Power & Motor Yacht
Meet the Back Cove 34O
Set to splash in August, the Back Cove 340 combines an outboard-optimized hull design with Down East style.
Back Cove has announced it will enter the outboard market with a new 34O (that’s “O” for outboard), which is set to splash this summer and premiere on the boat show circuit this fall.
The Maine-based manufacturer that’s best known for boats with traditional straight-shaft propulsion says now is the right time to make the transition to outboard power. “We think there’s a market for cruiseable, midsize outboard boats. Thanks to reporting on the growth of the outboard market, people started to come by the stand [at boat shows] and ask us when we were going to make the shift to that type of power,” says Bentley Collins of Back Cove.
The decision was not made lightly; the company carefully monitored industry trends and took a good deal of customer feedback into account. The builder then decided to work from the deck and accommodations of its proven and popular 32 that’s powered by an inboard. In-house designer Kevin Burns created an entirely new hull to match the new outboard power. Standard power will be 300-horsepower Yahamas; 350-horsepower Yahama or Suzuki motors will be offered as options.
Desired cruise speed for the new 34O is 30 to 35 knots, with 40 knots for a top speed. To make that happen, says Collins, Back Cove had to “put the boat on a diet.” The 34O will be 10 percent lighter than the 32 it’s based on, with a displacement of around 17,000 pounds. To reduce weight, the builder swapped solid fiberglass topsides for cored versions, among other things.
There are several arguments to be made for the switch to outboard power, says Collins, although the benefit that will resonate most with Back Cove buyers is performance. “The fastest Back Cove currently goes 28 knots,” he says. “People have such a desire for speed today. [A higher top end] should attract a younger clientele who like our styling but want more performance.” Another benefit of outboard propulsion is more stowage; on the 340, it’s available where the diesel engine is on the 32. “[The access hatch is] still on a hinge, so you now have room for bikes, stand-up paddleboards and all sorts of other water toys,” says Collins.
Depending on the success of the 34O, the builder says we can likely expect to see more outboard-powered Back Coves in the future. There are no plans, at least on the horizon, to bring outboard power to Back Cove’s sister company Sabre Yachts.