Classics: Cape Dory 28

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The Cape Dory 28 debuted in 1984, featuring a traditional trunk cabin, a single engine and a roomy cruising interior. During its decade-long production run, she set a standard for the fleet of salty Down East-style cruisers that would follow.

Illustration by Jim Ewing.

At the time, Cape Dory was a well-established sailboat builder, based in Massachusetts and founded in 1963 by Andrew Vavolotis. By the 1980s, Cape Dory had built hundreds of sailboats as large as 45 feet, many of which came from the desk of Carl Alberg, who preferred simple lines, a narrow beam and a full keel for good seakeeping.

When the company decided to build a powerboat, Alberg’s philosophy came through: an uncomplicated, capable, seakindly cruiser with a traditional profile. The Cape Dory 28 rode a semidisplacement hull with a moderate draft that was stable and easily driven. Propulsion choices included a single 200-hp Volvo diesel or 275-hp Chrysler gas engine. Speeds in the brochure were listed as 14 knots cruising and 20 knots top. The prop was protected by a full keel.

The boat was offered in several versions, including Open Fisherman, Sport and Cruiser, but the Flybridge model was known as the “queen of the fleet.” The flybridge helm had full instrumentation and excellent visibility. The lower helm was placed to starboard, forward in the saloon, which also included an L-shaped settee and table. Below deck was a forward V-berth and a galley-down. Fit-and-finish was noteworthy, with such touches as a teak-and-holly sole and teak cabinetry.

As the company extolled: The “incomparable seakeeping abilities of the Down East semidisplacement hull and a rich, yachty interior has resulted in a truly remarkable power cruiser.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue.