Bluewater Sailboat – Brewer 44


The Brewer 44 is a beautiful, capable, and seakindly center cockpit Bluewater sailboat that is well outfitted for cruising with a watermaker and extensive solar power.

This sailboat features a reverse transom (swim platform) and a separate shower in the aft head. This is a lethal combo, especially considering their outstanding performance. A v-berth with a separate wet head is located in the front. 

Brewer 44
Brewer 44
  • LOA 37’10”
  • LOD 34’6”
  • LWL 31’5”
  • Draft 4’0”
  • Beam 12’4”
  • Displ. 19.300 lbs
  • Ballast 7,500 lbs.
  • Sail area 763 sq. ft.
  • Fuel 55 gals
  • Water 100 gals.
  • Holding 30 gals.
  • Displ/Length 276
  • SA/D 17
  • Ball./Displ. 39%
  • STIX 40


In 1983, a group of sailors from the Manhasset Bay area of Long Island, New York, led by Harold Oldak, aimed to create their ultimate bluewater cruising sailboat. They chose a Whitby 42 design and made 100 changes to the original design, which included the “Brewer bite” keel with a skeg-mounted rudder to improve light air performance, and these changes were approved by Ted Brewer. They approached Kurt Hansen to build the boat to their revised design, but he declined due to the cost. The group then went to Fort Myers to see if they would build the boat. The partners at Fort Myers were eager to build the new design as it would give them design authority, something they did not have while building Whitbys. The Brewer 12.8 was born in 1983 and the first eight hulls were identical.

Hull numbers 1 to 199 were reserved for Canadian-built Whitbys, while numbers 200 and above were assigned to those built in Fort Myers. When the Bluewater Brewer 12.8 was built, the same hull numbers were continued. Fort Myers-built Whitbys were assigned hull numbers 200 to approximately 233, while the Brewer 12.8’s were numbered approximately 234 to 280. In 1987, the company introduced the swim platform-extended Brewer 44, which was produced until 1990. During the time that the Brewer 12.8’s were built, some buyers wanted the Whitby design or a combination of both designs. Since Fort Myers and Canada were no longer on good terms, these boats built in Fort Myers were referred to as Brewer 42s.

In summary, Whitbys are ketch-rigged boats with a full keel while Brewer 12.8s are cutter-rigged boats with double spreaders, a cutaway fore keel and skeg-mounted rudder. Some Brewer 12.8s have tall rigs with the mast passing through the center of the main salon and an anchor platform forward, while others have standard rigs with the mast against the forward bulkhead and a bowsprit. The Brewer 44 is similar to the 12.8, but with a molded swim platform and slightly enlarged aft cabin. Some Brewers and Whitbys are double head stay ketches, a rig that Ted Brewer referred to as a cutter ketch.


In contrast to the conventional Northeast yachtsmen lines, Brewer’s designs often have a more rough appearance. Her freeboard is above average, but her bow is rather blunt. Except for the 44, which incorporates a swim platform, she has a raked bow, Ted’s signature springy sheer, and a flat transom on all models. The swim platform of the 44 is only a little ledge that is glassed onto the same “Brewer bite” hull mould as the 12.8’s. Her iconic attractiveness comes from the teak-lined combings and toerail, which place her firmly in the 1980s. The cabintrunk and the cockpit combings flow together harmoniously. The Whitby’s have a complete keel, while the Brewers have a long keel and a rudder that is hung from the skeg. In contrast to Myers sailboats, which are generally centerboards with a 4′ 6′′ up and 9′ 3′′ down draught, Whitby boats had fixed keels with a 5′ 2′′ down draught. The Whitbys and some 12.8s were ketches while the 44s were cutters above. For residents of Lauderdale, you might be interested to hear that the manager owns a Whitby 42 and not just any 42 if you’ve ever eaten lunch at “Le Tub” in Aventura. “Spectacular,” as she is known, features a lime green cove stripe and a bright yellow canvas!

