Let’s Ride

When loyal owners asked for a larger model with enhanced range and amenities for multiday trips, the design team at Contender created this thoroughbred.

Contender 44 ST

Contender 44 ST

When it comes to high-performance, tournament-ready center consoles, Contender has spent 35 years setting the standard for ruggedness and fishing features. Its stable of models already has six thoroughbreds, and there’s a new stallion in the paddock: the 44 ST.

“We pride ourselves on listening to fishermen, and they have been asking for an even bigger center console than the 39 ST for some time,” says Jordan DeLong, Contender’s director of sales and marketing. “They wanted more range and amenities for multiday trips to the Bahamas and overnighters to the mid-Atlantic canyons.”

Long and sleek with graceful lines, a swept-back T-top and an optional tower, the Contender 44 ST has triple Yamaha 425 XTO outboards and can reportedly hit 59 knots with full fuel (600 gallons) and six people aboard. Add another XTO, and the boat will top out over 67 knots, according to the builder. It may crack the 70-knot barrier once larger pitch props are available from Yamaha. 

At a fast cruise, the triple configuration delivers about 1 mpg efficiency. That’s noteworthy performance for a boat that weighs in at just under 20,000 pounds, ready to fish.

The new hull sports a 12-foot, 1-inch beam and has aggressive twin steps to ventilate the bottom — similar to the 39’s hull, but with a less severe deadrise of 22.7 degrees.

“The boat simply didn’t need as much deadrise to perform beyond our expectations,” DeLong says, “and it made it more stable at rest and drifting.”

Features include a console helm station that holds a pair of 16-inch LCD screens. There are two 55-gallon transom live wells, a 340-gallon fish box forward, and two 110-gallon boxes aft.

The 44 FA (Fisharound) version is expected to be available by midsummer with a V-berth, galley, head and shower in the cabin.

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