Cruising Miami’s Biscayne Bay in a navy-hulled Downeast yacht, surrounded by white center consoles and the occasional Miami Vice go-fast boat, might not sound like going native in South Florida. But the Back Cove 32 proved herself able to fit right in when she’s not battling fog and rain in the builder’s home waters off Maine. Her extended hardtop and side windows, along with the optional hardback enclosure, made the air-conditioned cruise a lot more pleasant than it might’ve been under a beautiful, albeit hot, tropical sun.
The Back Cove 32 falls between the 30 and 34 in the builder’s lineup, designed as a day cruiser that combines outdoor living (thanks to open aft cockpit seats) with the protection of a hardtop. Throw in a galley, table and lounges, and the exterior becomes a space where owners, their families and guests can spend their days enjoying the water. An American cherry-clad cabin, with standard queen-size berth and separate head and shower, turns the 32 into a weekend cruiser.
The thing I liked best about the 32 was the sense of proportion. Even with three adults moving around, no area felt constricted. Her flush deck increased the feeling of continuous space, making it easy to get from the aft deck forward. The hardtop has 6-foot-7-inch headroom too. “On this boat, you don’t have to move something to do something,” says Kevin Burns, Back Cove’s lead designer and engineer.
The engine hatch under the table is a good example, lifting easily to reveal the single 375 hp Cummins QSB, an upgrade from the base 370 hp Volvo Penta D6. The Slim Line (SL) option makes the Cummins more compact and easy to work on, with a resized cooling system, low-mount turbocharger, side-mount filters and other features.
My test 32 was a helmsman-friendly, no-surprises boat to drive. She tracked true across Biscayne Bay’s 1-foot chop. The sightline seemed high from the companion seat, but once I was at the helm, visibility was unobstructed. Tweaking the tabs and drive, my test 32 hit a top-end speed of 25.2 knots at 3,000 rpm. And, the (standard) bow and (optional) stern thruster made docking a cinch too.
Some nice touches from Back Cove include a Stazo wood-grain steering wheel, Stidd helm seat, cherry rails with handholds along the hardtop, and a companion seat with a movable back so you can face forward or aft.
With the galley in the cockpit, the 32’s cabin easily fits its queen-size berth. The separate head and shower should also be standard design on every boat this size. The joinery is flawless.
In addition to its primary purpose as a day boat, the 32 would make a good long-distance couples’ cruiser, as many of the 700 Back Cove owners have discovered on their migrations up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. In fact, with the builder’s largest dealer located in Southwest Florida, the Back Cove 32 may redefine the concept of a Downeast yacht, putting it right at home in balmy climate zone.