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A ‘trawler with sails’ from Nordhavn

Pacific Asian Enterprises returns to its roots with a 50-foot motorsailer

Pacific Asian Enterprises returns to its roots with a 50-foot motorsailer

Pacific Asian Enterprises, whose Nordhavn bluewater trawlers helped popularize passagemaking under power, is returning to its sailing roots with the design of a 50-foot motorsailer.

The boat will be a stronger performer under power than the builder’s same-size trawler, and will be an economical cruiser when motorsailing, says Jeff Leishman, a designer and one of the owners of PAE Inc. in Dana Point, Calif.

“This is not a regular sailboat type of motorsailer where you put a doghouse on the back and turn on your motor when you need to use it,” says Leishman. “This is more a trawler with a set of sails on it.”

The hull of the 50-footer is more svelte and, therefore, more efficient than that of a same size Nordhavn trawler, yet it displaces 60,000 pounds and carries 750 gallons of fuel. Powered by a 135-hp turbocharged Lugger 1066 T diesel, the motorsailer will be capable of a top speed of 10.5 mph under power with a 30-inch four-blade controllable-pitch Hundestad prop. The prop can be fully feathered when the boat is under sail alone, or the engine can run at very low rpm with the prop at a high pitch, and the sail delivering both power and stability.

Leishman says the motorsailer will be able to cross oceans with its engine only, and will have some sailing capabilities under offshore conditions. It won’t be much good sailing upwind or in light air, but it should perform well under sail — or power and sail — in the trade winds that most cruisers follow when they cross oceans, according to Leishman.

PAE has built more than 250 cruising sailboats, introducing the Mason line in 1979 with models ranging from 34 to 64 feet. Over the past 15 years, however, its focus has been on offshore trawlers.

Leishman recognized the beauty of motorsailing when his family circled the world several years ago on a Nordhavn 40. “In the trades, it would have been so nice to have a set of sails to put up, throttle way back and just sail,” he says. “The trades are the kind of situation where this boat will be just perfect.”

The motorsailer has a wheelhouse/saloon and a second steering station forward of that in a sailing cockpit accessible from the wheelhouse. Powered main and headsail furlers with power winches will make sail handling more manageable for short-handed crews. The master and guest staterooms are below with the galley and engine room.

Leishman says PAE tested the motorsail concept by rigging sails on one of its 46-foot trawlers. The boat ran almost 10 mph at 1,000 rpm with an assist from the sails, compared to 1,800 rpm for a 46-footer at the same speed without sails.

Leishman says the motorsailer has stirred up interest. “There are a lot of people that don’t want to give up sailing,” he says.

The boat will be built in Taiwan and will be priced at around $800,000.