David Godwin and Carol Buchman have been on the water for many years. They first raced Cal-25 sailboats around Annapolis, Maryland. When they were ready to leave racing behind, they purchased a fast cruiser, the C&C 37. Later—after buying a house on Cockrell Creek in Reedville, Virginia, in 2002—they bought their first powerboat: a Mako 26 center console with twin 200-hp outboards. On the Mako, they explored the many creeks and river destinations in their locale. “Still, we always knew that at some point we would get a coastal cruising powerboat,” Buchman says.
“Our focus has always been on Downeast-style designs, so when a Thomas Point 34 became available, Carol and I thought it looked just right,” Godwin says. They found all of the features they wanted on the boat. “It was the right style and the right size for the two of us, and the build was respected by many wooden boat owners we talked to.” The timing for the purchase seemed right too, so in September 2020, they bought the boat and named it Katana.
Katana is a 1998 Thomas Point 34 designed by the naval architect Mike Kaufman and built by Joe Reid at Mast & Mallet Boatworks in Edgewater, Maryland. Reid and his craftsmen build five versions of this design, ranging in size from 30 to 44 feet in length. The wooden hull of Katana is cold-molded with two overlapped layers of Western red cedar laid fore-and-aft. West System epoxy seals every component. The hull is further strengthened and sealed with two layers of 10-ounce fiberglass cloth. The construction is stout, and proven: One Mast & Mallet boat named Sawdust, owned by George and Stacy Sass, completed a 7,000-mile Great Loop adventure with a winter stopover in the Bahamas before returning to Annapolis.
Katana was in good shape when the couple took ownership, but it needed updates. Because the existing electronics were older, the couple replaced them with an integrated suite of new Garmin electronics, including a chartplotter with AIS, radar, and autopilot. Attention then turned to the hull. “Before we could cruise efficiently, the bottom needed work. It was blasted clean of its original 23-year-old bottom paint, removing layers to the bare hull,” Godwin says. “We started with three coats of Interlux barrier coat, then a single layer of black guide coat, and finished with three coats of Sea Hawk water-based ablative antifouling.”
Godwin redid all the exterior varnish and then took off the twin doors leading to the main cabin: “I removed them after putting the boat to bed for the winter. I took them into my shed for a thorough sanding and finishing.” Aside from the belt line and the mahogany surrounding the aft deck, Katana has little exterior varnish work. Inside is all wood—Honduran and Luan mahogany with a teak-and-holly sole.
As for the boat’s running surface, it starts with a sharp 60-degree V and finishes with 9 degrees at the transom. A splash rail forward develops into hard chines that run the full length of the boat. The couple says their boat runs very dry. “Top speed is about 22 knots, which we seldom do. Katana’s sweet spot is closer to 16 knots, turning 2200 rpm at 80 percent throttle,” Godwin says. “We’re getting 8.6 gph with a full load.” The boat’s 330-hp Cummins has less than 2,000 hours. For air conditioning and reverse-cycle heating, there’s a Next Gen 5.5-kW genset.
The couple’s cruising plans include an exploration of the Chesapeake Bay’s 11,000-plus miles of shoreline with overnight trips to Onancock and Cape Charles on the to-do list. They used Katana to make their way to Annapolis for the Cal-25 Nationals last fall, but they have their sights set on more distant destinations, including a cruise to Sag Harbor, New York to visit friends. In addition, they want to head south to Beaufort and Surf City in North Carolina.
When they’re ready to depart, Godwin will reinstall the davits on the transom coaming and mount a RIB. “We’re marina people when we cruise, so we don’t carry it normally, but if we go offshore, we will have it,” says Goodwin.
The Thomas Point 34 has wide side decks with robust safety rails that make it easy to walk forward. Even so, those roomy side decks don’t take away from the main cabin, which is quite spacious with good headroom.
The features that distinguish this cabin are the big windows that bring in plenty of natural light and provide 360-degree views for the helmsman and co-captain. Twin overhead hatches help to ventilate the space, as do opening windows forward and to the sides of the cabin.
A galley with all major appliances and generous counter space is on the starboard side of the main cabin. Forward is the owners’ stateroom, with an enclosed head compartment to starboard that includes a shower stall. Overhead, mahogany ceiling strips are nice details in this stateroom.
This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue.