Here’s a preview of the new custom F-28, designed and built by Mark Fitzgerald of Thomaston, Maine, that’s now being finished with a teak deck and Awlgrip at French & Webb in Belfast, Maine. It will be ready for launching in mid-May.
Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Marine Architecture, Inc., designed the F-28 for an experienced client who wants to do the Great Loop. Originally, the client wanted a boat similar to a center console, since he expected to spend nights in hotels along the way. When he learned that there are stretches of the Loop, particularly along the Mississippi, where it’s more than a day’s cruise between hotels, he asked Fitzgerald to design a small cabin with a head under the large center console. The new cabin also has a sink, a microwave and a tabletop between the forward seats/berths that rises out of the sole on a scissor jack. The console itself, with elaborate joinerwork, is large enough for two 15-inch nav and computer screens; it also holds a chart table, since both Fitzgerald and the client are old-school enough to believe in the value of paper charts.
When he started on the boat, Fitzgerald says he decided to make a Land Rover Defender on the water. “I seem to like vehicles that take care of you and take you places not on the normal path of life.” The F-28 is built with two layers of plywood covered with fiberglass plus a Kevlar skin on the bottom. Fitzgerald, who was a designer for the late Jack Hargrave for five years and for Chuck Paine for 21 more before setting out on his own, says this hull is 20 percent lighter than the same size boat with a cored fiberglass hull.
For convenience, the deck is all on one level, making it easy for the owner to handle lines around locks or docks; it also has a soft rubber sheer guard for external protection. For safety, handrails are placed strategically so the crew can remain standing in all conditions. The cockpit is large enough to hold a dinghy; there’s also a davit mechanism over the stern.
All in all, Fitzgerald says “the F-28 is what a modern boat should be: inspiring, easy to own, and an adventure to places in our dreams.”
Specs.: LOA: 28’9”; Beam: 9’8”; Draft: NA; Displ.: 7,500 lbs.; Fuel: 185 gals.; Water: 25 gals.; Power: 2×150-hp Mercury outboards.