REVIEW: BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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This new Back Cove Downeast 37 was hot off the container when we got to it. What we found was a lot more than a simple dayboat and entertainer.

The Back Cove Downeast 37 from Back Cove Yachts was hull no. 7, the first to hit our shores. At the time of the test it had only been in the country for a few days. Local importer Jed Elderkin explained that the new boat shares its hull design with the Back Cove 37 Classic but has completely new topsides with an open, single-level cockpit stretching from the transom to the helm station.

Such a layout lends itself to entertaining guests as a dayboat or occasional weekend jaunts for a couple. Those seeking long-distance cruising might be better served by the Classic with its longer, lockable saloon and twin cabins below.

The Downeast takes its name from the local region, so called because sailing ships ran downwind on an easterly breeze from Boston to Maine during the 1800s.

 

BACK COVE YACHTS

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 MOTOR YACHT

Don’t be fooled by the traditional looks. Under the skin it’s all contemporary construction and design with leading-edge technology for easy boat handling. Back Cove’s Vacuum Infused Process (VIP) draws uniform amounts of resin into the continuous filament mat of both hull and stringers at the same time to give a structurally strong unit with a flawless gelcoat finish.

The variable deadrise hull sports a deep-vee entry that runs to a moderate 16 degrees at the transom. Reverse chines start well forward and deepen at the stern for added stability, while the prop sits in a recessed pocket for reduced drag and a more efficient shaft angle.

Power is from a single 600hp Cummins common rail diesel that sits low in the centre of the hull for optimum stability and comes with full electronic control and digital data feedback to a dash-mounted display. Modern diesels are proving very reliable and a single engine with this sort of power is a sensible choice as it reduces both initial outlay and running costs.

Manoeuvring into tight spaces can be tricky with a single shaftdrive, so Side-Power proportional thrusters are installed to ensure docking is easy and make even novices look good at the helm. A ‘hold’ feature of the thrusters allows skippers to dock on their own by pressing the boat up against the dock and leave the helm to secure lines.

 

LAYOUT

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 DECK

On stepping aboard you will find the open cockpit has room to entertain up to 14 guests. The 3.65 x 3.65m area can be protected from the weather by a canvas awning that extends at the touch of a switch on telescopic poles. Towards the rear is seating for eight or more on removable side lounges covered in a nautical blue and white Sunbrella material.

A central doorway in the transom leads down to a wide, teak-clad swimplatform equipped with a slide-out ladder and small dinghy cleats.

Back in the cockpit, a large gas-assisted-strut hatch opens to a lazarette with generous storage for water toys, cockpit seats and a barbecue. The separate engineroom is easy to access and has ample space to get around the motor for inspection. Also noted was a 6kVa Kohler generator and two AGM house batteries for power options, as well as tanks along the sides for a total of 454lt freshwater capacity.

Walkways along the sides are wide enough not to have to navigate crab-style to the bow and good handgrips along the cabin top and then a sturdy handrail extending to the bow keep things safe. On the way forward I noted the radar-ready mast and opening hatch on the roof as well as three sets of wipers over the armour-plated glass windscreen.

 

CABINS

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 BATHROOM

For something best described as a dayboat there are some surprises downstairs through the lockable sliding door. Three steps took me to a friendly open space with a portside galley, an en suite opposite and a queen-sized island bed crafted into the bow.

Back Cove describes the cabin fitout as in the elegant Herreshoff-style of timber sailing boat – and without having been on one, I’ll take their word for it.

Light flows from an opening roof hatch and portholes around the sides, all of which have flyscreens and can be blocked out for late sleepers. A soft-touch cream roof lining adds to the muted colours in the bedroom, so the addition of a flag blue bedspread gave a jolly nautical touch and a reflection of the outside colour scheme.

I liked the handy shelf with fiddle rail each side of the bed, the dovetailing of the solid cherry drawers and doors in the furniture, as well as the added refined touch of cedar lining in the hanging closet. There’s a wall-mounted Jensen 19in television and a Fusion radio too, and I also noted dimmable lights and a sliding curtain to separate the bedroom from the galley for some privacy.

Lots more cherry timber adorn the galley where a two-burner electric stove and a deep stainless steel sink are set into a cream Corian benchtop. Stainless steel fridge-freezer and convection microwave with grill add a modern touch, while light and air flood in from an overhead hatch and side portholes. Weekenders and party people will be pleased to note the second fridge-freezer and icemaker in the cockpit.

It was great to see a very user-friendly en suite equipped with a full-sized shower and an acrylic door to keep the place nice and dry. A tilting vanity mirror as well as a large door mirror ensures you are always looking your best and the odour-resistant freshwater flush toilet is connected to a holding tank in the bilge.

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 CABIN

 

HANDLING

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 REAR QUARTER

I pointed the bow towards the heads and pushed the electronic throttle into clunklesscontact. While escaping from Sydney Harbour played out in my head, I calculated the options. At 7kts we were sipping 6lt/h, so from the 1135lt tank we could cover 1192nm, putting Auckland in range even with 10 per cent reserve and enough left for a lap of the harbour.

We were planing at a lazy 12kts and 1800rpm and by 2500rpm fuel burn had gone to 68lt/h at 23kts, which was a comfortable cruise through the harbour chop and ferry wash. Maximum continuous revs for the Cummins is 2700 and that delivered 25kts before we wound it out to maximum for a burst at 29kts and just over 3000rpm.

As I teased the boat eastward Jed’s gentle voice pointed out that the electronics package for the boat was being left to the customer and while there’s space for a 15in screen the dash was void of a GPS. I’m not sure my phone has charts for the Tasman, so he convinced me to put our voyage on hold.

At a cruise speed around the harbour, the boat was a joy to drive; smooth through the worst of the wake, with the automatic trim tabs holding us true and good feedback through the wheel. Burning 68lt/h at 2500rpm and 23kts gave a pretty credible safe range of 345nm.

 

THE VERDICT

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 AT ANCHOR

Like all good things, entry to the Back Cove isn’t cheap. As tested it’s around $625,000 with options, including the engine upgrade, auto tabs, sternthrusters, electronics package and Ultraleather upholstery. It starts at $575,000 with a 480hp motor that would still be capable of a decent cruise speed. 

 

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 SEA TRIALS

Single 600hp Cummins QSC8.3 turbo-diesel

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

FUEL BURN (LT/H)

600 (idle)

4

n/a

1000

7

6

1500

11

18

1800 (on the plane)

12

n/a

2000

16

40

2500

23

68

2700 (max continuous)

25

78

3000

28

102

3070 (WOT)

29

119

*Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

HIGHS

  • Great styling and quality inclusions
  • Frugal economy
  • Good handling and soft ride
  • Versatile entertainer or overnighter

 

LOWS

  • Not everyone will like the open helm – the 37 Classic is their answer

 

BACK COVE DOWNEAST 37 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$625,000

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Engine upgrade, auto tabs, sternthrusters, Ultraleather, proportional docking system, and more

 

PRICED FROM

$575,000

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Vacuum-infused GRP

TYPE Planing monohull dayboat

LENGTH 13.3m 

BEAM 4.3m        

WEIGHT 12,000kg            

DEADRISE 16°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 14             

REC. HP 480 to 600

FUEL 1200lt

WATER 700lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Cummins QSC8.3

TYPE Inline six-cylinder turbodiesel

RATED HP 600   

DISPLACEMENT 8300cc 

PROPELLER Four-blade 28 x 33in

 

MANUFACTURED BY

BACK COVE YACHTS

Rockland, Maine, USA

 

SUPPLIED BY

EMARINE

d’Albora Marinas, The Spit,

Mosman, NSW, 2088

Phone +61 2 9969 3757

EMAIL jed@emarine.com.au

WEB emarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #451, April / May 204. Why not subscribe today?

Find Back Cove boats for sale.

 


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