The 44′ Banzai delivers high performance and luxury without compromise. For Magnum owners who appreciate both comfort and performance, the 44′ Banzai has been a classic front runner. Continue reading below to learn about Yachting Magazine Jay Coyle’s thoughts and experience with the 44′ Banzai when it was first released.
No other pedigree in high-performance yachting is as enduring as Magnum Marines. While others have pushed the envelope beyond the limit or morphed into multiple markets, Magnum and its hands-on owner, Katrin Theodoli, have always delivered sexy, high-end speed boats on a grand scale. I recently spent an afternoon with Theodoli aboard her latest creation, the 44’ Banzai, enjoying the benefits of her vision of high-performance yachting first-hand.
Banzai does not need decals and air-brushed graphics to make a statement– her jet black exterior finish and buff interior say it all. While many high-performance designs offer little more than bolstered seating above and a playpen below, Banzai’s cockpit is arranged with pilot and co-pilot bench seating, as well as an L-shape settee. Her below-decks layout includes a saloon with a sofa and table, a private cabin with a queen-size berth, and a head with a shower. She is trimmed out in yacht-quality maple burl joinery and designer fabrics.
While I am satisfied cruising in the mid-20 knot range, I confess that I find it exhilarating to command a well-balanced boat at 50 knots. Banzai easily dispatched the 5’ seas she encountered. A pair of electronically controlled 3196ETA Caterpillars (660 hp each), fitted with Twin Disc gears (1.5:1 reduction), are connected via jack shafts Arneson ASD-10 surface drives with Rolla 26.5” x 39” seven-blade surface-piercing propellers. Magnum has mastered the integration of the Arneson drive system in its designs and Banzai was responsive and forgiving of an unfamiliar hand on her helm. The horizontal attitude of the Arneson drive is controlled from the helm through a range of +/-7.5 degrees. This makes it possible to optimize the possible position of the propeller for various load conditions, sea conditions, and speeds. On some boats, it is necessary to constantly fiddle with this adjustment. Magnum strives for a set and forget foolproof package, and Banzai requires no coddling to get up. The only adjustment I made was to add a bit of trim tab in a head sea to put her steep entry to work on the waves. Dockside, where surface drive systems can be a handful, I had no problem backing alongside the face dock. The trick is to avoid the temptation to jockey the clutches. Arneson’s should be steered, vectoring thrust for the result you want.
It would be an injustice to describe banzai’s hull form simply as a conventional deep-V. Magnum believes in sticking with what works and its hulls are true to the original deep-V concept. Her hull, for example, has a 24-degree deadrise and is directly related to Magnum’s 35-footer circa 1966. Now that’s pedigree. The solid fiberglass bottom laminate is a stout blend of polyester resin, woven roving, mat, and stitched multi-directional reinforcements. End-grain balsa coring is used to stiffen the topsides, foreback, and cockpit sole. Four fiberglass encapsulated marine plywood stringers run continuously fore and aft and are supported by marine plywood bulkheads and web frames. This substructure is bonded to the hull, with multiple layers of fiberglass. Aft, the strangers are bonded to the transom together with fiberglass support knees, which are designed to provide additional stiffening in way of the Arneson drives. The transom laminate is a combination of fiberglass and marine plywood, which averages 8’ thick. Banzai has a dry weight of about 27,000 lb., which is on the heavy side for a 44’ open boat. Unlike many builders who have sought to reduce weight to achieve higher speed, Magnum has chosen a more conservative path, for reasons of comfort and safety. I share Magnum’s view that weight increases comfort in a high-speed monohull. Although such generality could be debated, mass is a key factor in Maguns’s comfortable ride. Magnum will also tell you of its very satisfied customers whose boats have bumped into items at high speed and survived. These items include a 5-gallon drum in the Gulf Stream, a phone pole in New York Harbor, and several reefs in the Caribbean.
The Magnum Owners club is an exclusive one. To own a 44’ Magnum like Banzai requires a significant investment. Her base price with Caterpillar 3208TAs is $662,000. Expensive, yes, but, for those who appreciate comfort, performance, and pedigree, it’s the only game in down.
Original and complete article found on page 56 of Yachting Magazine – 1998