The Krogen Manatee 36' is one unusual - and practical - hunk of boat

If your idea of cruising is heading off for the long haul at a leisurely pace in a rig that easily can accommodate and be handled by the two of you, have we got a boat for you-the Krogen Manatee 36' from Kadey-KrogenYachts. This is one of those cruising machines that makes you consider shucking the desk, the car payments, and your paneled basement for life afloat in a world where the water is clear and so is your conscience. Of course, most of us tell ourselves that this fantasy hinges on dollars. But  

the Manatee doesn't leave you that excuse. Listing for just $87,300 and getting 5.64 naut. mpg at a sedate cruise, this boat is, as liveaboard cruisers go, cheap to buy and keep.
East Meets West
The creation of naval architect James S.
Krogen, the Manatee is the mating of the Taiwan-built trawler-type tradition with that all-American penchant for getting a lot of boat in as little LOA as possible. The result is a craft

that may not have a pretty profile but sure is practical. Belowdecks and topsides, there's room galore, with almost full-beam living space even fully forward. A bit unorthodox, but one of the most livable and affordable

Manatee Zone - This 36-footer is an unconventional combination of looks, space, and economy. The full-bodied design means there are no sidedecks, but, wow, is there space. The afterdeck has room for a dinghy and a party.

boats around. And you may even think that the Manatee's looks are cute if you like the squat, pugnosed type. Built in Taiwan at the respected Chien Hwa yard, the Manatee is as shippy and traditional on the inside as she is unorthodox on the outside. Step into the saloon, and you know this is a Far Eastern boat. It's teakarama, with a beautiful parquet sole, nicely crafted bookcases to starboard, and a narrow tongue-and-groove used on the forward and after bulkheads. But unlike some early boats from the other side of the Pacific, the Manatee exhibits fine joinerwork and the use of teak is not indiscriminate. There's a lot of wood, but it's only where it adds beauty or function. The overhead, for instance, has just strips of teak on a field of white fiberglass. Such touches keep things light, bright, and yet traditional. Also keeping the saloon's look light is lots of glass- a 48' 31 I/2' window on each side (and you get the view even while seated), 

