Rick Richardson climbs out of the thigh-deep main hold of Canoe Cove’s Tri-cabin Coho 41. Before closing up what he calls “the basement,” he passes a hand along the underside of the hatch.
The hatch is a solid panel of plywood, backed by a hefty framework of twoinch by two-inch lumber. The wood is green with preservative, and makes a solid clunk as it drops into place. “That’s what sold me on this boat,” says Richardson, a London, Ontario, entrepreneur. “It took me back to my old navy days.”
Richardson’s 10 years in the navy left him with a deep respect for solidly built work man like boats. And when he saw the Coho at a west-coast boat show, he was smitten. He didn’t just buy the boat-he decided to sell them. Richardson is now the owner of Flag Yacht Corporation, the eastern Canadian dealer for Canoe Cove products.
The 41-foot Coho is built in Sidney, British Columbia, 20 miles north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Canoe Cove vessels first appeared, in wood, in 1958. The first fiber-glass boat was built in 1960; the last wooden design rolled out of the shop in 1964. The company now controlling production, Canoe Cove Manufacturing Ltd., was formed in 1973 by three western Canadian businessmen.
Although only a handful of Tri-cabin Cohos can be seen in the east, the design is no stranger to the west coast. With about 130 models sold since entering the market in 1970, the yacht is the company’s most successful product. Its popularity stems from solid construction, sensible performance, careful craftsmanship and all Canadian production.
Carleton Smith of Toronto, who now owns a 37-foot Canoe Cove Sports Sedan, previously owned a Coho. His estimation of Canoe Cove and the Coho in particular is enthusiastic. “I’ve been boating for about 55 years now,” says Smith, “so I’ve had a few boats. Frankly, I think the workmanship on the Canoe Cove is probably the best I’ve seen. And the performance is fantastic.” Canoe Cove’s reputation for seaman like design and solid has already made the company a respected name in commercial circles. Its products serve survey, tour operators and police. The best attributes of the working boats have been maintained in the Coho. Its low maintenance, all fibreglass exterior makes sense for pleasure boaters. The bridge, cabin/ deck and hull molds are solidly bolted together. The hull is fair and the decks non-skid.
On the Coho one can also find the less than Spartan features demanded by cruising boaters. At the same time, there are few touches added simply for the sake of decor. If an automobile metaphor may be permitted, the boat is more classic Bently than a fully loaded Cadillac. The test boat, Flag Yacht’s Princess, lacked none of the amenities. In fact it sported about $35,000 worth of optional equipment. None of the gear, however, from the “torpedo- launcher” fender holders to the loran C, the interface tracker and the wagner and the wagner autopilot, seemed out of place.
The boat really needed a long, tall ocean swell for a proper workout. Its performance is understated on the kind of short chop Lake Ontario dishes out on early autumn evenings.
With twin turbo-charged GM diesels, each providing 205 hp, the boat moves out on an easy plane at the optimum cruising speed of 17 knots, with the tachometer reading 2,600 rpm. At 3,000 rpm, it hits a top speed of 21 knots. Fuel consumption at 10 knots is a thrifty four gallons per hour; cruising at 17 knots takes about 11 gallons per hour, still quite good. “The idea of economy cruising is to get her up on a plane, just pull back and keep her there,” says Richardson, standing back from the helm as the autopilot takes over at 17 knots.
The modified deep-V hull, drawing three feet, four inches, tracks straight with little pitch or roll, and responds quickly in open water and close quarters maneuvering. At four turns, lockto-lock, the lower steering wheel is very responsive and can also be adjusted to six turns.
On cool fall nights, the lower helm station is the obvious choice. Visibility is excellent, with an unobstructed view forward and high, full length windows down the sides of the saloon. Aft, the convenient companionway leading to the aft bridge deck allows a good rear view. The fully adjustable, swiveling helm seat is next to the port saloon door, convenient for quick peeks outside. Morse controls are well placed and easy to reach, the instruments easily visible. The circuit breaker panels are also close at hand.
But what really impresses one about the lower helm station, aside from the array of electronic options-including, on Princess, a Koden radar-is that conversation can actually be conducted with negligible aural interference. This is made possible by the V-drives that put the engines right aft in the boat, outside the cabin and muffled under the cockpit hatches. Access to the V-drives is in the aft cabin, but the hatches are lead-coated to deaden heat and sound. Even the Motorola stereo could be enjoyed underway.
Terry Smith, Flag Yacht’s sales manager, explains the V-drive philosophy. “What we’ve done is put all the immovable weight aft and all the movable weight-like water, fuel and holding tanks amidships.” The result is a quiet yacht that, fully loaded down, planes easily. On a plane, it gets mileage nearly as good as a trawler, but moves along much faster.
Placing the engines aft also lowers the overall profile, while leaving a hold below the saloon large enough for the installation of a small washer and dryer for liveaboards, or for storage of a great deal of gear or provisions. The boat also boasts plenty of room for people, in the saloon-galley, forward cabin and “master stateroom” aft cabin.
The forward cabin (which features a separate head) is roomy and well-lit, thanks to the Perko stainless steel hatch overhead and a panel of translucent fiberglass in the portion of aft headliner that extends under the windshield-a unique touch, impressive in its simple practicality. There are two large, staggered single berths, each almost big enough for a friendly couple.
Storage abounds. On the port side, there is a long, fiddled shelf on the flare of the hull. The chain locker is forward; large storage lockers with deep shelves can be found below the starboard berth. A spacious hanging locker to port features a woven teak door for ventilation.
Teak is used generously throughout the boat. The cabinetwork, employing solid wood, is impressive. Everything fits well and extra care has been taken to make sure it stays that way. For example, the door to the forward cabin is hung on a full-length piano hinge. Swinging open, it doubles as a door for the forward head, to starboard in the cabin, opposite the hanging locker.
The roomy head features plenty of storage space behind sliding teak panels. There is a Raritan head, hot water (from the 12-gallon electric/engineheated tank) and cold water. The mirror is almost three-quarters length. A hand-held shower in the forward head is optional, but not really necessary with the full-size, stand-up shower stall in the main head. The headliner, as elsewhere, is fiberglass.
The aft cabin offers everything an owner should expect of accommodation on a 41-foot cruiser. The double berth to port boasts a full-size mattress with large drawers underneath. There’s plenty of floor space for dressing, wandering about or just loitering. Clothing can be stored in a proper chest of drawers aft and to starboard and a roomy hanging locker built into the forward bulkhead. The head, at the foot of the bed, is roomy, with more storage space and nice touches, like the light in the shower stall.
As in the saloon and forward cabin, the sole is carpeted. Personally, I dislike carpets on boats. But on a vessel with enough storage space for about a dozen vacuum cleaners, and a 7V2-kw Onan generator to keep them running, there’s no reason to rule it out. Like all fabrics on board, the carpets are treated with fire retardant. “It might cost a little more,” shrugs Richardson, “but it might keep the boat around a little longer too.” Without the usual fixed dinette and bench seats, the saloon is as uncluttered as the aft cabin. The L-shaped galley, in the aft port comer, focuses on a fourburner propane range and oven.
(The 20-pound tank is in a vented compartment on the bridge.) There is plenty of counter space, with deep double sinks, well-secured drawers and cupboards. A maple cutting board is reputedly the only piece of non-teak trim on the boat. The refrigerator-freezer is a seven-cubic-foot, 110-volt/12-volt Norcold. The dish rack, overhead beside the stove, is custom-made. When you order a boat, you send a place-setting of your dinnerware to Canoe Cove. They make the rack to measure–a nice touch and a reminder that during the 3 V2 months the company takes to build the boat, they are thinking of the eventual buyer. Such concern is reflected in the craftsmanship. In the saloon, a small hide-a-bed couch and two movable swiveling cane chairs provide ample comfortable seating, while a high-low teak folding table doubles as a coffee and a dining table. For the traditionalist, a U-shaped fixed dinette is also available. The only things missing in the boat’s saloon-indeed throughout the boat-were screens, an oversight on most boats native to the west coast, where insects are less of a problem. Screens are, however, being custom-made for all Canoe Coves now coming east.
Lighting is adjustable, with low-level lights for cruising and full lighting for dockside. The lights operate off four, 205-amp deep-cycle batteries and the generator (complete with Soundshield and muffled underwater exhaust). The generator even has its own battery, so “if all hell breaks loose, you can still start up the genny,” says Richardson.
There are other safety and convenience touches in the engine compartment, which is completely accessible, under the hatches in the aft cockpit. An inspection reveals fuel filters, Racors and standard filters, built-in oil change pumps and two oil filters for each engine. The engines have lifting eyes, and with their open-cockpit accessibility could be removed easily in short order. Hull fittings are grounded and bonded-through and rudder posts are easily accessible.
Closed, the engine hatches form a spacious cockpit, well-protected by welded stainless steel safety rails that extend around the boat’s wide walkways and foredeck (handrails are overhead). Princess comes complete with an anchor, a bow roller and an electric windlass, operable by remote control or deck switch. The bridge and aft bridge deck are well-protected. The bridge is situated well forward and provides a commaiding view. It is carefully laid out, and made comfortable by its venturi windscreen. Full controls are within easy reach; instrumentation, protected under a custom Plexiglas cover, is clearly visible.
The wide bench seat, which will accommodate six adults, folds down for sunbathing. There are even stereo speakers recessed into the sides of the bridge. They are right at home on this most pleasing yacht.
Caption: It’s more like classic Bentley than a fully loaded Cadillac.
Originally Published In Canadian Yachting’s April 1984 Issue.
Beam………………13ft 2 in
Draft………………..3 ft 4 in
Fuel Capacity…….335 gal
Water Capacity…..120 gal
Engines…………….Twin 8.2 Liter 205 hp Turbo Charged GM diesels
Model……………….TRI – CABIN COHO 41