September / October 2022

The East Passage 24

Soul of a workboat, heart of a yacht
The East Passage 24

The East Passage 24, a 24′ diesel-powered center-console boat, is a new semi-custom offering from East Passage Boatwrights of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It blends elements of New England workboats and classic yacht tenders.

It’s always a bit surreal seeing the Newport, Rhode Island, waterfront during the peak summer season. The harbor’s typical mid-sized racers and cruisers look comically miniature in comparison to the super­yachts looming large over the town docks. When the surrounding boat lengths are measured in the hundreds of feet, a 20-something-foot center-console boat shouldn’t gain too much notice. Even so, tied up between a pair of colossal motoryachts on the fuel dock of the city’s Goat Island Marina, the newly launched East Passage 24 was getting all the attention.

The East Passage 24, the prototype of which was launched in September 2021, represents more than three years of dreaming, planning, and building by East Passage Boatwrights (EPB). The 24' diesel-powered, center-console boat ties together long-admired characteristics of classic yacht tenders and New England’s hardworking commercial hulls. Her graceful lines and glossy topsides evenly contrast with the stout build and trustworthy performance of her workboat heritage. Designed by Walt Ansel, a senior shipwright at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, the EP 24 is an elegant consolidation of his decades of experience on the water and in the shipyard. While EPB has entered a powerboat market crowded with competition, they did so with an uncommon boat.

EPB opened their shop doors in Bristol, Rhode Island, in 2006, just in time for the largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. The company was founded by Carter Richardson, who had served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and, at the time of EPB’s founding, was a fresh graduate of International Yacht Restoration School’s (IYRS, now the IYRS School of Technology & Trades) boatbuilding course. Carter’s new company cut its teeth at a time when much of the boating industry struggled to keep the lights on. Relatively quickly, the crew at EPB earned a reputation for work of the highest quality. After completing their first project, a full restoration on SINGOALLA, a 1947 International Dragon-class sloop, EPB jumped into the impressive rebuilds of SONNY, SKYLARK, and SANTANA, a trio of iconic Sparkman & Stephens designs.

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