a window aft, and windows in the upper half of the teak doors that lead to the cockpit. The U-shaped settee to port has a high-low teak (of course) table, so it also can serve as the dinette. At the forward end of the settee is an opening for passing plates from the galley. A nice touch. And although the cooking space is just a half-step below the saloon, you don't have to stare at the toaster, as you can seal off that bulkhead by closing the teak louvered doors on that opening to the galley.
Home-Style Cooking
The galley, to port, is a U-shaped combination of teak, mica, and good design. With cupboards, lockers, and drawers all around, you can stow enough stores for a verrry long cruise. And to keep air circulating through the supplies, there are louvers on many of the looker doors. Food prep should be truly home- style, thanks to plenty of foot space, double stainless sink (each basin: 14"1 10w 1"d), three-burner Princess propane range, 7.5-cu.-ft. dual-volt. Norcold, counterspace on all legs, and even room to mount a microwave under the counter. And just like home, there's a 27 1/2in x 34 in window. The head to starboard is equally impressive: vanity with 12" stainless sink, Groco MSD, medicine chest, drawers, lockers, and of course, it's all teak or teak-trimmed. Even the 27" 36" shower stall has wood trim, as well as a pretty teak grate on the sole. There's also 7' headroom and a big (34  1/2"w22 1/2"d) opening window. The teak door has louvers at floor level. It's an idea that you either love (for ventilation) or hate (for compromising privacy). If you don't like it, the builder can accommodate with a solid door. If you're getting the idea that this 36-footer has a lot of home-sized space and comfort, that notion will be deeply etched in your psyche when you see the master stateroom. Fully forward, these quarters are as big as some shoreside bedrooms, and certainly the equal of the after cabin on some boats that are yards longer. This space, of course, is the result of the Manatee's rounded, full-bodied hull. Again, lots of teak, this time in the form of lockers, louvers, drawers, book shelves, bench seats on each side of the bed, and even a teak desk/vanity with a mirror, all beautifully and very functionally done. This berth has a 4"-thick mattress and is home-style big (6'9" 5'w). Headroom is 6'5".   A 20" square Bomar hatch is overhead, but in true trawler- style tradition, there also are four 6"'x 13" bronze opening ports (two forward and one on each side). Another stateroom layout is available (guest quarters forward and the master to port), but it shrinks both of the staterooms as well as the galley and head. As a result, it hasn't been a popular plan. According to the company, almost all of the more than three dozen Manatees sold to date have had the one-stateroom setup. Many of these boats are bought by liveaboards, and they feel that one grand stateroom is better than two adequate ones. Let guests sleep on the convertible settee in the saloon. Our test boat also fell into this liveaboard category, with Kadey-Krogen's Jim Billings and his wife Jo having made it their home for more than a year.
Open Air, Open Space
Surprisingly, all of this interior space doesn't come at the expense of the outside living areas. The cockpit measures almost 8' long and more than 11' wide, with a hardtop overhead, and 34'-high bulwarks all around. These features, plus the rounded transom, teak caprail, teak sole (or if you want, fiberglass nonslip), and huge bronze hawse cleats, make this feel like the fantail of a cozy little ship. It's a wonderful hangout, even in the rain. When the sun's shining, access to the water is easy-just drop the 3"'-wide door in the transom, and you've got a boarding gate/swim platform that's held in place with big stainless hinges and plastic-coated cable. Up a teak-and-stainless ladder, and you're on the bridgedeck, with its heavy pyramid-shaped nonslip, slip-jointed stainless railing with cable lifelines, and wide-open space. The area abaft the helm station alone is 13'1 x 12'3"w, room enough for a dinghy, cocktail party, or Ping-Pong table. The helm area is roomy, too, with a wide console and stainless destroyer-style wheel on the centerline. A 5'"Danforth compass is standard, as are Morse controls, horn, breakers, and instruments
(tach, temp, oil pressure, and volts) for the Volvo Penta TAMD 30A diesel. Drawers in the console and open space beneath provide stowage. There's even a hatch under there so items can be handed up from below. In fact, if you want to bring people up from below, you can get a large hatch and a ladder that go where the galley refrigerator usually stands.
The U-shaped lounge behind the console has stowage beneath, including space for the range's propane tanks. Enclosed by hip-high bulwarks with a gate on each side, and with a hardtop over and a windshield forward, the helm area is more like an open-air pilothouse than a flying bridge (there's that trawler-style influence again). Although fairly well protected from the elements, you can do a hermetic-seal job by installing plastic curtains or even glass in the upper parts. The foredeck is a step down, and has a big bench seat in the forward part of the house, along with a ground-tackle arrangement that shows this is a serious cruiser--hefty teak pulpit, pair of 10m bronze cleats, two bronze rollers, and access to the rope locker below. 
Oh, Economy
Getting to where you can drop the
hook should be an activity that won't raise your blood pressure. As you might expect, the Manatee takes it nice and easy. The 90-hp Volvo Penta TMD 30A is a quiet and very efficient way to push
this 23,000-pounder. With half fuel and water, but a full complement of gear and people (five of us in all), the Manatee topped out at 8.6 mph (7.5 knots). At that speed (3500 rpm), fuel consumption
was just 6.5 gph, for better than I naut. mpg. But that economy is nothing compared with what you can get by throttling 'back. Go to 2500, and you lose less than a knot, yet gain almost 3 naut. mpg,
for a total of 4.13 naut. mpg. With the usable fuel in a 280-gal. fill-up, you could run 1,115 naut. miles.
Of course, the more you're willing to sacrifice in speed, the more you'll gain in fuel economy. If you have lots of time, and you would rather see your money getting interest than getting burned, turn
the Volvo down to 2000 rpm. The result will be 6.2 knots (most sailboats have to struggle for that); and at 1.1 gph, you won't burn much more than a blow-boat. Overall, an impressive performance. But, says designer Jim Krogen, the Manatee does even better than our test num-
bers indicate. He contends that the area of Biscayne Bay in which we conducted our test was so shallow that we lost some top end due to increased residual resistance. While Krogen cites some sound and accepted principles of displacement-hull
performance, we don't buy it in this case. The test boat Krogen provided didn't have a sounder, so we can't vouch for the depth, but from what we know from
countless runs in this, one of our favorite test sites, there's a controlling depth of at least 10' in the channel at mean low water---certainly enough to keep added wave-form resistance from being a factor. Krogen, however, insists that our results are too slow. He asked us to test the
boat again, but we declined. He also invited us to join him for his own trials. Again, thanks, but we'll stick with our numbers. According to Krogen, his test, conducted two weeks after our test, resulted in a top speed of 8.5 knots.
What Makes Her Tech 
While very much a traditional trawler-type in some ways, the Manatee is very different in others. In construction, for instance. While Taiwan-built boats of the past generally were heavy, single-skin behemoths with as much fiberglass in their hulls as teak in their cabins, the Manatee is, for its type, fairly high-tech. Closed-
cell PVC foam core is used in the hull and cabin sides, and end-grain balsa is sandwiched in the decks. The goal here is not so much weight savings aschts

 noise, temperature, and shock insulation, in addition to strength per pound. Foam stringers are glassed in, and the engine beds are
mahogany that roughly measures 4' x 6' and is also glassed into place.
Obviously, the hull form is unusual,
too. Krogen first designed this as a commercial-boat hull. In that application, it has been proving itself for years. The round transom and round cheeks provide lift and let the Manatee behave nicely in
a following sea. The bow is rounded, but with concave sections that help it slice rather than plow. Hard chines serve up stability at rest and underway. A keel that's about 2' deep works for tracking and protects the rudder and prop. The boat handles well, is predictable, and feels very solid. Recognize, however, that this is a single-screw with a lot of
top-hamper. You'll need a little practice before backing into tight slips, especially on windy days.
Take Her Away
In all, an impressive little package that is well designed for cruising and living aboard. There are handholds where you need them (such as overhead in the saloon), the drawers are sea drawers (so
your valuables don't scatter when you hit a wave), counter edges are fiddled, and there's a place for everything. There's a spot for a genset (4- to 8-kw) under the
galley, and a spot for 16,000 Btus of a/c machinery under the galley sink. Granted, the Manatee is a bit unusual, particularly in appearance. But this is also an unusually roomy and well-executed boat. And at $87,300, an unusually good liveaboard bargain. For those of us
with long-range/long-term cruising in our blood, this 36-footer is awfully hard to resist. 
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