I confess that the first idea I had about Kraken was a very negative one: the designs seemed outdated and I still think that the choice of having skeg rudders and non-bolted keels is more a publicity stunt than a real advantage, even if most conservative sailors are attracted by those features. You can read more about that here:
Above the new Kraken 44, below, the older Bluewater 44,
by the same designer, Kevin Dibley.
But the truth is that Kraken yachts are well-built, and except for those two items, not in an outdated way. The designs, even if slightly outdated (bow, keel and rudder design), offer advantages (and disadvantages) if we compare them with modern beamy bluewater boats like Hallberg Rassy or Contest.
Above, the new Kraken 44, below, the old Bluewater 44
Below, Hallberg Rassy 44
The new design is a bit nicer, mainly due to the cabin design, which seems not to be as high: being longer, because of the center cockpit option, makes it look lower. The longer hull ports disguise better the high freeboard. The underbody is basically the same, with the exception of the older design having a slightly more efficient keel with a torpedo.
The higher boom is not a good thing for sailing, raising the sail center of effort, and is even worse in terms of sail accessibility and the easiness of storing the sail on a sail bag. They could use an inclined boom, lower at the head, a solution that has become increasingly popular, and that is used for instance in the Jeanneau SO 440.
|Jeanneau SO 44 inclined boom.|
|Hallberg Rassy 44|
|Bluewater 44 layout, also a two-cabin two head layout, but with a much |
smaller aft cabin and much more storage space accessed from the outside
|Kraken 44 layouts, the king-size cabin restricts the possibility|
of having a decent space for sailing material, from fenders to
ropes and all the stuff a long-range cruising boat has to have.
In fact, there is much good to be said regarding the original model, the Bluewater 44: the big B/D on a relatively narrow modern hull (if we exclude bow design) allows for a big sail area and excellent performance, especially in lighter winds and upwind, in all winds and sea conditions. I like narrow boats and in regards to sailing in the med, I would prefer this type of hull over the beamy type that is now proposed by almost all builders, and that we can see for instance on the Hallberg-Rassy 44.
For sailing in the trade winds and even for sailing many days in a row, I would choose the HR44. Maybe if I was younger I would have chosen the Bluewater 44, but now, being honest, if I don't mind sailing with considerable angles of heel for a day sail ( I like it), for living in a boat while sailing for several days, being it for sleeping, eating or cooking, the difference in heel between the two boats while sailing will make a huge difference in living comfort.
|Kraken 44 grey hull|
But most sailors in the med chose not to sail upwind in medium-high or strong winds. Many choose to stay sheltered waiting for better conditions, while others motor upwind. On a bluewater passage motoring is out of the question, at least for a long time, and the BW offers advantages not only in what regards sailing upwind but also in sailing faster in lighter winds. But not even in a bluewater passage the BW44 offers always advantages over the HR44, namely in regards to sailing downwind and beam reaching, with medium and strong winds, the conditions you will find in the trade winds.
Kraken 44, blue hull
For sailing in the Med and the Baltic, I would probably prefer the Bluewater 44, if I could overcome my displeasure regarding how the boat looks, and I doubt that. The cabin and freeboard are just too high for my taste, and all those glass surfaces would make the boat unbearably hot during the sailing season in the Caribbean or the Med, and would have to be closed in the hot summer months. Of course, if you live in a boat for the full year, or if you sail in cold climates those windows can be very handy to let the sunshine in, and warm the boat and your soul.
|Lyman Morse 46|
Above and below Dibley designed Lyman Morse 46
|Lyman Morse 46, has a very nice cruising interior.|
I asked them for information but they redirected me to the information on the boat site, and these dimensions are what they have there. I am afraid the information is correct because that could explain why both boats have practically the same sail area being the Kraken 44.1% heavier than the Bluewater 44.
The Kraken 44 SA/D is 14.3, an unusually small value today, that compares to 21.0 for the Bluewater 44 and 20.5 for the HR44 (with an optimized sail area) or 19.3 in its standard version. As it is the Kraken 44 is a shadow of what could have been, and without being a bad boat it is not a match for the competition, in regards to sailing potential, overall stability, safety stability, and interior space. I would say also in what regards looks, even if that is debatable.
|The Hallberg Rassy 44 has the keel strongly bolted to a stub and|
to the superior structure. They stopped using skeg rudders years ago
and use now, in most models, twin rudders.
In green, the Combi 15KW electric drive engine is mounted
over the Yanmar and designed to work with it.
Due to the much bigger beam, the living space is uncomparably bigger in the HR, which offers more interior storage and also, if there are kids, two additional berths, without compromising the galley or the saloon living space. More about the HR 44 here:
The sole Kraken 44 argument seems to be its encapsulated keel (and eventually price) and skeg rudder, a weak argument since Hallberg Rassy has thousands of boats on the water, for several decades, and none of them has ever lost a keel or had any problem related to the keel and it offers the superior reliability of a twin rudder system.
The Kraken 44 estimate price is between 779 000USD and 850 000USD (no taxes at the factory) and includes as standard a hybrid engine constituted by a main Yanmar 4JH57, combined with the Combi 15kW electric drive motor.
|For a good efficiency the system should include a|
generator, but I don't know if it will be standard or not.
The option to mount it as standard, on a type of boat that by definition will be many times away from a repair facility (and knowing that around the world the ones that can repair this system are very few), seems to me a bad idea, increasing boat cost.