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Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition

The Krogen 55 Expedition yacht is a world-worthy explorer that weekend cruisers can also enjoy.

January 27, 2011
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Kadey-Krogen 55

There are times — quite a lot of them, actually — when I really love my job. This was one of them. I was at the helm of the Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition trawler, passing under Aurora Bridge and entering Seattle’s Lake Union. It was sunny with a little breeze and a light chop danced on the water — nothing that would really test this world cruiser’s mettle, alas. But on the other hand, what’s wrong with a relaxed run on a beautiful day?

Kadey-Krogen‘s Seattle Sales Manager Dennis Lawrence and Yachting’s Arnie Hammerman were in the pilothouse with me and we chatted about the company’s evolution as we passed a wonderful variety of moored houseboats along the shore. Lawrence worked at Nordhavn for 20 years before joining Kadey-Krogen and I asked him about what he sees as the biggest difference between the two builders that dominate the long-range cruiser space.

“Both produce yachts that are exceptionally well built and can take you anywhere you point the bow, but there are fundamental differences.” Lawrence points to ergonomics and liveability as key points in Krogen’s “core values.”

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The 55 Expedition, which was designed by Kurt M. Krogen, founder Jim Krogen’s son, is in some respects descended from the builder’s popular 48-foot Whaleback. A world cruiser with a full-beam salon and generally voluminous one-level accommodations, it was comfortable and seaworthy. On the other hand, it wasn’t their prettiest boat. The 55 seems to have improved on the Whaleback’s strengths, while being less, well, whale-like.

A mighty Portuguese bridge with access to the high, full bow and uncluttered foredeck, a sheer that is stepped as it runs aft, raked pilothouse windows, high freeboard and a well-protected cockpit indicate a boat that will handle heavy weather with aplomb.

The interior is large and bright, beginning in the pilothouse, which has 360-degree visibility, twin Stidd helm chairs, and Diamond Sea Glaze Dutch doors to port and starboard wing controls. The cherry helm console has room for three large displays. Engine instruments, throttles, and bow-thruster controls are easy to reach along the flat space just forward of the large stainless wheel. A comfortable L-settee and high-low table, aft, that double as a watch berth will ensure the skipper’s never lonely.

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A galley is situated on the main deck to port, and a granite counter separates it from the salon. The layout is unusual, with the stainless Jenn-Air refrigerator and Viking stove set at angles in each corner. It creates the famous chef-pleasing triangle between the stove, refrigerator and sink, but it takes a little getting used to, visually.

The salon, aft, has an L-settee to port with a high-low dining table and two loose chairs to starboard. Huge windows and light cherry joinery, as well as double Diamond Sea Glaze doors that open to the cockpit create a spacious, light and serene living space that welcomes the outside in.

Opposite the galley is an office that doubles as a very comfortable guest stateroom, with a tucked-away Asko washer/ dryer and a head to port. The en suite master is forward and features seven feet of headroom, an island queen berth with pneumatic lift, tons of stowage and lots of light.

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In short, the 55 is wonderfully liveable, but what impressed me the most was the engine room. It’s huge, with four watertight doors separating machinery compartments and the engines space. There’s a workbench and freezer. It’s well-lit with easy service access to everything — hell, it’s even available with air-conditioning. Anyone who’s ever had to troubleshoot a mechanical issue in a cramped, hot engine space will weep with gratitude.

The 55 comes with twin John Deere 6068 TFM Tier 2 engines that each deliver 158 horsepower. Twin counter-faired skegs, a fine entry and wineglass transom provide a smooth and economical ride with a company-reported cruising range of 2,800 miles at 8 knots. Slow down to 7 knots and go as far as 4,300; bump her up to 10 and you’ll need to refuel after 1,200 miles.

Hull and superstructure molds are from high-grade female tooling and include Kyntax with mat and Corecell above the waterline and solid fiberglass lamination with blister-resistant vinylester resins below the waterline, as well as impact-resistant aramid fiber/FRP reinforced stem and stern bottom areas. Lawrence made a point of showing me a sample piece of cross section from a hull before we even boarded the boat and I have to admit, it was impressive.

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There were years when Kadey-Krogen chugged along doing one thing, doing it well, but not innovating much. But when Larry Polster, Tom Button, and John Gear acquired the company in 2006, they decided to take advantage of Kadey- Krogen’s strengths as a boutique production builder. The result is not just an expanded range — which has added the 55 Expedition, the 64 Expedition, and the upcoming 52 to the previous builds which are the 39, 44 and 48 — but the ability to improve upon each model in every build.

“We pay attention to our owners comments and suggestions,” notes Lawrence. “Some of the best ideas will become standard features and we can affect these changes in the very next hull we produce, as opposed to a high-production builder where a change may not show up until five or so hulls down the production line.”

As Lawrence likes to tell people: “If you haven’t seen a Krogen lately, you haven’t seen a Krogen.” My advice is to pack a seabag and start with the 55 Expedition.

LOA: 60’11
LWL: 49’6
Beam: 18’0
Draft: 4’10
Displ.: 87,870 lb.
Fuel: 1,880 gal.
Water: 500 gal.
Engines: 2 x 158-hp John Deere 6068TFM diesels
Base Price: $1,895,000

Kadey-Krogen Yachts, 772-286-0171; www.kadeykrogen.com

****Click here to read more about Kadey-Krogen yachts.

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