This is a truly unique custom-built vessel built of a combination of state-of-the-art composite materials, blended with old world craftsman building techniques. She was designed and built at the famous Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA as part of their Vessel Boat Builders Program, and was open to the public to view the Craftsman Team during the build-cycle process. Modeled after the Downeast look made famous by Grand Banks Eastbay line of yachts, she offers the best of both--the all fiberglass molded boats, and the cold-molded composite yachts. Just to name a few of the current industry leaders in the composite/cold-molded space is Vicem Yachts, American Custom Yachts, Jarret Bay, Carolina Custom Yachts, the original Buddy Davis, etc. The entire build cycle is fully documented below under the heading of “The Building of NORMA JEAN”. Juniper, Coosa Bluewater composite material, Biaxial KNYTEX fiberglass cloth, West System Epoxy, and 2000E Barrier Coat all make up the layup schedule of this finely crafted vessel. Her renowned and highly maintained Caterpillar C9 Acert engines cruise her at 24mph at 1900rpms burning only 24gph. And with her extra engine room sound insulation at only 78.6db sound level. So…you owe it to yourself to see this magnificent Downeast Yacht, and determine if cruising in a motorboat of grand style and timeless craftsmanship is for you!
Be sure to watch the video by clicking on the Video tab, next to the Photo tab in upper left.
July 2019 Survey Available.
July 2019 Survey available. Starting from the aft of the vessel in the large cockpit is two opening hatches in the sole for steering mechanical access and storage. There are two aft facing built-in cushioned seats with lift-up storage beneath. And there are port and starboard molded in fiberglass steps leading to wide side decks with well-designed inboard SS handhold railings all the way forward. A central double hinged door provides access to the Salon area with two large windows facing aft flanking it.
Stepping into the Salon you immediately are impressed with the wood craftsmanship and joinery of the rich Cherry wood with Ash trim and the Ash sole. Aft to starboard is indoor engine shift/throttles to face backwards as you are docking the boat. And under that is refrigeration. Along the starboard side is built-in furniture with the double helm seat and helm control station. On the port side is a large L-Shaped settee (lots of storage underneath) with a custom Hi-Lo table. Forward of that is a double Hi-Lo Navigator’s seat with a large chart table in front of that. The massive engine room is accessed in the rear of the Salon by lifting a hydraulically assisted hatch and going down the ladder. The engine room is super well lit, well insulated, and with PLENTY of room for mechanical access to ALL components.
Forward down centerline of the Salon is the well-equipped Galley on the port and the convertible banquette style seating and table on the Starboard. Access to the AC/DC panel is in this area. There is lots of storage under the seats. The Galley is fully equipped with lots of cabinets, refrigeration, and high-end appliances for the discerning Gourmet.
Continuing forward through the 6’8” headroom passageway is the large Head with separate enclosed 7’ headroom shower on the starboard, and the Guest Stateroom with twin bunks to port.
Forward is the Master Stateroom with a Queen-sized island centerline berth with a comfortable 8”custom foam mattress. There are two closets and lots of drawers in the Stateroom. Also, there is a washup station with hot/cold running water that doubles as a vanity station. There’s a large overhead opening hatch and two side portlights for lots of airy feeling in this room. It is finished in richly crafted cherry wood giving a very pleasing comfortable feeling of luxury.
Be sure to watch the video by clicking on the Video tab, next to the Photo tab in upper left.
As mentioned previously the Salon is the Helm area (both forward and rearward) and a major entertainment and lounge area. The Helm area is well equipped both with navigation electronics and engine instrumentation and controls. This will be covered in the HELM description below. And… facing out the aft starboard and side windows is another mini-helm station with shifting and throttle controls for those tricky docking situations or backing down on a fish. There is an ice maker and refrigeration below this station. There’s lots of comfortable seating for six at the leather covered L shaped settee on the port side with storage underneath. In front of the L shaped settee is a custom cherry/ash hi-lo table with fold-out leaves to convert from cocktail table to meal table. The double-wide Navigator’s seat on the port side folds down and makes a tabletop for those serving up Gourmet meals and hors d'oeuvres. A handy designed in flip-down wastebasket container is in the side of the Helm seat. Aft of the port Helm seat is a built-in cabinetry to accommodate a TV install (either motorized or fixed). In the ceiling there are two overhead opening hatches and plenty of opening surround glass – all covered by pull-down shadow blinds. Access to engine room is through an opening hatch just forward of the aft double door.
Down four steps to the spacious Galley on the port and Dinette on the starboard. The Galley is richly appointed with Cherry and Ash cabinetry with durable Corian countertops. There is a double SS sink, a U-Line Refrigerator & Freezer, a smooth top double burner electric stove top, a Microwave/convection oven, and… lots of storage in above and below cabinets and drawers. There is a fixed side portlights on the hull side of the Galley.
The starboard side Dinette features storage cabinetry, a fixed side portlight, and a lowering convertible table to sleep two. The easily accessible AC/DC panel is in the Dinette area.
Just forward of the Galley through the passageway on port is the Guest Stateroom. It features two single berths, a hanging closet, a fixed portlight, and a deep built-in bureau. It is also richly appointed with Cherry/Ash cabinetry and Ash sole. There is plenty of drawer storage beneath the beds.
Opposite the Guest quarters is the Head with its Enclosed Shower. The Head has Cherry trim on a highly finish white cabinetry – that Herreshoff look. There is a large SS mirror polished sink, three mirrors, a fixed side portlight, three cabinets, two drawers, an Ash sole, and a VacuFlush toilet.
The Shower is enclosed with 7’ of headroom and lots of elbow room. It has an overhead hatch, a teak grate, a shampoo shelf, a hullside storage hanging locker, and towel hangers.
Fully forward, finished in the same rich Cherry/Ash with Ash sole is the Master Stateroom. The full essence of the character of this fine yacht is on display here. It features a Queen-sized centerline Island berth with a custom foam mattress. On both sides of the bed is built-in shelf space and drawers. There are two large closets (one a double) and two large drawers at the base of the bed. On the aft bulkhead wall is a vanity with a lift-up top revealing a sink with hot/cold fresh water. There is an opening overhead hatch and two fixed side portlights. This cabin is also lit by two headboard lights and six overhead lights.
Newly varnished teak toerails, eye brows, and red/green running light boards highlight the cabin and hull of this yacht. All the rest is finished in fiberglass coated with Fighting Lady Yellow Awlgrip on the hull and white Awlgrip on the superstructure, with sand dusk antiskid highlighting the deck top. The anchor locker is front deck assessable. The electric windlass is controlled at the bow or at the Helm. There is a SS bow pulpit with roller and a plow style Bruce anchor. There’s 250’ chain/rode in the anchor locker. All cleats have hausepipes in the toerail, so that dock lines are not marring the brightwork toerail. The anchor windlass has up/down controls at the bow and at the helm. There is cleverly designed inboard SS hand rails running the entire length of the lower cabin top at waist height along the Salon cabin sides for safe deck passageway. The average side deck width is 24” starting at 16” and widens quickly to 27”, then 32”. There are no side railings to mar the good looks of the boat, or to impede the view from the helm forward. No fender baskets; all fenders can be stored in the lockers in the cockpit. The cockpit has two sole hatches for access to the steering gear and for storage. There’s also two large double aft facing cushioned seats with lift-up bottoms for more storage. I have a complete writeup on the NORMA JEAN’s build cycle, layup schedule that would be of great interest to you. See Below: The Building of NORMA JEAN
As previously mentioned, the Helm is located in the temperature controlled environment of the Salon. It is located on starboard with a double wide comfortable seat with the waste basket storage below, and the Salon’s reverse cycle air conditioner unit. The instrumentation and navigation equipment is extremely well laid out. The lower panel is all analog engine gauges, and the forward panel is digital gauges and navigation. The Hynautic throttles and shifters are all hydraulic, as are the ones in the aft of the Salon facing the cockpit for docking.
