A crisp breeze sweeps through Old Saybrook, Connecticut, as I stand on the dock at my homeport of Saybrook Point, watching the Back Cove 39O approach. Coated in salt from its trip down the coast, the Down East hull looks right at home on the Connecticut River.
The 39O is the second outboard model from Back Cove, following the 34O, which debuted in 2018. With hull number 47 of the 34O about to splash, Back Cove has gathered customer feedback to incorporate into the larger model. While both the 34- and 39-footers have new hull designs specific to outboard propulsion, the 39O is truly a new build.
“On the 34O, we utilized a lot of the same tooling from our Back Cove 32, which is an inboard model, in order to accelerate bringing that boat to market,” says Jamie Bloomquist, national sales manager at Back Cove Yachts. “But with the 39O, everything from the keel to the hardtop is brand-new.”
Perhaps the most significant change is the sheer increase in space. With only 5 feet of additional length, the 39O adds a second stateroom with twin berths, as well as a lower salon safe from prying eyes. A family of four should have no trouble spending a weekend aboard.
The cockpit also feels spacious, with fore- and aft-facing bench seats making it ideal for entertaining. Among the new design elements is a fully enclosable, climate-controlled salon helm with lounge seating, a dinette and a galley.
Rolling through no-wake zones at 5 knots, the 39O was near silent, allowing us to appreciate the scenery as we headed toward nearby Hamburg Cove. We cruised beneath the I-95 bridge and passed downtown Essex before allowing the boat to demonstrate its performance capability, quickly accelerating into the 40-knot range. Even at speed, she was quiet.
“It’s the fastest and the quietest Back Cove we’ve ever built because of how we have the outboards so far aft, and the enclosed helm,” Bloomquist says.
From inside the helm station, it was easy to tune out the roar from the triple 400-hp Mercury Verados. The hull felt stable, and combined with the sound mitigation, I’d nearly have forgotten I was on a boat if not for the passing scenery.
We throttled back as we entered Hamburg Cove, where the Eight Mile River flows into the Connecticut River. Here, the Back Cove proved easy to maneuver through dozens of empty mooring balls while shallows hugged the pathway on both sides.
Jumping off the boat onto a floating dock let me use another new feature on the 39O: port and starboard transom gates. The design diverges from the centerline transom door on the 34O and all other Back Cove models. Disembarking and boarding with the new feature was easy, even with the outboards lifted out of the water. And if the dock had been too tall to reach from the swim platform, the vertical grab rail at the after end of the hardtop would have helped me keep my balance while stepping up from amidships.
With the sun beginning to set, we turned back for home. Once out of the cove and into the river, we pushed the Back Cove to a top-end speed of just over 40 knots, more than zippy enough to reach the dock before the last light disappeared. The glow of the Saybrook Point Inn behind the dock looked enticing, but our captain, John Tammany, planned to sleep on the boat instead. He had been living aboard in comfort all week, showcasing the boat along the coast from Maine to New Jersey.
Back Cove had already sold 25 hulls of the 39O when we went to press. The success of both outboard models has the builder thinking about adding more to its lineup.
“There are several different sketches for additional outboard models,” Bloomquist says. “I would not rule it out.”
Back Cove 39O Guided Walkthrough Tour
Back Cove 39O Hull No. 2
PERFORMANCE REPORT & SPECS
Beam: 13ft. 6in.
Displacement: 26,500 lbs.
Fuel: 500 gal.
Water: 97 gal.
Engines: (standard) 3/350-hp Suzuki 4.4L V6
Engines: (optional) 3x 300-hp Yamaha 4.2L V6; 3x 400-hp Mercury Verado 2.6L V6