This greyhound of the seas is a truly a big-time bluewater cruiser.
By Capt. Bill Pike
The Garcia Trawler 54 was born to run, and run, and run. Indeed, on her maiden voyage, she covered over 1,800 nautical miles in approximately 9 days while doing an average speed of just 8.1 knots. Thanks to her full-displacement hullform, single-engine efficiency, and oodles of tankage for fuel and water, she will take you just about anywhere you want to go on this fabulous blue planet.
Interior arrangements of the Trawler 54 are straightforward. Up top, there’s a helm station to port, with a companionway communicating with the main deck to starboard, and a long boat deck at the rear. There’s also a useful feature (particularly for ocean voyaging) that is standard—a mast with a large steadying sail, which not only tends to reduce roll in a cross-sea when deployed but also boosts speed (particularly on a beam reach) by a knot or so, a not insignificant virtue especially on long trips. Below, on the main deck, you’ll find an ample, thoroughly windowed saloon with helm station (and dinette area) forward, a big glass slider opening onto the cockpit aft, and a compact but eminently well-outfitted galley in between. Going down one more deck you’ll find an ample berthing area forward, with several layouts available, and an engine room aft. From the standpoint of layout here, our test boat offered a forward cabin with en suite head and a large amidships master, with a shower and MSD arrangement the builder characterized with considerable accuracy as a spa.
This all-aluminum trawler has a tough, slab-sided look to her, and a personality to match. Indeed, the experience of being onboard in open water has a dreadnought quality to it. Sure, forward movement may be slow, but it is also most certainly feels inevitable. Garcia’s construction regime contributes to the impression. Longitudinal and transverse members; keel and engine keelsons; bilge, garboard, and other strakes; shell plating; decks; bulkheads; fuel tanks; and superstructure are all aluminum, with varying thicknesses depending on usage, and either TIG or MIG welded. Steel is used for ballast and is insulated against galvanic corrosion and locked into the keel with poured resin. Accommodation spaces are insulated from the hull and deck with polyethylene foam panels. And the engine room is also insulated using fireproof-sprayed polyurethane foam, Rockwool panels, and sound-insulating materials finished with perforated aluminum. The exterior of the vessel is largely protected with various types of coatings, epoxies and colorless varnishes mostly, and then painted (superstructure only) with two-part polyurethane. While the hullsides are typically left bright, the options list includes hull fairing and painting.
We are not talkin’ speedboats here. The Trawler 54 is a round-bottomed displacement watercraft designed to achieve a hull speed of roughly 10 knots efficiently and, while doing so, keep her occupants reasonably comfortable, especially during long-haul, bluewater excursions. We sea-trialed our 54 on the coastal Atlantic near Ft. Lauderdale under comparatively balmy conditions, with light winds and 1- to 2-foot seas, just a few days before she was scheduled to make her way back to France. The ride at her top speed of 9.6 knots was smooth yet determined, thanks to a gentle (neither overly abrupt or lazy) roll that we found we could lessen considerably by deploying the steadying sail. We also found, interestingly enough, that we could add about a knot to our cruisingspeed of roughly 8 knots by deploying the sail, at least when going beam-to the light southwesterly wind. Coming up with gph and range numbers proved impossible, however, since the helms had no fuel-burn monitoring and the tachs at both the upper and lower stations were reading 2500 rpm at WOT, radically higher than the 2100 rpm the 3056-TA is rated for. But we did finish the day with some good news. While the 54’s forte is long-distance cruising, her dockside performance was pretty impressive too. Thanks to strong thrusters (bow and stern), our tester had no trouble backing into a difficult slip after the trial.
JW Yachts, 888-229-5417: www.garcia-yachting.com