The Contender 44 is a tried-and-true hull that’s long been available in two models, the ST and FA. The latest iteration of the 44, dubbed CB for “canyon berth,” includes a cabin area below deck that doesn’t take away from the fishing space.
The 44CB is aimed at bluewater anglers who chase tuna, marlin and other gamefish from the Gulf of Mexico to the Carolinas to New England and want a comfortable spot to grab a nap, along with plenty of room to fight big fish on deck.
I’ve made long offshore runs aboard a triple-outboard Contender 44ST, the straight-up center console version with just a head below, as well as a quad-powered 44FA, Contender’s “fish around” model, which has a queen berth, galley, head with standup shower and copious storage below.
All three models can eat up a sea at high cruising speeds, but the FA also eats up a fair amount of fishing space. The CB gives anglers an air-conditioned berth to grab a few winks while waiting for the tuna bite to turn on, without eliminating fishing space on deck.
A 43-foot, 10-inch length and 12-foot beam, combined with a twin-step, 24-degree deadrise hull form, give the boat a knife-like ability to cut through rough seas, with a soft re-entry when the boat airs out. The boat carries 600 gallons of fuel and weighs in at slightly more than 22,000 pounds. Top-end speed is 66 mph at 6,000 rpm with triple 425-hp Yamaha XTO outboards. If that’s not fast enough, the hull is rated for a fourth XTO, bringing the ponies up to 1,700 and speeds into the mid-70-mph range. Maximum power is 2,000 hp.
The spacious helm area holds a pair of the largest MFDs available and the peripheral electronics that go with them. With three Llebroc helm chairs and a second-row bench seat, there is room for six to sit comfortably under the protection of the hardtop. I can attest to the boat’s comfort after back-to-back, 200-mile runs to Hudson Canyon from Atlantic City, New Jersey, while tournament fishing on the 44ST and FA.
Open the port-side door of the console, and you’ll see what gives the boat it’s CB designation. The cabin has plenty of headroom to access the sink and head. The large berth can sleep two and has a padded overhang with recessed lighting. The berth extends toward the bow beneath the lounge seat on deck. There is a 400-quart stowage area beneath the berth and stowage compartments along both sides for additional gear. Six vertical rod holders are mounted to the floor for heavy outfits. A pair of vertical hatches on the aft-facing bulkhead provide access to the A/C, electronics and a compartment for a Seakeeper 3 gyroscopic stabilizer.
The Contender 44CB fills a niche for dedicated canyon anglers who love the benefits of a large center console but want some of the creature comforts that most center consoles lack.
WEIGHT: 22,300 pounds
FUEL: 600 gallons
WATER: 70 gallons
MAXIMUM HORSEPOWER: 2,000 hp