Present Tense

Tradition shakes hands with the 21st century on a Huckins 58.

The recent trend in yacht design toward marrying traditional aesthetics with modern systems, performance and construction has begun to repopulate the nation's marinas and mooring fields with boats that not only soothe the eyes, but perform far better than their forebears. Krisujen, a semi-custom Linwood 58 from the Huckins Yacht Corporation, is a glittering example of this trend. She is smooth, stable and quiet under way and sports an attention-getting traditional profile.

Krisujen is the possession of Stamford (Connecticut) YC Commodore Joe Dockery and his wife, Kristal. Dockery is a racing yachtsman who owns a custom maxi he campaigns on the international circuit. He had Krisujen fitted out for viewing the America's Cup regatta in New Zealand in 2003. After performing her service there, she was shipped back to Huckins for warranty work and modifications and returned to Connecticut for the summer season.

This is Dockery's second Huckins. His first was an Atlantic 44. He chose the Linwood because he wanted a bigger boat with significant cruising amenities for two couples and crew. She also had to exceed 20 knots, says Simon Davidson, Dockery's longtime racing captain and project manager on the 58. Davidson and Dockery worked with Huckins on a power package that would compensate for the weight and electrical appetite of the cruising goodies. They settled on Cat 3196s at 660 hp each with Twin Disc V-drives and a Northern Lights main generator.

The hull is the standard planing shape Huckins has used on the Linwood 58 since the 1950s. To reduce vibration and to get a knot or two more speed, they traded the spec three-blade props for 31-inch four-blade Tiger props from Henleys in New Zealand.

The V-drives were chosen, in part, to allow for a full-size master stateroom aft. The crew's quarters and VIP stateroom are forward. She has a fully enclosed air-conditioned bridge deck with 360-degree visibility, and a lower saloon that houses the galley and dining area, also with excellent visibility. The staterooms are steps down from the lower saloon. To compensate for the weight of the engines, V-drives and generator aft, tanks, batteries and other systems are positioned amidships under the dining saloon.

Dockery, Davidson and Huckins made sound compromises in their engineering. On a gray day on Long Island Sound, Krisujen hustled from idle to plane with authority and little bow rise. She tracked true and turned with assurance. Her relatively small rudders made for large-radius turns at cruise, but Davidson says she was designed for optimal handling at slower speeds. She easily exceeded her 20-plus-knot target, topping out at about 25. Equipped with a 12-hp bow thruster, she was easy to maneuver in close quarters.

Heavy soundproofing makes for a quiet ride. At full-throttle, her engines produced an easygoing 72 dB(A) at the helm and 75 at the head of the forward stateroom bunk (with the night generator running).

Krisujen is equipped with air conditioning, washer and dryer, watermaker, night generator, wine chiller, dehumidifiers, Red Fox biological wastewater treatment system and a dual hot water system (one electric and one running off the engine). Many of these systems live in the pump room. Access to the tanks and batteries, beneath the dining saloon, is under the forward companionway stairs.

The galley is appointed with top-shelf appliances including a Sub-Zero drawer freezer and refrigerator and Force 10 oven and four-burner stove. Her Mini-M satellite system enables E-mail and phone service anywhere in the world. Most of the panels and electronics are concealed in cabinets in the saloon.

The engineroom is surprisingly commodious for a 58-footer with plenty of space for gear and spares. Access to the Cats is good inboard and out and all fluid checks are easy to reach. An oil-change pump eases the pain of transfusions.

America's Cup viewing played a prominent role in the design of Krisujen's bridge deck and translates well to comfortable cruising. A 42-inch plasma TV lives behind the helm seat, and sound is wired into the overhead. During the America's Cup, the Dockerys and their guests could view the TV and listen to audio feed from the race course, including the on-board scenes, while watching the action around them live through the large windows that surround the space.

Dockery's 81-foot racing yacht is an all-out speedster. For cruising, though, he wanted a boat with a classic look, but with modern systems and comforts. Huckins has been building boats for 75 years and with some exceptions, has maintained a distinctive, classic look in its offerings. Krisujen's profile is classic Huckins, with a near-plumb stem, not much bow flare and Huckins's traditional window shapes. Her deck hardware includes the Huckins Fairform Flyer mermaid logo plate and cleats cast from classic Huckins molds. Her enclosed bridge deck gives the yacht's profile a more modern, functional flair.

It is below though, where Krisujen shows her traditional colors. Dockery spec'd out an interior that conveys the look and feel of an old-timer-minus the mold and old-boat aromas. Her joinery is rich, dark mahogany, stained even darker. Her cabinets and locker doors are caned. The result is a dark-chocolate caramel indulgence for the eyes. Ambient light streams through the large windows on the bridge deck and dining saloon and is complemented not by oil lamps, but by recessed bulbs in the overhead-a mood-enhancing concession to modern times. The cane has the added benefit of providing ventilation to the lockers. Pewter monkey fist pulls from A.G.A. Correa of Maine highlight the drawers in many places throughout the boat. Her stunning dining table, which shares space with the galley, is constructed of burled "crotch mahogany and expands to seat eight. Wainscoting and chair rails adorn many of the spaces aboard.

When she was delivered, the bridge deck was carpeted, but when she went back to Huckins in Florida after the Cup, the craftsmen there installed a luscious mahogany and maple sole.

The initial reaction of most to a yacht such as Krisujen-or any traditionally styled yacht for that matter-is emotional. True, she is pretty, but she has the brawn to do the heavy lifting. With Krisujen, Huckins and the Dockerys have created a modern, well-performing motoryacht dressed in high-class period clothing.

Contact: Huckins Yacht Corp., (904) 389-1125;