The heritage of Alaskan Yachts reaches back more than half a century to the 1960s when naval architect Arthur DeFever began designing his trademark wooden “trawler-style” displacement yachts for construction in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.
The early 1970s brought with them a growing market preference for fiberglass construction and DeFever shifted to designing Grand Alaskans. These displayed the classic good looks of DeFever-designed trawler-style yachts — swept sheer, generous freeboard and high, buoyant bow — but on a semi-displacement hull form that was reasonably efficient at slower speeds for long-distance passagemaking, yet which could, with sufficient power, get up and go at speeds into the high teens.
Nowadays, those early DeFever Grand Alaskans are sometimes confused with the Alaskan model Grand Banks yachts, which were their contemporaries but designed and built by American Marine Ltd. (Hong Kong). In fact, following pressure exerted by American Marine based on the close similarity of the two names, the Grand Alaskan brand was pared down to simply “Alaskan.”
(Seattle Yachts provides access to thousands of boats and yachts available on the market today. These new and used yachts for sale around the world and on the MLS may or may not be listed with Seattle Yachts, however we have the expert team on staff to help you with the purchase of any brand or type of boat.)
Capable and Seaworthy
Alaskan yachts are renown in production and semi-production circles, long-known as ruggedly-built, stable and seaworthy vessels that can make their way safely across open waters. Best described as flybridge pilothouse yachts, they have a main and lower deck, usually with a flybridge mounted atop the pilothouse. The relatively low center of gravity which they enjoy due to being basically a two-deck yacht (as opposed to a tri-deck) imbues them will a level and range of transverse stability that contributes heavily to their seaworthiness in offshore conditions.
Yachts for All Reasons
When Alaskan made the transition from full displacement to semi-displacement hull forms, and from wooden to FRP construction, the brand also moved from single engine power to twin diesel propulsion engines with higher horsepower ratings.
The increased power enabled operators of Alaskans to achieve top speeds well above those to which displacement hulls are restricted by the physics of wave-related resistance. And whereas a full displacement 66-foot trawler-style yacht might be able to attain a top speed of 10 knots max, a similar semi-displacement 66-footer can, with sufficient power available, reach speeds to 17 or even 18 knots or more.
Thus, the semi-displacement Alaskan yachts offer a wider range of cruising ability — reasonably efficient running at displacement speeds for low fuel consumption, hence increased range for serious passagemaking, coupled with the ability to run at higher speed with reduced transit times inshore and island-hopping. For some, the best of all possible worlds.
Moreover, Alaskan yachts are traditionally characterized by their large main deckhouses and broad expanses of glass which provide ample natural light to their saloons and pilothouses and make for exceedingly comfortable extended cruising and liveaboard.
If the idea of acquiring a pre-owned Alaskan yacht appeals to you, talk to one of our Alaskan specialists at Seattle Yachts. We know Alaskan yachts better than just about anyone and are in the best position to be able to find you one that closely meets your needs and requirements. How is that? Read on.
The Alaskan Legend Continues
In early 2018, Seattle Northwest Yachts LLC acquired the Alaskan brand and trademark rights and began a program to re-introduce this legendary line of yachts to the market.
Seattle Yachts retained renown naval architect, Stephen R. Seaton, to modernize many of the Alaskan models in accord with contemporary standards for performance and livability, while maintaining the core trademark qualities for which Alaskans have long been known. Seattle Yachts also contracted with Phil Friedman, new-build consultant and former president and CEO of world-class megayacht shipyard Palmer Johnson Yachts, to assure that every new Alaskan meets the highest industry standards for construction and value in yachts of their type and size.
The result is the Alaskan Mk II series — beamier on average by 12% for improved performance and increased interior accommodations volume, refined semi-displacement lines to take advantage of the wider range of efficient operation available in contemporary electronically-controlled common rail diesel engines, and value-engineered to deliver the highest ratio of utility, durability, and usability to cost available on the market today.
In With the New But Not Out With the Old
There are still a significant number of used Alaskan yachts on the market in fully operational condition. They were great yachts when they were designed and built over the past 50 years. And many of them remain great yachts today.
Seattle Yachts is in a unique position to help you find and purchase one that may serve your needs and requirements admirably or to sell yours if you own one of these fine vessels. During 25 years in yacht brokerage, Fred Parker of our Seattle office has sold more than 80 DeFever-designed yachts, including more Alaskans than just about anyone in the business. Because of our involvement in designing and building the Alaskan Mk II series ongoing, we have access to the build books and other records that track the history of Alaskan Yachts. We also maintain a constant and intimate contact with the inventory of used Alaskan yachts currently on the market, whether in brokerage or trade-in situations. And these efforts are continually supported by our online Alaskan Owners Chat Board, where up-to-date information and experience is recounted and discussed by current and past Alaskan owners.
If you’re interested in extended cruising or liveaboard, you should seriously consider an Alaskan yacht for ability, quality, comfort, and sheer value. And if you’re interested in an Alaskan yacht, used or new, buying or selling, you should be talking to us at Seattle Yachts, where Alaskan makes its home. So, call or email us today to discuss how we can help your piece of the Alaskan legend.
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