The first Back Cove 33 to arrive in the country has gone to a very good home. This luxurious 33 foot American power boat was delivered to Sydney owner Brian Bergin in September of last year. A keen sailor for most of his life, Bergin had previously owned small powerboats and still races regularly onboard his Northshore 369 ‘Ellipse’ as part of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. He decided to take the plunge and invest in a larger power vessel while continuing to campaign his yacht.
Hotspur: Brian Bergin’s Back Cove 33
‘I’m primarily a sailor but I’ve had two or three small powerboats because taking people out on a sail boat at times is fraught with difficulties, it’s just more complicated’ he said. It was an accurate observation delivered with understatement and quiet humour.
‘I think sailing, well racing, is my first love. But at times it’s nice to turn on the key and just go.’
Powerboat-World asked him how he first became acquainted with the Back Cove ‘Downeast’ style of cruiser, still something of a novelty in the Australian market. It turned out that Bergin had lived in Connecticut for some years and was familiar with the rugged Maine working boats which inspired the Back Cove range.
Back Cove creates elegant powerboats with classic lines reminiscent of the Maine lobster boat tradition, yet constructed using state of the art materials and cutting edge technology. Bergin knew of the Back Cove factory and had heard good things about their build quality:
‘The place where they build them is familiar to me in Maine and they have a good reputation up there.’
In February of last year he happened to see the Back Cove 33 on the cover of a boating magazine, he had been toying with the idea of getting a larger vessel and thought that this model might be suitable. Bergin then spent last winter living at his old home in Connecticut and during his stay renewed friendships with members of his local yacht club. Quite by chance, three members of the club had independently all purchased Back Cove 33s.
Port side view of Back Cove 33
Some months passed and Bergin checked out the background of the brand, ‘spoke to a few people’, then inspected a Back Cove 29. But it wasn’t until he saw the specifications for the 33 that he made up his mind and decided to purchase the larger vessel.
Powerboat-World asked what the deciding factor had been in his purchase. Was it the strong aesthetic appeal of the boat, the reputation for being well built, or a decision based on fuel economy?
‘I think it was a combination’ replied Bergin. He explained that one of the key points in the 33s favour was its single engine.
‘A lot of power boats are now being powered by twin motors and I felt that from a maintenance point of view Back Cove had put together a boat that, besides looking aesthetically pleasing and being well built, probably offered long term low maintenance and easy accessibility.’
‘Boats are always a problem in terms of maintenance and the less you have to do the better it is.’
(Another classic piece of boating truth; Powerboat-World thinks that this statement should be framed and hung outside the entrance of all yacht brokerages and marinas. Acres of immaculately varnished bright work is lovely to look at but not so nice to own.)
Bergin’s Back Cove 33 has been christened ‘Hotspur’ and is currently being used as a Sydney Harbour day boat, though he intends to take her on short coastal trips once the racing season ends. He said that the vessel’s fuel economy had been good, though this is very much a reflection of his driving style.
Back Cove 33 salon
‘Because I’m a sailor I’m quite happy going around the harbour at 10 knots or so and the boat is very economical…I usually don’t have any need to go fast anywhere, though of course its nice to have that capacity in case of bad weather or some other emergency.’
The final factor that made up Bergin’s mind was the high standard of Back Cove’s interior joinery and finishes. American built boats generally have a strong reputation for well designed and beautiful cabinetry, and it looks like Back Cove is carrying on this fine tradition.
‘It (the interior fit out) is a very high standard. I think most people who’ve seen the boat have been quite impressed by it.’
Back Cove’s agent in Australia, Jed Elderkin from Emarine, agrees that the beautiful timberwork is something that sets these boats apart.
‘I think the thing that impressed people most is the aesthetic appeal and functional practicality…they have lovely, very low maintenance, simple and elegant finishes.’
‘The cabinetry is solid cherry with dovetailed joints, then there’s some ash strip, they really have a nice bright airy feel. The lustre of the cherry improves with time, it’s not laminex or anything like that, and it’s hand done cabinetry.’
Elderkin said that he was very happy with the way Back Coves have been received by the Australian market. Emarine has sold every single one of their imported stock boats and is currently awaiting a new deliveries and taking orders. Their reception at last year’s Sydney International Boat Show was strong, and they will be back again this year (31st July to 5th August).
Back Cove 29 Hardtop
The second 33 footer is expected to arrive in the country in March; this will be displayed at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show (22nd to 25th May.)
Elderkin commented that in the States Back Coves had proved to be a popular family and cruising vessel and that he expected this trend to continue here. He said that it was the combination of safety features, good design and fuel economy which made them desirable cruising boats.
'They’re a deep vee hull for a soft and dry ride. Very, very wide decks with great handholds for walking around and foredeck access... They have full flotation, they’re completely self draining and lots of thought and consideration has been given to their sea keeping abilities.'
It’s going to be a busy year for Elderkin. On the 1st of February Emarine will move from their current premises at North Sydney Marine Centre, to a new sales office in the extensively refurbished Roseville Bridge Marina.
Elderkin takes a great deal of pride in working closely with his clients to ensure that they get the most out of their boats. He agrees that even small details can make the difference between an average day on the water and a great day out.
‘We have a great deal of experience in customising the vessels to suit our respective client’s needs. We work individually with each client to configure a vessel so it works best for them and suits their needs, with a minimum of fuss and very low maintenance costs.’
To find out more about the Back Cove range and Emarine’s commitment to quality client service contact:
North Sydney Marine Centre
6 John Street
McMahon’s Point, NSW 2059
Telephone: 61(0) 417 200 165
Fax: 61 (2) 9929 6028