Samson 28 – A Rugged Cape Island Style Yacht

Samson 28 - Cape Island Style

Samson Enterprises builds two handsome Cape Island style boats that live up to the Nova Scotia boat-building tradition. They are the Samson 28 and the Samson 30, and they are virtually the same except that the 30-footer has two feet additional cockpit space to offer. Samson is the largest boat manufacturer in eastern Nova Scotia, builds commercial and pleasure vessels to 65-feet, and has been in the boat building business since 1986. The company and its line of tough, Canadian Atlantic sea-going boats celebrates its 25 th anniversary in 2011.

The Samson 28 sports the profile of the vessels that have fished and cruised the beautiful, temperamental waters off the Canadian maritimes for more than 100 years. Her hull is one of the most respected in the business, and Samson makes them one at a time in their Pondville, Nova Scotia facility. The boat’s high, plumb bow and square, plumb stern are indicative of the time-proven Cape Island style. The Samson 28 is proven in the seas off the Nova Scotia coast after all, and therefore provides a safe, stable ride in all seas. The hull is solid UV resistant fiberglass and features a coating of high ISO gelcoat.

The boat looks all business, and the builder suggests it may not be the right yacht for you if you’re looking for “flash”. Remember, Samson Enterprises builds lots of commercial craft too, and the utilitarian principles of a strong ocean boat are found in their pleasure craft, including the 28. The house features ten PVC framed windows and two hatches, and is a two-piece molded superstructure with the roof (including visor) laminated to the wheelhouse. The deck, wheelhouse bulkhead and roof are cored for weight management. The assembly is tough, and seems capable of withstanding most anything the sea serves up.

The all-business look softens a bit when you enter. I immediately noticed the wider interior (11’ 3” at the widest point midships) and the space the extra three feet creates. The floors can be covered with beautiful wood soles (see photo), or a more utilitarian non-slip fiberglass surface. To starboard is the galley which comes standard with the cupboard and counter top, but can be outfitted with your choice of fixtures and appliances, including oven, range, fridge and a selection of sink and faucet combinations.

Opposite the galley is the port side dinette which consists of a table and two bench seats. I suspect that some boat buyers will want to choose a custom dining arrangement, and this basic set-up lets them do so easily. The space provided by the 11’ 3” beam in this part of the hull leaves lots of possibilities open, including the option for a larger table with 4 chairs and tuck-under pedestals or dual-purpose ottomans that would seat 6 total.

The helm, forward of the galley to starboard, features a two-seater bench helm chair, and a door that opens out onto the side deck and the sea. A molded helm offers many mounting options for instrumentation and command and control devices, as well as a nice diagonal mount for the wheel, which offers ideal wheel positioning for taller helms people. There is ample space on top for your MFD and other items, such as a compass. The yacht’s AC and DC electrical panels are on the port side of the helm console, and there is lots of room perpendicular to this panel for additional gauges, control heads, monitors, etc. Overhead space is available for your VHF and other thinner devices, and quality windshield wipers service each of the front windows. The helm area features a nice raised platform (elevated floor) rather than a footrest forward, so standing at the helm may be a bit of a challenge if you’re tall. I’m sure the folks at Sampson will work with each owner to accommodate them.

Across from the helm, you have a choice of furnishings. You can choose a cabinet and chart table, navigator’s seat with chart drawers or perhaps you’d like to discuss some sort of custom arrangement with the builders. There are PVC grab rails on the roof of the wheelhouse and the cabin cuddy.

Step forward into the sleeper cabin and find a comfortable (wide) V-berth forward with a hanging locker and the head with an electric marine toilet. Both spaces were larger than I’d expected due to the Samson 28’s beam.

The builder makes room for a variety of engine options, utilizes Kobelt (another fine Canadian company) controls and cables, and offers 4 wet through-stern ports for engine exhaust. A 2 X 1.5″ thru-hull sea cock with bronze fittings, hoses, heavy-duty clamps and strainer are included. Engine offerings from Volvo Penta, Yanmar, Cummins, and several others are a possibility here, and the Samson people are experts at installation and alignment. They have a solid fiberglass engine bed to work with, and they’ll happily work with you to find and bolt-in the engine of your choice.

The Samson 28 doesn’t mention trailering in any of its literature or promotional material. I imagine with the right custom trailer and permitting it’d be possible for a very bold driver. For me, the additional beam of almost three feet rules this yacht out of the trailering class – even where legal – and into the ranks of very high quality, (mostly) utilitarian, ready-in-your-berth, go anywhere, pass-it-on-for-generations, motor yachts in the compact yacht class.

Samson 28 Specifications:
Overall Length – 28′
Beam: Midship – 11’3″
Beam: Stern – 10’4″
Draft: 3′
Fuel: 150 U.S. gallons

* Photos courtesy of mftr. website:

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