Two years ago, three Annapolis-based marine industry veterans identified a void in the under-40-foot trawler category. The trawlers on the market were either overpriced museum pieces or lackluster knockoffs, and none, in their opinion, offered quality performance or fair value. The three men-Bob Hoffman, John Stewart and Clarence Blackwell of Yacht Haven Yacht Sales-began developing a 38-footer on paper, but like a lot of projects, she expanded, in this case to a 42.
In the year since the President 42's 2001 debut, several boats have sold. One potential buyer liked the good performance, yacht-like appointments and liveaboard accommodations, but he wanted a little more room for himself and his three sons as they cruised the East Coast, Bahamas and Great Lakes.
"If you can do what you did on the 42, but on a 47, I'm sold, the buyer told design team member Robert Noyes, who joined the three men in approaching President Managing Director Eddie Yeh.
Less than a year later, the President 47 arrived in Annapolis. What began as a project to build a 38-foot boat had evolved into a series of damn good-looking trawler yachts.
I hopped on hull number one a few weeks after she arrived from Taiwan. In the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay, her twin 420 hp Caterpillar 3126B diesels provided a 16-knot cruising speed at 2400 rpm and a top speed of just over 20 knots. The Cats are a $23,000 upgrade over the standard 330 hp Cummins. Considering our test boat was lightly loaded, I would go with the higher horsepower package.
The 28-inch, four-blade propellers pushed the semi-displacement hull out of the hole quickly with no struggle or black smoke. A faulty trim tab did not affect our speeds in the calm seas, based on comparative data collected after the tab was fixed. The 47 required some tab to bring the bow down, a characteristic of most semi-displacement hulls.
Propeller tunnels reduce the angle of the shafts, giving the 47 a shoal-friendly 3-foot, 1-inch draft. She tracked well and cast water aside when slicing through the few seas caused by passing traffic. Her solid feel is worthy of note. I've tested boats that shake and rattle when you hit a wave, but the 47 felt tough. This was a pleasing paradox aboard such a good-looking, sweet craft.