Setzer 80

For fans of Setzer, a semi-custom sportfish.

From numerous letters and calls, we know that many of you fell in love with Wombat, the graceful Setzer-designed 80-foot motoryacht that graced Yachting's cover this past April. The new Signature Series from Setzer Design Group gives us the grace and elegance of Wombat in smaller packages. The range includes sportfishing and express models from 32 to 37 feet and will be offered on a semi-custom basis by Concorde Marine of Washington state.

Ward Setzer admitted that he has invested a great deal of his soul into these designs. Often working alone into the night hours, he has fine-tuned the Carolina flare of the bow and the sweeping lines of the sheer. He has sweated the details where the gentle tumblehome of the hullside meets the arcing reverse-sloped transom. He has focused on every detail of the superstructure, cockpit and interior.

Whether it's classic designs, such as Wombat and her earlier semi-sister Magpie, or more modern yachts, such as the 138-foot Status Quo and the 152-foot Lia Fail, Setzer's designs are conservative enough to enjoy wide popularity and to stand the test of time. So it is with the Signature Series 37 and her arrangement plan.

The version illustrated here has a single cabin forward, with an island berth on centerline. A spacious head lies to port and includes a separate shower, a feature sometimes not found in boats of this length. There is a galley to starboard, but an alternate layout puts the galley up on deck to allow a second cabin in this area. An extended trunk, with oval portlights and a subtle corner molding, provides good headroom and brings light and air belowdecks.

On deck is a single helm seat to starboard with matching dual companion seats to port. A semicircular settee, raised for better visibility, wraps around a small table abaft the companion seats. All are protected from the weather by a nicely styled hardtop, which is supported by a no-nonsense, moderately raked windshield forward and angled wing boards aft.

The cockpit, spacious for a boat of this length, provides plenty of room for seating and lockers at the forward end without cramping the fishing action. Integral steps port and starboard aid entry from the dock or travel to the foredeck. The transom door is handy for boating fish or for access to the swim platform.

Instead of a flying bridge, Setzer has drawn a mini-tower with upper controls and a sunshade. It is a good compromise, considering the Setzer 37's beam is 12 feet, 4 inches, which is narrower than many other boats of her length (the Bertram 360, for instance, is a foot wider). While this choice of dimensions may limit the boat's accommodations, both in vertical extent due to stability considerations and in overall volume, it makes for a lighter vessel and more nimble performance due to a greatly increased length/beam ratio. It also keeps fuel consumption to a minimum and thus reduces the required fuel capacity.

Setzer has specified resin infusion and structural cores for lighter, stronger composite construction. Among the five key moldings are a gelcoated liner for the lower accommodations and part of the engineroom. Locked together during assembly, they will help assure a stiff, rattle-free yacht that is not overbuilt or overweight.

I first met Ward Setzer when he came to work for Jack Hargrave in the early 1980s, the ink still wet on his diploma in yacht design and his college degree in product design. His burning desire to originate designs of his own meant he didn't stay long, but it was long enough to pick up the essence of the Hargrave design philosophy. Setzer shared his joy in this particular project, which allowed him to complete the full design, not just a styling or interior layout assignment-an increasingly standard approach in marine design. Echoing Hargrave, Setzer opined that a boat's reputation, and her designer's too, rides not just on her styling, arrangement and dÈcor, but on her durability, performance and safety. Such an approach bodes well for buyers of boats from the Setzer Signature Series.

Contact: Setzer Design Group, (919) 859-7014; www.setzerdesign.com.