Dreaming Large on an Aspen 40 Power Cat: 10,000 nm Around the U.S. by Peter A. Janssen
How’s this for a shakedown cruise? This May, David Jenkins, who usually cruises on his Albermarle 27 out of Annapolis, will buy a new Aspen 40 power catamaran in Seattle, and then he and Capt. Blake Eder, his brother-in-law and professional delivery captain, will embark on their “shakedown cruise” from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, looking for an adventure. I’ve taken that trip several times and I can guarantee two things: 1) It’s one hell of a shakedown cruise, and 2) they’ll certainly find an adventure. But for Jenkins and Eder that’s just a start. After the shakedown they’ll embark on a 10,000 nm cruise around much of the U.S. that will end up back home in Annapolis in time for the powerboat show there in October, 2018.
After the initial Alaska trip, these two adventurers will go down the west coast, take part in the Baja Ha-Ha in October, explore the Sea of Cortez and then put the Aspen 40 on a trailer and truck it to Galveston, Texas. They’ll relaunch it there and cruise around Florida and the Bahamas before heading back up the East Coast.
Jenkins says he prefers cruising on a cat, and he’s taken by Larry Graf’s asymmetrical proa hull on the Aspen, where the starboard hull, with the single 330-hp Volvo diesel, is larger than the port hull (much like a South Seas island boat). Jenkins says he knew Graf when Graf ran Glacier Bay cats, and has visited the Aspen factory in Burlington, WA. The proa design is meant to reduce drag, improve fuel efficiency and provide a soft ride. I was skeptical of the design until I tested the first Aspen, a 28, with Graf several years ago in Miami and I came away a believer.
The 40, with three staterooms, two heads, and 360-degree views from every seat in the salon, cruises at 17 knots, burning only 11 gph. It tops out at about 22 knots.