|EXCLUSIVE: Bluewater 6000 Custom Series
— By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— October 2003
Out of the Ordinary
|A two-day jaunt aboard a boat that is truly different by design.|
“Fishing stories told here,” read the sign over the counter of Dave and Mary Beth Tillman’s Siskiwit Bay Tackle Store in Cornucopia, Wisconsin. Outside, over the entranceway, unlit strings of Christmas lights still festooned the eave, and photographer Jim Raycroft saw a photo op. “Hey Dave, any chance of flicking on those lights?” he asked Tillman. “Sure,” Tillman said, still a bit distracted by the Bluewater 6000 Custom Series yacht we had come in on that was tied up in his marina.
“Water’s pretty skinny here. How’d ya get a big boat like that inside?” he asked when we first pulled in. “She’s tunneled and draws 32 inches,” I explained. “No kidding,” Tillman said as he adjusted his Siskiwit Bay fishing hat. “Big boat like that?”
Now, I don’t know how much you know about Bluewater Yachts, but if you are like me, these “different by design” vessels have always been head-turners at boats shows and around the dock if for nothing else other than their, well, different design. And while I had only done walk-throughs on them in the past, I was not only already enjoying this trip, but pleasantly surprised to be discovering that this Bluewater was a very practical cruiser.
Tillman propped a small ladder up against the building. “Better stand back,” he said as he plugged the line in. The lights flickered, glowed for a second, and then POP! The lights also went out inside the store. “I was afraid of that,” he said, as he descended the ladder to reset his breakers. “Now about that boat of yours.”
That boat of mine belongs to Jolie and Steve Klapmeier, owners of Bluewater Yachts. They don’t exactly own the vessel, but as Bluewater is their company...well, you get my drift. Raycroft and I were their guests, along with Bluewater’s vice president of sales Juan Pasch and his wife Liz, for a two-day jaunt across a small part of the western portion of Lake Superior. Our departure point was Duluth, Minnesota, birthplace of Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan, and once the native soil of the Ojibway People—sometimes spelled Ojibwe and known to folks around these here parts as the Chippewa.
We made our first stop, the aforementioned hamlet of Cornucopia, about 40 NM northeast as the crow flies from Duluth, in less than two hours. Pasch kept the boat at a comfortable cruise speed of about 23.5 knots. (My test boat had a pair of 480-hp Cummins 480C-E electronic diesels. Optional power includes twin 450-hp 450C nonelectronic Cummins.) At that rate of speed, and with a 46-gph fuel burn and her 480-gallon fuel capacity, our 6000 had a 221-NM range. When I cut her back to 2000 rpm, I calculated a 324-NM range at 18.5 knots.
Our plan was to stop here for lunch and then leave another 35 or so nautical miles in our wake and put in at Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the south side of the Bayfield Peninsula, for the night. We’d visit the scenic archipelago of the Apostle Islands the next day and end with a dinner aboard the 6000 back in Duluth.
While Raycroft ambled about Cornucopia, I sat with the Klapmeiers and the Paschs at the dining table—seating for eight—amidships to port on the 6000’s expansive top deck, as we enjoyed generous portions of Jolie’s wild rice soup, an assortment of Wisconsin cheeses, and an endless bowl of salad.
How expansive is this deck? I measured 17'5" from the end of the helm area forward to the molded-in stairs aft and 12'6" from port to starboard. Besides the dining table, the deck features a large sunpad aft, flanked by seats just forward of the stairs and another one to port. There’s also an optional Jenn-Air electric grill opposite the table, and aft of the helm, a refrigerator, is also an option. The hardtop extends just short of the aft sunpad and shades the deck. To say that this design is perfect for entertaining is putting it mildly. With 20 people up here, there would still be plenty of elbowroom.
Once Raycroft was back aboard, we said goodbye to Tillman and set out for Bayfield. Sitting at the double helm seat (there’s additional seating to port), I took note of the careful positioning of all the navigational instruments and the ease I had in reaching the controls and switches.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.