North Pacific 42 Pilothouse
By Steve Knauth
The North Pacific 42 Pilothouse adds shelter for the helmsman to a roomy layout and ends up with a versatile cruising package.
Mike and Lois Fannon used to sit on their houseboat listening to visiting cruisers talk about doing the Great Loop. At one point a few years ago, they looked at each other and said, “We should do this.”
Now they’re on their way. The Germantown, Tennessee, couple cast off from nearby Grand Harbor Marina early in the spring to begin their own three-year Great Loop odyssey. It’s a far cry from Mike Fannon’s early boating days, fishing in the High Sierras from a 12-foot aluminum skiff. “We’re very excited,” says Fannon, 65, who retired last winter from Hilton Worldwide.
The wanderlust may have begun 14 years ago, when the couple bought the houseboat, a 42-foot Gibson. They owned it for 11 years, going out on weekends, making trips up and down the Tennessee River. “We would anchor out in the coves, tie up with other boats, and have a good time,” he says.
For the Great Loop, however, they knew they needed a different boat. “We went to the Fort Lauderdale [boat] show and Trawler Fest, and we decided we liked the pilothouse trawlers,” Fannon says. “When the weather’s bad, you can stay inside.”
In time, the Fannons got a call from yacht broker Lenny Beck of United Yacht Sales (www.unitedyacht.com) in Beaufort, North Carolina, who had found an interesting prospect near Norfolk, Virginia. “I’ve never seen one of these models before,” he told the Fannons, “but we need to take a look.”
The boat was a North Pacific 42 Pilothouse, built in China for Surrey, British Columbia-based North Pacific Yachts. The 42 is a displacement trawler designed for extended cruising. She’s built on a solid fiberglass hull, about 1-inch thick at the waterline, with a vinylester resin outer layer for blister prevention. Topsides are ½-inch fiberglass, and Nida-Core is used in the deck and superstructure.
The company was founded in 2004 by the father-and-son team of John and Trevor Brice, who designed the first 42-foot pilothouse trawler. In 2007, that model was upgraded to a 43 with a larger swim platform and other modifications. Today, the multilevel cruiser has a profile that mixes modern and traditional, and North Pacific has expanded its fleet to offer two more pilothouse trawler models—a trailerable 28-footer designed by Karl Stambaugh, a 39-footer, and a 38-foot sedan.
“I saw the 42 and said, ‘Wow, this thing is great,’” says Fannon. The couple did their research, read articles, and spoke with an owner. “Everybody I talked to had good things to say,” he says. “The survey came out great, and we decided to buy it.”
The price was $290,000, and the 2006 model was in near-perfect condition, though well used. “The previous owner had it three years,” Fannon says. “He bought it to cruise up to Alaska and back.” It was also shipped to Florida and cruised to Nova Scotia. “He took very good care of it,” Fannon says.
“I liked the floor plan,” says Lois Fannon. “The boat is very easy to get around, very easy to get on and off, too.” The flying bridge and its steering station are accessed by side stairways that lead up from the wide walkaround decks.
The pilothouse feature was a major selling point. “It’s comfortable, and the visibility from the helm is very good,” she says. “You can really drive the boat in comfort from there.” The pilothouse helm station is on centerline behind the three-pane windscreen, and there’s also a convenient watch berth. There’s a flat dash for gauges and an angled panel for electronics displays.
There’s plenty of stowage throughout the boat, too. “It’s very well planned,” Lois says. “I think there might have been a lady involved. There’s even a handy pantry under the steps between the saloon and pilothouse.” Just a few steps down from the helm is the saloon. It’s laid out with an L-shaped lounge, a coffee table, and a chair. There’s a convertible dinette opposite with bench seating.
The galley-up is to port and features a large island counter along with a cooktop, oven, microwave, and stand-up refrigerator. Mike is the cook, and the fully equipped galley has produced “some good meals,” he says with pride. “It’s a nice layout with plenty of counter space and stowage.”
Adds Lois: “I’m the dishwasher, and I can tell you it has a nice big sink and drain board.”
The master stateroom has an island double berth, an adjacent head and shower, lots of stowage, bookshelves, hanging lockers, and drawers. A second private cabin can be laid out as an office. Finished wood is used throughout, including teak-and-holly soles.
The Fannons have been very pleased with the North Pacific. “When we call the company, the telephone is answered by the owner, Trevor Brice, and he is quick to answer all our questions,” Mike says.
Power comes from a single 380-metric-horsepower Cummins QSB 5.9 diesel. Cruising speed is about 7.5 knots at 1700 rpm. At that rate, fuel consumption is 2.5 to 3 gallons per hour, or up to 3 mpg. With a 380-gallon fuel supply, the trawler has plenty of range. “It also holds 350 gallons of water,” Fannon points out. “That makes us pretty self-sufficient.”
Bow and stern thrusters make her “pretty easy” to maneuver around the docks, which will also be handy when it’s time to transit locks or canals on the Loop. Fannon has Raymarine c-Series electronics, with redundant systems. He’s added an Achilles dinghy and installed a KVH satellite-TV system before the voyage.
The Fannons have mostly cruised close to home, their longest trip an 80- to 100-mile run up the Tennessee River. But the three-week shakedown cruise in 2009 showed the North Pacific’s qualities. “I picked it up in Stuart [Florida] and we brought it around to Mobile [Alabama] and up the Tenn-Tom Waterway,” says Fannon. “It was about 1,800 miles, and I loved every minute of it.”
Last fall, the Fannons headed for the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association fall rendezvous to mingle with fellow Loopers. Then, in the spring, they began their trip. “We plan to take our time, see a lot of things, just bump along,” he says. “After that, who knows?”
One thing is certain: They’ve got the right boat for the voyage. “We’re really, really pleased with it,” Fannon says.
Power & Motoryacht spoke to three brokers who each had a North Pacific 42 Pilothouse listed online. Here’s what each broker had to say about these trawlers and what they have to offer. ➤
Displacement: 31,000 lb.
Fuel: 380 gal.
Water: 350 gal.
Power: 1/380-mhp Cummins QSB 5.9 diesel.
Years Built: 2004-2007
Price Range: $287,429 to $339,000