Helmsman 38E TrawlerFest Run
I wanted to share a wonderful experience I had the opportunity to take part in yesterday.
While we (im)patiently wait for our Helmsman 43 PH to be built and delivered, I was invited to make the run from Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island, up to TrawlerFest 2018 at Baltimore's Inner Harbor East Marina. A trip of about 25 nautical miles.
This would be my first time out on the water in a Helmsman trawler. We started out on our trip at around 11am as the weather later in the day called for rain.
The weather was a warm and sunny 80 degrees with a slight breeze from the south west. Seas relatively calm, with the occasional 1-2 ft swells from passing barges and tankers. The water was filled with lots of debris from all the river and stream outflow from the large amount of rain we have been receiving on the east coast.
Pulling out of the slip was an effortless exercise. With Scott behind the lower helm, Paul tending the forward lines from the dock finger, and myself tending the stern lines from the cockpit we were on our way. A small burst of the bow thruster to get us turning in the fairway, and a pulse of the stern to bring us around was all it took to get out of the end slip next to the sea wall. The motion was smooth as could be!
The visibility from the lower helm is outstanding, both fore and aft. The side doors are a dream to be able to poke out and view where you are, port or starboard.
We navigated out the long channel of the marina into the Chesapeake Bay. While Scott navigated, I took in our lines and fenders to make the boat ready for the trip.
Once out of the channel, Scott turned the helm over to me. The response of the helm was fantastic. The wheel and rudder are smooth, and respond to every little helm input. I brought the Cummins 380hp engine that was purring below our feet to a smooth 2000rpm, and we were moving through the water at about 8kts. We had a slight current against us as we headed north. The boats ride is SOLID. There is no bouncing or bobbing. The hull effortlessly cuts through chop while tracking straight. We unintentionally contacted a few pieces of submerged debris, and the sound was a deadened thud. Speaks volumes to the solid FRP vinyl ester resin hull that helmsman employs in their standard build process.
The ergonomics of the helm are above board. From the throttle placement, to the electronics pod. Standing is effortless, as well as sitting on the comfortable sliding helm seat with pop out footrest. I remained at the helm for about an hour navigating the channel and debris in the water.
Scott took the helm back, and I began exploring the boat as we were under way. I am still flabbergasted by how quiet the boat is underway with the Cummins 380hp purring away right under your feet in the pilot house. The sound proofing is some of the best I have seen and heard. There also was little to no vibration throughout the boat. I opened up my sound analyzer app on my phone and it was reading 72dba while sitting at the pilot house settee. Effortless conversation could be had even with all the doors and windows open, and the water splashing around outside.
Rewinding a bit, when we first got underway, Scott wanted to perform an engine room check. I backed the throttle down to 1000rpm, Scott opened the hatch, and proceeded to do his check. That again reminds me of how well insulated the engine compartment is with the various sound proofing techniques Helmsman employs. Truly a remarkable ride in the pilot house.
I now worked my way up to the upper deck. We did not uncover the flybridge helm as we were expecting inclement weather that never presented itself. I again found myself enjoying a quiet ride, with incredible visibility all around. I can see myself operating from up on the flybridge most of the time if mother nature is cooperating.
I now moved back down to the pilot house. I sprawled out on the pilot house settee, facing forward. The visibility again is outstanding, as well as the very comfortable cushions at the settee. The first mate will thoroughly enjoy her seat as we cruise around the east coast.
As we approach the 3hr mark of our trip, we are now approaching the entrance into Inner Harbor East Marina. Scott had called ahead so, we knew our slip. It was a single well, so we decided on a port tie, so Trawlerfest visitors had a welcoming entrance through the side entry cockpit doors. Scott effortlessly backed us into the well with a small current flooding the marina.
We got the boat tied up, our shore power cables out and connected. We were sitting enjoying the breeze when Paul joined us. He even brought lunch! The temperature was now north of 90 degrees! We took this opportunity to fire up the salon Air Conditioning which quickly and quietly cooled the space.
As we were sitting enjoying lunch, one of the event staff came over and asked if we would mind moving slips. After seeing the new slip, and it being a better location, we began packing up to move.
This was a treat as I got to be involved in not 2, but 3 docking exercises. Again, Scott at the helm pulled out into the tight fairway and gracefully pivoted us to head deeper into Inner Harbor East Marina. He then flawlessly backed us into the new well with a few pulses of the bow and stern thruster.
The boat was tied up, and ready for show at this years 2018 Baltimore Trawlerfest.
I am thoroughly impressed with the build quality and all of the thought that goes into every Helmsman trawlers build. No small detail is overlooked by Scott and his team. I am confident we made the right choice in our purchase and build of a Helmsman Trawlers 43 Pilot House.
In closing, I highly recommend anyone in the Baltimore area take a ride over to Trawlerfest to take a look at the Helmsman, and compare it to some of the other boats. It truly is more boat for less money, and you are not compromising on quality or service!
And if you cant make TrawlerFest, the 38E will be shown at the Annapolis Boat show at City Dock in 2 weeks - October 11th - 14th.
Fair winds, and following seas - Seth