Eastbay 43 Flybridge

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The Eastbay 43 became one of Grand Banks’ most popular Downeast-style designs.

The Eastbay 43 became one of Grand Banks’ most popular Downeast-style designs.

LOA: 43’0” / Beam: 13’2” / Draft: 3’8” / Displ.: 31,000 lbs. / Fuel: 450 gals. / Water: 110 gals. / Power (base): (2) 300-hp diesel inboards

What’s in a boat name? Sometimes, a lot. Take the name Impetuous. It’s an adjective that can mean “acting or done quickly.” It also tells the tale of Scott and Sara Conner and their 43-foot Downeast cabin cruiser.

“We are really big planners. We think through all of our big decisions,” Sara says. “Yet with this, we went from ‘let’s buy a boat’ to owning a boat in like a month, while not knowing anything about it. It was a very impetuous decision, and that’s why we named the boat Impetuous.”

Photo of Steve Knauth

Steve Knauth

The West Hartford, Connecticut, couple had grown up around boats, including small sailing craft—Lasers and Blue Jays—but as adults had never owned a boat. About three years ago, with their two daughters growing up, the Conners saw that they were nearing empty-nest time. “We were looking at houses near the water,” Sara recalls, “and as we were struggling with this, Scott said, ‘Maybe we should just get a boat.’ The second he said it, it was like, ‘Yeah, let’s get a boat.’”

The boat would serve as a movable home on the water. With their flexible careers (he’s in real estate, she’s an independent TV producer), the 50-year-olds could mix business and boating. “As long as Scott has a Wi-Fi connection, he’s good,” Sara says.

They went to the Newport International Boat Show and stepped onto the first boat they came to: a 2001 Grand Banks Eastbay 43 Flybridge. “It wasn’t what we’d envisioned,” Sara says. “It seemed kind of big.”

They looked at more boats. Then they went back to the Eastbay for a second look. That was all it took. “Her aesthetic is old-school beautiful,” Sara says. For Scott, it was the saloon and flybridge helms. “I love the flexibility of being able to go up to the flybridge,” he says. “The twin helm stations were huge for me.” The galley had all the amenities for long stays on board, and, with two staterooms and a convertible settee, there was room for family and friends—and their labradoodle. 

Sara called her parents, who had lived on a Grand Banks trawler for five years. “Should we do this?” she asked. “Absolutely,” was the answer.

Scott and Sara Conner aboard Impetuous.

Scott and Sara Conner aboard Impetuous.

Sara and Scott bought the boat for around $300,000 just before the 2016 season, through Leslie Quarrier at Essex Yacht Sales in Essex, Connecticut.

Then, the learning began. “We were babes in the woods,” Scott says. “It was very helpful to have the advice of an experienced broker. She even put us in touch with an instructor for a day on the water.”

Impetuous has a cruising sweet spot of 17 to 18 knots, he says. The boat is powered by twin 435-hp Caterpillar 3208 diesels. “When we bought the boat, they had less than a thousand hours on them,” Scott says. “That’s another reason I found this boat appealing.”

Running the boat just took practice. The on-water instruction alleviated all of the couple’s major fears, Scott says. “Docking was some concern, but with a bow thruster and two engines, it didn’t take long before we got the hang of it,” he says. Sara read her copy of Chapman’s Piloting & Seamanship and brushed up on navigation skills. “I had done some navigating on my parents’ boat, old-style, though,” she says. “Navigating with electronics, I can’t believe how easy it is. And there are a lot of resources out there. I took a class from the United States Power Squadrons.”

Last year, the couple felt confident enough in their skills and their boat to take a three-week cruise. “It was just the two of us,” Sara says. “And it was super fun for me because we ended up going back to places I remember going to as a girl.”

The ultimate destination was Nantucket, she says, but while cruising through Connecticut and Massachusetts, they also stopped in Mystic, Watch Hill, Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard. Even fog-bound in Nantucket, they enjoyed their time on board. “Even if you’re socked in, it’s like you’re home,” Scott says of the Eastbay.

Then there are those days when the Conners drive down to Essex, Connecticut—where they keep the boat—and cruise up and down the Connecticut River, watching the swallows and enjoying the sunset. There, Scott says, they realize that their “crazy idea has worked out quite well.”

WALKTHROUGH

The Powerboat Guide calls the Eastbay 43 Flybridge a “gold-plated flybridge yacht with timeless Downeast styling.” It rides a modern, deep-V fiberglass hull with propeller pockets to reduce draft. The standard layout had a V-berth forward in the master stateroom with an adjacent head compartment and a guest stateroom amidships to port. The galley-up was to port in the saloon, with a dinette (convertible to a berth) across the way and two head compartments. An alternate layout put an island berth in the master suite, moved the galley down and moved the second stateroom to starboard. Additional seating was added to the saloon. Both versions had a lower helm station to starboard, a flybridge with a centerline helm station and companion seating. The open cockpit had a transom door for access to the swim platform. Power came from Caterpillar diesels; the standard 300-hp models rendered a cruising speed of 20 to 22 mph. Larger engines gave the Eastbay 43 a top end as high as 25 mph.

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue.