extinguishing system. It opens when the engine room
temperature reaches a dangerous level, stopping the
engine and ventilation fans. Engine room cooling air is
pulled in through a ventilator high above the port side
deck and through a box duct running to the engine
room. Deck drain lines also are run through the duct
to an overboard discharge. There is no way to close
the ventilation duct in the event of a fire.
Also on the aft bulkhead is an Auto Shore energy
management system. Its job is simple: maintain the
proper voltage for the boat system, regardless of source.
A central air conditioning unit circulates cool air
through the boat. The air movement system is shared
by a Webasto oil-fired furnace.
Shamal has a great engine room, and despite more
than 900 hours of cruising since launch, it still looks new.
Most boaters would applaud it. And it complies with the
Haywoods’ goals of simplicity and easy functioning. “I
can keep this one running,” David said. “All I have to do
is get fuel and air to it.”
With David at the helm, we motored out of Friday
Harbor and set an easterly course across San Juan
Channel for Upright Channel. The dinghy was under
tow; once we were inside Flat Point, Linda and I would
use it as a photo boat.
Shamal was running at 7. 3 knots, with the John Deere
turning 1500 rpm. “This is my fuel-saving mode,” David
said, reporting that the engine burned a bit less than
3gph at that speed.
Normal cruising speed is 8. 5 knots, with a fuel burn
of 4.5gph. Slowing to 7 knots cuts fuel consumption to
2.5gph, he said.
Park Isle Marine’s engine room insulation also proved
effective. At 7. 3 knots, in the pilothouse I measured
62–63 decibels on the A scale of my sound level meter.
That makes cruising comfortable.
David and Linda live far from Northwest waters, but
they manage frequent trips west for serious cruising. My
tour of the boat came as they ended a three-week
voyage in Puget Sound and adjoining waters. They were
planning to return for a summer cruise to the Broughton
Archipelago in north-central British Columbia.
A long trip to Southeast Alaska in 2006 is remembered
as “a trip of a lifetime.” In Petersburg, a major commercial
fishing center, fishermen instantly identified Shamal’s
Seamaster hull because of its wide use in Alaska waters.
As the world continued to be rocked by soaring fuel
prices, it occurred to me that Shamal is a big boat
designed to travel at modest speeds with good fuel
efficiency. The Haywoods don’t have to worry about
Royal Passagemaker 52
throttling back a pair of monster engines in a yacht
intended to cruise in the teens or faster while burning
scores of gallons of fuel every hour.
Shamal may not be able to outrun a storm, but with
her displacement (about 60 tons), beam ( 16 feet 4
inches), draft ( 6 feet 4 inches), and stabilizers, she’ll be
able to ride it out safely. For the Haywoods, the trip is a
big reward, and 3gph makes that reward even sweeter.
We turned toward shore in Upright Channel to clear
the little traffic that was out that day, and Linda and I
boarded the Avon. Sitting in that dinghy at water level
and watching Shamal turn and run with a nice bow wave
was exhilarating. We also learned that big boats leave big
wakes, and we had to hang on tight when David, at my
request, buzzed closed to us.
Photo work done, David and Linda hoisted the
dinghy aboard, and we turned toward Anacortes.
The favored route out of the San Juan Islands is via
Thatcher Pass, but because it is used by ferries and
many recreational boaters, I usually turn north, exiting
the islands via Peavine Pass.
With a favorable, fuel-saving current, our speed in
the pass reached 10. 9 knots. The current opposed us
in Rosario Strait, however, and whatever advantage
we had gained quickly disappeared.
It was a calm day and Shamal motored along quietly
and easily. I never wish for sloppy seas, but it would have
been rewarding to see that classic respond to current-against-the-wind conditions in the strait.
David said the boat developed a vibration after
delivery. The problem was traced to the large rudder
and was solved by installing a bearing at the top of the
rudder shaft. “She runs nice now,” he said.
To make handling easier and safer, the Haywoods
added the boarding platform staples and put sail tracks
along the bow to allow quick placement of fenders.
David is thinking about installing a hydraulic get-home
drive, just in case.
Their original plan was to cruise the Northwest awhile
and then take the yacht home to the Great Lakes. That
seems to be in question now. “The more time I spend
here, the more I like it,” David said. “I like cruising here.”
After three years of ownership and more than 900
hours of cruising time, David and Linda know their boat
well. I asked David what would be different if he were
building a new boat today.
He grinned a little. “A brighter anchor light...maybe.”
Postscript: Roy Parkinson’s company now is working on a
pair of new boats, neither based on the Seamaster hull, while
developing its new repair and construction site. Another 52 is
being considered by a customer, with launch expected in 2010.