Duffield 58

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

As a ma­rine jour­nal­ist, it’s a real treat to speak with Mar­shall “Duffy” Duffield, owner of the Duffy Elec­tric Boat Co., as I imag­ine it also would be for friends, fam­ily mem­bers, com­plete strangers, and de­cid­edly non-ma­rine jour­nal­ists alike. The rea­sons are abun­dant. He’s a pas­sion­ate, mag­netic, highly quotable man who loves what he does. So imag­ine his ex­cite­ment—down­right in­fec­tious, in fact—be­ing able to chat about the re­cently de­buted Duffield 58, which has been a la­bor of love for the New­port Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, na­tive.

The boat was in­spired in part by the 56-foot, 1965 cus­tom Ber­tram that Duffield has owned for over 25 years. It’s taken more than two years in con­cep­tion and build time for the com­pany to pro­duce a tra­di­tional-look­ing boat that im­proves upon the West Coast­style of ocean­go­ing trawlers. Duffield was also drawn to the tra­di­tional lines and mod­ern styling used by Doug Zurn, founder of the Mar­ble­head, Mas­sachusetts-based Zurn Yacht De­sign.

“We [un­of­fi­cially] started this in 2011, so ev­ery year I’d be get­ting a call from Duffy and he’d be go­ing, ‘ Your boats are beau­ti­ful, man,’” says Zurn. “He wanted a boat that was light and airy. Good vis­i­bil­ity. As did the owner of hull num­ber one.”

Duffield cred­its the first buyer of the 58 for his in­sis­tence on a boat with good fuel econ­omy (29 gal­lons per hour at 18 knots, ac­cord­ing to Duffield) and a quiet ride. The main sa­loon of­fers 360-de­gree views and un­ob­structed sight­lines. An LED-lit in­te­rior cen­ters around an open-plan gal­ley. For­ward sleep­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions in­clude a mas­ter state­room with queen-size berth for­ward. To port, a sec­ond cabin in­cludes another queen-size berth, while a flex­i­ble space to star­board can be used as stowage, crew’s quar­ters, or a kids’ cabin.

An elec­tric boat­builder by trade, Duffield had orig­i­nally set his sights on hav­ing the boat run on 100 per­cent elec­tric propul­sion. When he and I first spoke ear­lier this year, he told me how dis­mayed he was to learn how cost in­ef­fec­tive that sys­tem was. (It’s four times more ex­pen­sive than con­ven­tional power to in­stall.) But per­for­mance wasn’t sac­ri­ficed by go­ing with a stan­dard diesel en­gine, in this case bol­stered by a Seatorque shaft sys­tem that in­creases ef­fi­ciency with less drag, and re­duces vi­bra­tion. (An op­tion for an elec­tric geth­ome aux­il­iary en­gine is avail­able.)

“We didn’t hit our num­bers per­fectly on our fuel burn,” ad­mits Duffield. “We burn a lit­tle more than we were hop­ing, but not much. We’re still 45 or 47 per­cent less [fuel burn] than every­one else. No­body up un­til [now] even cared. The think­ing was, ‘Well if you’re this wealthy to buy a $2.5 mil­lion boat, what do you care about how much fuel you burn?’”

From the cock­pit of his 1965 Ber­tram, Duffield can’t help but mar­vel at the fu­ture of boat­build­ing, which, lucky for us, is the present. “This old girl that I’m on, I love her to death, but oh my God! We have ap­plied all of these tech­nolo­gies that are avail­able and put them into the 58.” That in­cludes Humphree In­ter­cep­tors and a stan­dard SeaKeeper.

As for the first owner: “He’s elated. If you talk to him, he’s like a lit­tle kid with a new toy,” says Duffield. With Hull No. 1 go­ing through its sea tri­als and the sec­ond in the mold get­ting ready for the boat-show cir­cuit, you could be mis­taken for think­ing he was talk­ing about him­self. — Duffield Yachts, 949-645-6811; duffield­y­achts.com

The 58 was in­spired in part by builder Mar­shall Duffield’s 1965 Ber­tram. LOA: 63'6" BEAM: 16'0" DRAFT: 3'11" DISPL.: 57,740 lb. (Half Load) POWER: 1/985-hp Cater­pil­lar C12.9 CRUISE SPEED: 18 knots TOP SPEED: 27 knots PRICE: $2.49 mil­lion

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