On this first day of spring we thought you’d like a SALE on our best-selling SkyHAWK sunglasses! So buy any pair you want (just $14.98/pair!) and e-mail your FREE second pair desires to us and we’ll send both pairs out right away along with a lanyard and a Nylo-silk case for each!



Yachtsman II

Perhaps you already know which SkyHAWKs you prefer (I know many of our boating friends have old favorites) but here’s the link to our Marine Store anyway!

Enjoy the spring … and doing all the ‘get-ready’ things that that entails. Me, I’m finishing up several onboard projects and launching ‘Kokomo’ in a few days for five days and nights up the South Fork of the Feather River!  SkyHAWK SALE ENDS April 20, 2015!

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One-year test results: Three Extraordinary Boating Products

We promised you tests after approximately one-year, and so we’ve checked out (and used unflinchingly) these products for at least one full year. Here are the results:

“CABIN WOOD CARE” (See “Easy Interior Teak Care” in the Op Ed Section) - reader and fellow boat owner Tammy Goddard brought this to my attention approximately three years ago and, after coating Kokomo’s teak with it then, I couldn’t be more pleased with this teak care product. It goes on really easily (no messy painting), can over-spill onto nearby paint with no problem, takes very little to coat and leaves my teak looking new (even removes water spots and stains!). To learn about Cabin Wood and where to get yours, see our article in the section of this site.  1-10 score: 10!

“AUTOTETHER” WIRELESS IGNITION KILL SYSTEM (Do a SEARCH for ‘Autotether’ on the top right of this page) – This device has been interesting and wonderfully freeing to use! It let’s me roam about the boat while the auto-pilot is engaged,

final product photodoing chores, straightening up dock lines and fixing drinks, etc., while not worrying that a sudden pitch might throw me overboard and the boat would continue without me. The “” has delivered everything it promised, and I tested it before writing this follow-up and found the batteries up to shutting off the boat when the remote fob (which I carry with me on a lanyard) contacts water. NOTE: I’m sad to say that the company seems to be out of business, because my rebate check “came back”  and I haven’t had any luck in reaching them since.  1-10 score: 8

“BAZOOKA BAILER” BAILING BOAT HOOK (See “Bazooka Bailer” in the ‘Gear & Electronics’ section) – Once a topic of the “great new product buzz’ in boating, the discussion around the “Bazooka Bailer” has become somewhat quiet. Maybe that’s because, though the bail feature certainly worked initially, it became clogged in relatively short order and unusable as a boat hook (won’t extend or retract and therefore cannot be locked into position) or a bailer (it’s clogged and won’t pump water). I’ve spent too much time trying to unclog/fix it already, and so I give it a score of 2 on the 1-10 scale. 1-10 score: 2

I’ll review several more products in future articles, and I hope you’ll let me know of any experience you’ve had with a boating product that you’d like reviewed. Thanks for reading!



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You Tube Video of The 4th on the Sacramento/San Juaquin Delta

Thought you might enjoy this collage of wonderful photography by Judy Irene ( mixed with my music (“Passage” from the ‘Rain On Steaming Pavement’ album by Steve Reeves) from 2014′s 4th of July yacht trip with the Chico Yacht Club to the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. It’s entitled  Passage (click on the word). Thanks Judy!

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Our Beloved “Kokomo” Goes Up FOR SALE!

I really think it’s the most expertly-rigged and outfitted RF-246 I’ve ever seen; maybe the finest overall vessel of its type in existence today … but I’m not objective. You take a look and see what you think.”  -  Steve Reeves

It is with heavy heart that I put my beloved Rosborough RF-246 up for sale. I’ve spent the short time I’ve owned her perfecting her for expedition cruising (little or no marina support) but, alas, health problems and a sudden divorce force her sale. I look forward to meeting her new owners and to hearing about her ongoing adventures.

This site is headed by photos of the boat, and everything about “Kokomo” can be seen at Be sure to read “30 Years Later- We Finally Found Just The Right Boat For Us” (on either site; use the SEARCH box) and go through the extensive equipment list in “Specifications: Kokomo“. I absolutely love the quiet, smooth and responsive power of the twin Honda BF-150 (CARB-compliant) engines (300hp!). It truly is the best outfitted and powered vessel I have ever seen.

It comes with a galvanized, triple-axle salt-water optimized trailer with hydraulic over electric brakes, the perfect tender (see the photo), etc., etc. I’ve spent lots of time and money getting it just right … so you won’t have to.

The price for the vessel  is $105,000 firm. For a total of $125k (replacement is twice that) I’m willing to include most of the items on the specifications list. If you have additional questions after studying the extensive information at the website,, please e-mail me at



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Have you got an ALPHA LIST onboard and ready?

There are many checklists that go through your mind when you’re preparing to take your yacht ‘out’, but I want to suggest that (if you don’t already have one) you create an “Alpha Checklist” for your vessel, and get in the habit of using it whenever there are passengers aboard.

What’s an Alpha Checklist? Is it the safety checklist (life vests, PLB, radios, etc.),  or the mechanical checklist (engine oil check, water pump, etc.), or maybe the prep-checklist that goes through your head whenever you leave the slip (blower, plugs, scuppers, bilge, etc.)? No, it’s a seldom written vital list of important things you should say to every passenger before every voyage.

The Alpha Checklist should be shared verbally, before you leave the slip, and each passenger should know where the written checklist is so that he/she may be able to refer to it during the voyage, or if you’re ‘not available’. Some savvy yachtsman may even make copies of the checklist and distribute them, so that each passenger has a copy on their person.

The Alpha Checklist has three primary (and multiple secondary) purposes. It lets passengers know: (1) where the boat’s emergency equipment is located and how to use it, (2) how to operate the vessel, radio, and emergency beacon in the event you are incapacitated, and (3) what to do in the event of fire, flooding and hull-breach.

The emergency plan detailed in your Alpha List may include role assignments in the event of an emergency, including who’s responsible for the ditch bag and critical supplies (water, food, etc.), assignment of a person to see that everyone has a life vest and that they’re put on correctly (children first), a radio operator (who’s responsible for interacting with the Coast Guard and rescue vessels as well as operation of the vessel’s EPIRB or PLB; usually the skipper), an individual in charge of weather exposure (blankets, coats, etc.), a person responsible for role-call (how many passengers are aboard and is everyone accounted for and assembled in the proper location) and an individual charged with getting the dinghy(s) or life raft(s) stocked, untethered and ready to launch. The roles can be assigned by simple numbers (that correspond to numbered roles on your Alpha Checklist), although if there are a lot of young children it’s sometimes helpful to have ‘titles’ for each duty.

On my boat, we adopted an Alpha Checklist on the first of this year that takes about 8 minutes to present verbally from start to finish. Additionally, I keep a laminated copy in an open-faced compartment near the radio. I had always mentioned where the life vests were, how to get to the ditch bag and pointed out the fire-extinguishing equipment, etc., but now I take the time (usually while the engines are warming up) to share all pertinent info, including the basics of VHF radio operation, with every person who voyages on “Kokomo”. The result has been that passengers (often beloved family and friends) feel much better briefed on the boat’s systems and their personal safety and I feel much better in the case of the skipper becoming incapacitated.

Take the time to add an Alpha Checklist (named this because it should be presented first!) to your boat’s inventory. You never know when it’ll be necessary for your passengers to be prepared for emergencies and – one thing’s for sure – you won’t want to be in the impossible position of trying to impart these points in an emergency situation.

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When you need an MMSI # and your DSC …

A re-print of an important article - Your delightful weekend cruise from Pt. Townsend, WA to Friday Harbor, WA in the San Juan’s has

turned to a nightmare. One minute you’re laughing at one of Hal’s out-of-date jokes – a fine example of Audrey’s famous Bloody Mary’s in one hand and the other draped across the helm – and the next you’re scrambling because the boat has hit something,  something big, and you’re not sure what damage it has done. It seems like a lot of time has passed before you have the presence of mind to look below and, upon opening the aft bilge hatch, you see that the ocean is pouring in. You can’t see them, but there are two long creases in the hull, about half its length, culminating in two jagged holes, about 4” wide each, forward of the prop.

Upon getting to your feet, you shade your eyes and take a look in your wake trail and see only pieces of gel coat and fiberglass floating in the disturbed water … no sign of the rocks. You’ll find them marked on your charts later. Only three minutes have passed since the jarring experience, but Audrey is already handing life vests to Hal and Linda, and hers is on. She has a fourth in her hand, and with a look of concern in her eyes, she holds it out for you and waits for your next instructions. The engine stalled following the collision, and there is now an eerie silence, with only the lapping of the waves against the windward hull and the unending gurgling from beneath the bilge.

Your mind turns briefly to the hours, weeks really, you have invested in this boat. The hundreds of thousands of dollars you’ve spent, and the piece of yourself you’ve let it become. But your thoughts turn quickly to emergency procedures as the Rule bilge pump activates and starts pumping water overboard. The machinery weight of the engine and generator, along with four storage compartments full of boating supplies, are contributing to the added intake of water and, in only 5 minutes since the underwater collision, the boat is developing an aft and slightly portward list.

You are the captain, and the good folks on board are counting on you to have a plan; to have prepared for this. You have one, and the procedures come into focus as you get your wits about you. You tell Hal to go up top and release the tender from its mounts and tie downs, double check the lashing line and put it overboard. Everything goes into the tender except passengers, for now. The Abandon Ship, or “Ditch” bag, has all the emergency supplies in it, and it is lashed into a pre-determined position in the tender – which has become a lifeboat. You transfer the ship’s First Aid Kit and flares into the boat, and ask Audrey to gather water and packaged food.

The list is getting more critical now, and Hal, Linda and Audrey are on the aft deck, trying to remain calm. The tender is ready and you’ve seen to it that everyone is warmly dressed and is wearing their coats and hats in addition to life jackets. It’s 11 minutes post-event now, and you’d best not wait any longer to radio for help.

The boat came with a VHF radio, an older one, and other than using it to hailing radio for slips in harbors you visited, you haven’t used it much. Now you check that it’s on channel 16, the emergency channel, and press the PTT on the microphone. The gravity of your situation hits home as you hear yourself saying the words. over the din of the bilge alarm, “May Day, May Day, May Day … this is the motor trawler AUDREY C off the south corner of San Juan Island declaring an emergency … we’ve evidently hit a submerged rock and the boat is taking on water faster than we can pump it out.”

Less than 13 minutes into a boating emergency, your whole life has changed. You have no idea how far away help is … and you look out the window to see there’s a wind whipping up the sea that didn’t affect the comfort of your passengers in the heated cabin of the boat, but might be a real factor in an open tender at sea. Then a crackle and a response on the radio.

“Motor vessel AUDREY C, this is Coast Guard station Anacortes, please respond.” You do and shortly after you tell your story on the radio, you learn that no fewer than 7 vessels (5 pleasure boats, 1 fishing boat and a Coast Guard cutter that was cruising Thatcher Pass) have altered course in your general direction. You hadn’t been able to give precise latitude/longitude info to the coast guard because the battery was discharged on your hand-held GPS and you didn’t know where you were – or how to read latitude/longitude on the chart that was stuffed somewhere up near the helm. Looking outside, you gave landmark desciptions and rough distances – it was amazing how difficult it was to be accurate when you needed to – from each. The Coast Guard had asked you if your radio featured DSC, but not only did none of the buttons on your VHF say that, you didn’t know anything about it. “No, I don’t know what that is”, was your only answer.

With the aftward and portward list getting more severe, you explain what it’ll mean to abandon ship to the three frightened people gathered round the lashing line to the tender, reassure them that help is coming, and decide to take another look below. Though you can’t visualize where the water is coming in, you can reach into the depths of the bilge and feel along the hull for a hole. It only takes a minute to find the breaches, two holes of roughly the same size, with edges protruding inward. You call Audrey, who is nearby, and ask her for towels. She’s back in a moment, and you roll the towels as tightly as possible into roughly the size of the holes. Then, getting an angle on the hull breach, you force the rolled towels into the holes, stemming the gushing water and leaving only towel seepage. The pump rapidly expels the remaining water and, within another 10 minutes, you start to breathe more easily as your situation seems considerably better than it did 15 minutes before.

You look up from your position on the deck, and see two of the rescue boats on the horizon, and you realize that the emergency is over, and your passengers and yourself are going to be alright. As you keep an eye on the rolled towels as the fishing trawler tows you to his home port where his brother has a sling to take you out of the water and affect repairs, you find yourself thinking about latitude and longitude, and realizing that, in open water far from land (and landmarks) you wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone where you were.

The above story ended well, thankfully, but could just as easily have turned into a real disaster. What if there was a way that you could transmit a distress call with the push of a button that let all nearby vessels, and (most-importantly) the Coast Guard know you were in trouble? And what if that distress signal related your GPS position, critical ID information, vessel statistics, name, etc.? Well, there has been such a system for years and, although the Coast Guard has taken awhile to achieve a monitoring system that can reliably zero in on a boat in distress, that system is ready and operational, and the service is free and ready to use now. It’s called DSC, and it should be employed aboard every seagoing vessel in existence today.

All permanent VHF radios sold in the U.S. are now required to have DSC (Digital Selective Calling), which transmits a distress call with your boat’s ID and, if equipped, GPS coordinates (latitude & longitude) to the Coast Guard and other vessels with similar transceivers immediately. There’s a DSC button on VHF’s that allows you to declare an emergency with a single touch, an incredibly valuable feature in an emergency situation. This service is available on some hand-held and all permanent mounted VHF radios from all manufacturers.

To use DSC, you must have a MMSI (Marine Mobile Service Identity) number, and they are free and easy to get in the U.S., and only little more involved if you’re planning to travel internationally by boat. To get yours in the U.S., log onto the Boat U.S. site at After completing the form, you’ll be issued a permanent MMSI number. That I.D. should be programmed into all the ship’s VHF’s (NOTE: Follow your instruction manual’s instructions carefully; most VHFs give you only one chance to input MMSI data), whether permanent or handheld. If you need to apply for a station license (planning to cruise internationally), the forms for that process are available at the Boat U.S. site listed above as well. If you (1) have a station license, or (2) plan to apply for a station license, you do not want to apply for the free Boat U.S. MMSI number.

If your VHF radio is an older one (that doesn’t feature DSC). you need to weigh having this free, potentially life-saving service vs. the expense of buying a new radio or handheld (note that handheld radios don’t have nearly the range of permanent mount units). For us, it’s a “no brainer” … having the reassurance of push button, instant notification of the Coast Guard and nearby boats in the critical minutes of an emergency, and not having to worry that you’ve related inaccurate GPS info, is too valuable to put a price on.

For more information regarding DSC and MMSI numbers, see the following sites:

… and read the article on Ditch Bags on our Gear & Electronics page

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Raised Pilothouse & Trusty Diesel – The NP-28 revisited

North Pacific Yachts has not been around a long time by yachting standards, but they’ve certainly made their mark in the yachting business since the company’s inception in 2004. The NP43, the yacht they started with, is still the largest model, and the far-sighted company has grown the North Pacific Yachts fleet by introducing three smaller models, the smallest of which falls in our size category and has established itself as a leader. The NP28 gives the owner everything he looks for in a trawler yacht, plus one big bonus … it’s trailerable.

It was so successful, in fact, that Nordic Tug decided to bring back its legendary NT26 (26 foot) model, and it’s not hard to imagine why yacht owners are flocking to purchase this boat with its classic lines, raised pilothouse, and diesel propulsion system. It’s the dream yacht, really. Large enough to be comfortable on long trips and small enough to be trailerable (without a permit) to your launching point. And, it can be kept on land, on its trailer, bypassing expensive berthing fees, higher insurance premiums and costs associated with the boat being in the water full-time.

The NP28 holds true to the concepts that North Pacific puts into all yachts: (1) easy access to all machinery and equipment, (2) a low-maintenance exterior (3)  a warm, nicely-finished interior, (4) a thoughtful, well-planned layout with ample creature-comforts and a few creative innovations, and (5) a long and rather generous list of standard equipment, much of which is optional on other yachts.

You’d have to look twice to confirm that you’re looking at a 28-footer (instead of a much larger vessel) when the NP28 is in the water. The all fiberglass and 316 stainless exterior (no teak) is all business, and well thought out. The hull is constructed of solid hand laid-up fiberglass, and is finished with Vinylester resins, 2 layers of epoxy below the waterline and 3 coats of bottom paint. Top notch hull treatment. The superstructure is also fiberglass, with Nida Core foam coring to cut down on weight.

The NP28’s cockpit is about 4’ X 7’ including a propane locker and 20lb tank. It features a transom door to a good-sized swim platform and a standard hot & cold shower. There’s enough space for a couple of deck chairs, and you may want to opt for the bimini-style top option.  In the floor of the cockpit is the lazarette, a popular storage locale. As with every other space used on the boat, this is nicely finished and easy to access.

Forward, and accessed from either side of the pilothouse, is a well-equipped ground tackle system that includes a 25lb plow anchor, 30’ of chain and 150’ of rope. The standard, dual-control (pilothouse switch or foot pedal) Lewmar windlass features a chain/rode gypsy and a 600lb capacity. While handling your ground tackle, you’ll be reassured by the 1.25” stainless railing, especially in restless seas. A standard sea water wash down is to port.

Entering the salon from the cockpit requires raising a hinged glass cover overhead and entering through an aluminum door with a large glass window, steeping down as one enters. One is immediately struck by the contrast between the interior and exterior, North Pacific has used teak (walls are teak veneer, while cabinets, doors, etc. are solid teak) to accent and warm the interior of the NP28. The overhead cover you just came through, though necessary due to the sunken design of the salon, works with 6 large windows and the spacious 6’5” headroom to add to the sense of space and light. Once again, you don’t feel that you’re on a 28-foot boat.

To port one finds a 7’ settee that features drawers built-in underneath. The settee converts to a tall double bed in moments, utilizing a nifty pull-out panel concealed beneath the cushion. The nautical drop leaf, high-low table can either be an unobtrusive cocktail/coffee table or, with leaves ‘up’, a full-size dinner table. I like this arrangement better than the dinette found on most boats, because – especially on a smaller vessel – it creates more room in the salon. On the starboard side, North Pacific provides a 5.7cf fridge/freezer, a two-burner stove, and a single sink with drainboard. A cabinet seems designed for a microwave, and there is ample storage in cabinets and drawers below. Counters are sufficient for most meals and are manufactured of Corian or equivalent material.

Move forward, and up two steps, and you’ll find yourself in the pilothouse. NPY has succeeded in making this a separate venue by virtue of it’s separate level, the partition walls between it and the salon, and a curtain to obscure the passageway. This makes sleeping guests (on the convertible sofa at the dinette) feel that they have their own space, and makes navigation feel removed from activity both forward in the V-berth and aft in the salon. The pilothouse has port and starboard (where the helm is situated) seats that can be joined with another hidden pull-out panel thereby creating a settee that runs the width of the pilothouse or a watch berth for the skipper. The pilot’s seat also slides to make it easier to use the door. There are 9 large windows, including 2 ports in the partition (to your rear) that comprise an almost 360 degree view from the helm.

Forward and down two steps is the captain’s cabin (or V-berth), the head and the hanging locker. The V-berth is comprised of two berths with filler cushions if desired. The head is remarkable for a 28’ boat (a manual toilet, 2 cabinets, a sink, a mirror and an opening port; and a Tecma electric flush toilet is an option). The smallish holding tank (20 gal.) is monitored via a head-mounted Tank Watch gauge. The head does double-duty as a shower, but we recommend using the cockpit shower (included) whenever possible, although the head is 100% fiberglass finished with Gelcoat.

The Cummins QSD 150 diesel engine comes with a 105 amp alternator. The 150 is popular and well-suited to the NP28 as it allows for economical cruising, and will push the boat along at 13 knots (when carrying a light load). The Cummins is a 4-cylinder diesel engine featuring electronic common rail fuel injection. This provides a smoother, more quiet ride than mechanical engines do. It also reduces smoke (to almost none, even on a cold start).

The NP28 features electrical done the way you’d find it on much bigger, mainstream (read “name brand”) yachts. Tinned copper throughout, color coded, labeled behind each junction box/access point, and accessible per a pre-printed ship’s schematic (included).  The electrical panel looks like something out of a 50-footer, but that seems to be the way NPY does things.

The boat comes standard with 2 AGM 8D house batteries and one 4D starting battery for the Cummins diesel. Also standard is a Xantrex 1500 watt inverter/charger with an 80-watt rapid charger when you’re connected to shore power. This means you have A/C voltage throughout the boat at any time. If, however, you want a generator, the NextGen 3.5KW diesel generator is an option from the factory. Be advised that you’ll give up most of your lazarette space to have this option installed, and the factory advises the purchase of a Honda eu2000 portable generator for back up power if you’re not thinking air conditioning (The $1000 Honda vs. the approximately $10,000.00 NextGen is a no-brainer if you don’t need air conditioning).

As if the NP28 doesn’t have enough on its standard equipment list, a Vetus 35KGF bow thruster is also standard. Add that to the oversized rudder and keel (with prop protecting skeg) and you have a highly maneuverable yacht at all speeds and alongside the dock.

I think it took the folks at North Pacific Yachts plenty of planning and creativity to come up with a yacht that has all these features, sports a real raised pilothouse in a 28-foot diesel trawler, and is just 8’6” in width. I say “Bravo!”. I think others must be scratching their heads, unable to imagine how they can improve upon it. And I think that you need to see the NP28 before you buy your next boat … you may be as impressed as I am … and don’t forget to ask about a trailer.

* Photos courtesy of mftr. website:
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Place your ad for anything nautical or of interest to folks who love boats and the sea! Click above on the NAUTICAL FLEA MARKET to list your boat, gear, supplies for free. We’ll bet you have “stuff” that would be something special to others. Why not list it for FREE at the NAUTICAL FLEA MARKET!

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Back To Basics – Retromarine 21′ Cape Island Trawler

When I was a boy, and full of adventure, I remember sneaking down to the covered boat docks at my favorite Colorado River vacation spot (Winterhaven, AZ) and perusing the variety of boats that made that place their home. Among the obligatory houseboats, fishing boats and ski-boats, there was one that stood out as not belonging there … and I was drawn to the beautiful green boat with the strange name.

I was only in Winterhaven once (maybe twice) per year, but I managed to get to know the owner (I thought he was old then, but he was likely younger than I am now) of the boat with the high bow and the graceful lines. I’d show up and he’d be working on some project and, despite the fact that I hadn’t been there in 10 months or so, he’d smile, say something that made me realize that he recognized me, and throw me a rag, or a rope, or something else that said, “Come on aboard and make yourself useful”.

I’m not sure what interested me more … the boat or its owner, but I came to regard my visits to see Mr. Jameson onboard the O’Rourke as an important and treasured beginning and end to my trips to the river, and I spent more time than I was supposed to in the marina at the forbidden berth (the covered berths were supposed to be kept locked and no one younger than 18 was to be down there unless accompanied by an adult). I was 12.

The O’Rourke was, I was to learn many years later, a Cape Island style trawler. It was most certainly a salty, sea going vessel that was very out-of-place in a land-locked marina on the Colorado River. Mr. Jameson had bought it on the Maine coast (third hand) when he lived out there, and when he met a lady he couldn’t live without (from Yuma, AZ), he purchased an old trailer and towed the boat the 3000+ miles to it’s new home in Arizona.

The Jamesons, who got married shortly after Mr. Jameson’s move to Arizona, had lived in or owned 11 homes, had 4 children and several grandchildren, kept several jobs over the years but always kept just the one boat. I learned that the O’Rourke (named after Mr. Jameson’s mother’s Dad) was between 20 and 25 years old then, but Mr. Jameson (and I, when I was there) kept the wood polished and every aspect of the vessel in show condition. It even had bottom paint, which was a rarity in fresh water and even more so in 1972.

I’ve since become a fan (read: enthusiastic supporter; student) of trawlers, and in the research I’ve done, I’ve learned that the Cape Island Trawlers, first built (of wood) at Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1907 with Fiberglass models debuting in 1961, have been one of the most revered boats of all time, and they’re still being built for commercial boats and pleasure yachts (My Rosborough is a trawler in every sense, though it cannot lay claim to being part of the Cape Island line).

I was happy to find a boat that took me back to my childhood days with Mr. J. and O’Rourke when I recently came across the 21’ Cape Island Trawler by Retromarine. Who knew I’d come across this vessel some 40 years after I last visited the Winterhaven docks! Much about this boat is similar to that one I ‘worked’ (played) on – even the jog in the boat’s forward gunwhales (they’re raised gunwhales) – and I enjoyed getting to know the unique qualities and the stout history of the Retromarine 21’ Cape Island Trawler.

In an age where many boats seem to have been built more for the amenities you can build into them than for the quality and functionality of the vessel itself, the Retromarine 21’ Cape Island Trawler is a welcome ‘throwback’ to an age where a boat was a boat, and it was judged on how it was built and what it could do.

The Retromarine 21 is built in five variations: the Cape Island Trawler, the Standard pilothouse, the K-Model pilothouse, the Day Boat and the Center Console model. Though each has its purpose and strength, the Cape Island Trawler, pictured in this article, is most attractive to me and, if it was painted Irish green, would be a dead ringer for O’Rourke. It’s notable that Retromarine, formed in 2002, imports the boats from the same Nova Scotia builder that has fabricated them for decades.

Their Cape Island Trawler is, compared to most vessels sold on today’s market, ‘sparse’. That is, though you can add them to the boat, it doesn’t ‘come’ with all of today’s gadgetry, and in fact it doesn’t ‘need’ it. The boat itself is very well built, and it’s features are those you’d most value on a voyage in waters like those off Nova Scotia. It has a stable keel, fine bow entry and is very sea kindly (and a 9” draft for you gunkholers). It’s lightweight and is therefore easily served by a 50hp outboard engine. And, it can be had, brand new, for an unprecedented $35,000!

For that sum, you get a stout little boat (a real trawler!), with a long list of standard features built in, a forward 6’ V-berth, seating for at least four (6 with outdoor chairs), etc. The  boat features a ‘built-in’ porta-potty, but lacks a galley. The owner can specify one of several popular modular galleys (optional) that can be built-in/on, but many opt for a BBQ and ice box, and, adhering to the mentality of “back to basics” design that spawned this boat, forego the additional ‘hassle’ of the storage batteries, hot-cold water plumbing, onboard fresh water storage, hot water heater, space for the sink, electrical wiring, etc.

The Retromarine 21’ Cape Island Trawler features a custom-built helm station, with room for simple instrumentation or expanded electronics. The Garelick seats at the helm and navigator’s station are comfortable and high quality, and there is excellent 360-degree line of site in the tall house for both the skipper and navigator.

The exterior is decidedly low maintenance, with diamond pattern non-skid everywhere, and a rinse off hull and house. The deck is self-bailing non-skid, and there are two fiberglass scuppers aft. Seating is very comfortable with your choice of quality chairs mounted on stainless pedestals on fiberglass risers (which also feature handy storage). The cockpit features storage space and seating too, and additional passengers can sit comfortably on the gunwhales or in portable chairs.

  • Overall length…………………………21 feet
  • Beam………………………………………8 feet 6 inches
  • Draft………………………………………..9 inches
  • Weight…………………………………….2200 lbs (no engine)
  • Five year hull warranty
  • 70 HP recommended power

As would be the case in a boat of this quality, all hardware and fasteners are stainless steel, as is the oversized bow eye, the bow rail, the transom “U” bolts, the deluxe footrest and hand-holds, the destroyer wheel and the cleats, bollard and chocks.  There is a ‘no maintenance’ trim made of Starboard(TM) material throughout the vessel, which means that much less trim maintenance.

The boat features one opening window forward (at the helm), and two sliding windows (one on either side). Considering that you may operate it open to the elements much of the time, this seems like more than enough ventilation. The V-berth features an overhead 16.5” adjustable hatch for ventilation and emergency egress.

The boat is quite light and weighs about 2200lbs. plus engine and gear. It uses a lightweight and efficient trailer that can be towed by a ½ ton pick-up and a variety of other vehicles, and launches & retrieves like a ski-boat (easily!). The cabin can be enclosed with an Eisenglass-style shade (factory built), and the V-berth has a separate, solid door to insure privacy and warm sleeping quarters when desired.

It isn’t O’Rourke, but the classic lines and work boat character of the 21’ Cape Island Trawler take me back to that simpler ‘happy-go-lucky’ time in my life. It’s nice that someone can build (or import) a quality trawler, with the characteristics of Cape Island Trawlers from the past combined with the modern conveniences of today, for such an attractive price.

Mr. Jameson would smile and say, “Now, that’s a boat!”.

Photos courtesy of mftr’s website at
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Get To Know The Extraordinary Caledon 27

Caledon Boatworks has been building quality yachts – and acquiring a reputation for these vessels – for 30 years in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. Caledon is a family company that shows fierce pride in their work, and an equal affinity for and loyalty to those who own their boats. If you’ve cruised aboard a Caledon boat, you’re not likely to forget it … the rich wood finishes, the tough over-built hull, the quiet hum of the engine(s) … it seems the British Columbian trawler is reborn with the molding of each new hull.
Rich in it’s wooden coverings and comfortable throughout, the Caledon 27 won’t betray its B.C. commercial boat heritage until you need it to, but with countless owner stories of adventures in 8’ and larger seas, the yacht’s sea worthiness is nothing short of legendary.

The exterior of the Caledon 27 is low-maintenace and tough. There are four ports (that seem like they are imported directly from a 50’ tug) in the forecastle, and about a dozen large windows in the salon that make for about a 340-degree view from the helm (the area to port that is enclosed for the head and shower being the only blind spot). Stainless steel rails are positioned high for protection at the bow, and stainless grab rails adorn both sides of the roof. A pair of heavy-duty, no-nonsense windshield wipers are positioned on the port and starboard windshields. Port and starboard walk space is ample (11” wide) for transiting forward and aft, and the vessels large cockpit is adorned in a non-skid finish for both safety and low maintenance. A centered settee sits at the transom in the rear, and makes an excellent perch from which you can take in the view.Aft of the transom, a two-foot bolted and fiberglassed hull-extension (faired to/with the hull and painted to match) features a swim ladder and provides generous mounting space for single or dual outboard engines, as well as easy boarding access from a dinghy. The cleats on the boat are substantial, fabricated of stainless steel, and are positioned where they’ll be handy when they’re needed.
Caledon incorporates PVC coring in the boat’s topsides and deck for insulation, floatation and for weight consideration. The bottom, cleat areas and foredeck feature a brawny, solid half inch of fiberglass. The hull to deck joint is fiberglassed together from inside the boat, which creates a solid, one piece assembly. One gets an idea of the yacht’s low center of gravity when one first looks at her, and this results in a sense of stability and comfort, as well as added safety, especially in turbulent seas.
Enter through the one, cockpit sliding door, and you find yourself immediately awash in the luxurious wood finishes and other comforts for which the Caledon is known. The (6’5”) interior takes one back to when most boats were built this way, and the Caledon’s builders excell at the joinery of the woodwork.
Immediately upon entering, the galley (which features a stove, oven, fridge, stainless steel sink, a 15-gallon water tank, an automatic water pump and storage cabinets) is to starboard and the head/shower is enclosed to port. There’s plenty of counter space, and a propane solenoid switch adds convenience that is not usually found on this size of boat.The head facility is much more spacious than the one in the Caledon 25 (where it is forward of the helm in the V-berth area) and features a Jabsco manual marine toilet, a fiberglass sink, and a hot/cold shower. In keeping with the motif of the boat, Caledon has lined the interior of the head with aromatic teak. There’s ample lighting for the shower and head compartment as well.
Just forward of the head compartment is the dinette with a convertible table that quickly makes into a small double bed or a generous single. The forward-most seat for the dinette does double-duty as the navigator’s seat when it is reversed. Across from the two position seat is the helm, designed by someone who knows about boating. The helm has a quality destroyer wheel positioned comfortably, and controls and gauges are in easy proximity. There are options for every type of electronics, including a (top) mount for a MFD (Multi-Function Display) at near eye level, but below the helmsman’s line of site. A high-quality DC switch panel is located near the pilot’s feet on the outer wall of the helm area, and a combination stainless steel red/white lamp is located directly above, with an accompanying (white only) lamp positioned further aft.
Step forward and the V-berth (6’6” long) and a cedar lined hanging locker are close at hand. These are tastefully wrapped in wood, including the access hatch to the forward chain and rope storage compartment for the ship’s ground tackle. There are two stainless steel Halogen reading lamps located at convenient reading angles, an overhead hatch for ventilation or emergency escape, and overhead and underneath storage facilities. The V-berth separates from the main cabin/salon via a wooden folding door. Two of the four portals open and feature bug screens (three way ventilation with the overhead hatch).


Caledon 27 Specifications:

Length – 27’3″

Beam – 8’6″

Draft – 24″

Displacement – 6,000 lbs.

Sliding windows in the salon contribute ventilation to the interior, and there’s chart storage in the opening dinette table. Caledon has attended to many of the items one might add to the vessel, including a convenient storage shelf on the starboard side.

Caledon 27 – Standard Equipment

Exterior Mechanical
• 5 year hull warranty • Blower motor
• One piece hand laid hull with PVC foam core from chine up • 40 amp starter battery
• Solid 1/2” fibreglass bottom, cleat areas & foredeck • 100 amp house battery
• Solid 5/8” keel • 2 Blue Seas battery select switches
• One piece hand laid deck with PVC foam core • Automatic battery charger
• Hull and deck glassed together from inside, hence making solid waterproof 1 piece unit •Automatic electric bilge pump with 3 way switch
• S.S. anchor roller on mahogany or fibreglass bowsprit • Manual bilge pump
• S.S. self opening hinged hawse pipe • Blue Seas AC panel with volt meter
• 6” S.S. chocks & 10” S.S. bow cleat • Blue Seas DC panel with volt meter & amp consumption meter
• 4 – 8” S.S. cleats, 2 mid ship & 2 astern • 12 volt output receptacle
• Easy 11” wide walk around decks • Fire retardant interior gelcoats
• S.S. handrails on cabin top Helm
• S.S. handles on exterior cabin corners • No feed-back steering system
• S.S. bow tow eye • Aqua meter compass
• Regulation lights with anchor light • Heavy duty port & starboard windshield wipers
• Courtesy lights in cockpit • 12 volt horn
• Access hatches in cockpit • Digital speed log with temperature
• Day & Night S.S. Nicro 2000 Vents • Tilt & tank gauges
• Mahogany or fibreglass fore hatch • RPM gauge
• Mahogany or fibreglass door • Sliding helm seat with foot rest
• Non-skid on decks & toe rails • Helm step
• INTERLUX PROTECT 2000 system below water line & anti-fouling paint V-berth
• High density rub rails • 6’6” in length
• 2 – 24 gal fuel tanks with filter/water separator • 2 S.S. halogen reading lights
• 110 volt 30 amp shore power inlet • Folding privacy door
Galley • Overhead & under v-berth storage
• 12 volt 2.4cu ft fridge with ice cube compartment • Access to anchor locker
• 15 gallon water tank • 2 fixed port holes
• Automatic electric water pump • 2 opening port holes with mosquito screens
• Two burner propane stove Salon
• S.S. sink with cold water tap • 6’5” head room
• Propane solenoid switch • 2 seat dinette with telescopic table, convertible to forward looking mate seat with footrest or berth
• CFCI receptacle with indicator light • Chart storage under dinette table
• Utensil drawer • Storage shelf along starboard side
• Under counter storage • Main cabin sliding windows
• 15 gallon holding tank • Aromatic cedar lined hanging locker
• JABSCO manual household sized toilet • 2 S.S. cabin lights, one with red light illumination
• Aromatic cedar lined head • Dual 110 volt receptacle
• Head compartment light  


Caledon 27 Options

Air conditioner and heat pump
Canvas awning with mosquito screens/windows
Hot and cold pressurized water with deck shower, includes 30 gal tank
Teak rub rail with stainless steel rub strake
Mahogany rub rail with stainless steel rub strake
Anchor windlass with helm control
Propane/kerosene cabin heater with pressure tank
Remote control searchlight
12 volt macerator w/bronze thru hull and sea cock
12 volt wash down pump
Teak and holly cabin floors
Mahogany cabin floors
Cockpit seat
Two additional corner seats
Larger custom aluminum fuel tanks (80 gallons)
Larger stainless steel water tanks (30 gallons)
Additional stern bulkhead sliding window
Three step swim ladder
Fishing rod holder (each)
Divided hanging locker
Mahogany fish rod rack
Mahogany bookshelf
Additional 12 volt outlet
Power Options
Four stroke Yamaha motors
Twin 50 HP or T50 (high thrust motors)
Twin 60 HP or T60
Twin 75 HP
Single 90 HP
Single 115 HP
Single 150 HP
The Caledon 27 seems like a lot of boat for the money (use the link that follows to contact the mftr. for the current price) and an ideal boat for the skipper who desires a downright rugged, well-built, go anywhere yacht with the signature Caledon wood-lined interior. Take a look at her before you buy your next boat.  You’ll find a sort of magic in the combination of luxury and strength in the Caledon 27.
Photos and tables courtesy of mftrs. website: www.caledonboatworks
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