San Juan 48 Page 2

San Juan 48 Motor Yacht By Capt. Bill Pike — November 2003

The Compleat Express
Part 2: The San Juan’s machinery spaces were masterfully done too.
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Returning the 48 to Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes at the end of the sea trial only served to heighten my enthusiasm for the boat’s handling characteristics. Since I was constrained to negotiate three or four narrow fairways in the marina, all interconnected by tight, sailboat-studded turns, I proceeded slowly, on engines alone, with steering wheel and rudders centered. The going was easy, nevertheless. I simply sat back in the custom helm seat, clicked the sticks with the fingers of my right hand, and watched the 48 track and pivot with Swiss-watch precision. Visibility was excellent, thanks to a huge, gray-tinted windshield and side windows. At the mouth of our slip, I energized the SidePower bow and stern thrusters just in case, a move that would prove unnecessary. By simply clutching the mains into and out of forward and reverse a few times, I docked the 48 with about as much fanfare as it takes to land a rowboat.

I examined our test boat dockside in the company of San Juan’s founders, Donald Campbell and Randy McCurdy. As we worked our way along, from stern to bow, the pair repeatedly stressed their commitment not only building great boats but also to offering great, 24/7 service. “There’s nobody else in the business today who cares more about doing things right than we do,” Campbell said at one point, smoothing a finger across a mirror-like brightwork regimen in the cockpit that boasts three coats of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy and 12 coats of sprayed Stirling urethane.

The San Juan’s machinery spaces were masterfully done too, with standard-issue equipment in profusion. Believe me, it’s not every day you come across two 22,000-Btu, chilled-water air-conditioning systems from Marine Air (either one of which will fully cool or heat the boat in case the other needs repair or maintenance), a 12-kW Northern Lights genset, a SidePower bow thruster and stern thruster, and a 600-gpd Village Marine watermaker, all on a standards list that also includes an outboard-powered Zodiac tender (with removable davit and garage stowage), full canvas package, and totally equipped galley.

The 48’s interior layout was as elegantly simple as everything else I’d seen onboard. There’s a full wet bar on the bridge deck abaft the helm seat, a U-shape settee and table opposite of here, wide sun lounges aft, and a benchseat across the transom. Below decks, the master stateroom is ample as well as comfortable, with a separate stall shower in the en suite head and a SeaLand “direct fall” MSD, meaning both it and the MSD in the day head across the hall open directly into the holding tank below—no macerators, sanitary runs, or other complicating factors are installed between bowl and tank. The guest stateroom, with a queen berth and fold-down pilot berth rendered private by pocket doors, is opposite the U-shape galley and is the real showpiece of the teak-trimmed accommodation area. With doors retracted and the berth converted to a couch-potato-friendly lounge strategically positioned in view of flat-screen TV, it does double duty as an entertainment area.

I can’t say I was overjoyed at finishing up my test of the San Juan 48 Motor Yacht. There’s something flat-out enjoyable about hanging out on and around a superbly designed, finely built vessel all day and palavering with a couple of  hard-working boatbuilders like Campbell and McCurdy.

I bailed out just in time, though. The boat was scheduled for a photo shoot in the morning, and there was a little salt on her from the sea trial.

“Most folks’d say she’s pretty clean right now,” McCurdy grinned, plying a soapy sponge with characteristic fervor in the dying Pacific Northwestern sunlight.

“But she’s filthy by our standards,” added Campbell, who was just as passionately addressing a faint footprint located on the San Juan’s cabin top with a deck brush.

I wouldn’t doubt they were hard at it ‘til midnight.

San Juan Yachts Phone: (360) 299-3790.

Next page > Specs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

This article originally appeared in the October 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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