Boating came naturally to Clayton Mersereau. At the age of 5, he was piloting the family 12-footer, with its 3-hp Johnson, around their summer vacation island at Sebago Lake in southern Maine.
“So as long as I stayed within a couple hundred yards of shore and had my life jacket on, I was good to go fishing, which I did pretty much every day,” says Mersereau, 61, a Groton, Mass., bank senior executive. “Summers were pretty exciting for me, with motorboating, sailing and canoeing.”
Well-nurtured, that love of the water has stayed with him. Mersereau and his wife, Kathy, remained avid boaters while raising their kids, and day-tripping and fishing were a big part of family life. “We had a 19-foot Spectrum, which we trailered all over the place,” he says. “And we would go saltwater fishing out of Newburyport [Mass.] for stripers and blues.”
Four years ago, with their two sons graduated from college and on their own, the Mersereaus thought about expanding their horizons beyond their fishing grounds. “We were itching to explore the coast by boat,” he says. First, they had to step up from their 19-footer. “We were looking for a boat which was safe and reasonably economical, something that had classic lines and that we could use for both pleasure and fishing.”
They found it in the Eastern 27 Lobsterfisherman, a trailerable, Down East-style cruiser built by Eastern Boats of Milton, N.H. “It looked like the best fit for us,” he says. The sale of the 2008 model, for $79,000, was arranged through Rick Chorebanian of Ipswich Bay Yacht Sales (www.ipswich bayyachtsales.com) in Hampton, N.H. The boat had been used sparingly and was familiar to the dealer. Equipment includes an anchor windlass, a chart plotter, autopilot, a remote spotlight and diesel power. The cabin has deluxe appointments, a full head, portable air conditioning and a “very nice Bose sound system,” says Mersereau.
After the January 2010 purchase, Chorebanian arranged to have Eastern add rocket launchers and install a refrigerator and microwave. “When the boat came back in the spring, it looked like new,” he says. “We were very excited.”
Accustomed to the 19-footer, Mersereau prepped for running the bigger boat by taking coastal navigation and safety courses. “They helped me out tremendously,” he says. “I also hired a certified captain and had several lessons on boat handling and understanding my electronics.”
With its wheelhouse for weather protection and comforts down below, the Mersereaus can use the boat from mid-April to mid-October, day-tripping and fishing out of the Danversport Yacht Club. “We enjoy cruising with family and friends all around the North Shore,” he says. “We’re pretty active in taking the 27 fishing with our kids around the islands off Salem and Beverly and offshore to Stellwagen [Bank] and off Cape Ann.”
Power is a 164-hp Volvo Penta turbo diesel sterndrive. “It’s very economical to operate and burns 2 to 3 gallons per hour at cruising speed, which is about 18 knots,” Mersereau says. Top speed, according to the builder, is around 30 knots. He says the boat rides a well-designed hull and handles a chop. “We’ve been out in some buildings seas, and it’s a very dry ride.”
The layout is designed for a cruising couple, with a V-berth, sink, refrigerator, microwave and enclosed head compartment. There’s no sacrificing the fishing component, either. “The deck offers adequate room for four to fish from,” says Mersereau. “And we’ve found the foredeck a great place to cast for bass and blues.”
The Mersereaus have some serious cruising plans for this summer, including a run to Provincetown, Mass., and a trip along the Maine coast. “This boat has been a tremendous addition,” says Mersereau. “I would recommend the Eastern 27 to anyone who wants a classic Down East-style boat.”
The Eastern 27 Lobsterfisherman shows an upright profile, with its wheelhouse and tall bow, and the sloping sheer runs back to the arched transom. The modified-vee hull has a pronounced flare at the bow for shedding seas, which also makes for a big foredeck with room for casting and handling ground tackle and lines. The side decks are wide, with hand holds on the trunk cabin and atop the wheelhouse.
The wheelhouse is open aft and affords good protection. There’s a triple-pane windshield (the center section opens) and sliding side windows. The helm, with an angled dash and a destroyer wheel, is to starboard, and there are box-mounted pedestal seats for the skipper and a companion, with storage below. Sight lines are good. The open cockpit has room for anglers, and the wide gunwales can be fitted with rod holders.
Down below, the galley is to port, with room for a single-burner stove, sink (with pressure water), refrigerator and microwave. There’s also a galley-up option. The enclosed head compartment, with marine head and holding tank/discharge system, is to starboard. The boat can be powered with single or twin outboards, and gas or diesel I/Os are available.
Eastern Boats was founded by New Hampshire builder Carmen Carbone in 1981, and its first model was a simple 18-footer. Not long afterward, the lineup expanded to include a 22-footer in center console or lobster boat versions. Eastern continued to grow its fleet into the 1990s, with 20- and 24-foot models. The Eastern 27 debuted in 1991 and has been in production ever since. In 1993, Eastern employee Bob Boudreau bought the company, which now offers recreational and commercial boats from 18 to 35 feet in several configurations. Used Eastern 27s can be found up and down the East Coast. Internet prices for newer Eastern 27s are running from around $50,000 to $70,000. Boats from the 1990s can be found for as low as $22,000 to $26,000.
LOA: 26 feet, 4 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 4 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet
WEIGHT: 4,900 pounds
PROPULSION: gas or diesel sterndrive, single (225-250 hp) or twin (130-150 hp) outboards
TANKAGE: 110 gallons fuel, 20 gallons water
BUILDER: Eastern Boats, Milton, N.H.,
PHONE: (603) 652-9213.
This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue.
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