According to reports, the Fort Myers models are more solidly built than Whitby’s somewhat dubious construction methods. The most annoying Whitby construction flaw was their initial preference for pop rivets over stainless steel bolts for fastening the internal flange of the hull to deck junction. Balsa cores are sandwiched between alternate layers of woven roving and mat, which are then glassed together with polyester resin. Along with having a keel-stepped main and a deck-stepped mizzen, the deck is balsa cored. Internal lead serves as the ballast. Ted Brewer increased the lead ballast for the Myers variants by 500 pounds, bringing the total weight to 9,000 pounds with the same 23,500-pound displacement. They redesigned her using stronger, lighter manufacturing methods, and most 12.8s now have a double spreader main. Gibbs & Cox are listed as the engineering standards in the original specs. Brewer 12.8s were produced in a variety of forms, thus it might be challenging and unfair to categorise them as “genuine” 12.8s. Ketch rigs are possible. Keels can be fixed at 5′ or can be centerboards. Hardware was a mix of plastic, stainless steel, and other materials. Like many manufacturers, it appears that the Fort Myers yard’s build quality increased from 1983 to 1990 as it gained experience.

Above Deck

The deck gear on Brewer 12.8s, Brewer 44s, and Whitby 42s all differs substantially. The 12.8s are a combination of high and low quality, but the Whitbys are less expensively constructed, as seen by the plastic portholes. The hardware on the 44s is of higher calibre. With the traditional offshore configuration of a bridgedeck (on Whitby’s), a deep well, and strong scuppers, the cockpit is secure. The companionway board on the 12.8’s can be used in place of a bridgedeck. The fore and aft companionways in the back cabin are accessible from the centre cockpit. Whitby 42s have awful weather helm, so a bowsprit that shifts the sailplan and, thus, centre of effort forward, is something to look for on them. While the majority of Brewer 12.8s feature a tall rig and keel-stepped mast across the saloon as well as a bow platform that prevents your anchors from chafing the bow, certain models also have a bowsprit and a mast situated in line with the forward bulkhead.

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Below Deck

This bluewater sailboat has a layout that is in high demand since interiors sell boats. This is a lethal combo, especially considering their outstanding performance. A v-berth with a separate wet head is located in the front. The main saloon is aft and features lovely teak woodwork. The navigation is on the starboard side of the companionway, and the galley is on the port. Engine access is adjacent to and there is less headroom when you move down the corridor to the rear. The master bathroom and full width king size bed are located in the spacious aft cabin. The larger aft stateroom caused by the swim platform is the main distinction between the 12.8 and 44. The glassed-on stern allows for additional storage aft even though both were popped from the same mould. A separate stall shower in the master head is a convenient feature for those who live aboard some 12.8s and 44s.


Bluewater Sailboat Brewer 44’s appear to be powered by 85HP Perkins 4.236 engines. Nowadays, Westerbekes and Yanmars have been used to repower many vehicles. The aft corridor provides excellent access and has enough space for a generator. The Whitby boats performed admirably in heavy air and weren’t too shabby in light air because to their heavy displacement ratio of 300. With features like the Whitby’s 174 or 168 with bowsprit, the 44 is a superior sailing yacht and remarkably faster. The centerboard models have balanced helms and good tracking. Their smooth motion on a seaway is a feature for the owner. She has an impressive stable helm, simple centerboard deployment, and smooth motion.

Accommodations include an aft stateroom with a queen-size bed, ample storage, and an enclosed head with a separate shower and its own companionway to the cockpit. The V-Berth has an extender to maximize sleeping space. The salon is spacious and bright with two settees and a built-in bar. There is also a head in the main salon with a second shower.

Quick Notes

Brewer 44, 12.8 and Whitby 42 are reliable, traditional sailing sailboats from the 1970s and 1980s. They are now affordable and worth a look if you’re looking for a centre cockpit yacht. The Bristol 41/43, Bristol 45, Gulfstar 44, and Hylas 44 are comparable aircraft. Bilge tanks, joint leaks, and weakness around the mizzen compression post are also areas of concern.

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