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In the mid-aughts, when Back Cove emerged as a satellite of Sabre Yachts, I was a junior editor at our sister publication Power & Motoryacht. I have a penchant for Down East yachts, and at the time, lobster boats and other commercial craft were the design muse du jour. I appreciated the multitude of interpretations that builders from New England, Turkey, Italy and beyond had splashed, inspired by workaday, handsome Down East vessels.

The 372 in her optional flag-blue livery.

The 372 in her optional flag-blue livery.

So, when the Maine-based upstart made its debut with the 29, it had me at hello. Back Cove combined a striking design, a practical package, the ability to be easily handled by a cruising couple, and the reliability and fuel-sipping qualities of single-diesel power. Inboard models that Back Cove released during the past two decades continued to build on this theme.

The 37-footer that launched in 2009 became an instant classic. Back Cove produced more than 200 hulls before its production molds said no más. Instead of lamenting the loss and sacking the model, National Sales Manager Jamie Bloomquist says, the team incorporated new design elements and smart updates gleaned from owners during the past 12 years. The layout that “everyone loved” stayed the same, he says, “but we listened to customers a lot and made upgrades.”

The galley down is opposite the starboard-side helm.

The galley down is opposite the starboard-side helm.

I met up with Hull No. 7 of the new 372 in Anacortes, Wash., during our Trawlerfest event, which ran concurrently with the Anacortes Boat and Yacht Show. Boarding from the swim platform via a wide transom door, I took in the redesigned after bulkhead with style updates inherited from the 39O, this model’s outboard-powered brethren. Not only do the updates allow for more seating in the cockpit—there’s room for half a dozen guests here—but its bifold window and door can be tucked away, giving the salon and cockpit an uninterrupted flow. A lazarette on centerline is deep enough to swallow several fenders, lines and a couple cases of beverages.

Entering the salon, I was happy to see that Back Cove kept the sliding side windows, a feature I frequently utilized on similar models to cool the salon underway. Also keeping things bright and airy are a Lewmar manual sliding hatch in the hardtop, direct-glaze windows all around, and a spring-assisted center window. Owners can close the salon and stay cool or warm via reverse-cycle air conditioning and heat (“It takes that damp feeling out of the boat,” Bloomquist says), and a diesel furnace is an option for true four-season cruising.

Back Cove’s logo, a great blue heron, was chosen as it represents integrity minus flashiness, just like its vessels.

Back Cove’s logo, a great blue heron, was chosen as it represents integrity minus flashiness, just like its vessels.

The company uses the tagline “practical elegance” to define its model line, and the sentiment is apparent in her interior design. Cherry is used liberally throughout the salon—on cabinetry, as accents on the headliner, on the helm pod, and in her two staterooms—but the boat feels welcoming and unfussy with neutral soft goods, a bone-white composite hull liner and a teak-and-holly sole.

The airy, bright salon. 

The airy, bright salon. 

Another major change to the 372 is the move to a 24-volt electrical system, which allows for a beefier bow thruster (and more juice to lean on it for close-quarters maneuvering). The change also gives the boat a larger powerplant. Standard power is a 600-hp Cummins QSC8.3, a 120-hp gain from the 37’s standard engine. The 24-volt system also lets Back Cove offer an optional 600-hp Volvo Penta D8. Engine room access is via an electric linear actuator, which requires the removal of the settee cushion. In a loss-of-power situation, gas-assist struts help to lift the hatch manually.

Heading out of Cap Sante Marina, the 372 showed her adroitness, quickly getting out of the hole to a 23-knot cruise. She made her way to an average top speed of 28.2 knots, with her engine dialed in at 3020 rpm. She’ll cruise economically at 16 knots, returning a 422-nautical-mile range. With 300 gallons of fuel on tap, range can be pushed to more than 550 nm at just under 10 knots. One could leave Seattle on a Thursday afternoon, bound for Roche Harbor and island-hopping in the San Juans all weekend, and potentially make it back to Lake Union without refueling. No range or speed anxiety here.

The 372 is a near-29-knot boat wide open, and cruises without effort at 23 knots. At 16 knots, she’ll return a 422-nautical-mile range. 

The 372 is a near-29-knot boat wide open, and cruises without effort at 23 knots. At 16 knots, she’ll return a 422-nautical-mile range. 

Conditions were calm, so we blasted through our own wake and those of other passing vessels. The 372 made little fuss. Visibility from the elevated helm was superlative in all directions, and the helm itself was comfortable for all-day coastal cruising, with a companion’s chair for the navigator. Black mullions on the forward-facing glass reduced glare, a much-appreciated feature as I kept a wary eye out for the deadheads and curious harbor seals. I liked the feel of the 20-inch wheel and the uncluttered helm. I’d likely opt for larger multifunction displays; this boat had 12-inch Garmin GPSMap 8612s that left plenty of room for growth.

With her roomy salon, copious galley stowage and two generous staterooms, the 372 is a seasoned super-middleweight pugilist that continues, year after year, to punch above its weight class. Back Cove did not fiddle with the ethos of its inboard model line, even after experiencing runaway success with outboard 34- and 39-foot vessels. Instead, the builder introduced smart updates while staying true to its crowd-pleasing design heritage.

The master stateroom has just the right amount of cherry to feel welcoming, yet unufussy. A second stateroom to starboard sleeps two. 

The master stateroom has just the right amount of cherry to feel welcoming, yet unufussy. A second stateroom to starboard sleeps two. 

SPECS

LOA: 42ft. 8in.
Beam: 13ft. 3in.
Draft: 3ft. 7in.
Displacement; 22,100 lbs.
Construction: FRP
Fue: 300 gal.
Water: 120 gal.
Engine: 600-hp Cummins QSC8.3 

This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue.

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