Alaskan 66 Mk II
Long-distance cruisers celebrate the return of a brand as a reimagined model blends tradition and technology.
The serious boater will recognize that the new Alaskan 66 Mk II is no joke. Alaskan Yachts dates back three decades, when prominent naval architect Art DeFever founded Grand Alaskan and designed a number of long-range, trawler-style yachts. Following DeFever, the company changed ownership a couple times, resulting in a complicated business trajectory and a dormancy since 2012. Peter Whiting of Seattle Yachts recently negotiated the purchase of the Alaskan brand and is reintroducing Alaskan Yachts to the market this year, along with a team devoted to restoring an industry icon.
The new 66 is by well-known cruising yacht designer Stephen Seaton. New-Build Manager Phil Friedman is excited to have Seaton on board as they work to revitalize the Alaskan brand. “Steve has designed a redeveloped hull form and we have brought the basic particulars of the yacht up to contemporary standards,” Friedman says.
One of the new developments is a 12 percent broader beam— now 19 feet, 6 inches—that will allow the semidisplacement hull to achieve greater operating speeds. Electronically controlled John Deere engines, coupled with the advanced hull, should provide efficient operation over a wide range of speeds and distances. “The boat can operate at 6 or 7 knots, passagemaking speed, but it can also get up and go to about 17 or 18 knots if you have enough power available,” Friedman says.
The yacht’s versatility makes it a great candidate for both island hopping and long-range cruising, and Friedman expects that it could be used as a family boat. More likely, however, he sees the 66 as appealing to retired couples who want to cruise long distances. “The 66 is large enough and complete enough to live aboard and to spend extended periods of time aboard, but still slow enough to be able to manage on your own,” he says. And with a passagemaking range of 1,600 nautical miles, it is wellsuited for the adventurous couple.
The first hull is going to the Pacific Northwest, to a buyer planning to live aboard and cruise long distance. The model will have a master and two VIP staterooms, plus crew’s quarters aft. Friedman describes the interior as “modern with a traditional flavor.” It can be configured either as a flush-deck model or as a raised pilothouse (RPH) version.
With the reintroduction of a classic brand and the reimagination of a traditional vessel, the industry has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year. seattleyachts.com —Carly Sisson