SKETCHBOOK

Soundings - - Contents -

Sam Devlin dreams of a cus­tomer who asks him to fin­ish the Sockeye 62, a husky boat of North­west de­sign that he has been mulling for years.

This month’s col­umn is purely hy­po­thet­i­cal, though I wouldn’t mind the story play­ing out this way. We all have dreams, and this is one of mine. My cus­tomer and friend, Ralph, calls with good news: He’s fi­nally sold his busi­ness and is ready to re­tire. I con­grat­u­late him on his good for­tune, but the con­ver­sa­tion isn’t over. Ralph has been think­ing for some time that if his ship re­ally comes in, he’ll or­der a new boat, the penul­ti­mate cruiser he’d dreamed about for years.

Fif­teen years ear­lier, in this fan­tasy, I had built Ralph’s fa­ther one of my 45-foot Sockeye de­signs. They en­joyed it for many thou­sands of miles, cruis­ing and ex­plor­ing. I’m al­most scared to hear what boat Ralph might want next. ( I may have heard that he’s in­ter­ested in a Steve Dashew FPB longdis­tance cruiser built in alu­minum.) When he tells me, my jaw drops to the ground.

Ralph wants me to fin­ish the Sockeye 62, a de­sign I’ve been whit­tling on for sev­eral years and a di­rect ex­ten­sion of the boat I built for his fam­ily. Ralph wants the 62 as his re­tire­ment home and cruiser. My head fills with the clut­ter of what needs to hap­pen to see this project through to com­ple­tion. Draw­ings ga­lore to gen­er­ate for the build team, and so many lists of equip­ment, parts and ma­te­ri­als that to con­tem­plate it from the start would not even blunt the edge of the fi­nal ef­fort.

I un­cover the dusty orig­i­nal draw­ings and look at what I’d started so many years ago. The Sockeye 62 has a tra­di­tional ap­pear­ance with a strong North­west lin­eage. In my opin­ion, she is very close to the def­i­ni­tion of a “real” boat, lean­ing heav­ily to­ward the types used long be­fore things got so so­phis­ti­cated and con­ve­nience-ori­ented. Built with my stitc­hand-glue con­struc­tion, she’ll be a tough and able ves­sel. Imag­ine a boat as a coat. In the case of the Sockeye 62, the coat is a mighty shear­ling, much like a leather B-3 bomber jacket: warm, com­fort­able and rugged, yet stylish in its sim­ple func­tion.

The Sockeye 62 is a husky boat with enough weight and breadth to suf­fer through most any seas. At 62 feet, 6 inches long, 17 feet, 6 inches wide and with a 6-foot-7-inch draft and a dis­place­ment just shy of 86,000 pounds, she will be a state­ment on the wa­ter. Her fan­tail stern bal­ances the height of the houses, and with full walka­round side decks, she’s easy to use.

Board­ing doors aft in the cock­pit open to a cov­ered stern shad­ing a U-shaped set­tee with a ta­ble — a great area to en­joy a cigar and a spot of rum af­ter the drink­ing lamp is lit for the night. A built-in bar­be­cue and sink in the cock­pit tuck up against the rear bulk­head. Fram­ing dou­ble doors ac­cess the main saloon, with L-shaped seat­ing to port and a table­top that, at the touch of a but­ton, tele­scopes to cof­fee-ta­ble or full height. To star­board are a cou­ple of swivel and rock­ing chairs — a read­ing area for a chilly night, with a view of any late ar­rivals at the an­chor­age.

The gal­ley, dinette, saloon and cock­pit are

on the same level, lead­ing four steps up into the pi­lot­house, with a dou­ble helm, a bench seat for off-watch guests and a pi­lot berth so the skip­per can nap but still be at hand for the first mate. Go­ing be­low from the for­ward sec­tion of the pi­lot­house leads to twin state­rooms in the bows and a shared head to star­board. The master state­room is be­low the pi­lot­house, with its own head and shower, and an athwartships queen berth with ac­cess to both sides. A van­ity and hang­ing lock­ers are here, too, plus an en­gine-room ac­cess door (in ad­di­tion to a cock­pit hatch up top).

There’s full head­room in the en­gine room, even un­der the in­su­lated sole, and 360de­gree ac­cess to the pri­mary en­gine. Power is a 285- to 425-hp John Deere 6090AFM85 diesel, a 2,300-pound, 6-cylin­der chunk of metal with enough torque and horse­power to spin the boat’s 46-inch prop and enough stamina to work her hard and keep her happy.

To bal­ance the sin­gle-screw propul­sion for dockside ma­neu­ver­ing, there’s an elec­tric bow thruster with 660 pounds of thrust, run- ning in a 12-inch tun­nel. A De­flec­tor rud­der — built by my friend Low­ell Stam­baugh — with an at­tached me­chan­i­cal trim tab al­lows amaz­ing rud­der con­trol, es­pe­cially when there’s a crowd of dockside gawk­ers.

With fuel and wa­ter tanks large enough for a range of 2,000-plus nau­ti­cal miles, Ralph’s new Sockeye 62 will be a well- de­served dream come true.

Un­til then, I hope you’ll agree that the sat­is­fac­tion de­rived from dream­ing about boats falls just slightly be­low the joy of ac­tual use.

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