Nothing beats lunch at a waterfront restaurant on a fine summer day. Good food, sun and salt air, and lots of boats to look at — maybe even your next one.
Richard and Vondell Fagersten were dining at the Sand Bar in the summer of 2005, not far from their Seaside Park, N.J., summer home, and there it was. A 40-foot Down East-style cruiser. The hull was dark blue, the white superstructure trimmed in teak brightwork. There was a nicely proportioned flybridge perched atop the cabin.
The couple walked down the dock to take a closer look, and the owner invited them aboard. They saw a big saloon, roomy galley, stately master stateroom, and more teak, including a teak and holly sole. “My wife loved it,” says Fagersten, 61, who owns a company that builds bridges and handles other heavy construction. “This model became the object of our search for the ideal boat.”
The vessel that caught their eye was the Grand Banks 40 Eastbay, a twin-engine cruiser with traditional lines and a modern hull. A year later, in 2006, the Fagerstens had one of their own, a 1996 model, hull No.19. The price was $280,000, and the boat was in excellent condition, with new electronics and flybridge seating and fresh varnish. As Fagersten puts it, “Everything worked.”
The couple, veteran boaters, had been looking to move up from the Bertram 37 they owned at the time. “After I realized I was never going to be a serious fisherman, we started looking for a boat with a little more living space and entertaining accommodations,” says Fagersten. “We didn’t want to give up the deep-vee design. We weren’t ready for a trawler yet, and speed was important to us, since our friends all had fairly fast boats.”
If the 40-footer’s look is Down East, the performance is upbeat. The hull, with its solid fiberglass bottom and cored topsides, is a moderate deep-vee designed by C. Raymond Hunt and Associates. Powered by twin 375-hp Cat diesels, Fagersten can cruise in company with his friends at around 22 to 25 knots, running at 2,600 rpm. “We can keep up without a problem,” he says. “I am more inclined to cruise around 21 knots when we are alone.” Fuel consumption is around 25 gallons an hour, he says.
The layout is as pleasing as the performance. There’s a private master stateroom forward with an adjacent head, and room for up to four overnight guests. The galley is up and open, with all the amenities for cruising or entertaining.
Having both upper and lower helm stations is a plus, too, says Fagersten. While the couple spends most of their time outside, the lower helm is nice in the fall, when the Northeast’s boating weather gets cooler. “We go below, turn on the heat and the coffee pot, and finish the day in comfort,” says Fagersten. “And we love the 360-view from inside.”
Both the upper and lower helm stations have radar, GPS and a fishfinder, along with a plotter coupled to the autopilot. An intercom connects the two helms, which comes in handy when the captain on the flybridge gets hungry on a long trip, Fagersten says. Outside, the cockpit is still big enough for some fishing. Wide walkways with sturdy railings help in getting around the boat when it’s rough. There’s a handy transom door connecting the cockpit and swim platform. And the hot and cold transom shower is a treat. To top things off, Fagersten is having a custom hardtop fashioned for the flybridge. So far, the Fagerstens have cruised the Jersey coast south to Atlantic City, and traveled north to New York and up the Hudson River. Another voyage took them to Montauk, N.Y., at the tip of Long Island and on to Block Island, off Rhode Island. It’s all been good, the couple says.
“We plan to do more local cruising this summer, and maybe make a trip south in the fall,” says Fagersten. “We feel we have found the ideal boat for our needs. It has enough speed, it is well built, and there’s enough room for living without being overly big to handle or to take to our favorite dinner spots.”
The 40 Eastbay’s look is unmistakably New England, with its husky hull, traditional trunk cabin and eyebrow trim, and upright wheelhouse. Below the waterline, the hull shape is a more modern, moderate deep-vee. Prop pockets reduce draft and minimize the shaft angle. Construction is solid fiberglass on the bottom, with cored topsides and superstructure, which cuts down on the boat’s weight.
The boat sleeps as many as six, using the master stateroom forward (with queen berth), a midships cabin with bunks for two, and a convertible settee in the saloon. The interior has teak trim throughout and a teak and holly sole. There’s a single head compartment that includes a separate stall shower, adjacent to the master cabin. The galley up is in the large saloon and comes with a three-burner electric glass-top stove, double stainless steel sink, microwave oven and under-counter refrigerator. There’s also a separate refrigerator/freezer tucked under the helm seat. (Alternative layouts that include a V-berth in the master stateroom, galley down and a single berth in the guest cabin also were offered.)
The windshield and large side windows give the saloon an open, airy feel and good views all around. Twin 300-hp diesels deliver a 17- to 19-knot cruising speed, while a pair of 375-hp engines increases performance to around 21 to 23 knots.
Because only a handful of 40 Eastbays were built, they’re harder to find on the used boat market than its successors. But they are out there — priced less than their bigger sisters — and remain sought after for their in-between size and the builder’s pedigree. In Connecticut, a 1996 40 Eastbay flybridge, recently repowered with twin 420-hp Cat diesels, was selling for $389,000. The twin-cabin, galley-up cruiser has full electronics and the classic combination of a Flag Blue Awlgrip hull with a white boot top. Another New England boat, also vintage 1996, was for sale for $349,000. The “professionally maintained” flybridge sedan has a black hull, green bottom and teak toe rail and accents, along with twin-diesel power. In comparison, a similar 43 Eastbay, vintage 1999, was selling for $499,000 equipped with twin 435-hp diesels and such extras as dinghy davits.
Steve Knauth is a contributing writer for Soundings Magazine. This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue.