When a couple has logged a lifetime’s worth of boating, they know what they want out of the lifestyle; they know how to be comfortable in, and on, the boat of their choice. And when they’re ready to move up or down into another boat, they know what they’re looking for in terms of performance, style and comfort.
Dan and Barbie Jackson of Riverside, Connecticut, have been boating together all of their married lives, starting when they were in the Air Force at Florida’s Naval Air Station Jacksonville. “We got sailracing in Rhodes Bantams,” says Barbie, who works in real estate. “When we got out of the service, we moved to Riverside, and Dan started sailing Ensigns. Then we bought one. It was our first boat together.”
Powerboats followed. The Jacksons began with a series of SeaCrafts, then moved to Fortiers, including a 33 they had built. Then came a couple of Eastbays, the Down East-style cruisers from Grand Banks. The Jacksons had a 38 and a 43.
Their biggest boat was a Dettling 51. “We wanted a boat we could go to Florida with,” says Dan, who’s in chemicals sales. “We had it redone and owned it for seven years, taking it up and down the inland waterway several times.” (The couple spent five days on the Dettling at a North Carolina hurricane hole during Hurricane Sandy.)
After seven years of ownership, the couple, now in their early 70s, began thinking seriously of another boat. Based on their years of cruising, they had a good vision of what they wanted. “I was looking for a somewhat smaller boat, and a newer boat,” Dan says. “The Dettling was a 1997, and I wanted more updated systems, a more modern boat.”
LOA: 45 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 14 feet, 7 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 11 inches WEIGHT: 42,000 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee PROPULSION: twin diesels TANKAGE: 512 gallons fuel, 145 gallons water BUILDER: Grand Banks Yachts, Holland, Michigan, (616) 499-2519. grandbanks.com
Barbie was even more specific: “I wanted an Eastbay, as new as we could go.”
Working with Diana McCabe, who’d sold them the previous Eastbays, the Jacksons
bought a 2009 45 Eastbay SX through Petzold’s Marine Center (petzolds.com) in Portland, Connecticut. “We love buying boats from Diana,” Barbie says. The price was around $675,000, and the boat was in near-perfect condition.
The layout was just what they wanted. “The boat comes in two versions,” Dan says. “With the galley-down, there’s room for a companion helm chair, which we’ve always had on our boats. So having the galley-down gave us that.”
The galley-down layout also allowed for a full set of nav instruments on “my side” of the helm area, Barbie says, adding that the layout adds saloon space and allows for an extra stateroom that can be used as an office.
Power comes from a pair of Cummins QSC8.3 diesels, about 600 hp each. “A good cruise speed is around 20 to 22 knots,” Dan says. “Most ex-sailors like to do about 18
to 20 knots, and that’s it.” The 45-footer topped out around 29 knots on its Connecticut River sea trial.
“I like the engine room setup,” Dan adds. “It’s very well laid out.”
Last season was the Jacksons’ first with the boat. They did a cruise with the Riverside Yacht Club, then took what Barbie calls a “Long Island Sound river cruise” with a smaller group of boaters. “We went up the Connecticut River, the Thames and the Mystic,” she says. “Norwich [on the Thames] was an interesting place; I’d never been up that river. Mattituck, on Long Island’s north shore, is nice — a quirky place.”
The Jacksons like the stay-aboard life when they cruise, and the Eastbay has all the comforts they need: a big stateroom forward, a galley and room for their two Yorkshire terriers, Ellie and Sam. “I don’t think we’ve ever stayed on shore on any of the boats we’ve had,” Dan says. “We cook aboard or eat on shore.”
The Eastbay will be in Newport, Rhode Island, this summer, carrying on a Jackson tradition: race-committee work with the New York Yacht Club. “We’ve been doing that for the last 16 years, and this will be the first time with the Eastbay,” Dan says. “It’s a neat thing, but you have to be able to anchor in 100 feet of water, so I’m going to have to get a little more chain.”
Barbie says she’s also looking forward to taking the boat to Florida. “It takes us a year to settle into a new boat,” she says, “so we are hoping that this a great year.”
The PowerBoat Guide calls the Grand Banks 45 Eastbay SX a “timeless yacht that will likely remain in style decades into the future.” The look is Down East-inspired, defined by the trunk cabin and eyebrow trim; the husky, workboat-influenced hull; and the elegant sheer. The teak-sole cockpit has built-in stowage and room for entertaining or fishing.
Steps lead up to the side decks, which have stainless steel rails that extend to the bow. A door in the aft bulkhead leads to the saloon, with its lower helm station, seating and galley-up with a glass cooktop, oven and stainless-steel sink. (There is also a galley-down layout.) The helm station is to starboard with a teak dash and wheel, and a Stidd command seat. Large windows provide good visibility. To port is a U-shaped lounge with a table.
The master stateroom is forward with an island berth, and stowage includes a hanging locker. The amidships guest stateroom has twin berths. The head compartment has a glass-enclosed stall shower. The boat has teak throughout, and options include a power sunroof and retractable aft saloon window. Power is twin 550-hp Cummins or 567-hp Caterpillar diesels.
The 45 SX debuted in 2008, joining Grand Banks’ fleet of Down East-inspired Eastbay cruisers in hardtop, cockpit and flybridge models. Robert Newton, who starting building wooden trawler-style yachts in Hong Kong, founded Grand Banks in 1956 with the brand’s iconic 36-footer. The Eastbay lineup was developed in the 1990s as Down East-style boats became popular.
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue.