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Overnight achievers

These midsize overnighters strike a balance between comfort, amenities, accommodations and performance

These midsize overnighters strike a balance between comfort, amenities, accommodations and performance

Who doesn’t like spending the night on the water? Resting secure in a quiet anchorage and being lulled to sleep by the sound of water against the hull is one of the great pleasures of boat ownership.

Seasoned boaters today want more from their vessels: more room, more comfort, more amenities.

Designers and boatbuilders continue to respond, adjusting and modifying proven layouts, and aiming for innovative ways to add stowage space and headroom while increasing comfort and versatility within the limited space of a 24- to 34-footer.

Whether moving up to an overnighter or downsizing for cruising closer to home, there’s plenty to consider when buying a new boat. One place to start is with safety features. A carbon monoxide detector, checked regularly, is a must, says Elden Eurto, Seaswirl’s compliance and certification engineer. The National Marine Manufacturers Association requires CO alarms be installed on all new gasoline-powered boats (built by its members) with enclosed heads, galleys and sleeping areas. It should go without saying that you should have a reliable bilge pump.

Boaters approach their potential boat looking for the right balance of space in the cabin, galley area, berths, cockpit and open decks.

“Certainly there has to be compromise when you’re building any boat, and certainly the depth of the walkaround is important, though it takes room out of the cabin,” says Joey Weller, Grady-White’s marketing manager. “There’s a balance between how much the walkaround cabin is involved in the total length of the boat. You can’t have a big cabin and no cockpit.” The primary objective, he says, is to be able to get around the whole boat safely.

Jeff Messmer, vice president of sales and marketing for C-Dory Marine Group, offers several tips for checking out an overnighter. First, make sure there’s enough stowage. Ask yourself if the galley is practical and appropriate for how you plan on using the boat. How many people will regularly sleep aboard, and for one night, two or more? Will there be a mix of adults and children? Is there a locker or cubby for everyone? Can you carry enough water? One simple check that can be revealing is to climb in and out of the berths. Are they large enough?

A flushing toilet in the head is necessary if the boat will be used for more than day trips. And a shower becomes particularly important if the float plan includes at least two or three days aboard.

Be sure to do a thorough walkthrough of the boat with an eye toward sometimes-overlooked features, like non-skid on the companionway steps and secure grab rails in all the right places. Make sure the cabin has adequate ventilation.

Don’t forget the family — a partner or children may have some important input on the right boat. “What I do is I design a boat, and then I bring the women in,” says Terence Compton, owner of Compton Marine, commenting on how he lays out a boat. “I bring about 10 or 12 women in and ask them what I did wrong.”

Here’s a look at six new and redesigned overnighters, including two New England cabin boats, a catamaran, an express fisherman, a walkaround and a walkaround with a pilothouse.

Holby Marine Pilot 24

The Pilot 24 from Holby Marine is a stout little cabin boat suited to both dayboating and weekend trips.

The 24 has a classic, New England bass boat look. The sheer line sweeps gently from the bow, flattening gradually as it moves aft toward the angled transom. The cabin, equipped with screened port hatches port and starboard, rises out of the flush foredeck. The boat has a welded windshield with optional canvas top and enclosures.

The Pilot 24 has helm and companion back-to-back seats, a sliding helm seat, cushioned engine box aft, and optional full stern seating with some configurations. The companion seat, to port, contains a stainless steel sink, faucet and stove.

Below, the 24 has a teak and holly sole, teak cabinet doors, another stainless sink with faucet to port, and a marine head with holding tank to starboard.

There is a cushioned V-berth forward with storage underneath.

“I’ve been out in 7-footers, and it’s handled them with no problem,” says Michael Egan, sales manager for Holby Marine. “The boat’s actually very good in a following sea.” He says the 24 has a soft entry and doesn’t slam.

The Mark Ellis-designed boat will reach a top speed of 45 mph with optional power, cruises in the mid-30s and maintains plane at 15 mph. The performance comes from the boat’s deadrise and wide chines, and the lateral stability is excellent, he says, even at rest.

An outboard, mounted on a stern bracket, also is available.

Holby Marine builds its fiberglass production boats using the patented SCRIMP vacuum resin-infusion process, licensed from TPI Composites of Warren, R.I.


LOA 24 feet, 6 inches BEAM 9 feet DRAFT 1 foot, 3 inches (with drive up) DISPLACEMENT 5,155 pounds HULL TYPE modified-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE 17 degrees TANKAGE 120 gallons fuel, 14 gallons water, 14 gallons wasteENGINE OPTION outboard, gas or diesel sterndrive to 320 hp SPEED 40 mph top (with 300-hp

MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI) SUGGESTED PRICE $91,750 CONTACT Holby Marine Company, Bristol, R.I. Phone: (401) 253-1711.

TomCat 255

The TomCat 255 is a new pocket cruising catamaran from the builders of C-Dory.

The company extended the hull of the 24-foot TomCat — which will no longer be built — by 18 inches, removed its engine well, and added an outboard bracket. “Effectively we’ve increased the interior room by 3 feet,” says Messmer.

The builder was able to add a stand-up shower and head, and the boat has 6 feet, 5 inches of headroom. It also is equipped with a marine head and a galley stove, with a refrigerator optional.

The 255 sleeps four, Messmer says, and the forward berth of the cat allows boaters to sleep athwartships rather than with their feet in the vee. The 255 has a level entry from the cockpit to the cabin.

“What makes it special versus the other cats out there is it has a great cabin,” Messmer says. “Our boat is a cruiser first, but still a nice fishing boat.”

With an 8-foot, 6-inch beam, the TomCat is designed to be trailerable. There is a 65-gallon fuel tank in each of the catamaran’s hulls and 4-foot-long fishboxes

located aft in each hull. The TomCat has a 10-inch draft.

“For somebody that wants to fish in the flats in Florida or pull up on the beach in the Chesapeake, you can do that with this boat,” says Messmer.

It will come standard with twin 135-hp Honda

4-stroke outboards, or with twin 140-hp Suzuki


“We’re not saying it’s going to be the fastest boat out there, but we’re saying it’s going to be efficient,” says Messmer.


LOA 25 feet, 5 inches BEAM 8 feet, 6 inches DRAFT

10 inches DISPLACEMENT 4,200 pounds (without power) HULL TYPE catamaran TANKAGE 130 gallons fuel

ENGINE OPTION twin outboards ESTIMATED SPEED 40 mph top, 29 mph cruise ESTIMATED PRICE $95,000 CONTACT C-Dory Marine Group, Auburn, Wash. Phone: (253) 839-0222.

Grady-White Sailfish 282

Grady-White has updated its popular Sailfish 282 walkaround after the success of some larger cabin models.

“We’ve upgraded this boat to take on the features of the 300 Marlin,” says marketing manager Weller. The Marlin 300, in turn, carried over modifications from the builder’s Express 330.

Changes include a new deck and liner, redesigned helm, redesigned pulpit and low-profile windlass system, added cockpit features, and an improved galley.

At the aft end, a built-in seat on the old model has been replaced with a 251-quart fishbox and a flip-up bench seat. “So in the same amount of space that the seat was in on the previous boat, we’ve added a seat and a fishbox,” says Weller.

The cockpit and helm areas also come equipped with a 166-quart fishbox to starboard, 40-gallon live well to port, fishbox cushions, adjustable helm and companion seats, and a hardtop with curtains. Changes also have been made down below, including a teak and holly sole and a teak table.

“The galley has been expanded as well, and certainly there’s a roomier and lighter feeling to the cabin,” says Weller.

The galley, to port, includes a sink, insulated icebox, microwave, refrigerator and butane stove. There is an enclosed head compartment to starboard with a sink and shower. Accommodations include a V-berth forward and a “half-berth” under the helm.

“It has the space to accommodate people that want to cruise and people that want to fish,” says Weller.

Notable options include air conditioning, a flat screen television/DVD player, an outrigger kit and a stereo system.


LOA 30 feet, 2 inches BEAM 9 feet, 6 inches DRAFT

1 foot, 6 inches (with engines up) DISPLACEMENT 5,800 pounds (without engines) HULL TYPE modified-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE 19 degrees TANKAGE 207 gallons fuel, 32 gallons water, 10 gallons waste ENGINE

OPTION twin outboards to 600 hp total SPEED 46 mph top, 29 mph cruise SUGGESTED PRICE $148,135 CONTACT Grady-White Boats, Greenville, N.C. Phone: (252) 752-2111.

Seaswirl 29

Oregon-based boatbuilder Seaswirl has added a pilothouse to its 29-foot walkaround. It adds protection from the elements, whether the boat is being used to cruise the waters off Alaska or fish off Florida, and the 2901 Walk Around Pilot House has an option for an air conditioning and heating system.

“The way we designed the boat is so that we can accommodate the family-type outing or the guys getting together for the big fishing trip,” says Seaswirl engineer Eurto.

In the cabin there is a forward V-berth, head compartment to starboard, and galley to port. The galley is equipped with a sink, stove and refrigerator, with a

microwave optional.

