As readers of Northwest Yachting know, we really like Northwest companies that produce a quality product and have done so for years. If they’ve been through the turbulent times of the marine industry and have survived all the while not compromising on the basic premises that if you produce a quality product and sell it for a fair price, you will continue to succeed.
Tomco Marine Group, the builder of the American Tug line, was founded in the year 2000 and is still based out of La Conner, Washington right on the Swinomish Slough. Tomco Marine Group was the brainchild of founder and director Tom Nelson and came about in conjunction with meetings with Lynn Senour, a well-known West Coast Marine architect. Tom and Lynn knew one another for many years, going back to building wooden boats on Lake Union in Seattle.
Fast forward to 2014 and I get a call from my friend Steve Scruggs who joined American Tug in early 2013 when things were a bit slow for builders throughout the Pacific Northwest. At that time American Tug had one boat they were building and a business decision was made to dissolve the dealer network, do factory direct sales of new boats, and develop the brokerage market for used American Tugs. To say that was a great move would be an understatement. Steve is now in charge of their marketing and sales and has a stunning brokerage display on a full length dock they call Trawler Row right in front of the production facility. A production facility that I should point out now employs 41 people and has at least one vessel of each model under construction. Steve invited me up to La Conner to check out the brand new American Tug 485 hull number one which was just in the process of being delivered to its new owner.
Click on pictures to enlarge:
It’s easy to understand how American Tug has survived the adverse business climate of the recent recession when you understand their four guiding principles:
1. Craft each trawler with top-quality methods and materials.
2. Create inviting, spacious and efficient interiors.
3. Utilize state-of-the-art technology to guarantee durability and efficient performance.
4. Maintain the highest standards in all areas of production to assure each trawler meets or exceeds your expectations.
As is usually the case with a successful vessel, happy customers inevitably start inquiring about a larger one so the team at American Tug began meeting with and listening to owners of American Tug 435′s, 395′s and 365′s in an effort to learn how they should build the next larger vessel in the very best way possible. Their input has helped perfect the space utilization and kept the focus on how the boats are really used.
The result is an end product in which consumers find American Tugs passion for maritime tradition infused with years of experience combined with modern construction techniques resulting in sturdy, yet nimble, trawlers that are perfect for both short- and long-term cruising. One feature that really caught my eye was the internal grid system that not only stabilizes the structure but also accomodates the engine bed and is notched so the other internal structures can be dropped precisely into place. The most intersting part of this process is how the grid is secured to the hull. In most vessels the grids and other internal pieces are glassed and tabbed into place. In the American Tugs this gridwork is secured with a structural adhesive which provides some flexibility in the case of a grounding. When you ground a vessel that has had the internal grid glassed and tabbed, besides the external damage to the glass, the internal grids can be popped off the hull as the stiff and inflexible glass and resin fractures. The other advantage to using a structural adhesive is the vibation dampening inherent to this type of material redcing tranmission of noise throughout the vessel.
The new AT 485 comes in at just under 50-feet (49’11″ with anchor) so she can fit in one of those 50-foot slips and at this size is just about perfect for the long distance cruiser designed to be easily and efficiently handled by a crew of two or one if the situation arises. A standard feature that will make you like a master mariner in any docking situation is the Sidepower SEP bow and stern thruster system that drives variable speed DC thrusters which allows the skipper to use only the power he or she needs to hold the boat in position, not an all or nothing thruster which can sometimes cause cavitations in the thruster tube diminishing efficiency.
The new American Tug 485 offers a large salon with opportunities for owners’ choice of arrangement. The AT-485 will be available with a variety of salon layouts including an “L-shaped or U-shaped” settee, a forward dinette, desk or bar area. The traditional pilothouse can have a companionway to the optional upper flybridge or “sky lounge seating area”. The large aft cockpit can be accessed via a single or optional french double-door. Twin swivel chairs and a 37-inch hidden/rising LED television are standard equipment. “The owners need to be comfortable while on extended cruises, these boats will be covering a lot of miles” said Steve.
There won’t be any problem with the owners being comfortable on the 485 as the interior fit and finish is simply gorgeous. The beautiful interior wood is Sapele with the owner having the option to pick out their own counter top stone as well as the fabrics to be used in the salons and staterooms.
Using American Tugs time proven Lynn Senour semi-displacement hull form, the 485 will deliver excellent efficiency at speed and incredible stability provided by her hard chines and full keel. If you’re concerned that that might not provide enough stability, you can order one of the optional Seakeeper Gyro Stabilizers or one of the TRAC Stabilizer systems. The long keel allows smooth tracking and protects the running gear. So not only was the first AT-485 snapped up by a current American Tug owner, the next hull that’s available is Hull number SIX! How many different ways can you say winner!
Specifications: LOA – 48.96’ (14.92m); LWL – 44.5’ (13.56m); Beam – 15.83’ (4.83m); Draft – 4.83’ (1.47m); Displ (light load) – 35,200 lbs (15,966kgs); Displ(wet)-42,480 lbs (19,268 kgs) Power – Single Cummins QSC-550 8.3L Diesel or a Cummins QSL9-405-HP ; Range – 2,000 NM (3,219KM)