Back Cove's Power Shift

The 34O is the Maine builder’s first foray into the outboard genre.

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In addition to outboard power, the 34O has a sporty metallic-gray hull color.Back Cove Yachts

Skipping along a checkerboard-flat Long Island Sound, I watched the 15-inch Garmin display on my Back Cove 34O show 37.5 knots at wide-open throttle. Twin 300 hp Yamahas, standard power, hummed in symphonic synchronicity as my ride shot across the salt. At top-end, the 34O (O for outboard) is about 9 knots faster than her single-diesel sisterships, the 34 and 37, with their largest engine options.

I found my 34O’s SeaStar hydraulic steering to be real-time responsive. The boat’s Zipwake trim system, which had been programmed with the vessel’s specifications, kept her running attitude true. A standard Side-Power bow thruster helped get the boat’s nose placed just where I wanted it.

The Back Cove 34O bears a distinct family resemblance to the builder’s other models, including the 34 and 37, with Downeast-inspired lines that are timeless and stately, but her outboard power gives this pocket yacht a level of performance not previously seen from the Maine builder.

Supporting this speedy craft is a fully infused ­fiberglass hull and stringer system with PVC foam coring. The coring adds stiffness without weight (full-load displacement is 17,000 pounds), also contributing to the vessel’s performance.

While primarily poised as a dayboat, the 34O has an effective range of 214 nautical miles at 24 knots on a 250-gallon fuel tank, making her a viable cruising platform for a couple.

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Twin 300 hp Yamahas are standard, and twin 350 Yamahas or 350 Suzukis are available. The Suzukis increase top-end by 2.5 knots versus standard power. Yamaha data was unavailable.Back Cove Yachts

For traveling to overnight waypoints, belowdecks the 34O has an island double berth. The space feels warm, with standard satin-finish cherrywood. Headroom in this part of the boat is 6 feet 7 inches, created in part by the yacht’s trunk-cabin design. A split-head arrangement optimizes belowdecks real estate, with a toilet compartment to port and shower stall to starboard.

For those who like to entertain, the 34O has L-shaped settees set into the after corners of the cockpit. A bench seat along the salon bulkhead faces aft, allowing six or more guests to enjoy sundowners and conversation in the cockpit. An optional sunshade extends from the hardtop to cover the cockpit seating.

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The 34O’s superstructure offers protection from the elements. Owners can add an aft enclosure to shield the main deck completely from foul weather, or to keep it cool or warm. The three glass panes forward measure 85 inches across and are each 31 inches high, providing clean sightlines.Back Cove Yachts

To starboard is entry to the bridge deck, which has a U-shaped dinette for four or more guests to port, and a galley across with a Cuisinart microwave, a two-burner Kenyon cooktop, and a Vitrifrigo fridge and freezer to feed your people.

Modern power, classic style — this recipe has already garnered the Back Cove 34O numerous industry awards and a busy production schedule. And after a day on board, I found it all too easy to see why.