Dan Hansen grew up boating and fishing in the Pacific Northwest, and he is closely familiar with the tumultuous weather and sea conditions the region can yield. He spent his childhood summers on the water in Washington’s Puget Sound, and purchased a 25-foot Bayliner with his father when he graduated college. After more than 15 years of fishing on that boat, however, Hansen decided it was time to upgrade.
“I went to the Seattle Boat Show five years ago, and they had just come out with the 24-foot Cutwater,” Hansen recalls. “I was really intrigued by it and gave consideration to upgrading at that time.” With kids in college, however, he decided to hold off on the investment. That is, until he caught sight of the Cutwater C-32 Coupe at the 2020 Seattle Boat Show.
“I saw the Cutwater 32, and I thought that’s something I would really like to have,” Hansen says. He and his girlfriend, Jill Marilley, bought the boat at the show. “We didn’t really intend to buy it, but we sat down, started looking at numbers, and thought we could really pull this off.”
Almost as quickly as he made the decision to upgrade, however, the world underwent a monumental transformation. Hansen took ownership of his new boat on February 28, and by the middle of March, the entire state of Washington was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. With all of the marinas closed and the future of the economy uncertain, Hansen began to worry about his decision. Fortunately, his fears quickly dissipated.
“In hindsight, it was the best thing we ever did. You can socially distance very easily on a boat,” he says. Once the state started opening again in mid-May, Hansen was on the Cutwater every weekend until the end of September, putting 200 hours on the boat in six months. The majority of that time was spent fishing for lingcod, shrimp, salmon, halibut and crab. Between fishing trips, he enjoyed cruising with Marilley; his son, Luke; and his daughter, Lydia, when she had time off from college.
The highly functional interior was one of the main traits that initially attracted Hansen to the boat. “The detail, finish and look is nicer than a lot of other boats out there, and they put a lot of bang for the buck in the boat,” he says.
The interior is designed to be flexible. For example, the dinette can be lowered to create an additional berth when needed, and beneath the dinette is a midship cabin with porthole and reading light, where Hansen’s son slept during summer weekends and the entire Fourth of July week. Between these two spaces and the master stateroom with island berth forward, Hansen has slept four passengers comfortably, though the boat can accommodate up to five. The C-32 also features a full galley, an additional refrigerator and an electric grill.
While the interior suits Hansen’s family, it is the C-32’s performance that truly makes her suitable for the Pacific Northwest’s infamous weather and sea conditions, which can turn on a dime and pose a significant threat to small craft. While Hansen primarily fishes close to shore, he has encountered his share of big seas.
“We have to cross over the straits to the San Juan Islands, and when you get the tide and wind blowing in opposite directions, it’s not uncommon to see 4- to 5-foot white caps,” Hansen says. “I was impressed with the way the boat handles in that weather. I’ve never been scared, and I’ve always felt like I’ve been in control of the boat.”
That performance can be attributed to the Cutwater’s double-stepped, deep-V hull (which brings the boat onto plane quickly) with patented Laminar Flow Interrupters that provide smooth positive cornering. With a pair of 300-hp Yamahas on the stern, the C-32 can reach speeds in the upper-40-knot range and cruise at 30 knots, speeds for which Hansen is appreciative.
“We have pretty demanding jobs, so we don’t always have a lot of time,” says Hansen, who works as a civil engineer, as does Marilley. “On this boat, you’re getting from Point A to Point B pretty quickly.”
He had planned to take the Cutwater up through Canada and into Desolation Sound last summer, but with the borders closing, those travel plans had to be put on hold, and he stayed close to home in the San Juans. He has a longer cruise planned for the spring, however, when he hopes to take the C-32 into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and to the tip of Washington state to fish for lingcod and various species of bottom fish, including Pacific halibut. The 150-mile trip will take him through famously rough waters, where small craft advisories are often in place, but so far, he has yet to encounter sea conditions the boat can’t handle.
Until then, he is enjoying cruising the boat during the off-season thanks to the diesel heater in the cabin. Only a few Puget Sound boaters cruise all year, but Cutwaters are designed to do just that. The C-32 looks just as at home battling a stiff chop during the colder months as she does tied to a mooring ball on a hot July evening as the family fires up the electric grill.
“The typical cruising season here starts in May and goes through September or October,” says Hansen, “but we intend to use the boat all year long.”
LOA (engines up): 39’10”
Displ.: 11,500 lbs.
Power: (2) 300-hp Yamaha F300 outboards
Fuel: 300 gals.
Water: 80 gals.
Base Price: $294,937