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Old 07-16-2017, 05:51 PM   #1
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Default Downeast dayboat shakedown cruise

We moved from Alabama to the Upper Chesapeake Bay last summer, in the process selling our Donzi bowrider that had done solid duty terrorizing the TN River. We can see the Bay from our deck, so it didn't take very long for the wheels to start turning on what sort of boat would work well for family duty in this neck of the woods.

It all started out innocently enough, and we were pretty zeroed in on a 25 Parker extended cabin. From there it just sort of evolved into a search for a bigger boat, and I looked at everything from a 28 Evans pilothouse w/ single Suzuki to 31 Tiaras to a 34 Mainship Pilot. After some introspection and crawling around crowded engine rooms, I narrowed it down to a single diesel inboard downeast or Chesapeake deadrise. Had a very specific budget in mind and was open to many different boats, but had a hard time finding "the one." There wasn't a whole lot in the area between rough $30k workboats with 12,000 hours and $125k+ picnic boats and lobster yachts. The ones in the sweet spot sold immediately.

Hired a buyer's agent (PM me for contact info - he was great) and found what felt like the right boat in NC. Made an offer and got on contract subject to survey and sea trial. The first time I set foot on her I knew it was the boat, so after almost 2,000 miles back and forth and the typical deal closing headaches I had keys in-hand. Got an estimate to ship her home on a truck, but it would have required disassembling the flybridge etc. That turned into a great excuse to run her home on her own bottom, which I completed less than a week ago. Epic adventure - how often do you get a chance to run your dream boat up the coast?

I wanted to capture some of the details and moments from the process for posterity, so here it goes.

The boat: 35' 1984 Nauset flybridge downeast. Royal Lowell design and a very well-regarded hull (Nauset bought the old Bruno & Stillman molds). Finish is somewhere between lobster yacht and fishing boat, and the layout is perfect for what we'll be doing - dayboating, picnics, exploring the Bay, rafting up, occasional fishing trips, mothership for kayaks.

Paint and pipework are recent and were executed by Jarrett Bay Boatworks in Beaufort. It doesn't get much better than that.

Power is a single 3126 CAT at 350hp, installed in 2010 and sitting at 680 hours. This was the last year you could buy a fully mechanical 3126, so it has the upgraded aftercooler system, etc. but no HEUI injection and absolutely minimal electronics other than gauge senders and a few solenoids. It's also a very low power rating for 7.2 liters and 1,700 lbs of iron. Did a ton of research on this engine on boatdiesel and other places and talked to a bunch of various CAT guys. If you're going to have a 31 series engine, this is the one to have. Commercial guys are getting well in-excess of 10k hours out of them.

Enough typing - I'll let the pictures do some of the explaining...

Some running shots coming up the Bay, taken by my agent (also a Donzi guy).





In the Magothy River in Annapolis:


Last edited by walleyeguy6; 07-28-2017 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Atrocious grammar
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:57 PM   #2
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Some more pics of the boat herself. Great bones. She needs some cosmetic love and general cleaning up, but the previous owner took great care of her in the 20 years that he owned her. True open checkbook maintenance and upgrades, but he didn't spend a lot of time in the bilge and it shows. Some degreaser and rigging will go a long way, and is the kind of thing I enjoy doing. Access is amazing, especially compared to some of the twin engine boats I crawled around.



The cockpit is huge and the awning makes for a nice outdoor space. Might hinder fishing a little, but that's what the kayak carrier on top is for anyway. This is going to be an awesome mothership for striper fishing and duck hunting on the upper Bay.



The rest of the cabin is simple but effective. The classic dayboat thread really helped me focus in on what was important and what was superfluous.





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Old 07-16-2017, 07:02 PM   #3
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Managing risk is something I do professionally, and a 400 mile shakedown cruise in an unknown 33 year-old single-engine boat definitely required some risk mitigation.

Had thorough hull and engine surveys conducted. With the surveys in hand I had a punchlist of what needed to be done to get the boat home and what could wait. Both the main and the genset had all belts, impellers, zincs, fluids, and filters replaced and spares for all. Also had the raw water pump and a fuel return line on the CAT replaced entirely. PM me for contact info for a great surveyor and a great CAT mechanic in the Beaufort area.



Started route planning and collecting supplies a few weeks before the start of the trip. Most of it turned out to be overkill, but better to have it and not need it... The route was fairly straightforward - due North up the intracoastal from Mile 200 in Beaufort to Mile 0 in Norfolk, and then another 180 miles straight up the Bay. The initial intent was to take it fairly easy, with 75-100 mile legs and a buddy onboard the whole way. It didn't work out that way - more on that later.

Route planning is thirsty work. The cruising guides are cumbersome to use and heavily commercial, but are useful for general planning purposes. The Active Captain website is more effective IMO.



Brown Santa (aka UPS) visited often. The basement wood kayak shop started looking like a shipping warehouse. This is the fun (albeit expensive) part of buying a boat.









Finally the day came to load up the rental truck and head South to the boat.



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Old 07-16-2017, 07:16 PM   #4
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I hope that's a single malt 🥃
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:16 PM   #5
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Nice write up, am looking forward to the "rest of the story".
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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Subscribed. Great story and pictures. Very impressive planning and preparation. The "kayak rack" will cause some consternation here, but I think you precisely understand your projected use of the boat. If fishing becomes paramount in your needs, you can always adjust. I have never wished I had less horsepower, cold water, or shade on a boat. Please do continue your story here.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:40 PM   #7
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Some assorted videos. More to follow once they're uploaded.

