I was sitting in the salon of a friend’s boat in Southwest Harbor several years ago, swapping lies that were at least half-way believable, when a friend of my friend’s, a dignified old Texas judge, stopped by. We were all in a good mood that morning, enjoying the summertime appeal of the Pine Tree State and talking about boats, a subject I was especially obsessed with at the time, considering that I’d just sold my Grand Banks trawler and hadn’t yet lucked into the vessel I own today. At length, the judge explained that he owned a little Legacy pocket cruiser—something in the 30-foot range—and just might, for the right price, be persuaded to part with her.
“Could this be kismet?” I remember immediately asking myself. “Might my next boat be a salty Legacy lobster yacht? With a dark blue hull? Cream-colored superstructure? Maybe a sweet little 330-hp Cummins inboard diesel belowdecks? And a serious reduction in exterior teak in constant need of sweat-soaked attention?”
Of course, reality soon kicked in. And the judge got the right price for his Legacy but, unfortunately, not from poor ol’ me of modest means. Yet still, my fantasies have continued to linger over the years, even as Legacy Yachts has undergone changes in ownership and physical location. Indeed, when I recently spoke with Phil Friedman, general manager of Marine Manufacturing Group, about the builder’s latest project—the Legacy 12—I was just a tad excited.
“We decided we needed to come out with a new model, something beyond—but not too far beyond—the classic Down East-style boats that Legacy’s done for so many years” said Friedman. “And outboards, which are very popular these days, seemed like the way to go, at least in terms of propulsion. You know, if you stack up our diesel-inboard-powered classic 36 alongside the new Legacy 12 with outboards—both are basically 12-meter vessels—the new boat is going to have 40 percent more horsepower and weigh almost a ton and a half less!”
Friedman outlined other differences, classic versus new. For starters, thanks to megayacht designer JC Espinosa, the overall styling of the 12 has been softened and modernized, although her exterior profile retains an approximation of the traditional, inboard lobster yacht look, at least in part thanks to hullside extensions that conceal the outboards when the boat is viewed from the side. Legacy has also extended the running surface aft to provide buoyancy to support the weight of twin outboards, whether from Yamaha, Mercury or even the diesel devotees at Cox Marine. And finally, Friedman described another rather unusual feature he thinks will boost the boat’s practical cruising potential.
“Somewhere along in the design process, my liveaboard experiences over the years brought an interesting question to mind,” he said. “What if we took the space in the middle of the boat that we’ve emptied by switching from inboard diesel to outboards and turned it into a nicely finished compartment with amenities that would expand the boat’s usefulness, make her more amenable to island hopping and longer trips? Owners could take their pick. Dishwasher, trash compactor, freezer. Maybe even a pair of electric bikes. And there’d be a hatch you could raise to give you standing headroom while you were in there. We think it’s a great idea, really. Something truly different and game-changing.”
Legacy Yachts is currently hard at work on the Legacy 12 in Painesville, Ohio. And according to Friedman, the boat will make her debut in early 2023, most likely at the Miami International Boat Show, an event I figure my old friend, the boat-lovin’ judge from Texas, will probably attend. Without question, the old boy’s something of a traditionalist. So, it’d be loads of fun chatting him up afterwards, just to get a traditionalist’s take on Legacy’s latest and greatest—an attractive, outboard-powered Down East update.