MERLIN | Able 44 | 44ft

Harbour Island, BS


MERLIN | Able 44 | 44ft


Harbour Island, BS


MERLIN is a stand-out member of the Able 44 "Wolf" class of Downeast express cruisers designed by Chuck Paine and built by Able Marine of Northeast Harbor, Maine. As such, she is arguably one of the most stunning craft of this variety on the water today. Period. Her lines and quality of build are in the ‘take your breath away’ category and the comfortable ride and performance of the boat - which planes easily at 16 knots and runs effortlessly up to an honest fast cruise of 24 knots - is just amazing. Exterior varnished mahogany and teak abounds with toe rails, eyebrow, handrails, seats and seat backs - and most especially her windshield and transom - along with a gleaming Flag Blue hull all adding to her distinctive look.

MERLIN has been kept current with constant upgrading and improvements over the years including:  a complete repower with larger engines to make the boat faster; removal of the original Herreshoff style interior and updated with beautiful cherry raised-panel joinery; a custom mahogany helm, and custom helm and passenger pedestal seats; low E-tinted pilothouse glass windows (port and stbd); custom accent carpeting for the interior; custom bed covers and sheets; an elaborate set of Sunbrella covers for nearly every varnished surface aboard the boat, exterior and interior soft goods, several generations of electronics etc., etc.

The present owner received the baton a couple of years ago and kept running with it by at once adding variable-speed bow and stern thrusters with the ‘side-hold’ feature along with a state-of-the-art Garmin electronics package including GPS plotter with radar, VHF radio, autopilot and AIS. After a first summer cruising the South Coast out of Padanaram on Buzzards Bay he headed south and ended up wintering on the Florida panhandle exploring many new grounds. Come spring he ran MERLIN back up the coast in record time with the engines never missing a beat.

This past winter a refit was undertaken in Bristol, RI, with the entire deck house, foredeck and side decks and large areas in the cockpit and bridge deck being ground down, fiberglassed where necessary and RE-GELCOATED to as-new condition. The bottom was stripped and barrier coated. All the bronze opening ports were removed and re-chromed. The tall sailboat mast which looked good but made a racket at 20+ knots and was smack dab in the middle of the bridge deck seating and flow, was removed. A new bimini top and curtains were installed. Brand new custom carpets were made for the interior to match the existing - which are quite distinctive. And the custom Dyer sailing dinghy (which hangs from custom teak laminated davits), in disrepair when the vessel was purchased by the current owner, was also repaired and restored. Other recent work in 2022 includes a new holding tank system, water heater and Lumishore underwater lights.

Thanks to her drop-dead gorgeous looks and handling, speed and available space/layout on deck MERLIN excels as a dayboat with gobs of seating in a large cockpit and protected bridge deck with room aplenty for a gaggle of family and friends. At the same time, she boasts a very legitimate cruising interior as perfect for a couple as for a family of six complete with a ginormous stall shower, fantastic galley and salon with large convertible table. Bravo!!


  • Length: 44ft
  • Builder: Able Custom Yachts
  • Beam: 13' 6"
  • Draft: 3' 6"
  • Year: 1995
  • Displacement: 23900.00 lbs
  • Hull: Fiberglass
  • Engine: (2) Volvo, 480 hp


  • Builder: Able Custom Yachts
  • Designer: Paine Yacht Design


  • Length Overall: 43.92 ft
  • Max Draft: 3' 6"
  • Displacement: 23900.00 lb
  • Beam Measure: 13' 6"


  • Engine Brand: Volvo
  • Year Built: 1999
  • Engine Type: Inboard
  • Engine/Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Engine Hours: 1500
  • Engine Power: 480 hp

  • Engine Brand: Volvo
  • Year Built: 1999
  • Engine Type: Inboard
  • Engine/Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Engine Hours: 1500
  • Engine Power: 480 hp


  • Fresh Water Tanks: 1 (300 Gallons)
  • Fuel Tanks: 1 (420 Gallons)


The Able Wolf Class 44, one of the finest designs to spring from the boards of Paine Yacht Design, has redefined the contemporary Maine express cruiser. Not a replica, she has sweeping lines, a distinctive profile, and a smooth-riding hull. This 44-footer's Downeast origins are evident in the long, graceful profile and prominent, upturned bow. A classic trawler with a sportfisherman's planing hull, the Able 44 combines technology and tradition. Below decks, wood is the dominant material covering the walls and floors. North Carolina cherry is what Able has been using in its cabins for the past 15 years. Unidirectional, biaxial fiberglass with 100-percent vinylester resin is used in the solid-glass hull, and the topsides are balsa-cored, for lightweight durability. 


