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Passagemakers: the big, blue world is calling

There is no single right way to cross an ocean. After all, Columbus did it with a trio of carracks, accidentally. Slocum did it in a 36-foot, 9-inch gaff-rigged oyster sloop. Al Grover Sr. crossed the Atlantic in 1985 in a handmade, trailerable boat with an Evinrude outboard. And more than a few people have rowed.

Outer Reef 580

Generally, though, when we talk of passagemakers, we mean boats specifically built for safety and comfort during long offshore journeys. They still come in all shapes and sizes, power and sail, but they’re a heck of a lot safer and more comfortable than the Niña, Spray or Ole’s Dream.

Capt. Robert F. Beebe’s Voyaging Under Power is the topic’s old testament for those considering what such a journey demands of a boat, and it is still essential reading. But the concept of a recreational ocean crossing was new when Beebe put pen to paper. As more mariners chased their transoceanic dreams, designers and builders have been happy to take some of the worry out of the process, producing boats that meet rigid oceangoing standards with added bulwarks, redundant systems, more efficient engines and ever larger fuel tankage. Of course, even the best-built boat — in the wrong hands or in the wrong weather — can meet its demise at sea, but starting out with a true oceangoing vessel greatly improves the odds you’ll make landfall.

Have a look at these recent and coming builds, and we’ll be shocked if you don’t reach for a copy of Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and start planning. You know you want to.


The new Outer Reef 580 Classic Long Range Motoryacht has a sensational pilothouse for long-distance voyages. A commanding view (with great sightlines) ensures the skipper will never be lonely. But even when the action moves to the galley or saloon, the open main deck keeps everyone connected with views from the pilothouse through to the aft deck. A 17-foot, 2-inch beam provides room for a king berth master amidships, queen VIP cabin forward and a port guest cabin with two berths.

LOA: 57 feet, 5 inches BEAM: 17 feet, 2 inches DRAFT: 4 feet, 10 inches DISPLACEMENT: 69,000 pounds FUEL: 1,000 gallons POWER: Twin 500-hp John Deere 6090 diesels with ZF transmissions SPEED: 13.5 knots top, 9 cruise PRICE: unavailable CONTACT: Outer Reef Yachts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (954) 767-8305;


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Kadey-Krogen’s new 50’ Open is a complete departure for the company. Sure, she features the full-displacement hull form and traditional exterior the company is known for, and fans of her salty aesthetic will appreciate the walk-in engine room and Portuguese bridge. But step aboard, and the interior may suggest you’re on a completely different kind of boat. The main deck features a continuous saloon and galley, with only one step up to a pilothouse. The open space is surrounded by large windows and designed for easy socializing. A retractable door between the galley and pilothouse provides separation for privacy or running at night.

“The Krogen 50’ Open is a completely new design for Kadey-Krogen Yachts,” says Larry Polster, vice president at Kadey-Krogen. “She is not meant to be a replacement for the 48 or 52. She was designed to appeal to those seeking an oceangoing yacht that’s as social and open for a large group of people as an express-style cruiser or traditional sedan-style boat.”

If the Miami International Boat Show is any indication, they have hit their mark. Three hull orders were taken at the show.

LOA: 52 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 17 feet, 5 inches DRAFT: 4 feet, 6 inches with single; 5 feet, 4 inches with twins DISPLACEMENT: 68,000 pounds FUEL: 1,240 gallons POWER: single 231-hp John Deere; twin 125-hp John Deere diesels SPEED (estimated): 9.4 knots top; 8 knots cruise PRICE: $1,549,000 with base power CONTACT: Kadey-Krogen, Stuart, Florida, (772) 286-0171;


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Marlow says its new 53E is especially fuel-efficient, thanks to an enhanced beam-to-length ratio and underwater design features that significantly reduce parasitic drag. With a 2,000-gallon fuel capacity and a range of 3,060 miles at 7.7 knots, long voyages will call. An open interior arrangement allows visibility from the forward VIP to the fully aft rudder room. Custom-tempered, curved and laminated glazing provides a quiet ride with vast views in climate-controlled comfort. When you crave fresh air, go to the bridge deck, which features a helm and a summer kitchen. No matter where you go, your biggest problem may be leaving the boat.

LOA: 57 feet, 10 inches BEAM: 17 feet, 6 inches DRAFT: 4 feet, 7 inches DISPLACEMENT: 52,000 pounds FUEL: 2,000 gallons POWER: twin 750-hp John Deere 13.5-liter diesels SPEED: 25.5 knots top, 21 knots cruise; 9 knots long-range cruise PRICE: $1,850,000 (equipped for global cruising) CONTACT: Marlow Yachts Ltd. Inc., Palmetto, Florida, (941) 729-3370;


North Pacific describes its new design as large for a 59-foot vessel, with an 18-foot, 3-inch beam and the interior feel of many vessels in the 65-foot range. Its first 59, due to launch in 2018, will meet CE Category A stability standards. This is an option the company can provide for buyers who want to take the salty coastal cruiser on transoceanic journeys.

