Captain’s Report by Mike Smith
Reuben Trane is the brains behind Island Pilot. According to his Facebook page, Trane earned a Master of Fine Arts in film from Columbia in 1973, not what you’d call perfect training for the boating business, but on the other hand it is not easy to get into Columbia’s film school, so he’s no dummy. But come to think of it, what is good preparation for getting into the boating industry? Over the past 30 years Trane has started five boat companies. You might remember the Florida Bay Boat Company from the early 1980s; it built Trane’s own funky Marsh Hen, Peep Hen, Mud Hen and Bay Hen sailboats.
Then came Florida Bay Coasters, boxy, shallow-draft expedition cruisers designed by Jay Benford. Built of steel, they appealed to wannabe Charlie Allnuts. One model carried a Jeep on deck, and, if we remember correctly, another toted a small helicopter.After the Coasters sailed, Trane came back into the box to partner with naval architect Jim Krogen and his son Kurt to start Krogen Express; the first boat, the Express 49, is still in production as the Krogen Express 52. Then Great Harbour trawlers, idiosyncratic craft drawn by naval architect Lou Codega, also still being built, and, finally, Island Pilot. The first boat, the IP 395, is the basis for today’s IP 435. Why the change? It’s because of the four propellers.
Reuben says, “We call her a ‘Crossover Trawler’ since we feel she can be used in a similar fashion to a trawler – slow speed, good economy – while still able to function well at ‘semi-displacement’ speeds – and really shine at planning speeds.”
IPS-y Does It
The first Island Pilot, the 39’6”, 30,000-lb. IP 395, ran on twin 350-hp Volvo Penta engines hooked to Duoprop stern drive lower units. The 395 referred to the transom tucked under the deck where the stern drives emerged. (The conventional way of measuring boats until the last 5-10 years or so.) The 435 refers to the extended bottom and transom, now under the swim platform. “For all intents and purposes, both are identical except for the transom and swim platform treatment,” says Trane.
As stern drives go, Duoprops are fine, but not what you’d expect to find on a boat that size. And then came IPS, the almost-magic, computer-controlled pod drives developed by Volvo Penta in 2005. According to Volvo, IPS technology reduces fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 30% at best cruise, often produces higher top speed at WOT and adds as much as 40% to cruising range, all with lower noise levels, compared to conventional inboards spinning shafts. And then there’s the joystick.
Hal as Co-Pilot
The IPS computer is your co-pilot and does the thinking for you. (Let’s hope Volvo isn’t outsourcing their software engineering to Toyota.) It’s also easy to add joysticks – the IP 435 has three: at the helm, flying bridge and in the cockpit. When you’re ready to get moving, shift into gear with the conventional controls and the joystick disengages.Now with Volvo’s new DPS “Dynamic Positioning System,” you can push a button at the helm and the boat holds heading and position while you rig lines and fenders, make a sandwich, or take a quick head break. The DPS is now standard on new Island Pilots.
The IPS drives sit under the hull, but the Island Pilot 395 used sterndrives. Rather than redesigning the boat, Trane and crew simply added length to accommodate the new drives, and the layout is exactly the same except for the addition of the swim platform and the removal of a single recessed step on centerline aft.
Performance with IPS 600
The redesign also added 3,000 lbs of weight, offset by boosting horsepower to twin 435s and the increased efficiency of the IPS. According to Island Pilot figures – we have not tested the boat ourselves – the 435 tops out at 34 knots (39 mph) and cruises at 30 (34.5 mph), burning about 1 nm/gal when on plane throughout the 18 to 28-knot speed range with half-load, according to the builder. Throttle down to real trawler speed and you’ll get about 3 nm/gal. at 7 knots. Again, these are company figures, not ours, so don’t call us if you run out of fuel.
Living LargeWouldn’t it be nice if somebody designed a boat that didn’t have an island queen berth forward? What ever happened to V-berths? (If you want them, IP will build them for you.) The differences in the two arrangements are amidships: the galley down in the single-s.r. version is moved up to make room for the study that converts into a second stateroom. The helm and companion seats are side-by-side in the 2-s.r. version, too.Island Pilot offers the 435 in two accommodations plans: single-stateroom with eat-in galley down, and two-staterooms, two heads with galley up. In the latter layout, the second stateroom converts to a study, or vice-versa. It’s nice to have a study, so the latter arrangement would be our choice; we don’t mind losing saloon/deckhouse space to the galley -- cooking is less of a chore if you have windows to look out. And now and then we might have guests. On the other hand, we prefer the helm layout of the galley-down boat, with separate helm and companion seats rather than side-by-side. You’ll have to make your own call on this. Both versions put the master stateroom forward, fitted with the ever-present island berth.
In the Saloon
The single-stateroom layout leaves lots of room for a big saloon with helm and co-pilot seats on either side of the companionway. This gives both parties more elbow room than the side-by-side helm seats in the 2-s.r. layout. Otherwise the helms are the same in both layouts. Keeping the galley down isn’t so good for the cook, but better for everyone else, and it leaves more room for lounging in the saloon. The builder tells us that 2/3rds of the boats go out with singles.
Too many boats this size have sidedecks made for Gumby, but full-sized folks can move around freely aboard the IP 435. Rather than jam as many square-feet as possible into accommodations, thereby minimizing deck space, Trane and his gang remembered that sometimes you have to go on deck, and made it easy to do so. What’s more, the rails run continuously from bow to stern, so you never have to make a leap of faith over an unprotected stretch.
The Bottom Line
So what’s the bottom line? The single-stateroom version of the IP 435 costs $599,000 for single stateroom, $614,500 for double. This is not that bad when you consider everything that’s included – which is almost everything. There is no option list – anything else you want onboard you have to add yourself. Even a 10’ RIB and outboard is included, and a satellite antenna for the TVs. The price includes delivery from the Her Shine yard in Zhuhai, China, commissioning, duty, bottom paint and even a full tank of fuel, and safety equipment. We prefer to buy our own anyway, and choose better quality stuff than provided in the typical “safety package.” Otherwise, buy an IP 435, bring your clothes and food aboard and go cruising.Sharing design credits with Reuben Trane are naval architects George Petrie, N.A., and Robert Harris, N.A., two veterans who have been designing yachts of all types for years. One of the nice things about the IP 435 is that there will not be a gaggle of them in the marina when you pull in for a night’s stop over. The company is a boutique builder and production numbers are relatively low.
While this boat is not for everyone, we think it offers tremendous value compared to other boats this size on the market in its class. Its list of standard equipment will choke most builders, if not a horse. To see the complete list, click here...If you are looking for any type of boat in this size range – Downeast cruiser, express cruiser, hardtop, sedan or whatever, we suggest you see this boat for comparison purposes, if nothing else.Just don’t tell your friends it’s a trawler.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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