Inland Sound 48

A sophisticated design emerges from humble beginnings.

Inland Sound 48

Sometimes, a casual conversation over drinks produces the best ideas. Yacht designer Doug Zurn had joined Matt Elder and Pat Shannon, partners of Inland Sound Yachts in Port Townsend, Washington, to talk about a new design. Over drinks, ideas floated above the table like spirits at a séance. Zurn plucked a handful of these out of the haze and sketched on a cocktail napkin. He massaged that doodle into the Inland Sound 48 — a handsome, roomy and seaworthy yacht that promises to be fast, economical and easy to operate and is geared to the varying needs of families.

Although you may prefer another style of wrapper over the spacious interior — swoopy Italianate, for example — you’ll have a hard time denying that Zurn has expertly combined New England traditional motifs with contemporary elements. Just look at the wonderful sheer line. It’s within a hair’s breadth of straight from the stem to the break amidships, and then it gracefully sweeps aft to the transom, mimicking the line formed on the backside of a long ocean wave. Zurn repeated that line in the safety rail, and the effect is lovely. This sheer establishes the yacht’s place in the modern idiom, granting it an identity that sets it apart from yachts drawn in the so-called Down East style.

At the same time, this sheer line allowed Zurn to create a substantial amount of freeboard in the forward sections, which, in turn, permitted a shapely and relatively low-profile trunk cabin. This trunk cabin wouldn’t look out of place on a sailboat designed 50 years ago, and it gives the interior headroom where occupants need it the most — in the foyer and passageway, the heads and the dressing area in each of the three staterooms.

The modest clipper bow pays homage to the elegant superyachts of the early 20th century, and it softens the 48’s appearance. Combined with a generous amount of flare in the forward sections, the clipper style also increases buoyancy, keeping the bow from burying itself in big head seas. Subtle tumblehome in the after sections and the gently curving transom reinforce the classical theme that Zurn evokes in the bow.

The lovely transom hides the most intriguing feature of the yacht — a hydraulically operated tailgate. Equipped with a removable ladder, it takes the place of the less-than-attractive swim platform, serves as a platform for scuba diving and, equipped with removable rollers, provides a launching and retrieval pad for the tender.

The pilothouse perfectly fits the New England genre, and its twin — or closely related counterpart — appears on a great many other boats in this category. The vertical sides make the best use of the volume inside the salon, in this boat providing space for the galley at the after end and a dinette and a settee abaft the inside helm. This upright style also permits large windows, giving the salon a lot of natural light.

Atop the house, Zurn has drawn a modern flybridge — rounded corners and a curved fascia crowned with a venturi to match. The sides of which sweep aft, mimicking the curvature of the sheer line and the after run of the safety rail.

Zurn designed the Inland Sound 48 around twin Volvo IPS 800/900 propulsion. These engines live beneath the salon, just abaft the guest staterooms, and keep the cockpit sole low enough to make the best use of the tailgate. A jackshaft connects each engine to its pod drive unit.

Inland Sound Yachts and Zurn set out to produce a distinctive and attractive yacht for a relatively small and crowded niche. Despite a competitive market, the 48’s spacious, intelligently designed interior and tasteful marriage of traditional and modern styling should give it the thrust it needs to succeed.

LOA: 48'0"
Beam: 15'10"
Draft: 4'0"
Displ.: 40,834 lb.
Fuel: 600 gal.
Water: 160 gal.
Engines: 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 800s

Inland Sound Yachts, 360-302-0687;; Zurn Yacht Design, 781-639-0678;