Kurt Reynolds spent 24 years in the Navy, logging thousands of miles underwater as a submariner. It was an exciting life, performing a highly specialized mission in the technological marvel that is the modern sub.
“I probably have more miles under the water than most have on top of the water,” Reynolds says. “Or on land, for that matter.”
Not long ago, the 52-year-old information technology professional from Manteo, N.C., took on a different mission: exploring the coastal waters of his native North Carolina — on the water, not under — with his wife, Joanne. And instead of a submarine, they’ve used a 31-foot pocket trawler, the Canadian-built Camano Troll.
“I love the water, love to cruise,” says Reynolds, who grew up boating on the Outer Banks. “There’s nothing like a slow, quiet cruise on an isolated waterway with family and friends.”
Reynolds has owned a variety of boats over the years, from a boyhood 12-foot skiff to a 27-foot sloop to a 40-foot trawler, which he sold in 2005. When he started looking around for a boat to replace the big trawler a few years ago, he was drawn back to the type — but in a smaller size. He and his wife wanted a boat that could double as a comfortable cruiser for two and as a day boat for picnics and outings with family and friends.
Reynolds learned about the Camano online as he visited local broker websites, along with the bigger networks. With its size, amenities and single-engine economy, it stood out. The first Camano he found was close by, but the price wasn’t right. “So we expanded our search,” he says.
He found a 2002 Camano Troll in Deltaville, Md., and working with Annapolis Yacht Sales (www.annapolisyachtsales.com), he closed on a deal for a $100,000 purchase price. The trawler was in good condition. “As close to new as a 10-year-old boat could be,” Reynolds says, requiring only a cleaning, new batteries and an updated GPS/plotter.
“For me, it’s about value and cost,” he says. “I got a good deal and a great value in the boat I bought.”
Power comes from a 210-hp Volvo diesel, and Reynolds cruises at 8 to 9 mph, with a top end of about 13 to 15 mph. “I am a cruiser,” he says. “[I like] slow and easy, and looking forward to a cold drink from the poop deck in the evening.”
Reynolds, who’s qualified to drive ships larger than 1,000 feet and 100,000 tons, admires the pocket trawler’s handling. “Crossing Albemarle Sound north to south in a 20-knot north wind — actually crossing the Albemarle Sound in any wind — really tests your mustard,” he says. “She takes a sea well, not like a 50-ton Nordhavn but she is fuel-efficient and a great cruising boat for local waters.”
And that’s the mission: a summer of dayboating with friends and weeklong cruises for two. “The worst thing to have on a boat is a schedule,” Reynolds says.
With the versatile Camano, they can visit their favorite ports along the North Carolina coast — Columbia, Manteo, Coinjock — and “hang out with family and friends,” as Reynolds puts it. “Love the prime rib at Coinjock Marina restaurant … can’t be beat,” he adds. “It is always my first stop when heading south.”
Of course, there will be other boats. Reynolds has his eye on one of the big passagemakers — someday. But the 31-foot Camano Troll is a perfect fit for those looking to expand their cruising horizons. “[It’s made for] couples looking for a fuel-efficient overnight cruiser,” he says. “Lots of room, great driving from the flying bridge — and it won’t break your bank.”
The Powerboat Guide calls the Camano 31 “salty, efficient and surprisingly spacious.” Sold as the Camano 28 through 2002, the 31 Troll has a spacious interior featuring a large saloon with an L-shaped couch that converts to a berth and two standing chairs.
There is a lower helm to starboard with optional seating. The large trolley-style windows make the cabin light and airy. It is a step down to the C-shaped galley on the port side, equipped with a microwave, refrigerator and a three-burner cook top.
The compact head compartment is to starboard and comes with a marine head and a sink and a wand shower. The two-person stateroom is forward. There’s a large V-berth with shelf storage and a convenient hanging locker, along with an overhead hatch for ventilation.
The cockpit, with a transom door accessing the swim platform, is small, but the flybridge, reached by a ladder, has a helm station and additional seating. The wide side decks and sturdy rails are designed for working dock lines and moorings in safety.
Below the waterline, the displacement hull sports a full keel for stability and tracking. A bow thruster was standard equipment.
Vancouver naval architect Bob Warman founded the Camano brand in 1989 and ran the small builder before selling the company in 1997. The Camano 31 (sold as the Troll after 2002) earned a reputation as a spacious pocket trawler with a unique, efficient hull shape. The company underwent several changes in ownership, and the last 31 was built in 2011. Helmsman Trawlers of Seattle recently acquired the Camano name and tooling and now offers an updated 31. More than 250 boats were built by the original factory, making used models easy to find. Prices run from slightly less than $100,000 for early versions from the 1990s to $150,000 to $160,000 for late models.
LOA: 31 feet
BEAM: 10 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet, 3 inches
WEIGHT: 10,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: displacement
POWER: single Volvo diesel 150 hp/200 hp
TANKAGE: 100 gallons fuel (133 for 2003), 67 gallons water
BUILDER: Helmsman Trawlers, Seattle,
PHONE: (206) 282-0110.
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June 2014 issue