The interior of MERLIN is sheathed and finished in satin varnished American cherry. Elegant raised  panels are found throughout her interior on bulkheads, doors and cabinets. Like many high-caliber Maine-built boats, her cabin sole is also constructed of solid teak and has a classy satin finish as well. Off white overheads with cherry accents and dome lights. Solid cherry handrails and built-in handles in strategic locations for moving about the boat while underway. Royal blue Sunbrella with off white piping on all interior cushions (2017) and her (8) opening port lights provide a bright and cheery interior. 

Forward is a generous private stateroom with a 7' long oversized berth (with filler cushion), hanging locker and bureau. The mattresses are custom fitted Tempur-Pedic for the utmost comfort. Two opening ports and large opening overhead hatch (all with screens) provide excellent light and ventilation. Shelving is provided along each berth. Hull stathing in cherry. Storage beneath the berths.

MERLIN is also fully air conditioned. The main salon has very comfortable 7' long settees with "pilot berths" above and outboard on port and stbd sides. The current owners have removed the cushions from this area (pilot berths) as they use the cherry surface for other purposes. The dining table has a generous leaf that folds down and is built of solid cherry. Overhead is a large hatch and several opening port lights providing additional light and ventilation.

  • (4) Ocean Frigast reading lamps
  • Stereo control with salon stereo speakers
  • 110v outlets to port
  • (2) Rod racks under port deck in salon

Moving aft a large U-shaped galley, to starboard and convenient to the companionway, includes a 4-burner stove with oven and broiler. Dual stainless steel sinks and lots of space outboard of stove behind cherry sliding doors holds all plates, glasses etc. The refrigerator and freezer (Grunert cold plate) are aft of the stove and to starboard of the companionway under the countertop.

  • Sharp microwave oven
  • Force 10 stainless steel 4-burner propane stove with oven
  • Grunert cold plate refrigeration box and separate freezer box w/holding plates (new 2013)
  • Double-basin stainless steel sink with single lever control and pull-out sprayer
  • Under counter large storage locker; outboard cabinets, drawers and under sink storage
  • (2) 110v outlets
  • Opening port and dorade vent


The head is located to port of the galley and includes a large and truly functional separate stall shower with teak seat, full vanity/sink and electric toilet. New holding tank system (2022).

  • Overhead prism
  • Opening port and dorade vent
  • Push button electric toilet
  • GFCI protected outlets
  • Large cherry framed mirror
  • Teak soles, removable


Walk up three wide steps (storage beneath center step) at an easy angle and arrive at the bridge deck with mahogany helm station to starboard and navigator’s seat and desk. To starboard is a custom mahogany helm seat built by Crown Mfg. There are two custom bridge deck settees to port and starboard, large enough for lounging, with storage beneath. Companionway clear Lexan slider with bi-fold companionway doors with louvers for passive ventilation.

The soft top is a traditional "Toast" Sunbrella color over a permanent stainless steel frame. Side curtains and three-piece aft drop curtains, all canvas new 2022. Stainless handrails the length of the bimini top port and starboard for moving fore and aft on the side decks and strategically placed wood handrails on windshield. The cockpit has an athwartship transom settee with teak accents and teak ladderback with storage beneath and a removable section to access the transom door to starboard for easy access to the teak swim platform.

Exterior fabric is dark Navy Blue Sunbrella (or equivalent) with white code flags pattern with red piping.  Overall, the entire living areas of MERLIN are traditionally elegant and there is more than enough storage for the committed and active cruiser.


(2) Volvo 480hp diesel engines, struts, shafts, bearings and running gear installed in 1999. Engine hours just under 1,500 Sept 2022 (some analogue engine gauges are not functioning).

  • Electronic throttle and shift controls
  • Bow and stern thrusters (new 2021) (thruster battery replaced 2022)
  • Walker air seps & fuel seps installed 2010
  • Engine room blower
  •  ZF Transmissions
  • H&S 4-blade props (spare set included)
  • Dual Racor fuel/water separators with vacuum gauges installed at helm
  • LasDrop dripless shaft seals
  • Shaft spurs forward of props
  • Marine Air reverse-cycle air conditioning; new 2013, updated 2022
  • 12-gallon SS hot water heater; summer 2022
  • Plastic holding tank aft under cockpit sole with macerator pump; installed 2022


  • New large Garmin GPS Map 7616 plotter installed at helm, 2021
  • Garmin autopilot, 2021
  • B&G HS-2 system displays for depth, temp and nav info
  • Garmin VHF; GHS 10, 2021
  • AIS, 2021
  • Synchronizers
  • Trim tabs 
  • Edson "Destroyer-type" wheel at helm, elkhide covered
  • Hydraulic steering
  • (3) Windshield wipers with freshwater wash
  • 5" Richie compass
  • Sony stereo with speakers in salon and bridge deck, and iPod connection with Sony Marine RM-x60M remote at helm
  • Bronze barometer mounted above companionway


MERLIN is a 110v AC and 12v DC vessel. She has a Mastervolt breaker panel on bulkhead to starboard of companionway in galley with spare breakers as well.

  • 30-amp shore power service
  • Heart interface inverter/battery charger
  • AGM Battery bank for house (new August 2019)
  • AGM battery for engine and genset star 
  • Westerbeke 8kW generator (1,746 hours, 9/22) (New sound shield 2013)


This design is the original "Downeast Express Cruiser" and extremely reminiscent and reflective of the old Bunker and Ellis woodies built on Mount Desert Island years ago. The hull shape is a warped "V" with a very fine forward entry for wave penetration that flattens out to a 7.5 degree deadrise angle at the transom. The result of this design is better performance and fuel economy at lower speeds than a true deep "V". A partial skeg provides excellent tracking as well as reasonable protection for the running gear. Biaxial and unidirectional nonwoven fiberglass combines with 100 Vinylester resin throughout the laminate. Baltec end-grain core is included in the topsides and deck, while the bottom is solid fiberglass.

Flag Blue Awlgrip topsides with inset gold cove stripe, single white boot stripe and green bottom. Decks are white with contrasting Moondust nonskid.

Mahogany three-panel windshield with center front opening window swoops down to form cockpit coaming boards. Amazing!

  • Mahogany transom with door
  • Custom stainless steel bow rail
  • Custom spray rails
  • Custom stainless steel stem head with anchor roller and stainless steel anchor
  • Lewmar electric anchor windlass
  • Bow chalks inset into toe rail
  • Custom varnished teak boat hook
  • (8) Bronze chromed opening port lights (re-chromed 2022) with screens
  • (4) Dorade vents with stainless cowls; Awlgrip painted white inside. Sliding interior vent closures
  • (4) Fenders with covers
  • (6) Herreshoff style stainless cleats
  • Assorted dock lines
  • Extensive assortment of custom canvas covers for interior and exterior wood
  • Hull paint Flag Blue (2010) 
  • House, decks, and cockpit Awlgrip painted 2011 and largely re-gelcoated, 2022
  • Exterior varnish stripped to bare wood in 2017 and again in 2022 and built back up with ten coats
  • (2) 10gal aluminum propane tanks stored in separate ventilated lockers
  • Self-bailing cockpit
  • Hot and cold deck shower
  • Cockpit storage lockers under coamings
  • Teak bridge deck steps with lift tops and storage beneath
  • Fresh water washdown on foredeck and in cockpit
  • Teak swim platform with telescoping swim ladder beneath
  • Cockpit table
  • Teak staff for bow pennant; teak staff for ensign on transom
  • (2) Deck prisms for pilot berths (nice touch!)


Cradled in her custom varnished wooden removable stern davits, MERLIN also offers an excellent rowing/sailing tender custom built by Dyer. Whether its exercise or transportation or a fun-filled afternoon of harbor sailing, this gorgeous sailing dinghy is the perfect complement to such a classic Downeast cruising motor yacht.


  • (3) Electric bilge pump
  • Manual bilge pump
  • Electric horn
  • Fireboy engine room automatic fire extinguisher
  • EPIRB with hydrostatic release, mounted near helm
  • Bimini, windshield, cabin trunk and foredeck handrails
  • Propane shutoff solenoid and sniffer


MERLIN is a classic Maine-built boat with lines that every yachtsman admires. She is arguably one of the most stunning lobster-boat inspired express yachts ever built and turns heads everywhere she goes. Crafted by some of the finest boatbuilding talent around, this Able 44 has been extremely well cared for by her owners. Better built, more efficient and individually unique in many ways. We invite your inspection!

The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.



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Frank Ficken

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