Long-distance cruisers celebrate the return of a brand that has been dormant since 2012 with a new model that blends tradition and technology.
The serious boater will recognize that the new Alaskan 66 Mk II is no joke. Alaskan Yachts dates back three decades, when prominent naval architect Art DeFever founded Grand Alaskan and designed a number of long-range, trawler-style yachts. Following DeFever, the company changed ownership a couple times, resulting in a complicated business trajectory and a dormancy in sales since 2012. Peter Whiting of Seattle Yachts recently negotiated the purchase of the Alaskan brand rights and is reintroducing Alaskan Yachts to the market this year with a team devoted to restoring the iconic brand.
The new 66 is being designed by well-known cruising yacht designer Stephen Seaton. New-Build Manager Phil Friedman is excited to have Seaton on board as they work to revitalize the company. “Steve has designed a redeveloped hull form and we have brought the basic particulars of the yacht up to contemporary standards,” Friedman says. Among the new developments is a 12 percent broader beam—now 19 feet 6 inches—that will allow the semidisplacement hull to achieve greater operating speeds. Electronically-controlled John Deeres, coupled with the advanced hull, should provide efficient operation over a wide range of speeds and distances. “They can operate at 6 or 7 knots, passagemaking speed, but they can also get up and go to about 17 or 18 knots if you have enough power available,” Friedman says.
The yacht’s versatility makes it a great candidate for both island hopping and long-range cruising, and Friedman expects that it could be used as a family boat. More likely, however, he sees the 66 as appealing to retired couples who want to cruise long distances. “The 66 is large enough and complete enough to live aboard and to spend extended periods of time aboard, but still slow enough to be able to manage on your own,” he says. And with a passagemaking range of 1,600 nautical miles, it is well-prepared for the adventurous couple. The first hull is going to the Pacific Northwest to a buyer planning to live aboard and go long-distance cruising.
The model will have a master and two VIP staterooms, plus crew’s quarters aft. Friedman describes the interior as “modern with a traditional flavor.” It can be configured either as the traditional flush deck model or as a raised pilothouse (RPH) version.
With the reintroduction of a classic brand to the market and the reimagination of a traditional vessel, the industry has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year.
Alaskan 66 Mk II Specifications:
Displ: 92,000 lb
Fuel: 1,800 gal
Water: 450 gal
Standard Power: 2/500-hp John Deere diesels
Cruise Speed: 12 knots
Top Speed w/ std power: 15 kts
Top Speed w/ optional power: 18-20 kts