Nelson Garrett and Sandra Kay shopped the Chesapeake region, looking for the cruiser that would take them on a long-awaited American odyssey. The newly retired couple’s cruising agenda “strongly influenced our selection,” says Garrett, 73, formerly a commercial builder. Their plans called for a year’s travel, logging about 6,000 inland and offshore miles. That demanded a comfortable, economical, long-range cruiser from a builder with a reputation for quality.
They found what they wanted a stone’s throw from their Hampton, Virginia, home. “We walked on board this 1996 40-foot Marine Trader Sundeck trawler in our own backyard at Portsmouth,” says Kay, a retired architect. “Within minutes we both knew this was the boat for us.”
The aft-cabin trawler had a good feeling to it, Kay says, and it met all of their criteria: moderate size; affordable to run; an ideal layout, with aft and forward cabins (each with its own head) and a roomy saloon; and deck areas that provide shade from direct sun. “The saloon’s visual openness accents surrounding life and nature,” says Kay. “And the down galley doesn’t make our life about cooking and meals, but about living in all the other places and being involved with the surrounding world.”
The boat carries a week’s supply of fresh water and enough diesel for a range of 560 miles, says Kay. And with lower and upper helm stations, the captain and crew can operate everything on the boat from inside during bad weather or outside on the flybridge when it’s fair.
Mechanically, electrically and structurally, the 17-year-old boat and its equipment were sound and in good shape, says Kay. The original log told the couple that the boat had been properly maintained. “The survey and sea trial indicated that there were a few mysteries to solve, but nothing big enough for us to be fearful,” she says. The final price was $54,000, and the couple took possession in May 2013.
With their upcoming cruise in mind, the experienced boaters got to know Destinees by making short trips around the Hampton Roads area and weekend trips to neighboring ports, including Smithfield, Norfolk, Hampton and Williamsburg’s Kings Mill.
They also worked on the boat for a year. Canvas, deck furniture and cushions were replaced; inspections and maintenance were performed on the engines and generator; the exterior woodwork was refinished; and nicks and bumps to the fiberglass were repaired. The boat’s original Garmin GPSMAP 180 chart plotter had been upgraded to a GPSMAP 545s system in 2005. Garrett added a larger touch-screen Garmin GPSMAP 740s to the bridge. (Garmin’s BlueChart g2 cartography works in each device, he says.)
Cabin fans, an emergency bilge pump, a secondary anchor, a dinghy and davits — all were added during the $11,000 makeover. The Marine Trader was even made more dog-friendly for the couple’s beloved standard poodle, Eli Red.
In May 2014, “we dropped the lines for good,” says Garrett. Since then, the couple has logged more than 5,000 liveaboard miles, circling the eastern half of the country via the Intracoastal Waterway, the Great Lakes and the inland waterways. “We’re approaching the last phase of our journey,” says Garrett. “We should be back in Hampton for the summer.”
The boat has handled the journey well. “She is stable in head seas and rough in a high chop, like most trawlers,” says Garrett. “But we’ve never been concerned about our boat’s seaworthiness; she’s always sound and steady, with little side-to-side movement while underway.”
Power comes from the original engines, a pair of 5.9-liter, 210-hp, turbocharged Cummins diesels. Running at 1,400 rpm, Destinees does about 7 to 9 knots, says Garrett. Mileage is an economical 1.7 to 2.2 mpg.
Once back in Hampton, the couple plan on keeping Destinees moving. Destinations include New England and Montreal this summer, and Florida and the Bahamas in the winter and early spring of 2016. “Destinees has safely transported us over thousands of miles filled with beauty, fascination, many destinations and in many conditions without fault or hesitation,” Kay says. “On a daily basis we were meeting new people and forming lifelong friendships with kindred boaters who travel the same waterways.
“There is something to be said about fresh air and water. … It revitalizes the human soul and lifts heavy thoughts,” she adds. “Develop a beautiful worthwhile soul, keep it light and lofty, and enjoy the restful sleep that is naturally found in a life lived on the water.”
The Marine Trader 40 Sundeck has a roomy layout featuring a pair of large staterooms, each with its own fully equipped head compartment. The master cabin is aft, with a queen-size island berth, seating and a large hanging locker. Some models have a shower/tub in the head. The forward cabin is laid out with an offset berth to port, and bench seating and a hanging locker to starboard.
The galley-down is to port, just abaft the forward stateroom. Gear includes a four-burner stovetop and compact oven, with room for a microwave and other small appliances. It is a few steps up to the open, airy saloon, with its large windows for light and ventilation, and handy breakfast bar area. The lower helm is to starboard, and a sliding door provides access to the deck. A settee with coffee table converts to a berth, and a cushioned chair provides additional seating.
The saloon opens to the spacious aft deck, with weather curtains and an overhead. Steps lead to the flybridge, with a centerline helm station behind a venturi windshield. A radar arch, swim platform and bow pulpit with windlass were standard equipment.
The Marine Trader 40 Sundeck was a popular aft-deck trawler built in Taiwan by CHB for Marine Trading International, known over the years for its 34- to 49-footers. The 40 Sundeck’s size and versatility made it popular with cruisers during its long production run (1983-2000). With its 350-gallon fuel capacity and stingy consumption, it was also valued for its economy and cruising range. Prices run from around $40,000 to $50,000 for early models.
LOA: 39 feet, 4 inches
BEAM: 12 feet, 11 inches
DRAFT: 4 feet
WEIGHT: 25,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: semidisplacement
STANDARD PROPULSION: single 135-hp Lehman diesel
TANKAGE: 350 gallons fuel, 250 gallons water
BUILDER: Marine Trading International/CHB Marine
June 2015 issue