Lives change. Boats change. Gerry Dubey and his wife, Cynthia - and their four kids - have gone through quite a fleet through the years, including a 13-foot Boston Whaler, a 20-foot Four Winns, a 22-foot O'Day - and a wakeboarding boat and a sailboard for good measure.
More recently, the 62-year-old Chester, Conn., resident owned a 31-foot Duffy that doubled as a family dayboat and overnighter. Each was perfect for its time. But, as Dubey says, "things change."
"When our kids were small, we primarily did all of our water time on the Connecticut River," says Dubey, a senior vice president with UBS Financial Services. "As teenagers, they spent all their time wakeboarding [on the river] and hanging around the cliffs in Selden [Creek], so Cynthia and I started moving into [Long Island] Sound."
SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 43 feet BEAM: 13 feet, 2 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 1 inch WEIGHT: 30,000 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee PROPULSION: twin 440-hpdiesels TANKAGE: 450 gallons fuel,110 gallons water BUILDER: Grand Banks Yachts, Seattle. Phone: (206) 352-0116. www.grandbanks.com
Then came the "empty nest" and another change, Dubey says. With more time on their hands, the couple could go beyond the Sound, but they'd definitely need a bigger boat. "The [Duffy's] large, open-deck layout was great for entertaining on the river, but there was really no place to hide from the elements," Dubey says.
They had their eye on a boat that belonged to a close friend - a Grand Banks 43 Eastbay HX in Bristol condition. They bought it in May 2009 for $600,000 through Boatworks Yacht Sales (www.boatworksyacht sales.com) in Essex, Conn.
"In the Eastbay, we saw a world of creature comforts," Dubey says, "all the things we worked around for 10 seasons [in the 31-footer] that we now could never live without."
It started with the single-stateroom layout. "It works well for us," he says. "The master stateroom is larger than normal and has extra closet space. There is a separate marble-floor shower, and the saloon and galley are considerably larger, too."
The boat also has a few custom touches, Dubey says. The galley sinks were moved outboard (for a better view), the VacuFlush head was shifted to a more convenient position, and a third zone was added to the heat/AC system.
And talk about extending your cruising grounds. They've ranged from the Hudson River to the coast of Maine, a far cry from hopping across the Sound to Greenport, N.Y. "Last season, we did Marblehead [Mass.] to West Point," Dubey says. "This year we're doing Newport, Block Island, Cuttyhunk and the Vineyard, and then going up to Maine on the New York Yacht Club's 154th annual cruise."
The 43HX is powered by a pair of 460-hp Cummins diesels, installed at the request of the first owner. "The top end is around 33 knots, but we typically cruise around 20 to 22 knots," Dubey says. "The boat also settles in nicely at around 27 knots, but it is difficult to sense much difference in boat speed between 22 and 27. Conveniently, the Cummins dash control lets you know that the incremental cost of the extra 5 knots is not inconsequential."
Between the cruises, the Eastbay has gotten a new slate of navigation electronics. "Although everything worked perfectly, they were older than the ones on the Duffy," he says. "And going back in time in boat electronics is the equivalent of going from an iPhone to a bag phone."
L&L Electronics (www.llelectronics.com) in Branford, Conn., installed a Furuno NavNet 3D system with Sirius satellite weather. "Great graphics and a very reliable, user-friendly system," Dubey says.
Other changes included installing an iPod-based music system and a Freedom Lift submersible hydraulic dinghy hoist.
To date, the East Bay has proved itself a comfortable, capable long-distance cruiser. But one thing it hasn't done is quell the Dubeys' appreciation for their home waters, the familiar places they've enjoyed through the years. They still head to Long Island, N.Y., for a weekend at Three Mile Harbor, Sag Harbor or Coecles Harbor and they still enjoy a cocktail cruise on the Connecticut River, anchoring at Hamburg Cove for the sunset.
"Some of the best cruising grounds in the world are right here in our backyard," Dubey says.
Near or far, for the Dubeys the 43HX is the right boat at the right time.
The 43HX's standard layout is a two-cabin floor plan. The master stateroom with its island berth is forward, and the adjacent head compartment, to starboard, combines a marine head, sink and shower. The smaller second stateroom, to port, is laid out with over-under bunks.
Moving aft, there's a U-shaped galley to port, amidships, with an L-shaped dinette opposite. The pilothouse/saloon features a starboard helm station with pedestal seat and a spacious dash with room for a full range of electronics. There is an L-shaped lounge aft, with a cocktail table and an opposing settee.
In the single-stateroom layout, the main feature is the addition of a separate full-size shower stall to port, where the second cabin would have been. Also, the stateroom is larger, with more locker space. The galley's dining area also is bigger, with a C-shaped lounge.
Standard power is a pair of 440-hp Yanmar diesels, which drive the modified-vee hull (with prop pockets for reduced draft) at a cruising speed of about 25 to 28 mph.
Grand Banks started building wooden trawlers in Hong Kong in the mid-1960s. Its early success came with the original 32-, 36- and 42-footers, which are considered classics in today's market. More well-respected designs followed, including Arthur DeFever's rugged Alaskan series of trawlers. After moving building operations to Singapore and making the transition to fiberglass in 1973, Grand Banks continued to offer an ever-expanding fleet of coastal cruisers. In 1993, it introduced the first of its popular Down East-inspired Eastbay yachts, the 38 Express. The original Eastbay 43 came out in 1998 as a flybridge boat, a lengthened version of the earlier Eastbay 40. This model was redesigned in 2004 and offered in HX and SX versions. Prices for used Eastbay 43s range from about $350,000 to $800,000.
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue.
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