By Matt Trulio
Concept 4400: Inside a True Crossover
This center-console cruiser has what it takes to please performance-mind family buyers.
Center-console buyers divide into two basic groups: those who live and dream to catch fish—preferably big fish—and those who want to cruise and overnight with family and friends—a maybe want to pull up to a dockside restaurant that serves fish.
If you’re a hardcore angler looking for a fish-catching machine, waste no time checking out the Concept 4400. It’s not your boat. But if you’re a performance-minded pleasure boater with a penchant for socializing, cruising, and even overnighting with family and friends, you’ll want to check it out.
“What you have in the 4400 is a center console with more than six feet of headroom in the cabin so you can island-hop and comfortably stay overnight in it, but a boat that with triple 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards runs 60 mph,” said Susan Patterson, the vice president of sales and marketing for the Opa-Locka, Fla., custom center console builder. “It offers the fuel efficiency and reliability of outboards, which also save space in the cockpit and allow you to run in shallower water.”
Released in 2010, the Concept 4400 was the brainchild of Luis Avila, the owner of the company. In terms of form and function, Avila had a vision of what he wanted. But he’s not a formally trained boat designer, so he turned to John Cosker, the founder and owner of Mystic Powerboats, a high-performance catamaran, V-bottom, and yacht builder in DeLand, Fla., to design the 44-footer.
“Luis had a clear idea of what he wanted,” said Cosker, a formally trained naval architect whose 50-foot catamarans are among the most dominant models in domestic offshore powerboat racing. “He knew what he wanted style-wise. He knew what he wanted the shape of everything to be. So I created a three-dimensional model for him.
“The 4400 has a twin-step, 24-degree hull that rides really nicely in rough water,” he continued. “It’s a very deep boat, very secure. I’ve been in it a couple of times offshore and it’s a very stable and good handling in rough conditions. We were relatively conservative in the design. Speed and efficiency were important, but ride quality and handling were more important.
With its 44-foot, 4-inch length overall and 11-foot beam, the 4400 has more than enough space for a dual-position center console station, fore and aft bench and love seats, a forward sunpad, and plenty of open deck space. But the strength of the 44-footer is its cabin. As noted above, the 4400’s cabin offers more than six feet of headroom—it’s really tough to call a cabin with anything less “comfortable” for overnighting.
Cabin highlights include a complete galley, opposite of which is a head locker with a stand-up shower. Primary sleeping accommodations are located all the way forward. However, there’s also an aft-located sleeping area—what Patterson calls a “crew cabin.”
|Dry weight (no engines)||13,350 lbs|
|Fuel capacity||400 gal.|
|Base price w. 3×300-hp Merc. Verados||$344,718|
Despite that it is, according to Patterson, the largest model in the center console pleasure boat class, the 4400 is not without competition from the likes of Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Intrepid, and Yellowfin, not to mention performance-oriented center consoles from Cigarette Racing Team and Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats. Patterson said that the increasing brand recognition in the “bigger-boat” niche marketplace is imperative.
“We’ve been building boats for 27 years, and if you go to, let’s say, New Jersey, and talk about a 36-foot Concept center console, everyone knows what you’re talking about,” said Patterson. “But if you talk to someone there about the 4400, they don’t know about it and they probably haven’t heard about it.”
But Concept has an ace in the hole—aggressive pricing. With triple 300-hp Mercury Verado outboard engines, base price for the 4400 is $344,718. If you’ve shopped around, you know just how reasonable that price is relative to comparably sized and equipped pleasure-oriented center consoles.
“What we are trying to do is attract is the family buyer who wants more of a cruiser-style vessel, but still wants outboards,” said Patterson. “We off the cabin of an Intrepid and the performance qualities of a Nor-Tech. I don’t see where anyone else is offering both in one boat.”
Next up for Concept? A 39-footer based off the 4400. Look for it to debut at the 2013 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October.
For more information, visit Concept Boats.
- Matt Trulio is the co-publisher and editor in chief of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site with a weekly newsletter and a new bi-monthly digital magazine that covers the high-performance powerboating world. The former editor-in-chief of Sportboat magazine and editor at large of Powerboat magazine, Trulio has covered the go-fast powerboat world since 1995. Since joining boats.com in 2000, he has written more than 200 features and blogs.
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