Duffy-Herreshoff 30 — By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2002
|If the Duffy-Herreshoff 30 has a hallmark quality, it's charm.|
Although we had mechanical problems with our Duffy-Herreshoff 30 in California that precluded a test, we were able to find another in Fort Lauderdale that was going great guns, just begging for a sea trial. And what a wicked-cool little day cruiser she turned out to be, thanks in part to an efficient, full-displacement hull form that copies a 30-foot steam-powered launch designed and built by Nathaniel Herreshoff 100 years ago. Credit also goes to a diesel-electric powerplant I found to be quiet, clean, almost instantaneously responsive, and multifaceted.
Full-electric is the quiet, cruise-friendly mode, of course, but there were a couple of other hybrid-related options on our test boat. Not only was the 5.5-kW Northern Lights genset in the lazarette capable of charging the big bank of MK AGM 8-D batteries in the bottom of our test boat whether underway or at rest, but it also provided A.C. power on demand for our boat-test laptop and other electrical accessories we might use underway. Moreover, there was a 2,000-watt ProSine inverter onboard to provide silent A.C. power at anchor, for TV, air conditioning, and other appliances.
Why a diesel-electric hybrid? A wholly electric Duffy typically cruises for a total of ten hours on a full charge, with a recharge time that's also ten hours. The genset boosts that cruising range by 50 percent at about half-throttle. While it's not powerful enough to top off batteries underway, the genset does have the oomph to slow discharge considerably. Hence the 50 percent.
Not only was our Duffy comfortable, but I liked the way she handled. Her steering was smooth, thanks to Hynautic hydraulics, and a fair amount of torque was generated when I engaged the single-lever control. In fact, by deploying the thruster and rudder at the same time as the throttle, I found I could swing the bow with authority, even in a bit of wind. This virtue was seriously downgraded, however, when the openings in the Barrett glass-coated polycarbonate enclosure were zipped closed, creating way more sail area.
Construction and engineering of the 30 are straightforward and robust. Her hull and liner laminates are of solid fiberglass, laid up by hand with general-purpose polyester resin and conventional fabrics. The hull-to-deck joint is fastened with Plexus methacrylate adhesive, and the molded bilge keels that impart transverse stability to the narrow hull are affixed with the same material. Propulsion is accomplished via a straight-inboard configuration, with an old-fashioned, packing-filled stuffing box and a direct, dual-belt drive off a 20-hp electric motor.
If the Duffy-Herreshoff 30 has a hallmark quality, it's charm. From the custom-cast stemhead fitting (with chromed-bronze dolphins leaping playfully) to the yachty, wood-on-white interior, our test boat did the Herreshoff name proud. Toss a sumptuous list of standards into the mix, along with a raft of comfy UltraLeather settees, as well as a repertoire of operating characteristics as people-friendly as they are environmentally sound, and you're looking at a thoroughly practical but also thoroughly romantic little picnic passagemaker.
Hey, she even has a roomy VacuFlush-equipped head up forward with an opening hatch overhead.--B.P.
Duffy Electric Boat Company Phone: (800) 645-1044. Fax: (949) 645-8108. www.duffyboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.