All systems on board are either 12v DC or 110v/220v AC. There is a 50amp 220v dockside input under the starboard coaming. The AC/DC panel is located in the dinette area on the backside of the Helm’s instrumentation and wiring. It is all to ABYC specifications installed by Don Guliver of Yacht Systems Services in Norfolk, VA. It is well laid out, marked, and well documented. The Westerbeke genset is located in the aft starboard portion of the engine room. The remote start and oil pressure, coolant temperature, voltage, and hours gauges panel is located at the Helm.
You will be impressed by the size (5’ headroom), lighting and accessibility of all mechanical equipment in this engine room. As the fuel tankage is located below the cockpit sole, then there is lots of outboard access to the Caterpillar C9 engines. Prior to any engine and mechanical components mounted in there, the entire Engine Room was fiberglassed and white Awlgrip painted for a super clean look. There are three banks of fluorescent overhead lights that light up the Engine Room like an OR. Each engine’s Racor filter and vacuum gauge are mounted on the aft bulkhead, along with all well marked fuel management valving. The A/C pump, manifold and sea cock is centerline aft on the massive keel. Aft starboard is the genset and aft port is the entire Vacuflush tankage and system components and the hot water heater. The Caterpillar C9 Acerts are each mounted on two massive stringers with aluminum capping. The CATs are mated to Twin Disc transmissions, shafts, then dripless stuffing boxes, through in hull cutlass bearings to V struts with cutlass bearings, 27x32 Veem bronze 4-bladed props. Large bronze rudders with above the waterline bearings on super strong rudder tables. The entire Engine Room is sound insulated (both bulkheads, overhead and the hullsides).
The Building of Norma Jean – A Custom Downeast Express Yacht
The complete build-cycle for NORMA JEAN was accomplished in the Mariners Museum[i] in Newport News, VA in a controlled indoor environment. Her Juniper wood keel was laid on January 2005. And final launch and christening on July 30, 2007. Her design team was Rick Spratline (Naval Architect) in collaboration with Howard Webb (Owner/Builder) and Jimmy Drewry. The boat was built as part of the Vessel Boat Builders Program offered by the Mariners Museum, and was open to the public to view the Master Craftsman Team during the build-cycle progress. Mariners Museum built vessels are well-known in the Chesapeake area as finely crafted built boats of the highest standard. They built many of the famous Chesapeake Deadrise boats of the 70’s and 80’s. Billy Moore has a video on YouTube describing this:
Chesapeake Deadrise Film – Billy Moore https://youtu.be/STGwyif5K5M
NORMA JEAN (namesake of the Owner’s lovely Wife) was designed to be an ultra-strong, sea-going vessel in the Downeast stylish design. Her hull design called for a long pronounced keel where the hull runs flat into the keel with a flat run aft for ease of planing. The sharp entry bow eases back into a hard reversed-chine for excellent spray rail capability. Another spray rail below the hard chine and two step-shaped running strakes, running full length on both the undersides help with excellent lift and hull aeration, while providing predictable tracking and grip when cornering. Its deep keel creates a hydrodynamic slot through the water to hold a desired path. The oversized rudders and trim tabs make for very easy vessel trim and direction in any weather, with excellent comfort sea keeping ability and cruising performance.
NORMA JEAN is basically a hard-chined planning hull that features a sharper “V” toward the bow and transitions to a shallower deadrise toward the rear for increased stability and lift (speed). The progressive “V” shape provides a smoother ride through rough water, while the planning area affords increased speed and stability.
The outboard chines on this hull are reversed, thus channeling water under the hull, as opposed to letting it slip outward. This configuration creates natural increasing lift areas at each side of the “V” center. In turning, this hull remains relatively flat, creating excellent tracking when cornering These coupled technologies in design have significant factors that extract speed and fuel efficiency from this hulls’ design.
Layup and Build Schedule – The Keel, Frames, Planking, Transom, Longitudinal Supports are all Northern White-Cedar Juniper, and the Ribs are Cypress. One of the most valuable things about Juniper (besides its strength and flexibility) is because it lasts a really long time outside; It has oils in it that prevent decay. Juniper holds nails and screws better than other types of wood, won't crack and doesn't absorb moisture once it's milled. Once the main keel was laid, and all the bottom framework built, the 1 ¼” Juniper planking was affixed. Then a product called Coosa Bluewater 26 (1/2”) was affixed to the planking using SS screws and West System epoxy for a secure bond and
1. The lower keyed keel was then epoxied in place, along with the Strakes and Reverse Chines. Then two layers on top of that of 12oz Biaxial KNYTEX Fiberglass Cloth, again using West System Epoxy. Then a thick layer of “Fill-to-Fair” epoxy with microballons. After the lengthy fairing process, a layer of E2000 Epoxy Barrier Coat was rolled on. Then bottom paint.
The bottom was then flipped over by crane and work commenced on the hull sides. The Cypress ribs were installed and the topside hull planking installed, along with the longitudinal engine stringers. What was to become the “engine room” was fiberglassed, then epoxied and Awlgipped bright white. The Caterpillar C9’s and transmissions were installed in place. Work was completed on the decking (two layers of ½” Coosa Bluewater 26 epoxied) and the cockpit and cabin soles. The Juniper framework for the cabin sides, cabin deck, bridge/Saloon cabin and cockpit were all then built. Then covered with the same two layers of ½” Coosa Bluewater 26, all epoxied top, in-between, and bottom.
The “finish work” to give her the “yacht finish” was now at task. Beautiful Cherry wood and ash was acquired and installed throughout the yacht. Master Craftsman took pride and joy at giving her the custom hand crafted look the Owner wanted. All the instrumentation, navigation equipment, wiring, mechanicals were installed to top quality ABYC standards. The best of Galley equipment installed. Soft goods throughout the entire interior were chosen with durability and appearance in mind.
The exterior was treated with a Fighting Yellow Awlgrip hull with painted bootstripes, while the cabin sides are White Awlgrip. The Teak Toerails were crafted and installed on the Gunnel. Heavy duty cleats, hawsepipes and ground tackle were installed.
She was christened and launched on July 30, 2017. Engine break-in and final mechanical and electrical adjustments and installation completed.
Running Gear – The Caterpillar C9 ACerts (8.8L) with Twin Disc transmissions were chosen as the power and gearing for NORMA JEAN. They are a proven technology with a great service record. They are installed in a very well lighted pure white Awlgriped engine room on massive fiberglass coated Juniper stringers. The drive shafts are 2” Aquamet A-22 stainless steel through dripless stuffing boxes inside. Outside is a forward single strut supporting the forward end with a V strut and cutlass bearing supporting the aft end of the shaft. The wheels are the best quality four-blade VEEMS bronze propellers 27X32. And the oversized bronze rudders have traditional stuffing boxes above with super sturdy rudder tables accessible from the aft cockpit.
 The Mariners' Museum and Park is located in Newport News, Virginia, United States. Designated as America’s National Maritime Museum by Congress, it is one of the largest maritime museums in North America. The Mariners' Museum Library, contains the largest maritime history collection in the Western Hemisphere.
This is a boat worth seeing if you are looking for a Downeast/Eastbay style yacht. She has been meticulously crafted by experts and will not disappoint. Call for your individual showing. An Exclusion List of decoration items will be provided.
*Engine hours are as of the date of the original listing and are a representation of what the listing broker is told by the owner and/or actual reading of the engine hour meters. The broker cannot guarantee the true hours. It is the responsibility of the purchaser and/or his agent to verify engine hours, warranties implied or otherwise and major overhauls as well as all other representations noted on the listing brochure.
The company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change or withdrawal without notice.
Our Custom listing is a great opportunity to purchase a very nice 54' Downeast Eastbay Style. She is currently listed with United Yacht Sales broker Bill Watson who can answer all questions about the boat for you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to our team of professional yacht brokers to schedule a showing. There are many yachts listed for sale on the MLS each with a different history. We look forward to helping you complete your search for the perfect boat or yacht for sale.
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