Starting the big CAT. Fires right up and no hunting for idle when throttle is opened and closed quickly. I love the sound of this thing.


First cold start of the sea trial. You can hear the "click" of the stop solenoid getting pressed a few times. We all had an "oh $hit" moment for a minute there, then he pushed the correct button. Absolutely no smoke.


Sea trial WOT run. You can hear her go in the corner at about 10 seconds in the video. Held her at WOT (2850rpm, 20 knots) for almost ten minutes to check the cooling system. She's LOUD in the cockpit at full honk, and even louder for the CAT mechanic sitting in the bilge babysitting the engine.

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Old 07-16-2017, 07:57 PM   #8
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Nice!
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:35 PM   #9
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Had to abort on the scheduled day to head North. Still sorting out the paperwork and the WX wasn't exactly cooperating. All good, just had to regroup in a hotel room and replot the route for the next day. Ended up getting a pretty good storm.

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Old 07-17-2017, 07:00 AM   #10
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Nice looking rig, the Lowell designs are always nice!
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:20 AM   #11
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very pretty and classy
congrats
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:23 PM   #12
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I see one of Capt. Buck's rides peeking out of the corner of that picture.

Congrats on the new rig, where are you running around up here?
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Beautiful vessel. I hope you spend more $$$$ on registration numbers than the PO did...
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:04 PM   #14
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Beautiful ride, looking forward to the rest of the story!
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:39 PM   #15
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Thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kack View Post
I see one of Capt. Buck's rides peeking out of the corner of that picture.

Congrats on the new rig, where are you running around up here?
Boat will be slipped in the Gunpowder Neck Marina in Edgewood. About as secure as it gets. We've been boating around HdG so far, but have plans to spread our wings this summer.

I suspected that Capt Buck was associated with some of those dive boats across the way from the slip in Beaufort. Quite a coincidence, as it was his dayboat thread that really got me thinking about what is and isn't important in a basic boat. His knowledge and willingness to pass it on to this community are missed for sure.

This shot was taken from amongst all of those dive boats:



And another when she was on the hard getting bottom painted last year. One of the common complaints on the Bruno & Stillman 35 hull is that it has very limited real estate to swing a large diameter wheel due to the way the keel & rudder are setup. As this was a twin gas conversion, there's plenty of room for a larger prop on this one should I decide to go that route in the future. Sturdy shoe provides good protection for the running gear.



Here's a pic from the short haul at the Jarrett Bay yard as part of the sea trial. Not a Carolina hull, but plenty of flare for a downeast. The flag blue paint is exceptional.

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Old 07-17-2017, 07:00 PM   #16
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Nice rig....welcoming another Downeast hull to THT
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:12 PM   #17
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Great looking vessel. Sounds like the trip home was an epic journey. How's manueverability with a single screw in the marina?
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:38 PM   #18
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So after a few days of mechanics on the boat, closing completion, and sketchy weather, I finally departed in early evening for the run home. At this point I just wanted to show some forward progress...

Getting out of the Beaufort Yacht Basin and into the Newport River was fairly confusing due to shoaling throughout the channel and a forest of different markers, both official and home-brewed. Fortunately the marina had hand-drawn map to get out of the basin and under the bridge. From there it was a short haul up Adams' Creek past the Jarrett Bay complex and into the Seagate Marina to fill the tanks and remain overnight.

Heading through the Newport River and into Adams' Creek



Mile Marker 200 on the ICW, what I considered the real beginning of the journey:



Heading past the JB facility on the Creek. What a cool setup, and some amazing rigs still hanging out there after the Big Rock tourney.



Really up the creek now...



Since this was my first time running this particular boat outside of about 10 minutes during the sea trial, and definitely the first time soloing on a big single inboard, I called Seagate and asked to tie up side-to on the port side. They confirmed that it was do-able, but tight quarters to turn around in. I idled in and made it work, in front of an audience even. Whew.



Great group of locals hanging out, and just to prove how small a world it really is, one of the gentlemen sitting having a sundowner not only knew the boat, but had worked on her and fished her for twenty years with the P.O. Dragged a 600# BFT over the rail on her, his largest fish ever. Needless to say we enjoyed a few cold beers and BS'd about the boat. Well, maybe more than a few. Thanks for the hospitality Larry - it was an enjoyable evening. No pictures of that until the statute of limitations expires, but here's the old girl in the evening light:





Prepped for the next day, enjoyed a hot shower and one last cold beer, and went to sleep for the first time on MY boat. What a great feeling.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotChrist View Post
Great looking vessel. Sounds like the trip home was an epic journey. How's manueverability with a single screw in the marina?
Epic trip for sure!

Handling has been a pleasant surprise. There are some things that she just won't do in wind and current, or no wind and current for that matter, so you have to work around that. Back & fill is the order of the day. Get some momentum in reverse, and correct course by bumping her into forward and using a burst of throttle to really swing the stern around while not picking up any forward speed. Also learning the art of spring lines...

Above all I'm impressed with the maneuverability, and the best way I've figured out to learn has been to jump in and go for it. Ain't nothing to it but to do it. Some landings have definitely been better than others, but it's do-able for sure.

Big keel and big torque don't hurt at all - really helps to pivot the boat around her center. She honestly handles better than some single inboard ski boats and even OBs and sterndrives that I've driven.

I can see where a thruster would absolutely be nice to have, but thousands of these types of boats dock every single day without them. Even more if you count sailboats, and those aren't swinging a big prop with 500 lb ft of torque just off of idle.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:15 PM   #20
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Sure a handsome craft. Looks like a great shakedown run. Enjoying the pics!
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