I met Mary and Chris Kelleher aboard their Krogen 36 Manatee on a hot, sunny afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland. They were only days away from realizing a longtime dream—crossing their own wake in New York Harbor to complete their first Great Loop, which began in May of 2021. Both had grown up near the water, and when they moved to the south shore of Long Island in New York, they bought their first boat, a Boston Whaler Montauk 17. This was followed by a Luhrs 28, on which they introduced their three children to boating, exploring the coast all the way out to Montauk.
“Our next boat was a wooden Grand Banks 36, with accommodations for our growing family,” says Mary. “Every year we loaded bikes and water toys aboard and went cruising for two weeks, traveling with a small fleet of boats owned by friends. The kids got very involved in trip planning and navigation.”
After a couple of years, the couple traded the Grand Banks for a Mainship 36 Aft Cabin, which they used to cruise farther east to Block Island and Mystic Seaport. After 15 years on that boat, they bought their Krogen 36 Manatee, a boat designed for serious cruising.
Kadey-Krogen Yachts was founded in 1976, after Art Kadey—an experienced boatbuilder, charter operator and boat broker—commissioned naval architect Jim Krogen to design a production boat for long-distance cruising. Krogen, who had 30 years of experience designing commercial vessels, developed the Krogen 42, which launched in 1977. The Krogen 36 Manatee was introduced in 1984 as a capable coastal cruiser with liveaboard amenities. There were 99 built until the model was retired in 1991.
The Kellehers named their Krogen 36 Cashelmara, after the novel by Susan Howatch. “It’s a saga of three generations living on an Irish estate, and since Chris and I are of Irish descent, the book holds a fascination for us. We liked the name for our boat,” says Mary.
They owned Cashelmara for almost 5 years before beginning The Loop. That gave Chris enough time to upgrade almost every major operational system on board, according to Chris, a retired captain who had command of a 140-foot fireboat in New York Harbor. Prior to that job, he worked in shipyards and marinas where he was exposed to everything from electrical to plumbing to propulsion.
The first project was the addition of air conditioning, and it was made easier by the fact that cutouts for ducting were in place. At the control panel, Chris added a second 30-amp circuit serving the AC, and another circuit for an engine room heater. Cashelmara was not equipped with a genset, but he prepped the boat in case future owners wanted it. Chris also added solar panels on the flybridge hardtop, as well as more lithium battery capacity and an automatic charging controller. The energy gathered is enough to maintain house power on everything except the AC.
Main propulsion is provided by an original 90-hp Volvo Penta TAMD 31A four-cylinder diesel inboard. At the couple’s normal cruising speed of 6 knots, they achieve 4 mpg. Later models of the 36 Manatee were upgraded to 100-hp Volvos or 110-hp Yanmar diesels.
Chris and Mary enjoyed their Great Loop adventure so much that they sold their Long Island home this past summer, and have plans to move aboard a Krogen 44 they recently purchased. They hope to spend summers in Maine and winters in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
Boarding a Krogen 36 Manatee is typically from the teak swim platform and transom door (there are two side gates, too). A modest aft deck with table and chairs is protected from the elements by the deck extension overhead. To starboard is a ladder leading to the semi-enclosed flybridge with hardtop, centerline helm and wraparound seating. Openings on both sides of the low flybridge walls allow access to steps leading onto the foredeck.
In the cabin is a massive salon that’s accessed through double teak-and-glass doors. Since the boat has no sidedecks, the interior is unusually spacious for a 36-footer. Large sliding windows provide natural light and ventilation. Forward, a big U-shaped galley has home-style appliances, generous counter space and plenty of storage. To starboard is a large head with enclosed shower. The master (and usually the only) stateroom is in the bow, with an island queen berth and massive hanging locker.
This article was originally published in the November 2022 issue.