The Zeelander Z44

We firmly believe that everybody deserves a little Dr. Evil in their lives. So we love the Zeelander Z44, the flashy mini-superyacht from the Netherlands’ Zeelander Yachts. This 44-footer was a puzzle to most American reviewers — and customers probably — when it came to these shores earlier this decade.  And why not. There is so much “new” here: The Bugatti Blue hull. The Rolls Royce windshields. The slide-back sunshade straight from the Societe Des Bains, on Monte Carlo Beach in Monaco.

The Z44 is all flash and bad-boy vibe. We love it.

But behind the glitz, the Zeelander Z44 is a remarkably classic design, that actually quietly integrates several modern features worthy of further study. The essential hull shape is a straight-out of the express cruisers from the early/mid 20th century, like the Bunker and Ellis designs that still ply the waters in the Maine coast. But the Zeelander cleverly takes those comfy interior volumes and open deck spaces and works to smooth out the hard edges and re-engineer the interior and deck space. See how softened the stem, stern, and transom are? And how full the stem, flared hull and high gunwales are? That’s what max’s out the interior volumes and keeps everybody — and their cocktails — perfectly dry. But what’s really clever here is how easily the open deck house offers great views and open airs, yet leads directly aft to a wider deck area and then slick drop-down swim platform that’s hidden into the curved reverse, canoe stern. The Zeelander Z44 is designed to essentially be a two-bedroom apartment, with an awesome deck, that also happens to float. Not bad.

The Z44 also tells an important powering lesson: The Dual 375 HP Volvo Penta’s that drive this boat, are actually a bit under-powered for a vessel of this mass. That enforces the quiet smooth-ride that this experience is all about. Reports say, at decent cruising speeds of 25 knots, there was just 70 decibels of noise down below. Or about the sound of a vacuum cleaner, which not bad for a condo that’s traveling at 30 miles an hour.

Plus there is a nice American build story here: Holland Michigan’s S2 Yachts builds these vessels to an almost ludicrous specification: This boat is stuffed: Wet bar, ice maker, freezer, stone galley counters, microwave oven, queen-sized bed, and a plasma TV.  All of which pushes the price of the Z44 north of “One million dollars.” But also creates some great American jobs.

We’ve cribbed many of these features for our own boats. And you should crib them for yours.

Specifications:

Length overall: 44 ft 4 inches / 13.52 m
Length waterline: 41 ft / 12.50 m
Beam: 13 ft 2 inches / 4.0 m
Draft (to bottom of drives): 3 ft / 0.9 m
Weight (dry): 30,865 lbs / 14 T
Fuel capacity: 400 usg / 1,600 l
Fresh water capacity: 150 usg / 600 l
Waste water capacity: 50 usg / 190 l
Propulsion: Volvo Penta IPS 500 or optional IPS 600
Main engines: 2 x Volvo Penta 375 hp
Propeller: Volvo Penta Duo Prop T3 / 4 series
Maximum speed: 30 – 34 knots with IPS500 or optional 32 – 36 knots
Range@cruising: with IPS600 300 – 400 Nm
Hull material: GRP Core Infusion Vinylester Glass fibre
Generator: Generator set 9 kW 60 Hz 120 / 7.5 kW 50 Hz 240 volts
Electric System: 12V DC / 120V AC / 240V AC