Classic | Slipping silently beyond the horizon
Krogen Express, Twenties economy
Designed to combine comfort, high performance, reduced consumption and timeless styling, the Krogen Express motoryacht originated in the U.S. and has recently begun to be imported into Europe by Marboats. The Lavagna-based company has decided to add this brand to other famous American names like Ocean Yachts and Back Cove that it has been offering for some time now. They are designed by an American stylist of Norwegian origin, Kurt Krogen, who drew inspiration from the Fast Commuters used during the Roaring Twenties by New York tycoons to travel from Wall Street to their opulent Long Island or New England villas. They featured a long, narrow hull with a high, straight bow and transom stern. As they were a symbol of their owners’ status, they also had to be comfy and fast. This configuration meant they could travel at high speeds, sometimes up to 30 knots, despite the modest power output provided by the engines of the time. The objective, then, was to develop a hull that would avoid wasting power by cutting drag.
“Instead of using the hugely powerful engines available now, with their high consumption,” explains Francesco Foppiano, Marboats’ CEO, “the American designer has developed a highly efficient hull needing less power, so that by installing modern low-consumption and reduced-emission engines we can retain the long range that’s typical of the Krogen craft produced up to now.” In the 1990s, after extensive tank testing, the first Krogen Express hull was created - a semi-planing hull intended to retain maximum efficiency at between 8 and 20 knots, making it possible to sail economically at any speed, both in displacement mode and planing. “It’s an innovative formula for us, but, in fact, it dates back eighty years!” explains Francesco Foppiani. “While it’s based on a low-drag hull, it’s still up-to-date, and, in fact, the Krogen Express can produce lower consumption figures than any other craft of the same size.” A pair of 480hp Yanmar units can push the 17-metre boat to over 22 knots, and it can achieve a range of 550 miles with only 2,500 litres of fuel at 16 knots, or exceed 1,600 miles when sailing in displacement mode at 8 knots. “In practice, if we fill up with 3,000 euros’ worth of fuel, this craft can reach the Greek and Turkish islands or go beyond the Straits of Gibraltar from any Ligurian port. Krogen Express means a radical change in sailing ideas, it means travelling at human speeds where the only pleasure won’t be just arriving at your destination, but also enjoying the journey, as well as visiting places that are well beyond our current horizons.”
The Krogen Express has a high, plumb stem and embodies typical early twentieth-century flair, ending in a slightly reversed transom stern. The overall look is enhanced by the elegant pastel hull livery decorated with gold bands, as maritime tradition demands for valued craft. The superstructure is deliberately low to limit roll, while the flying bridge above the pilot room is exceptionally spacious, featuring a generous dinette to aft, with a table and small food preparation area with sink. There’s a sun pad further aft, then the 4-metre tender with 40hp engine. Starboard of the command station are the stairs leading to the main deck, a striking feature of the Krogen Express. The roomy helm station offers the sensation of being in command of a large ship, and like the other interiors it is enhanced by the warm colours of craft-worked solid teak. The pilot house offers a sofa with small table, and gives access down to the sleeping accommodation forward. The spaces and details here can be personalised by the owner. The standard version includes an owner’s cabin in the bows with a classic central bed, en suite head and separate shower. There’s also a twin guest cabin that can rapidly be converted into an office. This space also has an en suite head and separate shower. Clients can also ask for the three-cabin, two bathroom version or a layout with one cabin, and office and two bathrooms. The galley is immediately forward of the helm station - this leads into a huge saloon with the atmosphere of a typical New England cottage. “It’s strange,” Foppiani explains, “for us to design a yacht with such domestic-style interiors, even with an office on board, but it’s not strange for the usual Krogen Express owners, as for most of them their yacht is a second home, a place where they can spend several months of the year moored in the world’s most fascinating ports and harbours.”
The Krogen Express craft are made with a craftsman’s care in Taiwan by an American yard, in a modern complex using cutting edge lamination techniques. All work is carried out under the constant supervision of the American managers, and fitting out takes place in South Carolina, the crafts’ original home. “The hull is laminated using vinylester resins and isophtalic gelcoat,” Foppiani concludes. “And the savings offered by the Asian yard are used to raise manufacturing quality. Special attention is given to soundproofing, with hydraulic damping systems and elastic shaft joints, and it’s almost impossible to notice the engines running.”