One of the advantages of buying a boat far from home is that you get to drive it back to its new home waters. For Dave and Ann Roman, that meant a 16-day voyage from Michigan to coastal New Hampshire.
“We had a wonderful cruise on Lake Erie and the entire Erie Canal,” says Dave Roman, 53, an engineer from Raymond, New Hampshire. “Then it was down the Hudson River, through New York Harbor to Long Island Sound, on to Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal, and around Cape Ann to Hampton Beach and home. When we arrived at the marina, one of our neighbors asked where we had come from. When I told him, he exclaimed, ‘Who are you, Christopher Columbus?’”
It was a boating experience to add to a lifetime of them. “My first boating memory was when my uncle took me flounder fishing in the early ’70s when I was about 4 years old,” he says. “It was a 16-foot Pamlico built by Grady-White. I loved that experience.”
More memories were made as the Romans raised a family, getting out on the water in a 17-foot Sunbird bowrider, a 21-foot Regal bowrider and, later, a 25-foot Regal cuddy. “We owned it for 14 years, as a day boat and family weekender and a fantastic trailerable cruiser,” he says of the Regal. “We went all over the Northeast.”
Now, with their two daughters grown, the Romans look forward to cruising in a bigger boat. Their voyage from Michigan was just the beginning. “Our intent all along has been to cruise full-time starting in 2020,” Dave says. “And we are on track to do so.”
They’ll be doing that cruising in the 1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht that they picked up from Reed Yacht Sales in La Salle, Michigan, in May 2019. The price for the meticulously kept cabin cruiser was $132,500.
“We wanted the ability to cruise full-time in comfort, with room for guests,” Dave says. Other requirements were a planing hull with twin diesels, and wide sidedecks. A shallow draft and reasonable clearance were considerations for canal and Great Loop cruises.
Power comes from twin 375-hp Caterpillar 3208TA diesels. The Romans tend to cruise at 8.5 to 10 knots and 1000 to 1200 rpm, but the boat generally gets on plane around 20 knots and 2350 rpm. Top speed is 25 knots and 2800 rpm, when lightly loaded.
The couple researched the builder extensively before buying the Tollycraft. “It is made for real-world use, and it trades style and some interior space for safety and
seaworthiness,” Dave says. “The structure of a Tollycraft has a well-deserved reputation for being very well-executed. These boats have good bones.”
The Romans have a full slate of electronics: two 10-inch color Garmin multifunction displays, two VHF radios, a Raymarine autopilot and “a broken 1992
vintage Furuno radar that will be replaced with a Garmin radar in 2020,” Dave says. “We also have a new iPad running Navionics that, I must confess, is the main navigation tool.”
The Romans plan to keep the Tollycraft at their Hampton Beach marina and cruise the New England coast this summer. But they have big plans. “Eventually, we hope to do a Great Loop the long way, around [Canada’s] Gaspé Peninsula,” Dave says. “As pragmatists with plans to cruise full time without breaking the bank, Tollycraft was and is the obvious choice for us.”
The Tollycraft 44 CPMY rides a solid-fiberglass, modified-V hull with hard chines and a moderately sharp entry. Power comes from twin Cat or Detroit Diesel engines. The flybridge, with an upper helm station, spans the full width of the cabin top. The cockpit has room for entertaining, and there’s easy access to the salon. The salon is laid out with a settee, table and chairs. Some 44 CPMY models have a lower helm station. The C-shaped galley-down is to port, and a starboard-side dinette converts to a berth. Just forward is the guest stateroom with a V-berth and en suite head. The master stateroom with queen-size berth is aft.
Robert “Tolly” Tollefson founded Tollycraft in 1936. The wooden-boat builder converted to fiberglass in 1962. Subsequent boats were designed by Ed Monk and, later, by his son, Ed Jr. The boats were built in Kelso, Washington. Tollycraft was sold in 1987, went bankrupt in 1993 and closed for good in 1997.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue.