BY DANIEL HARDING
Power & Motoryacht’s boat test of the Legacy 36.
A peaceful morning cruise aboard a Legacy 36 proves that keeping things simple can be pretty sweet.
Jamestown Harbor looked like a watercolor painting. Hundreds of sail- and powerboats bobbed lazily on their moorings, a lone jogger prodding along Conanicus Avenue was the first sign of life I saw.
Residents were walking up Narragansett Avenue past the still shuttered Jamestown Hardware to get on line for coffee and breakfast at Taste of Heaven, a local favorite with a menu that lives up to the name. The late-summer air was warm, yet crisp. Nursing a cup of coffee, I strolled past the boutiques, the ice cream shop, and a photo gallery. There are no big-box stores or chains in Jamestown and that’s how people like it. Simple. Quiet. Satisfying. Those were the adjectives that came to mind as I took a final swig from my coffee and set forth for Conanicut Marina and the Legacy 36 I was scheduled to test.
She was an easy boat to find. Tugging at dew-soaked lines she was a handsome Down East yacht with a teak-capped, sweeping sheerline. Stepping easily through a gunwale door I shook the hands of Legacy COO and Chief Designer Tim Jackett and proud new owner Vah Erdekian; small talk ensued until Erdekian eagerly jumped at the chance to show off his new pride and joy. Through a sliding glass door I followed him into a saloon that immediately makes you feel as if you’d just stepped aboard an exceptionally bright sailboat (not a coincidence as Legacy’s parent company, Tartan, is a world-class sailboat builder). Everywhere you look in the saloon you’ll find smart, salty design elements like a sturdy teak searail running fore and aft throughout the entire space, decorative teak battens crossing the headliner athwartship, and “Wait, you have mounted fans?” I ask motioning to the two fans in the aft corners.
“Those are Tim’s fans,” laughs Erdekian. “He had to have them.”
“You have to circulate a little air, you know?” counters Jackett with a retort that proves his relationship with Erdekian is more than just professional; the pair have become friends. “That of course comes from our sailboat side; on the powerboat side you usually just close the windows and crank up the A/C.” The idea of running a couple of quiet fans each time you got a little warm on the hook—instead of the generator—was a virtue he quickly sold me on.
Forward of the Stidd helm seats is a smart-looking helm with Garmin electronics chosen by Erdekian. And forward of the port seat is yet another salty touch, a beautifully crafted chart table. Jackett catches my stare.
“Some people say they don’t need chart tables anymore but people still, and should, carry chart books,” he says. “Plus, you gotta put your stuff somewhere.”
I follow Erdekian down a few steps down into the galley and take in the space that he is arguably most proud of. “I love that you have a queen berth and full enclosed shower; not many pocket cruisers I’ve been on have that,” he says. “And it’s not a wet head, look it’s a real head. That’s what attracted me to my first Legacy, a 32, years ago. Because I don’t want a big boat, I want a small boat, but I want to be comfortable.”
The space is warm and inviting with opening ports along the sides. The galley, which Erekian admits he doesn’t plan to use much, is centered around a very blue Corian countertop. The stove is placed under a slab of removable Corian to give the area a clean, unbroken look.
Outside, the day was warming up and the sun began to bathe the bay. We all agreed it was time for a ride.
Jackett fired up the single 550-horsepower Cummins QSB6.7 and what I heard (or rather, didn’t hear) surprised me. The power plant was exceptionally quiet, registering 62 decibels.
As Erdekian is proud of the 36’s layout, Jackett is equally proud of the boat’s quietness. “The deck itself is cored and about an inch and a half thick and then we added insulation to that. We’ve got blankets of high-density material and low-density material to knock down the different frequencies,” explains Jackett as the electrically actuated saloon hatch opens.
“This engine hatch, we went through a lot of work to make sure it was sealed up tight,” he says. “At one point we thought we finally had it perfect, we’re running along and then someone stepped on the hatch and we realized, hey, it just got quieter. So we went through a whole bunch more hatch gaskets and found the right one. It saved us 3 or 4 decibels and a pitch that wasn’t very nice.”
“If for some reason the electric lift fails, there’s an eye here with a block and tackle that allows you to lift it manually,” Jackett laughs. “Yeah, I know, it’s a sailing thing.”
Sightlines from the helm were exceptional thanks to the curving windows in the aft corners of the saloon.
Fresh air is one of boating’s greatest appeals. The center windshield pane opens, as do overhead hatches. They let summer breezes fill the boat on our test day.
The 36 falls in the center of the Legacy lineup; she is sandwiched between a 32 and 42. The 42 is available with IPS 400s.
Legacy powerboats are built in the company’s Painesville, Ohio, facility. If you’re thinking about purchasing a Legacy you really should try to pay them a visit and see how these boats come to life.
We back out of the slip and Erdekian puts his Side-Power bow thruster to work (a Quick thruster is standard but this is just one example where Legacy is willing to go off-script to satisfy a customer). “I had a Side-Power thruster on my old boat so that’s what I’m comfortable with,” says Erdekian as he pivots the boat out of the marina and into Jamestown Harbor.
As it always tends to do, the formality of our interview melted away as the 36 made its way past Castle Hill towards open water. We swapped stories of past boats that we’ve loved. “I’ve had all sorts of boats, mostly Grady-Whites, Whalers, Regulators,” says Erdekian. An engineer by trade who teaches a couple of courses at MIT, he alludes to the wide range of choices available on the market today.
“My wife and I wanted the smallest possible boat with a queen berth, full shower, and of course, quality. We wanted to go smaller because you know when you get home on Sunday at 5:00 you have to rinse it down; the bigger the boat the less you use it. Plus, all the friends you had aboard for dock-and-dine all disappear as soon as you have to wash down.”
Taking the helm from Eredekian as he shared cruising stories, I was impressed by the 36’s solid-riding hull; she didn’t return any creaks as I turned her hard into her own wake. Forward, a deep-V sliced the 1-foot chop nicely while the widely spaced chines and flatter aft sections helped the boat to hop on plane quickly. I found the boat settled into a comfortable groove between 2500 and 3000 rpm.
If Jackett and Erdekian hadn’t had flights to catch I would have tried my best to twist their arms and continue running to Block Island. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards so we returned to the slip and retied the boat in short order. I again shook Jackett’s and Erdekian’s hands and stepped back through that gunwale door. “That really is a smart touch,” I offered as I closed the door and stepped onto the dock.
Leaving the boat, notepad in hand, I was jotting down my final impressions when it hit me; the legacy 36, much like the sleepy hamlet of Jamestown is: Simple. Quiet. Satisfying.
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Photography by Billy Black