The town of Gibsons sits on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, just 10 miles from Vancouver, but they might as well be a thousand miles apart.
Rocky inclines, mountain passes and deep-water channels make it cost-prohibitive to build a road or bridges between the two locations. It requires a ferry or floatplane to get to Gibsons. Water is everywhere, which is why boats loom large in this maritime community of 4,900 residents.
Coastal Craft President Jeff Rhodes grew up on the Sunshine Coast. “My family has been here since the early 1900s,” he says. “Even though it is the mainland, it’s like living on an island.” Rhodes started his working life on fishing boats and as a young man captained tugs and barges to Alaska. But in 1996 he transitioned from working on the water to building water taxis to carry workers to remote logging sites. “The option was boats or fly, but weather conditions are not always ideal for flying around here,” he says.
For the first five years, Coastal Craft primarily built all-weather, all-season aluminum boats with Volvo sterndrives that would take a dozen passengers plus crew 50 miles up the deep inlets of British Columbia. “Aluminum is a superior metal if you’re set up to handle it,” Rhodes says. “It’s a little more labor intensive, but you get a stronger, longer-lasting boat if you do it correctly.”
For a decade, Coastal Craft built utilitarian workboats, but around 2000 it produced a 25-foot version of a water taxi for a doctor in Vancouver who wanted to do his own transit. “We took it to the Vancouver Boat Show and a lot of other people thought that was a good idea,” Rhodes recalls.
The switch to pleasure craft eventually led to the building of bigger yachts. In 2012, Coastal Craft launched a 56-foot motor yacht with twin Volvo IPS 1200s, and in 2014 it debuted a three-stateroom 65-footer capable of 33 knots. Both models garnered praise for seaworthiness and fit and finish. “We built four of those 65-footers,” Rhodes recalls. “But for a number of reasons, mainly our geographic location, it wasn’t a good fit for us.”
In 2018, Coastal Craft re-entered the small boat market with outboard-powered sportfishing boats in the 30- to 40-foot range. Most recently, Coastal Craft released the 41’ T, a two-stateroom, one-head, ocean-going speed demon capable of doing more than 55 knots with quad 425-hp Yamaha outboards.
“The 41 was a natural evolution from the 40 and 45,” Rhodes says in reference to two inboard-powered models designed in the early 2000s. Those two IPS boats topped out in the mid-30-knot range. “The 41 has a deeper V, aggressive planing strakes and wider, slightly reversing chines. We wanted to go offshore at higher speeds, even in [6- to 10-foot] quartering seas.”
The company offers triple and quad outboard combinations from Suzuki, Mercury and Yamaha that range from 1,275 to 1,700 hp. Rhodes says they will be building an IPS version of the 41’ T and eventually offer IPS on another recent model, the 42’ ExpressFish, which uses the same hull design as the 41 (the extra foot on the 42 comes from a longer bow overhang to match that model’s swept-back cabin). The inboard versions of the 41 and 42 are expected to reach 38 knots with twin Volvo IPS 650s. With no outboard pod, the hull’s running surface will be lengthened by 27 inches.
Rhodes designed the 41 in collaboration with Bruce Cope, who designs and builds aluminum boats on Vancouver Island. The style, deck plan and underwater lines originated from the Coastal Craft office. The structural engineering was completed by Cope’s team.
“Styling wise, workboats are where we got our roots,” Rhodes says. “We took our commercial boats and refined and evolved the design. We added more curves and a softer sheerline. The way Hinckley turned the lobster boat into a yacht is the way we turned our Pacific Northwest workboat into a yacht.”
The 41’ T interior sports a contemporary black walnut finish in the head, staterooms, salon and galley. The master stateroom has a queen island berth, and the guest stateroom has two single berths that convert to a queen. Because aluminum can be colder, damper and louder than wood or fiberglass, Coastal Craft uses a combination of polyurethane foam insulation, sound insulation and vibration dampening materials in its hull and cabin to make its boats warm, dry and quiet.
Rhodes knows the 41’ T will attract a lot of sportfishermen, but he thinks of it as a combination boat. “A couple of our hardcore buyers will go for albacore and tuna,” he says. “But many will go salmon and halibut fishing, take it cruising, or go to their summer houses in the San Juans on a run from Seattle.”
The 41’ T should also have no trouble handling the 400 open miles across the Gulf of Alaska, or a crossing of the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Rhodes can also picture the boat running from Maine up to the Canadian Maritimes. “The 41’ T would be a perfect boat for running up to Newfoundland,” he says.
LOA (w/outboards up): 49’6”
Disp.: 30,000 lbs.
Fuel: 600 gals.
Water: 90 gals.
Power: (4) 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards
Base price: $1.1 million
This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue.