Two years ago, three Annapolis-based marine industry veterans identified a void in the under-40-foot trawler category. The trawlers on the market were either overpriced museum pieces or lackluster knockoffs, and none, in their opinion, offered quality performance or fair value. The three men-Bob Hoffman, John Stewart and Clarence Blackwell of Yacht Haven Yacht Sales-began developing a 38-footer on paper, but like a lot of projects, she expanded, in this case to a 42.
In the year since the President 42’s 2001 debut, several boats have sold. One potential buyer liked the good performance, yacht-like appointments and liveaboard accommodations, but he wanted a little more room for himself and his three sons as they cruised the East Coast, Bahamas and Great Lakes.
“If you can do what you did on the 42, but on a 47, I’m sold, the buyer told design team member Robert Noyes, who joined the three men in approaching President Managing Director Eddie Yeh.
Less than a year later, the President 47 arrived in Annapolis. What began as a project to build a 38-foot boat had evolved into a series of damn good-looking trawler yachts.
I hopped on hull number one a few weeks after she arrived from Taiwan. In the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay, her twin 420 hp Caterpillar 3126B diesels provided a 16-knot cruising speed at 2400 rpm and a top speed of just over 20 knots. The Cats are a $23,000 upgrade over the standard 330 hp Cummins. Considering our test boat was lightly loaded, I would go with the higher horsepower package.
The 28-inch, four-blade propellers pushed the semi-displacement hull out of the hole quickly with no struggle or black smoke. A faulty trim tab did not affect our speeds in the calm seas, based on comparative data collected after the tab was fixed. The 47 required some tab to bring the bow down, a characteristic of most semi-displacement hulls.
Propeller tunnels reduce the angle of the shafts, giving the 47 a shoal-friendly 3-foot, 1-inch draft. She tracked well and cast water aside when slicing through the few seas caused by passing traffic. Her solid feel is worthy of note. I’ve tested boats that shake and rattle when you hit a wave, but the 47 felt tough. This was a pleasing paradox aboard such a good-looking, sweet craft.
President Yachts in Taiwan is responsible for building high-end yachts such as the first WhisperJet 44s and the larger Offshore Yachts models. Long gone are the leaky-teak days of Taiwanese boatbuilding. Today, some of these yards, including President, are turning out product on par with the better North American and European yards.
The 47 is built to ABYC standards (so is the 42). Gelcoat finish on the deck and hull is superb. The stainless-steel execution includes polished welds that are nearly seamless. If you look at details such as the frameless ports (a more pricey execution than a typical framed port), the solid and beautiful pantograph opening doors to the saloon, and the expertly crafted joinery, you may walk away with the impression that this yacht is much more expensive than her $580,000 base price.
Our test boat was about $620,000, with such high-ticket items as a fiberglass hardtop and the bigger engines. Tack on another $30,000 or so for electronics, tender and gear, and the value remains. Notable standard features include a U-line refrigerator/ice maker on the bridge, a Glendinning cablemaster, a 12kW Northern Lights generator and air conditioning.
The interior, based on Yeh’s statement, “You need light and light, was a collaboration between Renmark and Associates and Susan Noyes, Robert’s wife. The 47 has three side windows on each side, and more light comes in through the front windshield. The 6 feet, 8 inches of headroom, combined with the satin cherry finish, add to the interior’s warm yet airy feel.
The design team’s experience is reflected in appointments such as real-size pot and pan bins in the galley, the space for a real trash can, enough counter space to cook a Thanksgiving meal, a comfortable helm area and paper chart stowage.
A nice feature is the port deck entrance into the saloon. It was omitted on the 42, which meant an awkward walk from the starboard deck to the port after quarter to hop up on the bridge. The 47’s increased length is part of the reason for this change.
The saloon has an L-shape settee opposite the galley and a high-low table with a base that would fit easily in the Museum of Modern Art.
Two staterooms are forward and share a nicely finished head. The portside stateroom is a little cramped. Two people will have trouble standing and moving around at the same time, but the space would be satisfactory as a kids’ cabin. The forward stateroom has an offset queen berth and is finished with fine details and nearly perfect joinery.
The master stateroom’s side ports and two opening hatches above the headboard bring in plenty of light and ventilation. There is an island queen berth and head with separate shower stall. A clever opening to the afterdeck is concealed within the stairs to the flying bridge from the cockpit.
For all the accommodations and hardwoods, the 47 weighs only about 36,000 pounds. Her hull is fully cored, as are her bulkheads. Solid glass is used around every hull penetration. A sound barrier surrounds the sole surfaces around the propeller tunnels, further reducing noise in the interior. I registered 82 decibels in the master stateroom at cruise speed, 80 in the saloon.
The evolution of a boat is a funny thing. Sometimes, a 47-foot model is born because of one guy, like our test boat’s owner. Sure, there are a few things that need to be tweaked, but with the experienced team of Yacht Haven and President, this new launch should enjoy a nice ride in the marketplace.