It’s not every day that a brand-new 58-foot performance-trawler appears on the marketplace radar, but that seems to have happened with the debut of the Duffield 58 Motoryacht. More peculiar still is that this new entry—and you may recognize her name—sporting graceful, downeast lines and a New England navy hull, comes not only from Southern California, but from the same builders of the highly successful, if not ubiquitous, Duffy electric boat. As most waterfront homeowners know, you can’t throw a Titleist very far in Newport Beach, California, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, without hitting a Duffy or two, such is their penetration into the quiet, clean, leisure pocket-craft market. So when you think of building a 58-foot, 53,000-pound fast trawler on the heels of this business, you’d be hard-pressed to find an analogy that suits. Perhaps if Honda suddenly decided to build limousines? But when you scratch past the surface and dig deeper, there was considerable thought, preparation, and inspiration poured into the design.
Marshall “Duffy” Duffield won’t say so himself, but he’s a bit of a legend in Orange County circles. The boatbuilder, yacht designer, cruising enthusiast, and next mayor of Newport Beach, Duffy’s family has cruised for 25 years on Following Sea, a C. Raymond Hunt-designed/Bertram-built 56-foot motoryacht. The wooden boat has served the family on countless trips to Santa Catalina Island, and, through design tweaks and improvements to make the boat better every season, the decades-long process has provided all the inspiration necessary to conceive of the need for the Duffield 58. Armed with a concept in mind, Duffy made a single phone call to Doug Zurn, the prodigal naval architect responsible for, among other successes, the high-performance MJM Yachts, Marlow Marine, and the sleek and stunning Shelter Island runabout.
Duffield 58: Design
Duffy’s vision was simple so long as Zurn was interested in the project: “I wanted the 58 to be traditional looking and perform well using much less fuel. When I saw boats designed by Doug Zurn, they looked right to me. What clinched it was Doug’s emphasis on using modern, advanced composite building materials for fast, comfortable cruising and fuel efficiency.” The project got underway roughly three years ago, when the final drawings were approved and the tooling began. Fortunately for Duffy, a host of talented tradesmen, who had honed their skills at the former Cabo Yachts, were available locally. That skill and process understanding helped iron out a few of the bumps that go hand-in-hand with brand-new builds, and the result is an intriguing blend of downeast style merged with contemporary performance.
Duffield 58: Exterior and Running Shots
The biggest difference between the Duffield 58 and her contemporary downeast cousins is that from the beginning the boat was meant to be driven on a single engine, and her slippery hull was designed to maximize fuel economy. For the first hull, Duffy and the first hull’s owner opted for a 985-horse CAT that is accessed by a huge, electric lift hatch. Apart from the extra cost and maintenance that go with twin engines, Duffy hated trying to service the twins on his Bertram and felt that the new design should, like his small electric boats, feature ultimate operational simplicity. Other reasons to go with a single powerplant were the reduction of noise underway and the efficiency gained through weight reduction. “In early sea trials we were burning 1.4 gallons per mile (gpm) at 17 knots and 1.75 gpm at just about 20 knots. We figure that’s about 47% less than others in this class,” says Duffy.
True to her style, the 58’s traditional joinery is teak, with a nearly single-level saloon, galley, and pilothouse, as well as three staterooms and two heads below the foredeck. The main saloon sports a slight, single step to a raised-pilothouse and a U-shaped dinette to port of the helm station in the optional and standard layouts. The optional layout simply moves the galley from midships to the after bulkhead to enhance entertaining in the cockpit; the cockpit itself is enormous, and would serve that purpose well. From here, the flybridge ladder is a little steep to my liking, but fortunately Zurn and company designed in an interior staircase to access the bridge.
Below the sole is a cavernous layout of the 58’s nerve center, from her generator, tanks, and battery bank, to her Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizer. Though the headroom isn’t tall, the layout is clean and every installation is easy to access for service or monitoring.
With the CAT mounted so far aft, there is little noise in the saloon/pilothouse, even while running 17 knots. My decibel meter never ticked higher than 79, even at max speed, and registered as low as 72 dB at a comfortable 10-knot cruise. At this speed, fuel burn ticked a modest 8 gallons per hour. Visibility from both helm stations is superb, and the extra-large windows help the helmsman keep an eye on traffic in busy seaways or give everyone aboard great views while swinging around the hook. Due to the Seakeeper stabilizer, which is standard equipment on the 58, the motion at slower speeds during a gentle Pacific swell was muted, though the conditions didn’t give it a thorough trial. Additional features that are worthy of mention include wide side decks, joystick maneuvering, and a double-door transom that opens to a hydraulic tender/swim platform with stowable dinghy chocks. The low freeboard, too, helps for single-handing the boat, managing lines, and boarding. All in all, the Duffield 58 is an impressive debut for a first hull; she is well designed, engineered, and sports a playful attitude in a traditional package.