in a boat yard less than 10 minutes from the airport and I'm there most of the time ( retired). You might like seeing what one looks like behind all the panels.
You can call me at any time at 206 898-6988.
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