The forward berth easily accommodates three, Eurto says, and there is an option for bunked berths on the cabin ceiling.

“It would very comfortably sleep seven people,” he says. “We have lots of cabin lighting, entry doorway lighting and sound-dampening for the cabin area, sealed hatches to keep the harsh weather out, and a fully operable VacuFlush head system.”

Fishing amenities include a 20-gallon live well, draining fish lockers and a bait prep station.

The builder recently reconfigured the pilothouse area to include a wet bar with optional refrigerator or icemaker.

Eurto says twin 200- to 250-hp 4-stroke outboards are the most popular power option, though twin gas or diesel sterndrives are available. “The new diesel systems we have are extremely quiet, have tremendous torque to them, and are very economical,” says Eurto.

Adding the pilothouse to the 2901 added only about 300 pounds to the boat’s total weight, Eurto says.


LOA 29 feet, 8 inches BEAM 10 feet, 5 inches DRAFT

2 feet, 9 inches (with drives down) DISPLACEMENT 10,350 pounds HULL TYPE deep-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE

20 degrees TANKAGE 217 gallons fuel, 29 gallons water, 11 gallons wasteENGINE OPTION sterndrives to 640 hp, outboards to 500 hp SPEED 45 mph top, 35 mph cruise (with twin 225-hp Yamaha 4-strokes) SUGGESTED PRICE WITH TEST POWER $131,950 CONTACT Seaswirl,

Culver, Ore. Phone: (541) 546-5011.

Compton 33

Compton Marine last year introduced the Compton 33, a new cruiser from ex-Albin designer Terence Compton. It is designed to combine the classic and the modern, as evidenced by its flared bow, graceful sheer line and its one-piece molded cabin, deck and hardtop with curved glass windows.

The boat is built with wood-free construction, including the hull, engine beds, stringers and main bulkheads.

“The only wood that’s in there is the furniture and the doors,” says Compton.

Fiberglass skegs protect the running gear and add directional stability for running down seas. “They’re molded into the hull like a mini-catamaran down there,” says Compton.

Power comes from a pair of diesels, and Compton says the company is introducing a more affordable single-engine version. The company is offering a second cabin layout, as well.

The standard layout calls for a master stateroom forward with a queen-size berth, guest stateroom with upper and lower berths to starboard, shower compartment, and head compartment across the companionway.

The saloon and galley are on the helm deck. The galley, to starboard, has a two-burner electric stove, microwave/convection oven, stainless steel double sink and refrigerator. The crew seat, forward, folds away for more counter space. An L-shaped settee is to port.

In the cockpit, the 33 has a unique in-deck dinghy storage system, and the helm seat can be put in the cockpit when the boat is in port. “That opens up the saloon and makes the saloon nice and airy and big,” says Compton. “With the dinghy under the cockpit sole there’s a lot of room in the cockpit.”


LOA 37 feet, 4 inchesBEAM 13 feet, 1 inch DRAFT

3 feet, 7 inches DISPLACEMENT 16,500 pounds HULL TYPE modified-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE 14 degrees TANKAGE 355 gallons fuel, 86 gallons water, 25 gallons wasteENGINE OPTION single or twin diesel inboards SPEED 33 mph top, 27 mph cruise (with twin 380-hp

Cummins) SUGGESTED PRICE WITH TEST POWER $345,000CONTACT Compton Marine, Fall River, Mass. Phone: (508) 672-6400.

Stamas 340 Express

Family-run Stamas Yacht has redesigned its 340 Express model to accommodate outboard power. The changes don’t just mean there is an outboard bracket hanging off the transom, though.

Removing the twin 320- to 370-hp inboard engines has freed up the bilge area and the main cockpit area, allowing the builder to install a large, shallow storage box in that area, says George N. Stamas, director of advertising and personnel.

Though ostensibly an express sportfisherman, the 340 pays equal attention to cruising amenities. “The thing we are famous for is our balance of the two,” says Stamas. “Our boats have a real nice balance, this is what our customers tell us year after year.”

The interior layout calls for a V-berth forward, dinette with hi-lo table that converts to a berth, electric head, galley with a refrigerator and stove, and midcabin berth aft.

“The midcabin sleeper is a huge advantage,” says Stamas. “That midcabin sleeper comes about because the helm area is slightly raised.” The raised helm creates better visibility for docking and maneuvering in close quarters, he says, and the midcabin area can be used for storage if desired.

In addition, the midcabin berth converts to U-shaped seating by removing the center section, and is open to the rest of the cabin. “People sit down there and don’t feel cut off from everybody else,” says Stamas.

