Tollycraft 44 CPMY
When I look at newer boats today, I’m sorry to say that sometimes I can’t differentiate the bow from the stern or the top from the bottom. All too often deck space has been sacrificed for interior accommodations, making deck chores cumbersome and in some cases, flat-out dangerous, and focus groups trump good ol’ yacht design and sound practices. So I had to smile a little bit when I found the Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motoryacht (CPMY) and was reminded about what an honest-to-goodness boat was all about.
Today, a used boat such as this 44 can be a great value, especially if the boat has a pedigree. Tollycraft’s lineage began at the end of World War II, when Robert Merland “Tolly” Tollefson, returned from the war and worked as a carpenter. In his spare time, he built and sold his first boat, a wooden 35-footer that he assembled in the borrowed space of a window, door, and cabinet mill in Kelso, Washington. In 1946, he bought the mill and started building small runabouts.
In 1952 a fire destroyed that mill, but the event prompted Tolly to launch Tollycraft Yachts and build a better plant, creating bigger all-fiberglass boats. He worked extensively with renowned naval architect Ed Monk and in later years his son, Ed Monk Jr.
“We were more like engineers. We seldom had to do much more than make minor changes to Tolly’s drawings. The inspiration and conception for each Tollycraft came from Tolly himself,” recalled Monk Jr in Three Sheets Northwest. More than 6,000 boats between 28 and 68 feet were built over the next three decades.
Tolly sold Tollycraft to an investor group from Seattle in 1987 and retired. Under the new regime the company would file for bankruptcy in 1993 and permanently close its doors in 1997. However, Tollycraft retains a near cult-like following, evidenced by the Tollyclub (www.tollyclub.com); a boat owners’ club listing more than 330 boats and 650 members. After reviewing the 44 recently, it’s easy to understand why.
The Tollycraft 44 CPMY is a stretched version of the 40 Double Cabin with the addition of the 4-foot cockpit and extended hull length. According to Gordon Graham, former purchasing manager of Tollycraft for 20 years, and a historian of sorts, 142 44 CPMYs were built between 1985 and 1993. I crawled all over a 1988 model in Stuart, Florida, that is listed for sale with United Yacht Sales (www.unitedyacht.com). This boat was originally equipped with gas engines, but repowered in its first year of ownership with 375-horsepower Caterpillar 3208TAs, currently with 2,600 hours. (That is nothing for these workhorse engines.)
The low center of gravity of the 44 CPMY gives the boat a very salty profile. The lines and angles are very clean and symmetrical, no guessing which way the boat is pointing! Boarding accessibility is either through port and starboard rail gates or via the swim platform and a transom door in the cockpit, accommodating fixed and floating docks. Side decks are recessed into the hull and flat; bow deck and aft-cabin decks are also flat, making this an easy, safe boat for working dock lines and the anchor. Transitioning from the side decks to the aft deck, and aft deck to the bridgedeck is easy. A four-step ladder from the aft-cabin deck accesses the cockpit. In my opinion, all of this is accomplished without compromising the interior space.
The flying bridge spans across the full width of the cabin top. I could sit in the helm seat, feet planted on the bridgedeck without the aid of a footrest, and see all four corners of the boat. The lines of sight were simply superb.
There is abundant deck space for toys, lockers, and additional refrigeration on the bridge and the aft-cabin deck. Beneath the cockpit is a spacious lazarette that houses the genset on the starboard side and plenty of room on the port side to keep cruise supplies and spare parts. Unlike a lot of lazarettes I have seen over the years, this one was clean and dry, the genset showed very little sign of corrosion and dampness. This certainly is a testament to the care Tollycraft took in designing the deck hatch.
The interior is spacious and airy with large windows—very little water staining seen around the windows of this 27-year-old vessel. The main cabin of this particular 44 had free-standing furnishings in the saloon, giving an owner numerous options. The master stateroom has an island queen and en suite head with stall shower. The galley is down to port and has a generous dinette to starboard. I’m a fan of dinettes. They allow you to actually face your family and friends during mealtime, and provide a perfect perch to set up the laptop for a little work in the morning before casting off the lines. A V-berth is forward with a wet head. The saloon, galley, and staterooms all have plenty of stowage for extended cruising.
The hull is solid fiberglass and features a modified V-shape with hard chines making her a very stable platform. With a fairly sharp entry, various rough-sea conditions are manageable. Performance and economy are a key point—at a full cruise of 20 knots with the twin CAT 3208 TAs, the fuel burn is approximately 20 gallons per hour. At displacement speeds of 8 to 9 knots the fuel burn will be drastically reduced to approximately 2 gallons per hour.
This particular Tollycraft 44 CPMY had minor blemishes, very little crazing and cracking in the exterior gelcoat finish, and a few repairs were noted where old antennas and other equipment had been removed—typical of a boat of this vintage. The stainless rails were in good condition with a few stanchion bases in need of refitting, all minor things for a 27-year-old boat, and another testament of the quality of materials and craftsmanship that went into this vintage Tollycraft.
Equipped with a new electronics package and a thorough mechanical survey and follow-through with recommendations, this boat is more than capable of the Great Loop and island hopping. The Tolly 44 CPMY has a salty cruising spirit and I’d recommend a hard look for the cruising-minded buyer.
Power & Motoryacht spoke to three brokers who had listings for Tollycrafts online. Here’s what they had to say about these proven sea boats and the people active in the market for them.
Base Price $79,000-$189,000
Displacement 28,000 lb.
Engine 2/ 400-hp Detroit Diesel 6V53s; and gas options
Fuel 300 gal.
Water 140 gal.
Power 2/ 375-hp Cat 3208TA Caterpillar diesels
Cruising Speed 20 knots
Top Speed 23 knots