Custom Built Buehler Designs from Seahorse Yachts

David Katz's outrageous 44 Duck just before it headed out from Hong Kong to the US.

I offer building plans for all my Diesel Duck designs and folks are building the boats themselves as well as hiring yards to build boats for them. However, Bill Kimley, owner of Seahorse Yachts in China, has taken a personal interest in the Diesel Ducks and made a few modifications to the concept that got my attention. By June 2002 Bill had launched two 44s, and had another 44 as well as a 48 started for clients. Bills interest in the Ducks and photos of what he was producing sparked my interest in his company, so in mid May I flew to China to check the place out. To put it mildly, I was overwhelmed.
Seahorse Yachts has a fiberglass yard and a steel yard, with over 100 employees. At the time of my visit the fiberglass yard was building three 36 foot power cruisers and two 52’ motoryachts for American owners, and was just starting a 52’ motorsailor.
The steel plant is a shipyard. It has a huge dry dock, metal forming tools large enough to build a warship, and a wood working shop from which is produced the teak and holly cabin soles, steering wheels, and fine cabinetry of the Seahorse built boats. Their stainless shop produces beautiful parts of all description. Their upholstery shop does fine cushions. And their heavy duty custom built hatches and opening windows are incredible and shortly will be offered to the boating market as a separate product line. All their boats are built to the Chinese CCS specs, which is one of the standards internationally accepted by insurance underwriters. All steel used as well as all aspects of the construction including the welding procedures, are inspected by the CCS during the construction. The boats are absolutely top quality.
I do a lot of work with home builders. I like them, and I like their boats, be the results rough or perfect. But at the same time I've always wondered what a DUCK could look like when completely built and outfitted by a top yard and the two completed Seahorse Ducks I saw being commissioned answered that question!
I decided I'd get involved in marketing Seahorse built boats of my designs, hence this large section of the site devoted to them.

If you're ordering a new boat you can of course have whatever interior ideas you want built in; that's part of the appeal. Right now there's two basic interiors figured up; first, the “traditional,” which is the original of course. There's a full hull width engine room, and access to the fwd and aft cabins is through the pilot house.Then there's the new one that Seahorse came up with and THAT really changes the boat.... Here's Bill Kimley's interior design which we've incorporated into the 44 "Evolution" (note the "button" on the Home Page of this site). There's a drawing on the next page (click "NEXT" at the bottom of this page) that shows it, as well as an optional small cockpit aft the wheelhouse. I go back and forth on that; I simply can't decide if I'd have it or not. I think a bench seat behind the house would do the same thing, but David Katz, the owner who wanted it, is a very experienced single hander and his opinion is worth considering. Rather than the full hull width engine room and aft cabin access from the wheelhouse shown in the plans, Bill installed a bulkhead with large removable hatches beside the engine on the port side. The wheel house has a raised sole with a couch and table (David went for an "easyboy" recliner chair instead!) over the resulting passageway below. This gives easy access to the stern cabin directly from the forward area rather than access to the stern cabin from the pilot house. There's a doorway in the back wall that takes you out to the stern deck. But keep in mind that if you have a new boat built, you can plan out absolutely ANY interior design you want; that's part of the reason for building your own boat!

The stern cabin has it’s own head, and access to the engine room is through a door in the head as well as the fold down hatches on the port side, accessible from the passageway connecting the forward and aft living areas.
David Katz added a wonderful idea. Since he's frequently in reef areas, he wanted a raised helm area so he had Seahorse install a steering pedestal, engine controls, and railing on the house roof. There's a ladder from the fwd. house roof to get up there. The whole business is stainless, unlike a flying bridge adds little weight and practically no windage, and would be very handy. It adds to the price but I think it’s well worth it.

The hatch was to allow you to see the gauges. On second thought, engine alarms would work too and be simpler.

Seahorse offers the boats in two configurations; “base price” which means a running boat with no electronics or outfitting (think typical “boat show” deal), and “turn key” meaning practically all the bells and whistles, ready to cruise anywhere.

So far, three 44 DUCKS have left on their own bottom. One went back to his home in Japan. David Katz, a long time single hander, took two years to go through the south Pacific and back to the west coast of the US. And a third is leisurely headed around the world. So far he's "done" the Red Sea, and winter of 05 finds them in the Philipenes. Here's a letter Jurgen mailed about the trip to date:

The Red Sea and Suez Canal passage is just a faint blur in my memory. The reason for this is either the arteriosclerotic brain or the fact that the " pot is full" after three months of cruising along the Turkish coast.

Our plan was to do The Red Sea as fast as possible and get to the Mediterranean in time to enjoy a full cruising season. Most sailboats spend one to two months on this trip, ducking in and out of protected anchorages along the western shore. We left Djibouti on April 21, and headed right for the middle; at times close to the shipping lanes. The first four days were great: wind over the stern, averaging 7 kts and 170 miles / day. Then we had to pay our dues: unrelenting strong winds from the NNW, right on the nose, blowing at Beaufort 7 to 9. This lasted for five days and the seas were building to impressive size. Once you are in the middle of the Red Sea, there is no hiding. I had to throttle way down and at times we moved only at a speed of one to two knots. At this speed and these seas I had no choice, but to face the seas head on. The boat would have been rolled badly at any other angle. Pounding into the sea, our strong Nomad sounded like a thin tin can! Once, the captain of a large tanker that was passing close to our boat, called, asking if he could be of any help. He kept asking whether he could do anything for us -- this got us really worried! On the 9th day things calmed down and we tied up to a mooring buoy in front of the "Suez Yacht Club" in the evening of April 29.

The Suez Canal passage is a two day affair and one needs to engage an "agent", who will make the necessary arrangement. The boat needs to be admeasured and inspected and the hands of everybody involved need to be lubricated with US Dollars. There is somebody constantly rowing about in the anchorage asking for Cigarettes ( Marlboro) and money -- usually making a "hard landing" with the old wooden skiff if one does not oblige. Nomad suffered a few scars here. I have seen some of these guys jumping up and down, repeatedly banging into a nice yacht, and screaming " Allah will punish you!", if the owner did not oblige to their requests. By the way, these people all work for the "agent".

The first stop is in Ismailia. After Suez this is a pleasant surprise. There is a nice marina with clean facilities and friendly staff. One can stay for just one night or longer, arrangements for the pilot are made when one is ready to leave. We left Ismailia on May 8, heading for Port Said. Our pilot was a quiet, friendly chap. Shortly before the pilot boat took him off in Port Said he requested his "gift". I gave him cigarettes and more Dollars than the "usual" rate, but he was suddenly not very happy -- he also wanted a T-shirt. Since I did not have one for his size -- he was a big fellow -- He left rather brusquely. We did not stop in Port Said -- a derelict place, I was told -- and sailed straight to Cyprus, which we reached on May 10.

The Canal itself is interesting, but also monotonous. Desert on the left side and desert on the right side. Being passed -- almost within reach -- by a VERY large container ship is exciting, however.

We are now back in Finike, Turkey. Since our departure from Phuket, Thailand we have covered about 7000 miles. Considering our fuel consumption, the boat traveled 4.2 miles / Gal. ( 1.1 miles / Liter ) or used 0.24 Gal. / mile ( 0.9 Liters / mile ). Everage speed: 6.3 kts @ RPM 1300 to ( mostly )1400+.

Best whishes,

Jurgen


I'm of course interested in the construction of the boats. If you like, I'm happy to serve as an "owner's agent" and make trips over during the construction and at the completion, and even meet the boat at the place of import and help with the commissioning. Me and Jim Rockford charge the same; $200 a day plus expenses.

Two completed Diesel Ducks ready to power home. Don's, facing us, is currently in Japan.

 

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