This contemporary refresh on an 8-year-old design feels more like an entirely new model.
Trevor Brice, the 40-year-old owner of North Pacific Yachts, isn’t crazy about the “trawler” designation that is sometimes associated with his coastal cruisers. “I’ve dropped the word trawler. I try not to use it at all,” he tells me. His reticence isn’t surprising. Let’s be real: In 2021, the category could use a public relations makeover. Trawlers tend to conjure images of slow-moving, salty as the day is long, full-displacement vessels. Plenty of boaters still wear that lifestyle choice as a badge of honor, but the latest in North Pacific’s line of contemporary semi-displacement vessels, the 49 Euro Pilothouse is certainly not that. So, what is it? Says Brice, “It’s not a motoryacht because you’re not cruising at 20 knots, but it’s not a trawler because that conjures up this image of an older person’s boat.”
Even though it’s not exactly my favorite, I nonchalantly offer up the term “power cruiser.”
“Power cruiser—I kind of like it,” he says.
North Pacific 49 Euro Pilothouse
Now we’re getting somewhere, and at more than 4 knots! (Sorry.) A follow-up to the 49 Pilothouse, the 49 Euro is North Pacific’s answer to an owner demographic that is skewing younger and seeking a more modern look and feel. While North Pacific debuted the 49 Pilothouse in 2013 and sold 14 hulls to date (solid numbers for a boutique cruiser company that builds six to eight boats a year), the biggest difference between the two models is in the design aesthetic. Though built on the same hull, the original 49 combined hand-crafted, teak-paneled walls, dovetailed drawers, book-matched cabinetry and real teak-and-holly flooring to give the space a traditional trawler feel. Rather than teak, the 49 Euro feels more modern with a light-colored palate of wenge and ash, premium materials like Ultraleather in the outdoor seating and high-end fabrics on the walls. Inside, the boat looks more like a modern, upscale apartment than Granddad’s trawler.
While other builders have been guilty of tweaking an area like the swim platform on a popular model and slapping another numeral or flashy modifier to differentiate the name, that isn’t the case for the 49 Euro. In fact, a simple refresh might be underselling it. Taken together, this model feels more like a complete overhaul.
Originally, when Brice sent the renderings to the first owners, he thought they’d hate it. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Rick Ginsburg and Mary Silverstein took delivery of their 49 Euro, or hull number one, in January. But since the company’s offices are in Vancouver, British Columbia, Brice still hadn’t been able to see it in person due to travel restrictions. Fortunately, I did. A cruise up the East Coast deposited Exhale in Rockland, Maine, where I met the boat for a cruise. Aside from Exhale, North Pacific has delivered a 49 Euro to Seattle and has another one under construction at their yard in China.
Wiping my shoes on a Buddhist-inspired door mat with a reminder to “inhale the good shit; exhale the bullshit,” I was invited aboard by the semi-retired, long-range cruisers, who have completed the Great Loop as well as excursions to the San Juan Islands and Bimini, among others. On this trip, they had traveled more than 453 hours and 3,500 miles up the East Coast with a contingent of two other couples (aboard their own Fleming 58 and North Pacific 45) in a year-long adventure they were calling “the Maine Event.” That many miles—and a white maltipoo that likes to bark at jet skis—teach you certain things about what you want out of your boat. And though they weren’t necessarily the young families Brice had described as the ones typically gravitating to the Euro models, these long-range cruisers were decidedly young at heart.
Exhale has become the standard layout and wood finish for the 49 Euro going forward thanks to the contributions of Rick and Mary, who were owners of an original 49 before trading up. (Rick showed me his iPhone Notes app where he keeps a meticulous journal of nautical musings.) One recipient of their liveaboard mentality is the position of the galley. The galley-aft arrangement sacrifices the simplicity of a amidships master stateroom off the salon, which is instead accessed all the way forward via the raised pilothouse portside stairwell (along with the forward VIP). But in all honesty, that simplicity might be overrated. Instead, this layout naturally creates a separation of entertaining spaces and berths that I personally find more appealing.
Power Cruiser Gallery:
The cockpit has been expanded by at least 2 feet and is accessed via the full-beam salon by a sliding glass door. When Rick and Mary have guests over, they treat them to al fresco dining thanks to the integrated seating and generous table space. Grabbing appetizers from the galley is a breeze thanks to the robust countertops and proximity to the full-size stainless steel refrigerator, which somehow doesn’t look out of place. That feeling of capaciousness is everywhere, including the pilothouse itself, which benefits from a forward-raked windshield that replaces the traditional reverse rake found on the original 49. Not only does it look sleeker, it also opens up the pilothouse considerably, while leaving enough room for a sizeable control panel and a solid-teak destroyer wheel. From the helm to the cockpit, this is a 51-foot yacht made for people that aren’t willing to sacrifice a single iota of space.
After traveling an average of 100 miles a day, the couples had scaled back to less than 20 miles in recent days to, as Rick said, “enjoy the different personalities of each port up here.” Whether by coincidence or premeditation on account of the skipper, I had the distinction of going the shortest leg, about 6 miles, to Rockport. Despite being short, it still proved revelatory for determining performance, though regrettably not in the sportiest of conditions. The season’s first tropical storm was winding its way north, and the weather report called for 7- to 10-foot seas and 60-mph winds. What we received instead would be hard to call 2-footers with a straight face.
The sky was a pastel of blue and white as we set off from the dock. Rick prefers skippering from the pilothouse, which on a warm summer day didn’t feel stuffy at all thanks to a luxurious cross breeze provided by a custom ventilation hatch and two sliding doors to the outside deck, all open. That said, a quick inspection of the flybridge found an incredibly inviting upper helm station should an owner (and their friends) so desire.
For most of the trip, Exhale had been doing about 8 knots, which amounts to a fuel burn of around 6 gph. That would work fine paired with a 500-gallon fuel tank, providing a range of over 600 miles. (Bimini, anybody?) But, owing to North Pacific’s reputation for working with owners to customize just about everything, including the power options and salty accouterments, Exhale is outfitted with a 600-hp Cummins QSC8.3 and two 460-gallon fuel tanks, allowing Rick and Mary to cruise for more than 1,500 miles before needing to refuel. Drop the throttle back even further, and what you miss out in speed, you more than make up for in mileage.
Even though the QSC8.3 falls toward the middle of the pack of power options North Pacific offers, Brice told me it can still push the 49 Euro to a 14-knot top end. Looking to move a little faster on your next Great Loop? Brice is currently working with a client interested in twin 550-hp Cummins QSB6.7s, with the goal of cruising around 17 knots. You know what? Maybe the term power cruiser isn’t such a bad idea after all.
North Pacific 49 Euro Pilothouse Test Report:
Displ.: 48,000 lbs. (dry)
Fuel: 920 gal.
Water: 200 gal.
Power: 1/355-hp Cummins QSB6.7; 1/600-hp Cummins QSC8.3; 2/550-hp Cummins QSB6.7