After Rick Torgerson, president of Heart Marine, shared the details of his new convertible sportfisher from Taiwan, I confess that at first I was somewhat skeptical. The equity Torgerson has successfully earned in the market with Heart Marine and Symbol Yachts has had little to do with rod and reel. The odds for the project's success changed in my book when Torgerson revealed the inspiration behind his brand. The new 43-footer from Charles Jannace's drawing board has a pedigree as solid as her ride.
If you're a longtime fisherman, chances are that you've cast your line from a boat designed by Jannace. When I first met "CJ in the early 1980s, he had already invested what he insisted was more than a lifetime in the yacht designer trade. In fact, while he denies it, I distinctly remember him threatening retirement. I am certain he claimed that he was ready to put down his pencil and ride off into the sunset on his motorcycle. Curiously, that was pretty much the way he had arrived in the business in 1952.
"With my parents' encouragement, I gave up bikes and beer and pursued a classified ad in The New York Times titled 'No Experience Required,'" says Jannace. The trail eventually led to yacht designer Philip L. Rhodes' office. At the time Rhodes was at the top of his game designing everything from 12 Meters to minesweepers. "I knew about boats and how to draw, but that wasn't enough," Jannace reminisces with a chuckle. The interview went poorly until Jannace mentioned he had attended Brooklyn Tech. "It seems all the department heads at Rhodes' office had as well—I was in."
CJ Jannace sat anonymously in the last row at the Rhodes office inking line drawings for a buck an hour. Fourteen years later he moved to the front of the class and was managing Rhodes' sailboat department. "The problem was,
I was still making a buck an hour-so I resigned. Jannace quickly found a home at C. Raymond Hunt's office, which was also well known for sailing yachts but had recently changed the course of powerboat design with the deep-V. It was there that Jannace finally discovered his calling.
"The true deep-V, with its constant sections and high deadrise, was great for racing in rough seas, but it wasn't really suited for yachts," he explains. He spent four years at the board with the Hunt team contributing to the evolution of the form before Dick Bertram borrowed him to help with the Bertram International line of Japanese-built motoryachts. Jannace eventually moved on and in the 1970s and '80s served as a hired gun, penning his own variation of the deep-V form for a fleet of custom and production builders.
Fortunately for those of us who love boats, Jannace remains in the game. When Torgerson became familiar with Jannace's enduring track record, he recognized a valuable design resource as well as a marketing opportunity. Jannace Yachts was launched. The 430C is the first of a Jannace line of convertible and express designs up to 55 feet. All will bear Jannace's trademark no-nonsense styling and the hull form he has tweaked, fussed with and fine-tuned for the last two decades.
While conditions were not particularly challenging during our sea trial, I was pleased to find the 430C has the stout feel of other designs penned by Jannace that I have tested over the years. Although she is not the fastest boat in the fleet, with a maximum speed of 30.2 knots, given her deep forward sections and 20-degree transom deadrise, she will likely remain faster in sour conditions as others are forced to reduce throttle. As is typical of her form, she tracks straight and true; however, unlike early examples of the deep-V, she can be maneuvered on one engine, seems dry at speed and is steady at rest in a beam sea.
The 430C was built at the Cruise Line yard in Taipei, Taiwan, to Jannace's exacting technical specifications. Since Jannace was a pioneer in Airex foam-core construction, the 430C uses this material in her hull sides, bottom and superstructure. "Our goal was not an ultra-light design. We wanted a tough boat without an unacceptable weight penalty, explains Jannace. "In fact, the skins alone [without the coring] would probably have sufficient strength for most applications. A longitudinal stringer system is molded over foam in the boat, and bulkheads are cored as well. The net result is a dry weight of approximately 30,000 pounds.
Jannace worked with Barin Cardenas, Heart Marine's vice president, on the arrangement plan, and Tonya Torgerson created the upscale interior design specification. Given this, it is not surprising that the 430C's interior has a look and feel that is similar to the boats Heart Marine has brought to the market with the Symbol Yachts brand. Customers can choose from satin or high-gloss finished teak or cherry. Quality soft goods, hardware and fixtures provide accent. The 430C's level of interior design and outfitting reflect Heart Marine's expectations that she will have appeal beyond the fishing market.
Her saloon, for example, has an open galley aft. This is a departure from traditional convertible layouts that Cardenas feels makes sense as it allows easy access from the cockpit. An L-shaped settee is focused on a built-in 30-inch flat-panel TV, and a bar stool faces the galley countertop or a desk area hidden in the cabinetwork. The passageway forward leads first to a day head-a convenience more common on larger motoryachts. A guest cabin has upper and lower berths and a deep cedar-lined hanging locker. The master cabin has an island queen, two cedar-lined hanging lockers and a private head with a spacious shower.
Even though Jannace was quite familiar with the capabilities of Taiwan's modern yacht-building industry, he was amazed at how quickly the folks at Cruise Line embraced the 430C project. "Sportfishers are not standard fare in Taiwan like trawlers and motoryachts-even so, they did an incredible job on hull number one. While the nuances of serious fish-boat design and construction are something of an art, the 430C will please most cruising/fishing types and provide serious anglers a solid platform for customization.
The cockpit features a transom door, in-sole fish boxes, a bait prep area with a sink and a transom livewell with a viewing port. While hull #1 was fitted with a portable freezer hidden in a cabinet, future boats will have standard built-in refrigeration. The flybridge is arranged with pedestal-style helm and companion seats that face a super-sized console that can easily accommodate two large electronics displays and an assortment of lesser goodies. Bench-style seating is forward, adjacent to the console as well as an insulated drink box. This 430C was fitted with a half-tower and an air-conditioned enclosure.
The 430C's engineroom is accessible from the cockpit and even with her generous allotment of horsepower and fuel wing tanks, there is reasonable access to the engines. A molded bilge liner has a nonslip sole and the overhead is finished in high gloss. Stringers are capped with polished stainless steel foundations and there is a built-in storage area for tools and spare parts. The generator is located beneath the cockpit, which makes sense from a performance standpoint as keeping fixed weight aft on small convertibles can be a challenge that too often results in balancing with fuel or, worse, ballast. Generator noise and vibration are also isolated from the accommodations. The downside is that the lazarette of a convertible is not the best environment for machinery. Aware of this, Jannace provided the generator access hatch with positive latches, gutters and a neoprene gasket.
While some players in the convertible market have set their sights higher in terms of length overall, as the pre-owned fleet ages there seems to be a resurgence of interest in serious convertible designs less than 45 feet. This increased activity did not escape the team at Heart Marine and they have chosen a competitive position. The CAT-powered 430C, with a long list of standard features, has a base price of $776,000-add electronics and a half-tower, and you're ready to go. Given the 430C and the pedigree of her namesake, Jannace Yachts seems a sure thing. n