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O Say, Can You See?

This Kingfisher 28 design shows that, with a whole expanse of waterway visible on a nice day, a flybridge cannot be beat.
Kingfisher 28 Flying Bridge

I have a pen pal from Down Under named Jim who loves to spend his spare time sketching various flavors of character cruisers, large and small. These are pencil drawings, and he is a master at his artwork, instantly transporting a boat junkie like myself to another mental voyage through one of his masterpieces.

It was one of these sketches that inspired my design for this month: the Kingfisher 28.

Jim had started with a stock design of my own pen, the Kingfisher 33 (featured in Passagemaker November/December 2017). He extrapolated the concept into a smaller and much more character--filled sistership. He plopped a couple of outboards on her stern, an idea that worked for the concept, but did not particularly fill me with a desire to retain that feature. However, with a decent small diesel chucked in her bilge, I could get excited.

I worked this design up from Jim’s original sketch. Hallmarks of my design include a covered cockpit without a lot of fixed seating or other features; the attributes of this arrangement are shaded and flexible seating, and few obstacles taking up space and utility.

A sliding door gives centerline entry into her cabin, with a galley to starboard and a dinette to port, just as on her larger sistership. With a flip of the seat back on the dinette’s forward seat, there’s a proper mate’s seat.

The head and overnight accommodations are down a few steps in the fo’c’sle of the boat. She has a minimal head with just enough space, leaving quite a bit of room forward for either port and starboard single berths or a queen-size island berth.

Top: Port and starboard single berth model. Above: Island berth model.

Top: Port and starboard single berth model. Above: Island berth model.

My wife and I have found during our years of cruising that the port and starboard singles are far more conducive to a good night’s rest. We each can get up during the dark hours to check the anchor and access the boat’s position, without disturbing the other person. Often, these trips to the cockpit can yield amazing views of a night sky without the clutter of lighting from more populated areas. The stars truly shimmer, and on those still, calm nights, the world becomes an upside-down reflective bowl of tranquility and beauty.

Under the deck is the diesel engine. The hull is semi-displacement, which means that if we give her enough horsepower, she has the capability of going semi-fast. With a smaller three- or four-cylinder engine, she will operate more in the full-displacement spectrum with a cruising speed around 7 knots, topping out around 8 or 9 knots. With a higher--horsepower, six--cylinder engine, she can be pushed to around a 20-knot speed, and could cruise economically and with good sea motion in the mid-teens.

I put a flybridge on her, not just because Jim showed one on his sketch, but also because I wanted to show you a drawing of her with no cap on her lid, just to see what she felt like in a sedan-type configuration. In my opinion, the flybridge works best, giving us another zone of use and the unlimited visibility that can only be accomplished with that feature.

The Kingfisher 28 pictured in a sedan-type configuration.

The Kingfisher 28 pictured in a sedan-type configuration.

Yes, I know that I should restrict my time out in the full sun, but with a proper panama hat on my noggin, and with the whole expanse of the waterway visible on a nice day, a flybridge cannot be beat.

The Kingfisher 28 also has a mast, lifting boom, space for dingy stowage, paravanes rigged, and sliding doors to port and starboard of her pilothouse for fresh air. She would be capable of cruising most any waters, and would keep her crew warm and dry.

She is full of character, and a lot of cruising fun could be had with this design.