It's been almost 20 years since Jersey Yachts has been in business, but the sportfishing boats that designer/builder Fred McCarthy produced during the New Jersey company's long run still draw rave reviews.
Take the Jersey 40 Dawn that Charles Julian got his hands on.
After just one season of living aboard, the 42-year-old North Kingston, R.I., carpenter and his wife, Amy Hagen, are sold on the twin-diesel sportfisherman and the cruising life the 40-footer makes possible.
"This boat has done everything and more," says Julian, who replaced a vintage Egg Harbor 33 with the bigger boat. "She has comfortably kept us even in the worst of conditions. She plows through slop like a greased elephant, and she especially shines in a head sea. Her freeboard at the bow helps to keep green water where it belongs, and the good weight placement gives her a stable running attitude."
Twin Volvo Penta TAMD 60B diesels deliver a comfortable 17-knot cruising speed, burning a total of 14 to 16 gallons an hour, says Julian. Top speed is 23 knots. The single-stateroom layout - one of two offered - leaves lots of room for storage. "My old boat was a storage nightmare," he says. "The galley in this boat has so much storage that we're using some of the cabinets for other things."
Handling, performance and cabin space, all in a 40-foot package - that's what the couple were looking for when they started to think "new used boat" two years ago. "We wanted a bigger boat to give us more comfort, something with a dinette, a real bed and a full-size fridge," says Julian. "We also thought a diesel-powered classic sportfisherman would be a safe, dependable cruiser for exploring more distant places."
They focused their research on three 40-footers from respected builders, but after examining price and styling, they settled on a 1983 Jersey 40 Dawn. "The Jersey was a boat we'd only seen in person once, but we both remember thinking, What a beautiful boat," says Julian. Research revealed the Jerseys were known for quality construction, from the hull to wiring to ergonomics, and what Julian calls the "little niceties," such as a central vacuum system, instant hot water at the sink, a garbage disposal, coolers built into the forward seating on the bridge, and a built-in washer/dryer in the stateroom.
The couple turned to the Internet to find boats, then visited them both near home and far afield. None was quite right, and Julian admits they grew discouraged. So the prospect of driving 500 miles to Maryland in January 2009 to look at two more Jerseys was not a pleasant one. Still, off they went.
Good thing. "The first was very Spartan, not much for amenities, and the wiring had been butchered," Julian recalls. "We saw the next boat the next day, and she had everything we wanted."
The engines had less than 1,000 hours and most of the systems had been upgraded, including the flybridge electronics and galley appliances. "You could tell the owner loved the boat and didn't abuse it," Julian says. They bought the boat through Nautilus Yacht Sales in Cecilton, Md., for $52,000, though that price is a bit "off the curve," says Julian. "The seller's situation was unique," he says.
More winter trips to Maryland followed as Julian worked on the boat in preparation for bringing it home in the spring, cleaning heat exchangers and oil coolers and giving both engines a thorough once-over. The couple also brought the décor back to its factory design.
The reward for their hard work came on the run up to Rhode Island last April, says Julian. "We decided to take a few days to make the trip," he says. "After leaving the Chesapeake, we stopped at some cool places that we would have never seen had we motored right through." When the couple cruised into New York Harbor under sunny skies, "All we could say was, 'Wow,' " says Julian. "None of us had ever seen New York like this before, so we cruised up the Hudson before catching the tide through Hell Gate."
It was a great start to what he and his wife hope is a long relationship with the Jersey 40. "We really love this boat," he says. "I think any canyon fishermen or family looking to move up from their production fishing boat or cruiser should take a look at this strongly built, little-known 40."
The Jersey 40 Dawn "combined sturdy construction" and "excellent fishability," says Ed McKnew in his "PowerBoat Guide" (www.powerboatguide.com). The sportfisherman rides a solid fiberglass hull with a tall, well-flared bow and a sheer line that breaks at the cockpit. The 14-plus-foot beam and shallow keel give the boat stability and a large cockpit for fishing that can be laid out with all the extras, including a fighting chair. A ladder provides access to the flybridge, with its centerline helm station and bench seating forward of the console.
The cabin is notable for its large sliding side windows and forward windows. The builder offered two interior layouts. The twin-stateroom option features a starboard-side cabin with upper and lower bunks, along with a forward cabin with an island berth and a galley-up in the saloon. The single-stateroom layout has an angled double berth forward, a dinette/double berth to port, and a galley-down. Both layouts include an enclosed head with shower and a couch and chair in the saloon. Original power was a pair of 235-hp Volvo Penta or 325-hp Caterpillar diesels for a 17- to 18-knot cruise and a top end of more than 20 knots.
Jersey Yachts was founded in the mid-1950s by Fred McCarthy and produced fishing boats from the outset, first in wood and then fiberglass beginning in the late 1960s. The Jersey 31, an early glass model introduced in 1969, established the builder's reputation for no-nonsense, no-frills fishing machines. The Jersey 40 Dawn came out in 1983 and was in production for five years before being replaced by the 42 Dawn. The Jersey 36 Dawn, another popular model, was in production for six years, beginning in 1986. The last and biggest boat in the Jersey fleet was the 47, which came out in 1988. McCarthy sold the company in the late 1980s, and by 1992 it had ceased operations. The Jersey 40 Dawn can be found on the used market for around $90,000 to $100,000, depending on age and condition.
LOA: 40 feet
BEAM: 14 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet, 5 inches
WEIGHT: 28,000 pounds
PROPULSION: twin diesels
235 hp and up
TANKAGE: 400 gallons fuel,
100 gallons water
BUILDER: Jersey Yachts, Lumberton, N.J.
This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue.
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