Handsome wood cruiser built to high traditional standards combines luxury, seaworthiness, for serious cruising or sportfishing.
Wood? As a boatbuilding material? It does have advantages. It grows naturally, can be sawn, planed, steamed, sanded, glued, and fastened with nails, bolts, or screws. It can be painted, oiled, or stained and varnished. It is strong and durable. And it is so handsome that plastic manufacturers often imitate its finish in their synthetic materials.
But it has disadvantages. It's no longer cheap. It must be properly prepared before it is used for boat construction, and the boatbuilders using this material must be highly skilled. With wood, unlike fiberglass, it isn't possible to give an untrained man a day's education and put him to work turning out finished boats. Indeed, to become a master boatbuilder is a lifetime's occupation.
Because of these disadvantages, America's boatbuilders have, in the past two decades, shifted in large part to fiber· glass and aluminum. Relatively few outboard runabouts and small cruisers are now built in wood for the very economic reason that too much expensive labor is involved for them to compete with boats built of other materials.
But many of the big custom boats are still wood, probably because the kind of boatman that buys them wants a wood boat. And some of the medium-size stock cruisers are wood for the same reason. The Post 40 falls into this category.
We'd had glimpses of this boat, and we'd heard some extravagant praise of her from boatmen who had done more than glimpse. So we called Russell Post and asked if he had a boat available for a boat test.
He did, at Cape Island Yacht Sales, in Point Pleasant, N .J. We contended with the Garden State Parkway's midweek tourist traffic long enough to reach Point Pleasant, where we found Cape Island's Percy Hall in a state of restrained British excitement about the Post 40, and the boating business in general. At least his end of the boating business, which is the selling of medium-to-large cruisers and sportfishermen.
"The Post is a popular boat around here," he told us. "Particularly with diesels. It's about 80 miles out to the canyon- where the continental shelf drops off-and that's where the fish are. Now a man wants to be able to leave very early in the morning and run out there in, say, four hours, get in a good day's fishing, and get back in the evening. So he needs diesels. And he needs a 20-knot boat. One that can cruise all day at 20 knots. These Cummins diesels in this boat are governed down to 3000 rpm, and they can cruise at that speed continuously. And that'll give you the 20 knots-and then some.
"Of course a boat that's going to be used in this kind of service has to be able to handle whatever the Atlantic Ocean decides to do while she's out there," he continued. "And so does her skipper. These boats can do it-and so, for that matter, can most of the men who buy them."
Thus briefed, we accepted a large handful of keys and hauled our test gear down to the end of the dock where a gleaming white Post 40 fisherman sparkled in the sun. First impression: quality, in the traditional style. The side and after decks around the cockpit are teak, and the grain of the plugs is matched to the grain of the decking. The chromed hook that holds the sliding deckhouse door open has a keeper to prevent its scratching the bulkhead when the door is closed. The flybridge ladder is unusually sturdy. The covering board all around the deck is teak, neatly fitted. (We learned later this is a $175 extra-standard equipment is highly varnished mahogany.)
But with all this evident quality, the test boat was in no way ostentatious. The decor indoors and out: White paint and mahogany trim, the way fine yachts used to be fini shed before the days of shag rugs and imitation yak fur. Her only frivolous touch: A rather bright red carpeting throughout the accommodation.
The sky in the west began building up some formidable rain clouds, so we elected to concentrate on details right at the dock, rather than take her out for photographs.
Her foredeck is painted , with a wide band of nons lip around the edge. We'd like to see the nonslip all over the foredeck, but the practical types who buy these boats want it only where they walk-along the rail-to make cleaning easier. Sidedecks are nonslip, as is the cockpit sole.
Right in the bow are two 12" plastic-covered mooring cleats with 8" chocks. A pair of 8" spring line cleats are mounted midships port and starboard, and a pair of 10" quarter cleats are installed inside the cockpit, with deck pipes for the lines. All mooring hardware is through-bolted.
Her 30" high bow rail is 1" stainless steel, and extends aft alongside the house. A stout wood grab rail on each side of the flying bridge gives good security to anyone having to go forward, even in bad weather.
Her cockpit is self-draining, of course, and has two scuppered hatches in the sole giving access to the compartment below. Two closed lockers are built into each side panelconvenient for fishing gear and dock lines. On the test boat, a large tackle locker was installed in the port forward comer of the cockpit, with drawers and locked tackle compartment, a $175 extra.
The midship sliding door, with glass louvers, opens into her spacious (10' 8" x 10' 2") deckhouse. Here, standard equipment includes an L-shaped lounge that opens to a double- width bunk, a Castro hi-lo table, and a swivel barrel-back chair. Our test boat had a serving bar with sink, glass racks, and lockers just to starboard of the door ($395), and a complete lower control station ($950) forward to starboard. We'd want both-particularly the control station for northern wate rs. Russell Post told us later that many of these boats destined for Florida or Bahama waters have been delivered without the deckhouse controls. And if a dedicated fisherman wants cockpit controls he may have them for $800.
From the deck house forward, various arrangement plans are available: Double stateroom to starboard, head to port, double or triple forward; galley to starboard, head to port, double or triple forward. The Fisher-Cruiser model, which has a slightly smaller cockpit, may be ordered with a dinette to starboard, galley to port, or with two different arrangements of private staterooms. Our test boat had the galley to starboard, head and hanging locker to port, and a bow stateroom with upper and lower berths a good open arrangement for serious cruising or fishing with only four people aboard.
This arrangement plan allows a big, workable galley-the L-shaped formica counter is 4' 3" fore-and-aft and 4' O" athwartship-with a three-burner Princess electric range with oven and stainless steel hood and exhaust blower. The 14" x 15" stainless steel sink has a single lever hot and cold mixer faucet, and a neat teak cover. A garbage pail is recessed, under a teak cover, in the counter, and there are six jump-type drawers and a big locker under the sink, five lockers, a shelf, and two bins above. A very efficient house-sized Delmonico refrigerator operates from shore power or from the standard-equipment generator. No problem stowing enough food in this galley for a long cruise.
In the head, a Raritan electric w/c discharges overboard through a macerator/chlorinator. A II below-the-waterline through-hulls are fitted with seacocks. A big (3' IO" x 17") Formica-topped counter contains a fancy porcelain sink, and there's ample room for linens in the locker below. The shower is separated from the rest of the room by an aluminum-framed, translucent plastic door, which impressed us as being rather flimsy, possibly because everything else aboard this vessel is so solid. Drainage is to a sump, with automatic discharge pump, and an exhaust blower removes steam from the shower. On the test boat the blower switch was high and outboard in the shower, and we later suggested to Russell Post that it be moved out of the shower space so as to be accessible to the entire head. He had already made the change: There a re now two switches controlling the blower, one in the shower, one near the sink.
In the forward stateroom the Post's generous provision of lockers becomes lavish: a huge hanging locker, more than enough for any four seagoing fashion plates, a large dresser with three drawers and a bin, shelves above the dresser, and two big lockers under the lower berth. The upper and lower berths are big enough (7' 1" x 2' 10") to be called doubles by many builders, and the 5" -thick foam mattresses are luxuriously comfortable. Headroom in this stateroom is 6' 5" and the airy feeling this produces is augmented by two opening ports and a translucent overhead hatch 18 3/4" square. Similar hatches, all fitted with screens, are in the galley and head.
Combination 110 v/12 v overhead light fixtures are installed throu ghout-there's almost always one at arm's length, wherever one stands-and 110 v outlets are provided at all necessary points. Shore power hookup is standard equipment, as is a 4 kw, automatic start, gasoline auxiliary generator. On diesel boats-and by far the majority of Post owners have opted, sensibly, for diesels diesel generators are fitted. The 110v master switch and individual circuit breakers are installed under the passageway steps, and the top two steps swing up for easy access. The auxiliary generator controls are also installed here.
About the time we'd finished our interior examination the rain s came. Long and hard. We checked each hatch and opening port to be sure we were battened down, then began looking in a ll the obvious and not so obvious places for leaks a hard summer rain will usually show up some that even a hose test won't-but we found not a drop. And after more than an hour of this deluge we still found not a drop. Impressive.
We went ashore through freshly laundered Point Pleasant for a good seafood dinner, and found Kenny Davern, one of the world's great jazz clarinetists, playing at a nearby pub. Returning fairly late to the ship, we fell into the deep sleep that comes to a man lying in a comfortable bunk, listening to the water lapping at a wood hull.
An early morning shower and a quick breakfast of ovenhot rolls and coffee gave us some appreciation for Post-style luxury living afloat. The galley is a pleasure to work inmore room and a better layout than most apartment kitchens- but we'd insist on sea rails on those slick Formica counters. The first time a bowl of pancake batter skates off the counter and onto that bright red carpet the cook will, we think, lose some of his enthusiasm.
With Cape Island's young mechanic Bob Adano aboard, we prepared to cast off for speed trials and photography. We asked Bob to take her away from the dock-if we have a choice we prefer to get used to a new boat's controls with a Little room around us-and he idled the diesels down, then slipped the port engine into reverse. Against a strong tidal current running parallel to the dock, the stern swung out slowly and easily, then a touch of starboard reverse completed a no-fuss undocking. With the engines idling at, say, 600 rpm, the propellers turn only 240-and they're 24" x 27" three-blade wheels. It gives the helmsman the kind of precise control that permits some fancy handling in close quarters.
The Post lived up to Percy Hall's enthusiasm on speed trials: 24.6 mph at 3000 rpm. When you consider that those diesels are burning only seven gallons per hour apiece at that speed, and further consider that they're designed to run continuously at 3000, you begin to understand why most of these boats are diesel-powered. And with her 300-gallon fuel tank topped off, this boat is perfectly capable of running at full throttle for 21 hours-it's a thought to widen a man's horizons.
We couldn't find any real seas off Manasquan Inlet this day, and even the inlet was quiet, but wake jumping at various speeds and angles proved her to be dry and comfortable. From the flying bridge the view is unobstructed, and with her modest running angle the lower control station is almost as good. Her Teleflex steering, like her well-adjusted double lever Morse controls, is faultless.
After a good day outside, during which we kept thinking of excuses for running down to Cape May or ouf to Montauk, we pointed her pretty nose back through the inlet. Docking at Cape Island Yacht Sales, we had to contend with a cross wind and a cross current. Idling the engines, we turned her in her own length, then backed her gently into the dock against wind and current. Effortless.
As we packed up our test gear we took a last look around for some fault to find. The after rail on the flying bridge isn't high enough- to be high enough for perfect safety it would have to be well above hip level-but it is 30 inches, which is higher than most. The ladder to the bridge passes through a hatch in the cabin roof overhang, and it probably would be possible to bump your bead here if you really tried, but the arrangement is also Hkely to keep you aboard if you lose your footing in a sudden lurch of sea. The sliding windows in the deckbouse are rather hard to open and close but then, they don't leak.
We had to admit that the biggest real nit we could pick was that flimsy shower door.
Located on the sylvan banks of the Great Egg Harbor River at Mays Landing in South Jersey, the Post plant may be the only pleasure craft building facility that can be visited by air, sea, or land. Russell Post, an avid flyer, maintains a private airstrip, complete with landing lights, on the plant property. A few steps away from the carefully barbered grass strip are a couple of slips for the convenience of waterborne visitors. Arriving in our vintage Karmann Ghia, we felt vaguely deprived.
Post's infatuation with light aircraft is not simply a hobby-lobby affair-on short notice he and one of his troubleshooters can wing off to console a Post owner with a problem anywhere along the Atlantic coast.
Walking into the main building at the Post plant was a delightful olfactory experience-particularly for a pair of test editors whose nostrils have so often been assailed by the acrid scent of polyester resin. The air was heavy with the aromatic scent of red cedar, white oak, and teak, plus the pungent odors of wood preservatives and seam compounds.
The Post 40 is built in the time-honored fashion-upside down over a rugged wooden mold. Her heavy, steam-bent white oak frames are a full 1 1/4" x 2 1/2", wide enough to allow for a double row of silicon bronze planking screws. To beef up the turn of the bilge-a notoriously weak area in this form of construction-Post fits each frame with a pair of waterproof plywood gussets one forward and one aft. They add immeasurably to the strength of the structure.
With the 3"-thick oak or yang backbone in place and the frames installed on 12" centers, the hull is planked with some of the most beautiful Western red cedar that we have ever seen. The bottom is planked with 1 1/4" stock while the topsides are finished with 7/8" cedar. Seams are caulked with a polysulphide compound and the finished planking job is a joy to behold.
Major strength members in the hull include four oak longitudinals, 2" thick and from 10" to 12" deep, running almost the length of the hull and tapering out forward, and three laminated stringers running the length of the hull. Transversely, her bottom is stiffened by a number of thwartship members and bulkheads all secured by bolts or epoxy (Post doesn't hesitate to employ modern materials and compounds that he has tested to his satisfaction). In combination with the stringers, the transverse members form a grid-like structure of great strength.
Decks are laminated with two plies of 1/4" waterproof plywood over 1 1/4" x 3" deck beams, and covered with fiberglass. We found a novel installation on the underside of the Post 40's deck-between the deck beams the overhead is fitted with l " -thick foam plastic. This material serves several purposes-it acts as both thermal and acoustic insulation and is particularly effective in those boats fitted with air-conditioning equipment.
In another bow toward modern materials, Post utilizes molded fiberglass for the shower pan and head sole, his instrument panels, and fish and bait wells.
Looking into the shower door situation that had bothered us during the testing period we found that the offender had been replaced with a sturdy aluminum-framed model with a safety glass panel-a real improvement.
In the engine department we were favorably impressed with Post's attention to detail-strategic areas of the compartment were acoustically insulated with spun glass covered with bronze insect screening. This system allows sound waves to pass through the screening and be absorbed in great part by the glass. Fuel lines are fitted with valves at both tank and engine and equipped with bronze strainers. Fuel tanks for gasoline are fabricated from galvanized steel while diesel tanks are of black steel with a heavy epoxy coating.
The electrical system is in keeping with the general high quality of the boat-wiring is neatly installed and color-coded, and both the 115 v and 12 v systems are circuit breakerprotected. A 50-foot, three-wire shore cable with an indicator light and voltmeter is supplied as standard equipment. Those boats that are equipped with air-conditioning are supplied with two shore cables and a split electrical system.
There is a large hand-painted sign prominently displayed in the plant; it reads: NO BARE WOOD
Woodlife-Paint-Bedding Compound This simple sign wraps-up Russell Post's boatbuilding philosophy very nicely-quality, and attention to the smallest detail.
PROPULSION and PERFORMANCE
Standard Power: Twin 250 hp MerCruiser V-8 gasoline engines with 327 cu. in. displacement; 4.00" bore x 3.25" stroke; 2.5: 1 reduction gear.
Optional Power: Twin 300 hp Chris-Craft gasoline engines; twin 330 hp Chrysler gasoline engines; twin 210 hp Cummins diesel engines; twin 220 hp Crusader diesel engines; twin 280 hp Detroit diesel engines; twin 225 hp Caterpillar diesel engines.
Test boat power plant: Twin 210 hp Cummins V-504-M V-8 diesel engines; 504 cu in di s placement; 4.625" bore x 3.750" stroke; 2.5: 1 reduction gear.
This review/article originally appeared in Boating Magazine, November 1971 and is written by Larry Kean and Dick Rath. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: http://subscriptions.boatingmag.com/
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