With all due respect to the world’s great boat shows large and small, the Palm Beach International Boat Show is currently my favorite. It’s manageably sized, is stress-free to get around and has easy access to good restaurants. But attending is always a bittersweet affair for me because Palm Beach heralds the end of boat-show season. However this year, as the show wound down, there was light at the end of the tunnel. It took the form of the Kadey-Krogen 50 Open. Kadey-Krogen vice president and partner Larry Polster invited me to help him deliver the 50 from West Palm Beach to Stuart, Florida, after the show. I’d first gotten aboard at the Miami International Boat Show a month earlier, and based on what I’d seen, my answer was an enthusiastic yes. The yacht’s open, uncluttered main deck puts the helm, salon and galley all on one level — as opposed to the more traditional pilothouse design seen on most trawlers. “It’s the only boat in this class I know of with an open layout like this,” Polster said with a hint of pride (that particular boat belonged to him).
Seating is aft, adjacent to the cockpit, with an L-shaped settee to port and more seating to starboard. Forward is a galley with a Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, sized to hold enough food during the long voyages for which this boat is designed. There’s a four-burner Wolf range, stowage for dry goods and an optional dishwasher — a choice I’d wager will be popular. Who wants to scrub dishes aboard a beautiful boat in a scenic location?
The interior’s seating area and galley have four windows on each side for natural light. They help give the captain near-360-degree views from the helm, which is up one step with a Llebroc helm chair, a 29-inch-wide cherry wheel and the owner’s choice of electronics. Polster opted for twin 22-inch Garmin screens, as well as an ABT-Trac stabilizer joystick. He likes that stabilizing system for a yacht that, at half-load, displaces 68,000 pounds.
An L-shaped settee with a foldout table is to port for keeping the captain company, and a watertight door to starboard accesses a Portuguese bridge with wing stations on both sides for docking. Polster’s wing stations also have Garmin screens, ZF controls and access to the stabilizer system.
From there, the 25-inch-wide side decks lead aft to the cockpit, and the Portuguese bridge has a door that leads to the yacht’s foredeck, which is girded by beefy 2-inch-wide bow rails. The bow has a Maxwell 2500 stainless-steel windlass and a settee for two to optimize time on the hook.
Once I had a good working knowledge of the yacht, Polster and I pulled lines and made for the inlet. We poked along the Intracoastal Waterway at a steady 1,800 rpm and 8 knots. At that speed, the 50 has a range of 2,100 nautical miles — leggy enough to get us from West Palm Beach all the way up to about Halifax, Nova Scotia, on one tank of fuel, had we desired.
Once we got outside protected waters, the boat performed admirably in the rolling and confused 3s and 4s. The hull has soft chines and a curved after end, much like the characteristics of a sailboat built for cruising. The result is an efficient hull form that provided a gentle landing into the troughs of even the largest swells we came across, perhaps the odd 5-footer. A pod of dolphins lazed in our wake a good way up the coast, enjoying the free ride on a perfectly fine South Florida day.
We entered the Port St. Lucie Inlet in a rousing following sea, conditions Polster likes. He wanted me to see how the boat performed on what he dubbed “the magic carpet ride,” and after experiencing it, I can see why. The 50 Open surfed cleanly and surely down the faces of the swells, with nothing but a straight white line of bubbles trailing behind.
As the marina in Stuart came into view, I couldn’t help but be a little bummed out that I was down to the last dreg of my boat-show season. But then again, with a day at sea under blues skies, aboard a vessel that’s well laid out and smooth riding, it was hard to stay down for long.
Here’s looking forward to next year.
Master and Commander
This yacht was designed for long stays aboard. Kadey-Krogen Vice President Larry Polster and his wife, Janet, left on an extended trip to the Bahamas after our sea trial. They needed comfortable accommodations, as well as a place for Polster to get some work done. The master has two hanging lockers and 12 (count ’em) cabinets and drawers for stowing clothes and other necessities. There’s also access from the master stateroom to the engine room for owners like Polster, who is hands-on when it comes to machinery maintenance. Forward of the master stateroom is an office for those days when you have to work.
Meet the Owner
Larry Polster is a partner and vice president at Kadey-Krogen Yachts, where he has worked in various capacities since volunteering to help the company at a 2002 Annapolis boat show. Polster was born and raised in Cleveland and grew up boating on the Great Lakes. By age 12 he was experienced enough to run the family’s 36-foot Pacemaker from Kingston, Ontario, to Rochester, New York, when his parents fell ill with mal de mer. After earning a degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Polster worked in consulting for 17 years before opening Kadey-Krogen’s Annapolis office shortly after that Annapolis show.