Thursday, December 10, 2015

Local boats I like, the Eco Trekker

I didn't know what to think. At a glance my first thought was it seemed to be an anorexic trimaran sailboat that was demasted. I snapped a pic with my phone took a few more steps, looked again, and went back to the truck to get my real camera. There's more than meets the eye here, and the more I learned the better I liked it.

To the best of my knowledge this is a one off Kurt Hughes design and it's called a "38' Power Trawler". I guess technically it's a full displacement design, but unlike the more portly designs I associate with trawlers, this one only draws a foot and a half of water. The term long wetted waterline comes to mind.

So given the name of the vessel, with its very shallow draft. The fact that it's loaded with kayaks and paddle boards I can only agree as mentioned on the designer's website its mission is to comfortably deliver passengers to thin water locations to use small watercraft. A cool idea. 

My eye typically disdains less than traditional designs but, the more I looked at this boat, the better I liked it. It has a sleek appearance, but at the same time exemplifies form follows function in a very elegant way.

Despite its initial skinny appearance it's actually more commodious than it appears. If you look at the website drawings and the rendering you can see it comfortably sleeps four in two double berths, with the aft one being the largest. I guess you you could sleep a fifth on the settee. It has a pretty substantial head, and galley configuration.

The cockpit has seating for four with a bimini and a smallish helm, but with room for the needed electronics. In general the layout is good, plenty roomy enough and no space has been thrown away.

The magic is in the power plants. Propulsion is provided by two 9.9 electric start Yamaha's with power tilt.

The website has a link titled "vessel range" that's worthy of a look. It's based on two 15 HP outboards, and this boat has a third less power. The range numbers are based on 100 gallons of fuel.

With the two 15HP engines at full power with a speed of 12.3kts it has a range of 435nm. That's 4.35 nautical miles per gallon. I don't know of any other boats at 38' that can achieve this.

At the other end of the range running one engine at low power the speed is 5kts with an incredible range of 2958nm. You could go from Florida to Maine and back with 100 gallons of gas. *Depending on where you started in Florida and where you went in Maine. I don't want to imply that if you started in Pensacola, and went to Eastport Maine and back you could do it with 100 gallons. You would probably have to stop in Savannah and buy another 30 gallons. 

Running one engine at 3000 RPM gives you 8kts of speed and yields a range of 1965nm. Almost 20 miles to the gallon without feeling like you're crawling. The point is, "To say this vessel is fuel efficient is a gross understatement".

Is this specific design good for me? The answer is yes with a couple of mods. The designer shows a trampoline spanning the aka's Those are the aluminum tubes that connect the ama, (the outboard pontoon) floaty part to the vaka, the main hull in the middle. Look at that, you just learned three Polynesian words and are now even more boaty. Now ditch the blazer and scuff up those boat shoes so you look like a real mariner.

On this boat the trampoline is missing and the small watercraft are bridging the aka's. I would replace the trampolines with a modestly cantilevered solid (perforated) deck on both sides with life lines on the fore and outboard sides. One side could be used for a dingy, the the other side would make a nice place to have an umbrella, with a table and deck chairs. A great little patio deck to enjoy the sunset, and have a good bourbon with the dulcet tones of Pink Floyd wafting in the background.

The other thing that would be nice to include in the design is room for a gen set, maybe built into the transom. Because there is no engine room per se because of the outboards, the interior gains all of that extra space. But if you use a boat in Florida, sleeping with with no air conditioning during the summer is akin to being staked out in Death Valley, and you will likely be charged for spousal abuse in the morning.

Despite my initial reaction on first seeing this little vessel, I have grown to really like it. You could likely scale the design up a little more and get an even larger version that would retain the majority of the fuel efficiency and give you some more room. It's a really clever design Mr. Hughes.


  1. Very cool! For years I was a deckhand aboard a Kurt Hughes designed charter catamaran up in Buffalo, NY. Had a cool experience delivering her as a new build up the Hudson then through the Erie Canal. Kurt came to visit us and see the finished product. Really nice guy, loves his multi hulls!

  2. I agree with you sir. This boat is fantastic. I have been salivating over it for a year now. I think scaling up would be VERY interesting .. Thanks for sharing

  3. This is the Only Kurt Hughes stabalized monohull I've seen built. It's pretty awesome and was for sale for an amazing price a while back when i didn't have any money. Do you know if the boat is still there or who the owners are or if they're looking to sell her? Cheers!

    1. Jonathan, the next time I'm at the marina I'll try to get you some information

    2. That would seriously be awesome. There are literally no powertri's/stabalized monohulls actually out there. I wish there were more pictures of the boat too. I would really like to see her interior. I bought the study plans but I'm a sane enough person to not actually go through with building a boat.

    3. I run charters here in the BVI for Voyage. This boat would be so perfect to get around here so I can have fun on my days off


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