LOA: 61 feet BEAM: 18 feet, 1 inch DRAFT: 6 feet DISPLACEMENT: 80,000 pounds FUEL: 2,000 gallons POWER: Single 600-hp or twin 355-hp Cummins QSC8.3 (twin skegs w/ twin engine) SPEED: 11.5 knots top, 10 knots cruise PRICE: $1,600,000 equipped (estimated) CONTACT: North Pacific Yachts, Delta, British Columbia, (877) 564-9989;

The Game-Changer When Pacific Asian Enterprises decided to use a 2001-02 circumnavigation as a shakedown cruise for the 40-foot Nordhavn and invited other trawler owners along on the Around The World rally ( a lot of people who’d never considered passagemaking were suddenly intrigued. Here was a compact, ruggedly handsome and seaworthy ship that proved she could cruise the world’s seas in comfort and safety. Her seakeeping abilities were no accident: A high bow, a forefoot of moderate depth and a long keel all contributed to her ability to punch through rough seas and track down swells with steely determination. A 40 that’s realistically loaded for an ocean crossing can cover more than 2,400 nautical miles at 7 knots, thanks to her full-displacement hull design and a fuel capacity of more than 900 gallons. Sixty-eight 40s have been launched to date — only the N46 has sold more, with 80 launched before she was retired in the late ’90s. Nordhavn now offers 16 models, ranging from 40 to 120 feet. Not content to rest on its passagemaking laurels, the company now also offers a 56 Motorsailer, a new 59 Coastal Pilot and a 75 Expedition Yachtfisher. 


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Grand Banks’ new CEO, Mark Richards, the founder of Palm Beach Motor Yachts and a world-class sailor, is leading the classic marque in a new direction with its 60. It’s a beautiful design, sleeker than its predecessors. And it ought to be really easy to dock: The GB60 will be delivered with Twin Disc transmissions, Express Joystick Systems at three stations, dual EC300 Power Commander electronic controls with express positioning and the new digital thruster panel. A 19-foot beam creates room for three staterooms and two full heads.

LOA: 65 feet BEAM: 60 feet DRAFT: 3 feet, 6 inches with shafts; 2 feet, 10 inches with IPS DISPLACEMENT: 51,520 pounds FUEL: 1,320 gallons POWER: twin 750-hp Volvo Penta D11 diesels; twin 800-hp Volvo Penta D13 diesels; Volvo Penta IPS 950 or IPS1200 SPEED: 32 knots top, 27 knots cruise, 12 knots long-range cruise PRICE: $2,988,000 with base power CONTACT: Grand Banks, Holland, Michigan, (616) 499-2519;


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A full-displacement vessel, this 50 is the second in the Europa series, which is notable for its open saloon, galley and helm space.

“It’s the first one that’s ever been built, and the second in the Europa class,” says Patrick Dunlop, business manager of Selene Northwest Yachts. “One of the best design elements to the 50 is that the three-stateroom layout features an off-center forward master berth that allows for full walkaround access. Also, the engine room has full standing room, which is pretty unique for a boat this size.”

The company was pleased by a recent sea trial — the 50 Europa reportedly burned a paltry 1.9 gph at 7.4 knots, which means she has plenty of range.

LOA: 53 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 15 feet, 8 inches DRAFT: 5 feet, 1 inch DISPLACEMENT: 65,035 pounds FUEL: 1,200 gallons POWER: single 330-hp Cummins QSL9 diesel SPEED: 10 knots top, 9 knots cruise PRICE: $1,175,000 with options and shipped to U.S. CONTACT: Selene Yachts, Jet Tern Marine, Taiwan;


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Designed by Philippe Briand and Andrew Winch, the new Jeanneau 54 caters to an owner’s lifestyle without severely compromising performance or seaworthiness. A variety of sail plans, such as a Park Avenue boom, self-tacking jib, genoa and Code Zero, lets the owners adapt to nearly every weather condition. The rig allows each of the sails to have about the same area, so balancing the boat is easy.
Jeanneau builds the 54 to Europe’s CE standards, which require a dedicated life-raft locker on deck. On the 54 the raft lives in the cockpit table’s base.
All general arrangement plans provide space in the forepeak for a paid crew. Access is via a hatch on the foredeck.

LOA: 53 feet LWL: 51 feet, 8 inches BEAM: 16 feet, 1 inch DRAFT: (std. keel) 7 feet, 4 inches DISPLACEMENT (lightship): 37,840 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,195 square feet FUEL: 63 gallons WATER: 191 gallons POWER: 75-hp Yanmar Saildrive PRICE: $475,000 CONTACT: Jeanneau America Inc., Annapolis, Maryland, (410) 280-9400;


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Morris Yachts derived the Ocean Series 48 GT from Chuck Paine’s original design. This new model retains the predecessor’s speed and seakindly motion, but it has a taller rig for better performance, especially in light winds. The self-tacking jib and Leisure Furl boom make sailing short-handed safe and easy. Spotting the Ocean Series 48 GT in a crowded mooring field is a piece of cake: Simply look for an elegantly angular deckhouse — raised saloon, if you wish — ringed by large windows. It gives occupants an excellent view and a single settee/berth for the standby watch.

LOA: 48 feet, 9 inches LWL: 42 feet, 10 inches BEAM: 13 feet, 10 inches DRAFT (std. keel): 6 feet, 6 inches DISPLACEMENT: 32,000 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,124 square feet FUEL: 90 gallons WATER: 175 gallons POWER: 75-hp Yanmar 4JH4-TCE diesel Saildrive PRICE: $1.3 million (BASE) CONTACT: Morris Yachts, Trenton, Maine, (207) 276-5300;


Totally traditional may be the best way to describe the Rustler 36, designed by Holman and Pye. Her long, deep keel gives her predictable and stable behavior in a seaway, upwind and down; combined with a relatively heavy displacement, it makes her more forgiving of ham-fisted helming than many fin-keel, spade rudder designs.
In keeping with her traditional hull, the 36 has a simple twin-spreader masthead rig with forward and after lower shrouds. Lead ballast encapsulated in a fiberglass molding that’s part of the hull eliminates keel-bolt problems and leaks.

LOA: 35 feet, 4 inches LWL: 26 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 11 feet, 11 inches DRAFT: 5 feet, 6 inches DISPLACEMENT: 16,800 pounds SAIL: 467 square feet FUEL: 40 gallons WATER: 55 gallons POWER: 29-hp Nanni diesel PRICE: unavailable CONTACT: BerthonUSA, Newport, Rhode Island, (401) 846-8404;


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Berret Racoupeau designed the Beneteau 55, and she looks a bit like a detuned racing boat. On the other hand, she flaunts her cruising creds topside. The cockpit measures a third of her length and includes an electric swim platform, refrigerator, lots of cushioned seating for guests and two sunpads.
Electric primary winches, a dual helm and twin rudders make easy work of sailing this 55-foot sailboat short-handed — any skipper with a little experience will get the most out of her spirited performance.

LOA: 55 feet LWL: 52 feet, 6 inches BEAM: 16 feet, 3 inches DISPLACEMENT: 37,258 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,496 square feet FUEL: 106 gallons WATER: 183 gallons POWER: 75-hp Yanmar diesel PRICE: $500,700 CONTACT: Beneteau America, Annapolis, Maryland, (401) 990-0270;


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Naval architecture by Bruce Farr promises speed and good handling from the Bavaria 51. A large percentage of her maximum beam carried well aft ensures enough interior volume to take a small village cruising with you. The master suite forward takes up nearly a third of the boat’s waterline length. Back aft in the beamy hindquarters, the 51 has a pair of mirror-image en-suite staterooms for guests. A generous amount of freeboard adds buoyancy as the yacht heels, and it contributes to the 6-foot, 11-inch headroom in the saloon. Lots of space equals comfortable cruising.

LOA: 51 feet 1 inch LWL: 45 feet, 4 inches BEAM: 15 feet, 3 inches DRAFT: (shoal keel) 6 feet, 1 inch DISPLACEMENT: 31,085 pounds SAIL: 1,410 square feet FUEL: 80 gallons WATER: 190 gallons POWER: 75-hp Volvo Saildrive PRICE: $491,240 (BASE) CONTACT: Bavaria Yachts USA, Annapolis, Maryland, (855) 222-1120;


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Tim Jackett, in collaboration with Bob Johnson of Island Packet, designed the Blue Jacket 40 for speed and ease of use. Her upwind sail-area-to-displacement ratio (SA/D) is 20. If you furl the working jib and set the 150 percent reacher, the SA/D increases to 21.8. Not long ago this amount of power appeared only on well-crewed racing boats.
The hull’s fine V-shaped forward sections provide comfortable motion in a seaway. Broad and flat aftersections provide excellent downwind speed and upwind sail-carrying power. The designers have kept wetted surface area in check to increase light-air performance, and they have balanced the waterlines to give the Blue Jacket 40 vice-free steering control at any reasonable angle of heel.

LOA: 39 feet, 10 inches LWL: 35 feet BEAM: 12 feet, 4 inches DRAFT: 7 feet, 5 inches (std. keel) DISPLACEMENT: 16,500 pounds SAIL AREA: 883 square feet FUEL: 40 gallons WATER: 110 gallons POWER: 40-hp Yanmar diesel PRICE: $389,950 CONTACT: Blue Jacket Yachts, Largo, Florida, (727) 535-6431;

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue.