Back Cove Yachts: Downeast 37
A classic Maine powerboat featuring rugged construction and practical design
By John Snyder
The helm deck and cockpit sole on the Downeast 37 are on one level, which makes the space more flexible. A retractable awning covers the open aft cockpit. Photographs by Billy Black courtesy Back Cove Yachts (2)By John Snyder Walking the docks at any major boat show these days, you can’t help but notice the prevalence of mid-size poweryachts in the 30- to 40-foot range. While they bear different monikers, from picnic boat, to express cruiser, to lobsteryacht, and vary in appointments, these poweryachts seem to appeal to a common clientele. Many are people who have retired from sailing, while others simply lack the time. However, they all have a sailor’s sense of what makes a good boat. Back Cove Yachts of Rockland, whose sister company Sabre Yachts has deep roots in sail, clearly recognizes this trend. They, and Sabre, have responded to the market with a variety of powerboat models in recent years. While all have been well received, Back Cove’s Downeast 37 might just be the best in its class.
Down the companionway steps, the interior is surprisingly spacious for a boat this size.Designed in-house by Kevin Burns, the Downeast 37 features a deep-V planing hull with downward-turning chines and long spray rails for lift and to minimize spray when running. The classic hull profile is inspired by the iconic Maine lobsterboat with a spoon bow, gently sloped reverse transom, and a bit of tumblehome in the topsides.
At the base of the companionway—at close proximity to the helm—is a galley with microwave oven, deep stainless sink, cooktop stove, and pull-out refrigerator/freezer.Below the waterline, the propeller runs in a shallow pocket followed by a conventional bronze rudder aft. The hull pocket not only reduces draft, it also contributes to a reduced running angle when planing. Capitalizing on a proven hull design for both the older Back Cove 37 and the new Downeast 37, Back Cove can maximize its use of molds and streamline the construction process. The ruggedly built hulls are resin-infused with a PVC foam core sandwich and a resin-infused stringer system for rigidity. Beyond the hull the Downeast 37 is unique in layout, accommodation space, and appointments. Back Cove responded to a demand for an unencumbered, open, deck space. Forward from the swim platform, which spans the transom, a centerline transom door opens to a flush deck stretching all the way to the helm bulkhead. The result is uncompromised deck space that is configured with port and starboard raised settees (with storage below), wide side windows, and a large cockpit table for entertaining and intimate dining. For additional guests, the cockpit easily accommodates a large teak table and chairs. The open deck can be protected from the elements with a SureShade canopy, which, when extended over the deck, elegantly follows the lines of the hardtop. Large lazarette hatches in the open deck provide easy engine access and cavernous storage.
Down the companionway steps, the interior is surprisingly spacious for a boat of this size. There is a small but elegant galley on the port side, complete with a pull-out refrigerator/freezer, flush-mounted microwave, sink, ceramic cooktop stove, and ample drawers and lockers. To starboard, there is a full head with freshwater flush and separate stall shower. Forward of the galley and head is a stateroom with a centerline queen berth with storage underneath. Cedar-lined hanging lockers, shelves, and overhead cabinets compliment the yacht’s storage capacity. For privacy, a curtain can be installed across this part of the cabin to separate it from the galley. Interior finishing is in the Herreshoff style with white panels and cherry joinery. Cabin decking is a faux teak and holly high-pressure laminate with a textured surface for sure footing. For simplicity of service and overall economy, the Downeast 37 features single-screw propulsion. Performance will vary with the choice of engine. Engine options include a standard Cummins QSB 480-hp marine diesel, a Yanmar 6CX 530-hp, or Cummins QSC 8.3 600-hp engines. A sidepower bow thruster is standard with a stern thruster optional. For auxilary power, there are a choice of Gensets. With all of its rugged elegance, practical design, and systems engineering, the Back Cove Downeast 37 is sure to land a place on any serious boater’s short list of handsome and able poweryachts. John Snyder is a multimedia journalist specializing in the marine industry. He lives in midcoast Maine. Credit: Video by Billy Black Slideshow: The Downeast 37 by Back Cove Yachts features an open deck space and a spacious interior. Photos by Billy Black