You probably won’t be seeing the new Deal Island 50 in person, unless you’re heading for Melbourne, Australia, but you might want to take a look at it anyway, since it strikes me as one of the best-looking boats to come along in quite a while. And it does take advantage of two international boating trends: the emergence of more and more classic Down East type boats, and the growing popularity of day boats or weekend cruisers.
The boat pictured above is the first of a line of 50-feet fast ocean cruisers built by the Wooden Boat Shop south of Melbourne, and named for Deal Island, in the middle of the Bass Strait, separating mainland Australia from Tasmania. It’s meant to combine the functionality of a fishing boat (the large cockpit) with the luxury of a modern yacht.
But it’s the Deal Island’s looks that are eye-catching, with its low profile, long sheer and graceful tumblehome. It looks like a boat meant to cross the Bass Strait, at any time in the past 50 years or in the 50 yet to come. And it houses some state-of-the-art features.
The Deal Island 50 is powered by a 1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13, giving it a top speed of 28 knots and a comfortable cruising speed of 18 knots. The Volvo drives a hydraulic pump that powers a 24V alternator, the bow thruster and the anchor winch. The constant-speed alternator produces 300 amps, and it can charge the 600 AH lithium house battery bank in less than three hours. Meanwhile, the battery bank can run the boat’s air conditioning for five hours. The Deal Island 50 does not need a gen set.
The boat has a large main salon, with the helm to starboard and a crew seat to port; they both are next to doors leading to the side decks. Aft, there’s a large settee and a table in a lift. The cockpit has a cocktail table, deck chairs and a barbeque.
The large master stateroom is forward, with a head and shower. A bunk to port doubles as a lounge. A wooden stove keeps everyone warm on a cool day.
The boat has a strip plank hull in hardwood below the waterline, with cedar topsides. The deck and cabin are made from African teak. As a result of all the wood, the boat is relatively light, strong and durable.
Specs.: LOA: 50’0”; Beam: 15’0”; Draft: 3’11”; Disp.: 26,455 lbs.; Fuel: 502 gals.; Water: 184 gals.; Power: 1×1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13.