Egg Harbor may seem like an odd name for a boatbuilding company, but the brand has a long history. It all started back in 1946 with boatbuilders Russell Post, Phil Boyd, Harold Care and CP Leek getting together to found the Egg Harbor Boat Company in New Jersey.
BlueWater was recently given the opportunity to sea trial the new Egg Harbor 37 Sport Yacht off Newport Beach, California thanks to our friends at West Coast Marine. Of course we knew the brand name well enough from way back when, but the new 37 we tested was the first product of the newly reborn Egg Harbor Yacht Company that we'd seen. But more on the boat later.
During the 1950s, CP Leek bought out his partners and merged Egg Harbor with Pacemaker Yachts. By the 1960s the company was one of the largest manufacturers of pleasureboats in the country.
The company was bought and sold three times between 1965 and 1980. It went through bankruptcy proceedings several times, and in November 1997 Egg Harbor ceased production.
A South Jersey plastic surgeon, real-estate developer and entrepreneur named Dr Ira M Trocki - who also happened to be a boater and fisherman in his spare time - bought a 58ft Egg Harbor and loved the boat so much that he bought the company in 1999.
Trocki spent over $10 million in factory updates and committed himself to building the finest sportsyachts in the industry. He also purchased Revenge Yachts, Predator Custom Yachts and Davis Yachts in short order, and immediately moved those companies to Egg Harbor City, New Jersey to consolidate his manufacturing.
DON'T CALL ME BABY
The 37 we tested in California is the smallest of the flybridge models currently being built by Egg Harbor. Small compared to the rest of the Egg Harbor line perhaps, but not small by comparison to its peers.
Like all American boats with a north-eastern heritage, Egg Harbor yachts are built to go to sea in gnarly conditions and ride reasonably well when the going gets tough. While our California sea trial provided no opportunity to test that premise, we could see that these boats were built for brutal conditions.
Powerful stringers ('glass-encapsulated marine plywood) brace the hull, while powerful steel caps on them support the engines. Closed-cell foam coring strengthens the cabin top, decks and hull sides substantially without adding excess weight.
A sharp entry and 12° of transom deadrise suggest a sea-taming ride with good stability. Huge strainers plumbed to the engines provide for fast evacuation of any serious amounts of water that may enter the hull, and so on.
The 37's hull is not only built tough - it also incorporates some nice performance features, including steps in the strakes that help to free up the hull a bit and exhaust ports that release those dreaded diesel fumes through the bottom. Primary and secondary fuel filters are standard, as is the oil-change system, the generator and the reverse-cycle air-conditioning system.
Egg Harbor takes the same all-inclusive approach to the mechanical side of the boat. Starting with easy access from the cockpit, the engineroom greets you with switches in all the right places, nicely managed wire looms, clearly marked plumbing and through-hulls.
The boat also contains well-engineered spaces that have been thoroughly insulated for both heat and sound control, which will be as easy to work in as almost any boat this size. Our test boat sported a pair of Caterpillar 3126 diesels with 420hp a side. Dripless shaft logs are standard.
The cockpit is smaller than I would prefer in a dedicated sportsfishing machine (78 square feet), but it is certainly adequate - all the requisite things are there, from the tackle centre (with sink, storage and icebox) to the below-decks fishbox, the in-transom baitwell and a 'glassed-in plate to secure the base of the fighting chair.
The walkthrough transom door is big enough to board an elephant, and is just as well hung. Four rodholders and padded coamings are standard, and the stern cleats and transom hawsepipes are big and beefy, which is a good thing.
An aluminium ladder up from the forward starboard corner of the cockpit accesses the spacious flybridge, which had features I both liked and disliked.
On the plus side, the command-console location is great, with good sight lines, a perfect helm angle, spot-on controls and instrumentation (VDO gauges) and plenty of room for electronics in the bright-white (boo!) console face. There's also plenty of storage under the bench seats and the console.
On the down side, the aft-facing bench seat is ergonomically uncomfortable and ill-suited to facing aft to watch the baits, and the forward-facing bench seat is also ergonomically unacceptable with its vertical backrest providing little comfort.
I don't like the polymer treads on the bridge ladder either - I haven't yet found a pair of deck shoes that don't slip on them when they're wet.
