Driver’s Seat

The Helmsman 37 Sedan gives long-range cruisers plenty of choices.

Helmsman Trawlers builds its vessels in Fuzhou, China, at a yard that has been engaged in the manufacture of midsized trawlers since 2006, and currently is represented in Florida by Massey Yacht Sales, and by Waterline Boats in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Sales and distribution in other North American regions are managed directly by Helmsman Trawlers.

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From the first 38-foot pilothouse, the Helmsman range has grown to include a 43-foot raised pilothouse, a 42-foot raised-sundeck cruiser, the 37-foot single-stateroom Down East executed in the Maine lobsterboat style, and the 37 Sedan, now available with two staterooms. With its 13-foot 11-inch beam, the Helmsman 37 Sedan can accommodate walkaround decks on either side and still offer a good-sized saloon. “Access all around the main deckhouse is always an advantageous feature for line handling,” says experienced cruiser Scott Helker. “And we’ve found that many of our clients making the transition from sail to power will consider nothing but the full walkaround configuration.”

Construction:

Like all Helmsman offerings, the new 37 features hull construction of solid FRP, its innermost layers laid up using isophthalic resin, and the outermost with a vinylester formulation as a guard—along with an epoxy barrier coat and antifouling paint— against osmotic blistering. A grid of foam-cored stringers and transverse box beams stiffens the hull. House sides, deck, and structural bulkheads are foam-cored fiberglass. Nida-Core honeycomb coring reinforces the flying-bridge deck. While standard power is a single 230-horsepower Cummins QSB common-rail diesel, my test boat was equipped with the optional 380-horsepower Cummins, sufficient power to achieve a maximum speed of nearly 13 knots.

Accommodations:

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While many of those owner couples who rarely cruise with guests onboard inevitably will find favor with the 37-foot single-stateroom sedan, the newest version of course adds the considerably broader appeal of the second private accommodation, located on the port side just abaft the forward master stateroom. This space features a double berth positioned athwartships and nested beneath the saloon observers’ lounge just above. An adjacent dressing area offers standing headroom, a vanity, and a compact hanging locker.

In the master cabin forward are an island double berth on centerline, bookshelves, and hanging lockers on either side, and an opening skylight hatch overhead. The two staterooms share a starboard-side head with a separate shower stall.

Performance:

The 37 handles easily at all throttle settings, and at semi-displacement speeds seems to like just a little help from the optional Bennett trim tabs to level the bow for an extra half-knot or so at the top end. Rudder response is quick and decisive at maneuvering speeds, and the single-screw hull, predictably enough, is happier backing to starboard, although the standard 7-inch Side-Power bow thruster goes a long way toward evening that score either way. Moderately hard turns at cruising speeds produce virtually no heel, and the hull feels surefooted, carving to the left or the right. Notwithstanding the absence of hull coring to help deaden mechanical noise, interior sound and vibration levels seem reasonably attenuated throughout the rpm range, indicating comfortable cruising during long passages.

38’11
13’11
3’6
28,000 lb. (half load)
360 gal.
140 gal.
1/380-hp Cummins QSB diesel
1/230-hp Cummins QSB diesel
range of engines rated up to 480 hp
$319,000
$390,793

Stern thruster, radar arch, reverse-cycle heat and air conditioning, ice maker, Awlgrip hull paint.

Speeds are two-way averages measured with GPS. GPH taken from engine-monitoring electronics. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at lower helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.