Star 29.9 — By Capt. Stuart Reininger
— February 2000
|The Blue Star 29.9’s look and price would make a Yankee lobsterman proud.|
Although New England has given us everything from Kennedys to Colt revolvers, it’s lobster boats that define the region. Just venture into any harbor or rocky cove (watch out for the minefield of lobster pots), and you’ll find it packed gunwale to gunwale with these craft. There’s no dearth of reasons for this design’s popularity. The lobster boat’s gentle sheer and high, near-plumb bow are ideal for pounding through a coastal chop or breasting the turbulence of a wind- and tide-opposed inlet. A generous beam and skeg-protected, deep-V bottom contribute to the stability necessary to any working platform.
It stands to reason, then, that many of the same workboat-friendly touches that contribute to the lobster boat’s popularity are found on New England-built or -inspired pleasurecraft. Sure enough, in the past few years, there have been a number of new launches, spanning the gamut of boat design. Whether using displacement, semidisplacement or planing hull forms, that New England look is in.
Most of these boats, however, share an upscale price that would make the staid working lobster boat blush as red as, well, a boiled crustacean. Custom and semicustom designs under 40 feet that flirt with a base-boat half-million-dollar mark are common, and there are few in the 30-foot range–which, incidentally, is the size of many real lobster boats. So, to find a 30-footer–29'9" to be exact–is a treat. To have her come in under $200,000 is like discovering a succulent clump of caviar as part of your lobster dinner. The boat in question is the Blue Star 29.9, a new offering by a new company.
She’s an all-New England yacht, and I don’t use that term loosely. The dark-blue hull of our test boat, which was the fourth one off the line, showed the flawless finish that only results from immaculate mold preparation and meticulous gelcoat application. (One reason most boats are white is that dings and imperfections in the gelcoat are harder to spot when there is no color.) Wooden touches throughout, such as the solid teak companionway steps and solid (not veneer) cabinetry are of matched, close-grained wood.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, which often use composites, the Blue Star has a solid mahogany caprail finished with multiple layers of varnish. To avoid blackened wood where stanchion fasteners penetrate, a custom-fit, L-shape bracket is welded to each stainless steel stanchion. The fasteners go through this bracket, which is securely caulked in place, before penetrating the wood. The result is a solid and maintenance-free fitting. Both the railings and stanchions are of two-inch-diameter 316 stainless steel pipe that is expertly welded rather than pieced together.
As a matter of fact, low maintenance is a hallmark of the Blue Star. On our test boat, wiring and plumbing were accessible either through easily removed hatches or by removing a few screws from an inspection plate. My only complaint concerned the tight squeeze getting through the cockpit day hatch to change filters and check fluids. I’d guess it would take about 20 minutes to remove the screws so the whole cockpit deck can come up for serious work or an engine removal.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.