LOA: 52 feet, 9 inches Beam: 17 feet, 5 inches Displacement: 68,000 pounds Tankage: 1,240 gallons fuel, 400 gallons water Power: single 231-bhp John Deere 6068AFM85 diesel, or twin 125-bhp John Deere 4045TFM85 diesels Speed: 9.4 knots top, 8 knots cruise Price: $1,549,000 (base; custom price on request) Contact: Kadey-Krogen Yachts, Stuart, Florida, (772) 286-0171. kadeykrogen.com
The day was glorious by any standards but it was early February and anything short of a blizzard would have thrilled the winter-weary crew that had just cast off for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mother Nature did a lot better than that, taking pity on our frigid bones and pallid complexions by stirring hot sunshine with a soft onshore breeze. At 07:15 we threw off the lines and Larry steered us toward the St. Lucie inlet as Janet and I stowed fenders. By 08:19 we were through the inlet and doing 10 knots.
Does leaving an inlet behind and heading offshore on a beautiful day ever fail to thrill? A receding shoreline, sunlight skittering across the lightest chop, dolphins dancing off the bow — there are few finer things in life than a literal and metaphorical running away to sea. And there may be no better way to do that than on a Krogen.
Larry Polster is one of three principal partners at Kadey-Krogen. With 600+ hulls splashed over the last 40 years, the company has earned a reputation for seakindly liveaboard passagemakers, based on solid engineering, with distinctive but traditional styling. But we were sea trialing hull number one of the long-awaited 50 Open, which Larry and his wife Janet Baer own. It was designed to offer the trawler market something different.
Since we had an early morning departure in mind, we had stayed aboard the night before. Larry and I met Janet on Together for a glass of wine before dinner, which gave me a chance to check out the boat in the soft sunshine of early evening. As always, the first thing I noticed was the cockpit — owners like to refer to the Kadey-Krogen cockpit as “the back porch” — its roomy openness offers a terrific place to sit and take in marina life, socialize with dockside neighbors or watch the sea pass by as you’re underway. More than its liveability, though, its sense of salty sturdiness has always made it one of my favorite features on a Kadey-Krogen. When you lean across the stern’s caprail you can’t help but notice how high and solid it is. You just feel that you are in a safe place.
The 50 Open has a Portuguese bridge (with bench seating beneath), port and starboard wing stations, and a clean foredeck with high bow railings. The flybridge, which can be accessed from the pilothouse and the sidedecks, is roomy. Larry and Janet’s 50 Open has the optional hardtop and a dining table with L-shaped seating around a table that’s to port and abaft the helm. There’s also an (optional) summer kitchen with grill and a large boat deck, aft.
My tour of the 50 Open is impressive, but so far pretty reassuringly familiar – and then I step inside. Wait a minute? This is a Krogen? The joinery is a pale cherry that’s elegant but contemporary. My eyes are drawn all the way forward to … the pilothouse? Yes, the pilothouse is only one step up from the saloon, which visually merges the two areas into a nearly single level. The windows around the pilothouse and those of the saloon give the impression of one bright room with close to 360-degree views to the outside. The overwhelming sense as you enter is Wow. It’s bright, open and — yes — still a Krogen!
Larry and Janet’s 50 Open has a dining table to port with curved L-seating and two modern armchairs to starboard. A large flatscreen television is hidden in the cabinet behind the table and slides up at the touch of a button.
In the open galley, Larry and Janet went with a gray-veined, white Cambria-topped counter with full size stainless steel Wolf range to port and a large stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator (with cleverly-dogged doors) to starboard. Beneath the counter is a dishwasher and plenty of cabinet space. The traditionally awkward-to-access area at the end of the counter, alongside the range, has been fitted with an electronically-activated lift that works like a dumbwaiter and rises up from the counter. It’s a perfect place to store a blender, a toaster, that indispensable salad spinner — bulkier things you use all the time and want to hide but need an easy way to get to.
Another clever feature is the slender counter that runs behind the galley. It creates a safe alley for the cook to work in underway but also offers more useable counter space and adds to the sense of spaciousness.
“A lot of people are looking at this as a second home,” says Larry, “and they bring all their wishes to the design process and get very specific about drawer size, appliances.” The Wolf range, for instance, is the same brand Larry and Janet know and love from their Annapolis home.
Yet those who cherish the traditional features of a Krogen will not be disappointed in this new model. Take the pilothouse, for instance. Despite its openness to the saloon, it has an elegant but shippy bridge, a cherry dash with room for large displays and a cushy leather helm seat that makes a long watch comfortable. Watertight doors lead to wing stations on either side and the sight lines are excellent. Turn around and you’re still a part of whatever is happening in the galley and saloon. Or, touch a button and a wall panel rises between the galley and the helm, closing off the pilothouse — perfect when running at night or when one person wants to do some voyage planning but others want to check out a movie or socialize while cooking. And when the wall is down, it’s never been easier to feed the watch, since a buttery-leather covered banquet with fold out table sits abaft the helmsman’s chair — it’s as easy as passing a plate across the counter.
Two and three-cabin arrangements are available, as are custom layouts.
Below, the master stateroom and guest accommodations are available in either a midship master with VIP cabin forward, or a master-forward, three-cabin arrangement. (Kadey-Krogen is happy to customize layouts. In fact, Larry and Janet opted for a midship master with a guest cabin forward and, between the two, an office for Larry where the laundry normally lives.)
The master has a queen island berth with drawer stowage below, a private head with twin sinks and a spacious shower and roomy his/her closets (which Janet sacrificed to relocate the stacked washer and dryer, creating room for Larry’s office). The forward guest stateroom also has a (very comfy, I can attest!) island berth and lots of light, ventilation and stowage. An adjoining head with roomy shower has a second door for day access from the hallway.
As usual on a Krogen, the stand-up engine room (with six and a half feet of head room) dazzles. It is roomy, well-lit and meticulously labeled, equipped with state-of-the-art systems and can accommodate a single or twin engines. Larry and Janet went with the single 231-bhp John Deere — hull number two has twins.
I enjoyed our offshore run to Fort Lauderdale, but I couldn’t help but dream about where I’d go in a boat like Together. Not in a hurry? Motor at 6 knots and go 5,000 miles. Or bump it up to the 8-knot cruising speed and go 2,100 miles (calculated with 10 percent fuel reserve). The top speed with half load is 9.4 knots. At wide-open throttle with close to a full load (for the boat show), we measured 9 gallons of fuel burn per hour at 9 knots and 2,080 rpms.
Want one of your own? Current build time is 9 to 10 months.
Larry and Janet were planning on showing Together at the Miami International Boat Show and then heading for the Bahamas. Nice. But with all the comforts of a cheery and beautiful home, and the seaworthiness of — well, a Krogen — I’d point the bow toward Tahiti and take my time.
Larry and Janet, I’m always available to crew. Call me.
This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue.