$1.4 million boat hits the water

48-foot Moon River built in Tumwater for seasoned boater from Seattle

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 28, 2013 

Moon River, a 48-foot, custom-built power yacht that is set to sail the waters of British Columbia this summer, settled into East Bay on Wednesday after it spent more than two years under construction.

The $1.4-million boat was custom designed and built by Devlin Designing Boat Builders of Tumwater, a company that has pioneered the wood-and-epoxy boat design.

The 32,000-pound boat project is the second largest for Sam Devlin, following work his business had done on a 65-foot Kitsap Transit passenger ferry called the Admiral Pete last year.

After more than two years of work, including input from Moon River owner Ed Schulman, 75, of Seattle, the vessel — painted blue — was lowered into East Bay at the Port of Olympia’s Boat Works about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Schulman after seeing it in the water for the first time.

Schulman, originally from New York but a Northwest resident for 15 years, is a longtime boat owner, having owned 20 to 30 boats in his lifetime, he said.

But now that he’s 75 and his wife is in her 70s, they need a boat that is a little easier to operate, he said. “It fits our way of boating,” Schulman said. It was named Moon River because that song was played at their wedding, he said.

The boat was designed with convenience in mind; Schulman said just two people can comfortably run it. It has strategically placed cameras to help with navigation and a crane to lift a dinghy and kayak on board.

Moon River has two John Deere diesel engines, it cruises at a speed of 15 or 16 knots, and has propeller thrusters, both at the bow and stern, which make it highly maneuverable, Schulman said.

It also cruises economically, getting 2 to 3 miles per gallon at certain speeds, which, for a nearly 50-foot boat, is a good thing, he said.

Schulman said he chose Devlin because both the design and building of the boat was contained within one business. He also had a lot of input on the design, and he said Sam Devlin has a good eye for a beautiful boat.

Devlin said they’ll spend about a week running the boat through sea trials, making sure everything works, then Schulman will sail it back to Seattle.

Just before the boat was lowered into the water, Devlin stuck with tradition by repeating a little saying to himself.

“Over the land, into the drink, please God, don’t sink,” he said.

Then Devlin waved at the crew to continue lowering the boat into the water.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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