Air conditioning is available as an option, as are a fiberglass hardtop with rod holders, half-tower, gas or diesel generator, and an aft cockpit seat.

For fishing, the 340 Express comes standard with a circulating live well, insulated fishbox with overboard drain, bait prep station, tackle storage, and fresh and raw water washdown systems.


LOA 41 feet, 2 inches BEAM 12 feet, 6 inches DRAFT

1 foot, 9 inches DISPLACEMENT 13,800 pounds HULL TYPE modified-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE 19 degrees TANKAGE 350 gallons fuel, 40 gallons water, 20 gallons waste ENGINE OPTION twin outboards (inboards available) SPEED 45 mph top, 30 mph cruise SUGGESTED PRICE $250,700 CONTACT Stamas Yacht Inc., Tarpon Springs, Fla. Phone: (727) 937-4118.

By Domenic Mantoan

I was raised in the restaurant business and have worked in the hospitality industry my entire career. Pre-prep and planning became a way of life for me as I was called on to organize banquets for up to 2,000 guests.

Planning meals on a boat involves some special

challenges due to the minimal cooking equipment

and storage space. From my own experience, I am a big believer in performing most of the preparation of meals at home. One-pot meals are easy to reheat on board, and save space. Casseroles, gumbos, stews, and certain rice and pasta dishes are great. To help make transporting food easier, purchase a variety of plastic food containers. The square ones are best as they take up less space when packing the ice chest. Ziploc bags are good for solid items; just don’t overstuff them.

Other useful tips for preparing meals at home and serving aboard:

• All poultry and meat items should be fully cooked.

• Cool cooked food rapidly to prevent bacteria from growing. Bacteria grow best between 50 degrees and 140 degrees F. Likewise, when reheating food bring the temperature of the entire dish to at least 140 degrees.

• Prepare only what is needed. Leftovers are a nuisance. Estimate how much you and your guests can consume. Think about portion sizes. You may want to weigh your portions and keep a record of your meal sizes.

• When you need to do the actual cooking on board try to have all your ingredients precut so as to minimize the need for slicing and dicing on board. I have found that’s especially true with sandwich items like lettuce, onions and tomatoes.

• Try not to use mayonnaise-based items — for example, potato salad is great with an oil and vinegar-based dressing.

• When serving finger foods try to avoid messy sauces. It’s also a good idea to have plenty of toothpicks available for eating such items.

• Use disposable containers when possible, such as Ziploc bags or containers that can fit inside each

other when empty.

• Instead of — or in addition to — ice for the ice chest, try freezing water jugs to keep your food cold. Then, as the ice melts, you have cold water for drinking. Leave about an inch from the top so the container won’t split open when it freezes.

The basic rules I try to follow for storing supplies and food are:

• Avoid glass containers whenever possible.

• Remove dry goods from their boxes to help save space. They can be placed in Ziploc bags, or if you keep items in their original bags, clothespins work well for sealing.

• Store items tightly together so they don’t get tossed around when under way. Canned goods can be held together with small bungee straps or a small bungee net.

• Spices and matches should be placed in a watertight container.

• Rinse empty cans to avoid foul smells and keep your boat clean. We also keep a can of Lysol spray on board for the trash bin.

Safety in the home kitchen is always a concern, and even more so in the galley of a rocking boat. The two biggest issues are cutting oneself and getting burned by hot liquids. Even at anchor in a quiet cove, a wake from another boat can cause problems.

At a minimum you should have a “stop bar” on the front of the range. If you are going to be doing a lot of cooking on the water it is advisable to have a system for holding pots in place, such as an adjustable and removable metal grid system that is high enough to keep pans from tipping over. When using appliances or a portable stove, be sure you can strap them down to the counter during use.

Some additional safety items to consider:

• Mount a fire extinguisher near the galley.

• Store knives as soon as you finish using them.

• Install “spring door holders” on all food lockers.

• Don’t overfill pots or pans, and use tight-fitting lids.

• Don’t leave containers of food or liquids open when not in use.

• Hot pad gloves are a disaster waiting to happen on a boat. If the glove becomes soaked in hot liquid your entire hand can burn very quickly.

• When using knives, wear a butcher’s glove (metal mesh glove) on the hand not holding the knife. I usually put a disposable plastic glove over the butcher’s glove for easier cleaning.

Domenic and Cheryl Mantoan cruise the East Coast out of Baltimore aboard their 40-foot motoryacht Mon Cherie. You can reach them by e-mail at or visit their Web site,