At just eleven years old, Back Cove Yachts is a relative youngster in the marine industry. Yet in that short time, its models have been turning heads in ports around the country, and the brand has garnered a lot of respect among serious cruisers.

The reason, many believe, is that Back Cove builds to a singular mission: create boats with classic lines that are elegant in their simplicity. Essentially, they are low-maintenance and easy to operate, so as to maximize the time an owner can get off the dock and really use the boat. This philosophy has resonated through all the models in the builder’s line, which includes cruising boats from 30 to 37 feet, and culminates in Back Cove’s flagship, the 41.

A photo of the Back Cove 41.

The Back Cove 41 combines Downeast good looks with an efficient, capable cruiser.

As with the smaller siblings in its wake, the Back Cove 41 showcases the lovely, even proud, lines of a Downeast cruiser—and it's the real deal. Built in Maine, it has the pedigree of a rich seafaring heritage and a traditional design aesthetic, while still showing off a style all its own: spoon bow, slightly reversed transom, and hint of tumblehome. Unlike some of the more costly boats that come from that region of the country (Hinckley and Lyman-Morse for example), the Back Cove 41, in its standard form, is offered with less teak (for less upkeep), simpler creature comforts (you pay more to upgrade to Ultrasuede or Ultraleather on settees), and without some of the more sophisticated systems that push up a base price.

The 41, for instance, is powered by a single diesel engine that’s designed to maximize efficiency and appeal to those who want a cruiser for the long haul. Is the Great Loop on your bucket list? The 41, with its stable planing hull form, a 600-horsepower Cummins QSC 8.3, and 400-gallon fuel capacity, would be a great way to go. At 10 or 12 knots you can motor from anchorage to anchorage and get a lot of mileage out of the boat. Or, you can increase your speed and still hold onto a cruising range of around 400 nautical miles. Top speed is 24 knots, but cruise levels in at 20 knots, a speed where the Back Cove 41 covers about one nautical mile for each gallon of diesel fuel burned.

A photo of the main saloon on the back Cove 41.

The main saloon features a spacious dinette, galley, and comfortable helm station.

If you’re shopping for boats in this length range, you’ll find more than a few offered with twin engines, so you’ll have to work out what makes the most sense for your style of cruising and comfort level. But there’s something to be said for that single engine. Many commercial fishing and work boat vessels are powered by a single diesel, because their operators believe if the engines and drive trains are properly maintained, they’ll offer the necessary dependability and durability—redundancy be damned. These skippers also contend that you don’t have to rely on a second engine to get you home if you make the effort to do simple things, such as carrying a spare water pump impeller.
Performance Data
Test conditions: 1-2' seas, winds 0-5 knots. Performance data courtesy of Cummins.
PowerSingle Cummins QSC 8.3 600 HP, swinging a 28" x 31" four-bladed Nibral prop.

Maneuverability is a consideration in the single versus twin debate. A boat with twin engines is definitely easier to handle, particularly in tight places with high winds. However, if you take a single-engine boat and add a bow thruster with joystick (Side-Power bow and stern thrusters are standard on the Back Cove 41), that vessel can turn circles in its own length, which makes maneuverability less of an issue. Then there’s the economy debate. The cost of twin engines is usually higher, both to purchase and to operate. But If you have a specific horsepower requirement for a given hull, it doesn't really matter whether you power with two small diesels or one big one, although the smaller engines may use a bit more fuel. As for construction, Back Cove says every component on the Back Cove 41 is resin-infused, from hardtop to hatches to decks and superstructure. That keeps the overall weight down, which helps performance.

A photo of teh master stateroom in the Back Cove 41.

The master stateroom on the Back Cove 41 was designed with cruising comfort for couples in mind.

The 41 was designed for a cruising couple; that much is evident in its standard features, such as the companion Stidd helm seats and expansive overnight accommodations. There are two roomy (and private) staterooms, each with its own head. You can travel comfortably with your favorite couple, or bring along one of the grandkids and a friend or two. They’ll be cozy here, and if they know a thing or two about boats, they’ll appreciate the yacht-like interior with its fine woodwork and conservative styling.
Draft (hull)44"
Displacement27,000 lbs
Fuel capacity400 gal.
Water capacity140 gal.

The boat also features a galley-up to port that can serve both the indoor dining space and lounges in the cockpit. To increase comfort, a generator and reverse-cycle air conditioning system are standard, which is how it should be on a boat with a base price near $546,000. To turn the boat into a more sophisticated entertainer, add options such as a cockpit electric grill and ice maker, and teak decking on the swim platform and cockpit sole. The wood is more work, yes, but some think it’s worth the elbow grease for the cat calls from the dock. The Back Cove brand offers a pride of ownership, a proven comfort level, and salty cachet. The 41 enhances that image, while taking it to the next length overall. Other Choices: If you're looking for a Downeast cruiser in the 40-foot-and-over range, consider the MJM 40z or Hinckley Talaria 44. For a flybridge Downeaster, consider the Sabre 40 Flybridge. For more information, visit Back Cove Yachts. Check out current listings for Back Cove 41s.

Written by: Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.