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. :-)