Having both bought and sold 9 boats over the years I thought I knew what to expect. But, people never cease to amaze me. First, the great news is that everyone who has looked at Moby Duck loves it. It is a very unique boat with nothing like it on the market. That being said, it is the type of boat that requires a life style change. At a cruising speed of 6 knots you are not going to go anywhere fast. With it’s 8000 mile range and bullet proof and energy efficient construction and systems it really is for someone who is ready to realize “the dream” in luxurious comfort and not spend a whole lot of money doing it. So far, everyone who has looked at it will be ready sometime in the future. Their timing is just off. Unfortunately for them by the time they are ready, with the changes at Seahorse Marine, the builder, and the passing of George Buehler, the designer, there might never be another one built like it and mine will be sold.
The only negative comments have come from people who say they don’t like the main living space being like a “submarine”. They want a salon with large windows like on a Selene, Nordhavn or Krogen. This comment has always been from people who have never actually been on MY boat. Having owned a Nordhavn 55 for many years I just laugh at this comment. On most of those other trawlers those large windows are non opening for safety reasons. A couple of the windows might have a small portion that opens. The salon is like a large fishbowl. At the dock you have the shades drawn for privacy and climate control. While underway and at anchor you have the shades drawn for climate control. You will be amazed at how quickly that salon heats up even in temperate climates and without a lot of cross ventilation it is very uncomfortable. It becomes an ice box in cold climates without insulated window covers. You end up running your generator all of the time. At sea those large windows are a safety hazard unless you invest in the plexiglass storm shields which are a real pain to install and store. Especially finding a place to store them is very difficult. They really take up a lot of space. The storms shields quickly become scratched up and visibility suffers. When off shore cruising large rogue waves slamming into the side of the boat are a frequent occurrence. You really do need them. On the Duck I have a large butterfly hatch directly overhead. It fills the salon with light and funnels air below even in the roughest conditions. There are 6 large opening portholes that also allow cross ventilation and lots of light. They are high enough above the dock when in a berth that you can leave them open at all times. Even when underway they are open the majority of time. My Duck’s salon has much more light and ventilation then the competition. Also because the salon is mostly below the waterline the temperature stays cool. If you want to go relax somewhere on my Duck that is like the salon of those other trawlers you just head to the comfortable pilothouse which has ten windows and a extremely comfortable settee/dining area and Stidd Helm chair. Of course, they are smaller and stronger windows for safety reasons than those other trawlers. With its deep lead filled sailboat type keel and fuel tanks lining the bottom of the hard chime thick steel hull the Duck is extremely stable and self righting. In the rare case of a complete knock down those windows need to be strong enough to handle a complete submersion. Do you think those large salon windows in the Nordhavn can handle that? Plus you have the deep cockpit and side decks on the Nordavn that are going to catch water, meaning the boat will take longer to right itself, if at all. The Duck is of a flush deck design with no deep cockpit or side decks to catch the water so it rights itself very quickly.
The Duck master stateroom also has six large opening portholes with a large overhead opening hatch. It has much more light and ventilation then any of those aforementioned trawlers. In the Philippines rainy season when it rains for weeks straight with 100 degree air temperatures and 100% humidity the only thing I needed was one of my 24v cabin fans blowing on me with the portholes open to get a good nights sleep. Dock electricity costs especially in third world marinas are so expensive that you can quickly double your berth cost by running your air conditioning frequently. That is the way they make money. There is not a Krogen, Selene or Nordhavn master state room that compares favorably to mine in a similar size boat. The bed size is halfway between an American queen and king size. Very comfortable.
All of these portholes have screens to keep the bugs out and dead light covers for storm use. The glass is thick and the portholes and hatches are of steel commercial construction. Much safer than those pilothouse raised salon trawlers.
One other thing to consider is stability. The placement of the living spaces is one of reasons the Duck is so comfortable underway and does not need any form of stabilization. Being at the waterline in the center of the boat is where there is the least movement even the worst seas. Movement increases exponentially the higher you go above the waterline.
One of the other things that some people don’t seem to understand is what a difference 6000-8000 mile range means versus the 3000+ of those other trawlers. Being in the middle of the ocean and worrying about running out of fuel is something you don’t want to even think about. Most trawlers make the Marquesas Island 3000 mile run or some other long voyage and the first thing they need to do is find fuel. That additional range opens up so many more off the beaten path destinations around the world. The peace of mind that you get is unimaginable unless you have actually been out there. The Duck has the unmatched ability to completely sail with no fuel/engine use on a 2400 mile downwind run with the currents and swell behind you to somewhere like Hawaii or the Marqueses Islands. Moby Duck is set up for twin head sails. In this configuration with at least 15 knots of wind you can sail at 6 knots. Imagine getting to your destination with fuel tanks still topped with high quality inexpensive USA fuel. On the Hawaii to West Coast USA portion of my recent trip when I shut the engine off to haul in a fish and the wind caught my sails that were raised for stabilization, I was headed back to Hawaii at 7 knots. You can cross the Pacific without refueling in comfort reclining in your luxurious Stidd Helm chair on the flybridge with its 360 degree visibility with the wind in your hair and away from the sun under the large bimini top. Another consideration is how you are going to get home. Most of the best destinations require a “baja bash” type journey in one direction. Bashing into those head seas, fighting the wind and swell for long periods of time dramatically effects fuel consumption and speed. You really need that extra measure of safety that the increased range provides if the weather necessitates a detour. Just read my blog posts about crossing the Pacific west to east. 4.5 knot speeds were the norm burning 1.6 gallons per hour.
Don’t interpret this post as a Krogen, Selene and Nordhavn bashing. I loved my Nordhavn. Just a very different boat. You need to carefully research the differences. Your cruising plans might never need that extra level of safety, comfort and efficiency that the Duck provides.