Here was a liveaboard’s boating dream and a West Coast classic. This 50-foot fiberglass pilothouse trawler was equipped with all the necessities, amenities and luxuries desired in a home on the sea: multiple cabins, a large salon, a full galley, a sturdy pilothouse and a pair of moderate-horsepower diesels in the engine room.
Debuting in 1978, the Ocean Alexander 50 Pilothouse MK I launched with an impeccable design pedigree. This was a liveaboard yacht based on a hull designed by one of America’s leading naval architects, Robert Edwin “Ed” Monk. He is the son of pioneering trawler designer George Edwin William Monk (a.k.a. Ed Monk, Sr.), who produced some 3,000 designs during a 40-year career that began in 1934. Working in wood, Monk Sr. produced powerboats that were not only practical and efficient, but, as author Dan MacNaughton put it, “interesting, harmonious and functional.”
With the Ocean Alexander MK I, Ed Monk, Jr. brought the family tradition of great design to a new generation of boaters. The comfortable, rugged yacht recalled the Alaskan trawler with its flared bow, high topsides and distinctive Portuguese bridge that protected a sturdy pilothouse.
Monk started with a semi-planing, hard-chine hull designed to achieve speeds between 12 and 14-knots with a pair of efficient and relatively low- horsepower engines. Standard propulsion for the Ocean Alexander was twin 270-hp Cummins diesels or 320-hp Caterpillars.
He also made practical use of the 50-footer’s interior space, as illustrated by the Ocean Alexander’s three-level layout, featuring a salon with lounge seating and dining for up to six, a complete U-shaped galley up and a raised pilothouse with side doors and a watch berth.
The master stateroom was amidships, with a queen-size berth and a head compartment with shower. Alternate layouts with one or two guest cabins (plus a guest head compartment) were available.
Built in Taiwan through 1983, the Ocean Alexander Pilothouse MK I remains a popular and enduring design that attracts trawler boaters today, more than a quarter-century after the final hull was built.
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue.