I didn't need to sweat that wind. The Krogen Express is an excellent sea boat that made the chop of the Chesapeake little more than an afterthought. The trip was going as expected, with some winddriven spray across the port bow. But we were right on schedule: The boat hummed along at a rock-steady 14 knots.
With all of us comfortably seated within the confines of our spacious wheelhouse, we talked about boats, family, friends, boats, travel and food, pop culture, politics, and, of course, boats. By the time we pulled into Portsmouth's Tidewater Marina just after sunset, this delivery crew had become a tight group.
While Louden topped off the tanks, Machelle, Amanda, Bildahl, and I got the salt off Daystar, and squared away the salon, galley, and wheelhouse.
Krogen Express is owned and operated by John and Betsy Tegtmeyer. Their business philosophy is refreshing and simple: Don't try to figure out how to build the most boats, but build the best boat. And when it comes to a coastal cruiser for a couple, the KE 52 is tough to beat.
"It's the evolution of what we thought was already a good boat but we could make it a little better," said John Tegtmeyer, of the KE 52 in relation to the company's previous boat, a 49-footer. "When we purchased the company in 2001, we had our personal opinions. And we interviewed and chatted with all the folks who had purchased the 49 and just asked for their feedback of what they liked about the boat and what they thought could be made better. We incorporated their feedback and our ideas and came out with the 52." The KE 52 first appeared in the 2003 model year.
The salty-looking, low-profile yacht was designed by James Krogen for serious cruising. The flat chine of the semi-displacement hull provides excellent stability and the boat will begin to plane on the aft chines when enough power is applied, giving a cruise speed of 20 knots. If you want to poke your nose out and run down the coast all night, pull her back to 9 knots for an extended range of approximately 1,870 nautical miles.
The 15-foot, 11-inch beam carries far forward, and, combined with the raised bow section, gives the 52 a spacious interior for the cruising couple. The forepeak master has great headroom and stowage. The cherry finish is light and airy and the boat feels more like a summer cottage. Ports in the forward face of the coachroof are a nice touch, bringing in fresh air and light. The guest stateroom reveals the 52's couple-cruiser mission. When guests are not on board, it serves as a den, complete with desk and a settee. It's nice to have more than one social area on any cruising boat. When there is a large party, like with our gang, there is a convertible L-settee, and a Pullman berth. A dayhead is opposite and in the passageway.