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December 8, 2010

Coastal Craft Review: Fine Fit and Finish / Commercial Quality Construction

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Richard Jordan @ 3:40 pm

Coastal Craft 400 IPS

Colleague Kevin Bray and I met with Jeff Rhodes, president of Coastal Craft, yesterday to see his 30 Open and 400 IPS docked here at the Royale Palm Marina in Dania Beach, Florida. Coastal Craft trucked these two models over from their British Columbia roots to showcase them in the Annapolis and Fort Lauderdale shows during 2010 and will exhibit them at the Miami and West Palm shows in 2011. Besides the sweet styling, I was impressed by the high quality of workmanship, the classic finish, and the cutting edge technologies on these aluminum boats. Simply if I was in the market for a trawler, I would like one of the Coastal Craft’s IPS models. And I also think the 30 Open is a very cute little fishing boat. These yachts should draw serious consideration from East Coast buyers and are a must see at the 2011 boat shows. The shows are a unique opportunity for East Coast boaters to educate themselves about this highly regarded West Coast brand.

400 IPS
The 400 IPS we previewed along with her 30, 37, 42, and 45 foot sisterships competes with Sabreline and Grand Banks trawlers. The exterior styling most distinctly features forward slanting helm windows, a rugged look that at night limits glare from instrumentation. The awl-gripped aluminum welded hull is so smooth that it is easy to mistake her for a glass boat. Aluminum is a particularly heat sensitive metal, and it was comforting to see and hear about the skill of the craftsmen at their BC yard. They walk clients through their service facilities at the yard and show them the immaculate condition of seven year old models whose paint looks like new. Coastal Crafts are mostly MIG welded and then finished using a paint process that has taken a decade to perfect. They have been building these yachts since 1996.

Coastal Craft 30 Open

The inside on the 400 IPS features solid cherry cabinetry and a teak holly sole. The double cabin layout has a centerline queen forward, a comfortable helm starboard side, and a wraparound dinette. Looking through bilge access you can see the perfect 6-inch alternating welds and massive framing which stiffens the beefy quarter inch plating. The performance and security of aluminum makes these yachts stand out. The more you learn about aluminum the more you understand the realistic trade-offs from glass and can figure out which material suits what you like and need.

The Volvo Penta IPS drive, if you are not familiar, means that the props are forward facing, running parallel to the hull. While I have heard criticism that IPS’s can be difficult to maneuver, the 400 IPS is reportedly superior in close quarters and easy to manage with her joystick. I noted flybridge and interior helms as well as a backing station portside in the cockpit. The engines are twin Volvo D6-435 diesels which hold up well in the commercial fleets running more hard hours in five years than these will experience in twenty years. Coastal Craft has a unique approach to manufacturing that combines the best commercial boat building techniques with traditional North American finishing.

Coastal Craft 30 Open

Open 30
The cute little fishing boat Dawgfish is the first and only to date Open 30 hull built by Coastal Craft and diverts significantly from their core IPS models. She features a streamlined superstructure, water jet drives (or optionally prop drives), and a drop down dinette arrangement forward. Coastal Craft is looking forward to production of a 40-foot sistership based on the hull lines of the 400 IPS.

Conclusion
After walking along the docks admiring these yachts, not to mention having clients say, “Do you know what the story is on that cute little Dawgfish and/or that rugged blue hulled trawler,” I had to get aboard and talk a little more knowledgeably to prospects. Coastal Craft will be at the Miami and West Palm shows with their 400 IPS and 30 open. In additional to new builds, the 400 IPS, Midnight Sun, is for sale. Waiting time for a production slot is a year as the company has maintained demand well during this economic recession. You can see more details at http://www.coastalcraft.com/.

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