Lisa and I enjoyed the opportunity for a little Pacific Northwest cruising aboard our new Helmsman Trawlers 31 Camano while taking her to PassageMaker’s TrawlerFest in Anacortes. This gem is the latest (and the most compact) addition to the line of Helmsman Trawlers. We’ve been working for several years on this project to update and substantially redesign the venerable Camano 31 and were glad for some sea time to “test cruise" the finished product.

What a fine little yacht this is.

We knew it would handle well and feel solid on the water — the original highly-regarded Camano hull is unchanged — and it pleased us with its surefootedness and performance. Whether running at 7 or 9 or 13 knots this boat was solid. The bow stayed down for great lower-helm visibility at all speeds, and she tracked and handled waves from all directions confidently.

As for living aboard we admittedly felt a bit self-satisfied with our interior redesign. The stateroom was nothing short of luxurious and spacious. The separate head and shower compartments are amenities associated with much larger yachts. The salon with its up galley and built-in helm and companion seating was wonderfully functional and comfortable, especially while underway. And as with all of our Helmsman Trawlers we admired the construction quality, the fine teak and varnish interior, and the tight craftsmanship so much in evidence.

Things that were even better than we expected?
*Storage — the yard did such a great job fitting storage drawers, cabinets and cubbies into places we hadn’t anticipated that there will be no lack of storage for an extended cruise. The hanging locker in the master stateroom is really a “wow” for a boat this size. Usually the first thing to be jettisoned in the design of smaller boats, we’re glad to say that storage has increased signficantly with this redesign from the original Camano 31.
*The engine — the Hyundai Seasall V-6 diesel was amazingly smooth and quiet. Operation, even at higher speeds, is truly pleasant.

Lisa and I are fortunate to spend a lot of time aboard quality yachts — mostly much larger than this Helmsman Trawlers 31 Camano. We can honestly say that thanks to yacht-quality construction, time-tested hull design, a completely new interior design, and the latest in well-engineered propulsion we felt like we compromised nothing while on our short cruise. This is an incredible amount of boat in a compact size, and — let’s face it — FUN is most accessible when you’re not worrying about complex systems and costs and fuel consumption and maintenance and finding large-enough moorage and….

Scott Helker