Blue Star 29.9 — By Capt. Stuart Reininger — February 2000
|Part 2: It was her fit and finish here that grabbed me.|
One reason for the need to suck in your gut when climbing into the engine room is that the twin 250-hp Yanmar 6LPM-DTE diesels that live there are hefty chunks of iron for a boat of this size. But they pay the rent for the space they occupy by hauling the Blue Star to a top end that would give a few go-fasts a run for their money.
When I firewalled our test boat’s twin gearshift/throttle controls in the waters of Long Island Sound off Rowayton, Connecticut, she wasted no time in reaching her peak speed of 36.4 mph. Bow rise was negligible, and I never lost sight of the horizon. As there wasn’t enough of a sea to get excited about, it was difficult to determine how the Blue Star would react in a chop. Judging from her workboat heritage and 22-degree transom deadrise, she should do well. As for handling, swinging the wheel with one hand from stop to stop was near effortless thanks to her Hynautic hydraulic steering. There was no bucking or stiffness, a sign of a careful installation.
The cockpit layout is straightforward, with a proper captain’s seat for the skipper, who needs to only glance down to read large analog instrumentation. Because the Blue Star comes standard with a full stainless steel-framed Sunbrella enclosure, it’s easy to forget that she’s basically an open-cockpit boat. The enclosure separates the cockpit into fore and aft sections, with plenty of guest seating on both ends. The smaller aft cockpit and nicely crafted teak swim platform can both serve as a handy place from which to cast a lure, keeping in mind that fishing is not the Blue Star’s purpose in life. There wasn’t a ladder on our test boat’s swim platform, but I was assured that a stainless steel three-rung model is standard and simply hadn’t been installed.
I have a suspicion that the Blue Star is going to appeal to sailors who are ready to come in out of the cold. As soon as they venture below, they’ll feel right at home. From the beautifully crafted, solid-teak, sliding companionway hatch to the forward (6' x 5') V-berth to the drop-down dinette, which converts into another double, the layout is reminiscent of that on a sailboat. The overhead is teak-lined and nicely molded into a cathedral ceiling-like convexity that makes it seem like there’s more headroom than the actual 6'2". The head compartment is simple, with a sit-down shower and manual MSD. With its standard microwave oven, the galley is better suited for the preparation of quick snacks than all-out sit-down dinners. Overall, the Blue Star’s below-deck living accommodations are somewhat less than you’ll find in most similar-size overnighters.
Indeed, it was her fit and finish here that grabbed me. The all-wood drawers operate on Teflon-coated runners, and the cabinet latches are positive-locking and solid. Following a stretch of damp weather, you won’t have to tug to overcome the resistance of swollen wood while working below.
Another touch I liked, also reminiscent of sailboats, is that you can access the chain locker from below as well as from on deck (the anchor hangs out of the way off the end of a nicely crafted, well-bolted and -backed mahogany pulpit). On the other hand, while the bitter end of the rode is secured to a bulkhead-mounted stainless steel U-bolt, a touch often overlooked on many boats, there is no drainage hole in the chain locker.
So where does the Blue Star 29.9 find her place in the world? Her greatest values are as a comfortable day-tripper that can easily accommodate six, an overnighter for four, and a weekender for two. And she’ll be right at home cruising New England’s waters–she’ll just need to stand clear of all those prop-snagging traps spawned by her working brethren.
Boatworks Rowayton Phone: (203) 866-0882. Fax: (203) 853-4910.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.