The fibreglass hardtop option and the aluminium support structure for it were excellent, with some of the best welding I've seen in a production boat. Recessed cockpit lighting and overhead electronics boxes were nicely incorporated. Full clear-plastic enclosures were part of this option and necessary for the cold, blustery California offshore conditions.
CABIN A BALL
It is a real treat to enter the cabin of production boats these days. Interior decorators and industrial designers have breathed new life and colour into once sparse, colourless and barely utilitarian spaces.
The interior of the 37 Egg Harbor we tested featured dark, varnished teak joinery, although lighter maple can be selected as an option.
As you enter the cabin from the port side of the cockpit, an L-shaped café-au-lait leather-covered settee is to port with nicely accenting fabrics on throw pillows, blinds and valances. Generous amounts of wood wrap the interior, with functional cabinetry throughout, and designer counter-tops grace the galley area to port.
Appliances, entertainment equipment and hardware appear first rate, but while all the interior materials appeared to be excellent there was a serious imperfection in the mating of the splashback to the counter in our test model. The recessed and valance lighting throughout was judged to be excellent overall.
Down a centred stairway are the accommodations, including and over/under twin-berth stateroom to starboard and an elegant head to port. The dual-access head features the same fine wood cabinetry and designer countertops and fittings as the galley, but also includes a beautiful teak and holly sole, enclosed shower with glass door and a mirrored ceiling.
The master cabin forward features an island berth with storage below, cedar-lined hanging lockers and drawers, and beautifully selected fabrics that enhance the fine woodwork.
HANDFUL OF IMPRESSIONS
While we were generally impressed with the new Egg Harbor, and we were pleased to see that the Egg Harbor tradition of a hard-to-maintain varnished wall separating the saloon from the cockpit had been tossed out in favour of easier to maintain aluminium framed windows, there were a few things we found lacking.
For instance, while much of the match-grain teak joinery in our test boat was lovely, occasional mismatches glaringly broke the perfection. We were also not impressed with the quality of the non-skid on the outside decks.
The fishbox in the aft deck removes for access to the lazarette, but what if it is full of fish and ice? We also found little provision for the storage of fishing rods.
Underway we found the Egg Harbor 37 to be reasonably sprightly and dry, with a tight turning radius, good tracking and adequate ability to chase a fish in reverse or to wheel around and chase. It has reportedly been clocked at 40mph at wide open throttle with the engines in our test model.
Our test boat also carried several useful options ranging from the previously mentioned hardtop to an engine synchroniser, an anchor windlass, livebait tank plumbing, a fishbox macerator and an icemaker.
It was a pleasure to see Egg Harbor come back in such an impressive way. Our overall impression of the first new Egg we've seen in years was that the pursuit of perfection promised by its new owner is well underway, and that we will see most of the weaknesses we found disappear in later models.
Our next goal will be to fish one of the new-generation Egg Harbor Yachts, and we look forward to reviewing all the other models in the future.
|Egg Harbor 37
|Price as tested $US479,888|
|Twin Caterpillar 3126s, engine synchroniser, fibreglass hardtop w/ 12V lights and full enclosure, electric windlass with auto-anchor system, livebait well system, fishbox macerator, icemaker|
|Priced from $US463,773|
|Material: Solid GRP bottom with cored topsides|
|Type: Modified-vee monohull|
|LOA: 12.4m (40' 8")|
|Beam: 4.1m (13' 6")|
|Draft: 1.0m (3' 4")|
|Deadrise :12° at transom|
|Displacement: 11,700kg (25,800lb)|
|Fuel: 1520lt (400 US gal)|
|Water: 303lt (80 US gal)|
|Make/model: Caterpillar 3126|
|Type: Six-cylinder turbodiesel|
|Rated hp: 420|
|Weight: 722kg (1592lb)|
|Gearboxes (make/ratio): 2.1:1|
|Props: 24in x 32in four-blade Nibral props|
|SUPPLIED BY West Coast Marine Newport Beach, CA tel +1 (949) 673 2060. For more information, contact Egg Harbor Yachts tel +1 (609) 965 2300 or visit www.eggharboryacht.com|
All figures supplied as per manufactuers specifications. Prices in Australian dollars for Australian delivered boats unless otherwise stated.