What Makes A Boat A Downeast?

Downeast Boats have become quite popular thanks to having a dry ride for guests on board, along with an expansive cockpit for entertaining.

Did you know that the term “Downeast” doesn’t actually refer to a style of boat, but rather a region of the country? “Downeast” was a colloquial saying meant to describe how sailors would be traveling when going to Maine. The winds off the coast of Maine are westerly winds so sailboat owners would actually sail downwind when headed there from southern ports. Locals began to call it sailing “down east” to Maine.

Do a quick glace online and many of the downeast boats for sale on the market are from a shipyard that originated in Maine. Major builders like Sabre Yachts, Back Cove, Hinckley and others have created an industry and a reputation in the New England area derived from the lobster-fishing industry, hence where the related term ‘lobster boats’ originated.

So what make a boat a downeast? There are several characteristics that downeast boat owners can expect including a high bow rise with a raked stem that contribute to a smooth, dry ride, classic lines for a traditional “yachty” style, and of course, the spacious aft cockpit area for entertaining. Downeast enthusiasts will tell you that there is no better motor yacht to do coastal cruising and embark on overnight adventures with their favorite friends on board.

(Below: Grand Banks Yachts is another well-known downeast style boat builder that has a good reputation.)



The enthusiastic following that downeast-style boats have is contagious and once other boat owners begin to experience boating on one, it’s easy to see why this is a growing segment of the industry. Other than the beautiful, traditional appearance of downeasts, what are the other benefits or advantages to owning one?

  • Dry, Stable Ride – Downeast boats have been designed and built to withstand the rough waves of the North Atlantic Ocean and thus perform exceptionally well in seas that you would typically be boating in. They are also designed with long keels and large rudders which help with driving the boats in a following sea. The helm station is always enclosed as well, so even when things do get sporty you are protected while underway.
  • Efficient Performance – The Downeast design has other benefits other than it’s exterior appeal and superior ride. Most downeast boats, when powered with an efficient engine, provide greater fuel economy than other similar boats in the same size range. 
  • Boating Safely – Many downeast boats have been constructed for long-distance cruising and multi-night boating adventures. That means that not only is the hull constructed to remain safe for everyone on board, but other features include high gunnels for moving safely from bow to stern, railings, and hand-holds. Newer boats have the newest technology which includes joystick control and improved navigational electronics.
  • Comfort Of Home – Whether you’re looking at a Sabre, Grand Banks, MJM, or others, the interiors of downeast boats built in the last 20+ years are going to include beautiful woodwork, large windows, good ventilation for fresh air, and spacious, comfortable cabins. Add in solar power to reduce noise and vibration from generators and now you have a truly peaceful on-water experience.

(Below: The owner’s cabin inside a Hinckley Talaria downeast boat.)

owner cabin bed in downeast boat



Ask any professional yacht broker and they will tell you that downeast boats are among various types of boats that hold their value better than others. Because they are built to withstand harsh conditions, downeast boats tend to remain in better condition that other similar sizes of power boats. Typically downeast boat builders also offer more customization options which means less boats are built each year than large scale production boat builders. Fewer on the market will help sellers retain more of their investment.



54-foot downeast yacht grand banks

“PARADOX” is a beautiful, well-kept 2007 Grand Banks 54 Eastbay that has had several recent updates. Some of them include a new teak cockpit, exterior paint and varnish. the shafts were removed, checked, and reinstalled with new seals, among other maintenance. Recent Garmin Electronics were added including two SAT Domes, Autopilot, and Bow Thruster. All new canvas for the windows and cushions were added, along with a full cockpit cover. PARADOX is located in Stuart, Florida and has an asking price of $750,000.



United Yacht Sales has the world’s largest network of boat buyers and sellers in the industry, thanks to our team of over 250 yacht brokers in 104 different locations. Whether buying a luxury boat or selling one, we have the right expert on staff to assist you in navigating the brokerage market for your type of yacht. If you’re looking at selling a boat, there is no quicker way to get activity than listing it with United. Our entire team is immediately notified every time a listing agreement is made with United Yacht Sales and many boats are sold before they ever even make it online. Our support team is among the best in the industry at marketing your yacht. 100% of our marketing budget goes towards advertising our clients’ listings, a claim not many other firms can make. To get started listing your yacht, fill out our online form What’s My Yacht Worth?


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