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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Krogen Express 52

Shhh...

I’m listening intently as the standard twin 440-hp Yanmar diesels on the Krogen Express 52 run up from idle to WOT. You know what I hear? Only the 52’s sharp entry slicing through a one- to two-foot chop on New York’s Long Island Sound. I’m getting a 78 dB-A readout on my decibel meter at WOT (65 db-A is the level of normal conversation). The reason: an efficient Jim and Kurt Krogen hybrid displacement-semidisplacement hull design for sure. But it’s details like the AquaDrive engine–mounting system, an effective soundshield on the 12-kW Northern Lights genset, underwater exhausts, and enough Soundown insulation to quiet a thunderclap that separate okay from excellent.

The 52 is much more than quiet, as I find out this late-summer test day. I take over the helm from John Tegtmeyer, head of Krogen Express, grab hold of the massive destroyer wheel, which provides a strong feeling of control, and point the bow into the chop. I push the smooth ZF Mathers MicroCommander controls to WOT and note minimal bow rise; the 52’s trim angle never exceeds four degrees. The open flying bridge offers me 360 degrees of clean sightlines. The Hynautic hydraulic steering provides for real-time reaction when I’m turning the wheel, and one and a half to two boat-length turns are the norm, with minimal lean in either direction.

This hybrid commuter-trawler, which features narrow commuter-boat-like lines and a trawler-like interior, has a soft-chine, full-displacement hull form forward that transforms into a hard-chine semidisplacement form aft of amidships. This shape then transitions into a flat five-degree deadrise at the stern, which helps reduce motion underway, on the hook, or while drifting. The seas aren’t challenging for the 52. She tracks true down-sea and simply ignores the chop head-on, but there is spray coming over the high-sided bowrails as a result of her limited flare (I’m 5'7", and those bowrails come up to my waist amidships and are thigh-high forward of the house). If there was more breeze right now (it’s blowing 10 to 15 mph), it might be time to throw on the Gill. The boat comes standard with a bimini top, but I’m told one 52 owner rigged his boat with an enclosure to prevent just such an occurrence. In addition, as the 52 sits beam-to, her roll is soft, and she recovers after a couple of seconds of gentle rocking thanks to her hard chines aft. She doesn’t have the weeble-wobble of many traditional trawlers.

Tracking true and offering a stable ride, the 52 is also showing me some get up and go, as my radar gun reads a top average speed of 26.9 mph at 3300 rpm and a comfortable cruise of 24.4 mph at 3000 rpm. It’s an impressive turn of speed considering her heavy build, which consists of a solid-fiberglass hull bottom, Airex-cored hull sides, and end-grain-balsa-cored decks and house. There’s more, however. When Tegtmeyer tells me the boat is designed to do even better with trim tabs, we give ‘em the ol’ college try. Sure enough, tabs add an extra .9 mph at 2750 rpm, an extra 1.2 mph at 3000 rpm, and an extra .7 mph at 3300 rpm. And, although speed and other changes at the remaining rpm settings prove less significant, we do cut our running attitude by one degree at 3000 rpm.

The 52’s interior is trawler all the way. I’m immediately struck by the capacious nature of the saloon and galley-up. The open layout and seven-foot-plus headroom contribute to this airy feeling, and it’s enhanced by light satin-finished cherrywood throughout, large side windows in the saloon, the half-open Dutch doors, and three large pilothouse windows: the two side ones measure 36"x26" and the centerline is 34"x26". Two salty-looking portholes add to the traditional flavor. The saloon’s L-shape settee to starboard appears to be an inviting place to read a book from the well-stocked mini-library across and forward of it. Feeling more like a snack? It’s easily prepared in the galley, equipped with a Force 10 cooktop, GE microwave, full-size U-line refrigerator and freezer, ice maker, and Corian countertops. This boat is showing me long-range cruising and liveaboard appeal.

I enter the below-decks areas, and my impression is validated. The master stateroom forward is as bright and airy as the saloon, with a large overhead hatch and 7'4" headroom, as well as an en suite head, queen-size step-up berth, six under-berth drawers, two full-length cedar-lined closets, eight more drawers for traveling clothes, and even a shoe closet under the vanity. Just aft and to starboard, the office/guest stateroom has some neat features of its own: a desk for those who want an office at sea, a settee that converts to a double, and a Pullman just above the desk. It’s a great place for the kids or a captain. There’s a second head directly across from the guest, and both it and the en suite master head feature VacuFlush MSDs and shower stalls.

The roominess here is rivaled by that of the engine room. I measure 5'10" headroom where the twin Yanmars sit. Both are accessible on all sides without having to bend over so much as an inch. Further aft, headroom transitions to 3'5" by the standard centerline 12-kW Northern Lights genset. Every hose and wire is easy to locate, identify, and work on. If you’re doing long-range cruising, you will spend some quality time in this space.

The Krogen Express 52 comes with almost every piece of gear standard, from the Simrad electronics package to the genset, to the Stidd helm seat and those hefty Dutch doors. In fact, the only real option on this test boat is the bow thruster, which isn’t a necessity with the twin diesel power and 26"x24" four-blade Hy-Torq wheels. At $1.2 million, the 52 is worth a look, or better yet, a ride.

So please keep it down...I’m still listening intently to the sound of the bow slicing through the chop as the 52 makes her way up Long Island Sound. Why? ‘Cause I’m at the wheel, and while this story’s over, I’m having too much fun to head back in. See ya.

Krogen Express
(866) 4KROGEN

This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.