Back Cove Blog

What’s up in 2017?

Hi All,

Welcome to Back Cove Yachts’ 2017 blog series! As our monthly newsletter subscribers will know, we’re not stinting on the resolutions this year! (If you don’t receive our monthly newsletter you can follow this link to sign up.) In keeping with our many goals we wanted to provide our readers with some fun facts about what’s up at Back Cove Yachts in 2017.

-Jamie LB Governale

Features from the ‘Line’ in 2017:

Downeast 37 – We’re kicking off 2017 with a run of Back Cove Downeast 37s. Keep an eye out during the upcoming boating season and you may catch sight of this iconic Back Cove yacht in a harbor near you!

Want more information on the Back Cove Downeast 37?

Back Cove 32 – Out newest model will continue to take the world by storm this year. And we do mean ‘the world’ in the literal sense, as the Back Cove 32 will make her way to Australia for the first time in 2017.

Request more information about the new Back Cove 32.

**Please Note – these models were selected as features, they do NOT represent the full lineup of Back Cove Yachts scheduled for production in 2017.


Out and About with the Back Cove Family:

Back Cove is proud of our close-knit community here in midcoast Maine, and we’re especially proud of our young men and women. In 2017 we plan to continue our involvement with local educational programs including the JMG organization, a nonprofit that offers education and support to young adults as they transfer through high school and on to undergraduate studies and/or successful career pathways.
We also have a full lineup of community events this coming year, including the Rockland Main Street Summer Solstice Festival, and the Maine Lobster Festival Parade! – Keep an eye out on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.


Celebrating our Craftspeople:

Followers of this blog will know that last year we introduced our ‘Work-iversary’ series, where we interview craftspeople reaching anniversary milestones with Back Cove. This year is a special year for this project, and here’s why:

  1. We will celebrate twelve ‘Work-iversaries’ in 2017.
  2. Those milestones will range from five years to twenty-five years, representing a twenty-year spread.
  3. The average tenure of craftspeople celebrating anniversaries this year is eleven-and-a-half years.
  4. Finally, these associates represent a combined total of one hundred and thirty-five years of boatbuilding experience at Back Cove Yachts.

If that doesn’t blow you away, you need to re-read the list! We couldn’t be more proud of our associates, they are the heart and soul of Back Cove Yachts, and we’re so excited to celebrate with them.

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Brandon Taps Cancer Out

The Back Cove Family is a special, diverse, and varied group – including owners, associates, crafts-people, and the friends and ambassadors of the Back Cove brand. Like all families, we take great pride in the triumphs and accomplishments of our family members – and we share them with everyone we can.


Designer Kevin Burns presents Brandon with his certificate

Brandon, a member of the Back Cove Yachts production team, is no exception. Recently completing an intra-company internship with our Design and Engineering departments, Brandon showed a distinct aptitude for 3D drafting and rendering. He was presented with a certificate of achievement, along with the thanks and congratulations of the Design and Engineering departments, at Back Cove’s late summer quarterly meeting (depicted above).


Tap Cancer Out BJJ Tournament


Fourth-Annual Massachusetts Tap Cancer Out BJJ Open

But that’s certainly not all! Brandon has been busy outside of Back Cove as well, winning second place in the fourth annual Massachusetts Tap Cancer Out BJJ Open martial arts tournament. Brandon trains at Flow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in Camden, and has participated in the Tap Cancer Out tournament  for the last several years. As a cancer survivor himself, the tournament, and especially this year’s win, are particularly important to Brandon. 


Brandon in training at Flow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


Brandon and his fellow members of the Back Cove team

True to his character, Brandon doesn’t make a secret of his status as a cancer survivor. His openness makes him a source of inspiration and hope for others, especially in conjunction with his achievements, both within Back Cove and without. In that light, the Tap Cancer Out organization is a perfect fit. Tap Cancer Out is a jiu-jitsu based nonprofit raising awareness and funds for cancer research organizations on behalf of the grappling community. They organize many tournaments across the country, and this year’s Massachusetts Open attracted 350 grapplers and raised more than $85,000. 


Back Cove President, Jason Constantine, congratulates Brandon

We’re thrilled to congratulate Brandon in particular, and all the competitors in general, on their hard work and dedication. Our thanks and congratulations to the Tap Cancer Out organization as well, for their continued efforts on behalf of cancer research – Back Cove Yachts is proud to support such a great cause.

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Dean: 5 Years with Back Cove Yachts

 In this interview we caught up with Dean, who recently celebrated five years with Back Cove Yachts. As Lamination Supervisor, Dean is responsible for ensuring his department has the tools and equipment necessary to build quality parts on a tight schedule. It’s no small task, given that Lamination is the very first step in the production process, but Dean and his team rise to the challenge with expert skill and characteristic good-humor. We’re honored to work with so many talented, creative, and dedicated boat builders. Our thanks and congratulations to Dean for his time, his work-ethic, and his genuine team spirit. 


Dean and fellow members of the Back Cove Team at the 2016 Summer Solstice Street Party, in Rockland, Maine

Do you have a lucky number?

13. It was my sports jersey number, and it has the whole ‘unlucky’ thing working against it. 

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Ireland – I’ve never been but I’ve always been drawn to it. 

If you could learn any instrument what would you play?

I used to play the bass guitar, loudly and poorly. Now I think I would want to learn the bagpipes.

If you could send a message back through time to your younger self what would you say?

It will get better, just be patient. 

Tell me about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen:

I was probably 3 or 4 years old, and we had candles in all our windows for Christmas. I remember climbing up the stairs and seeing my room filled with this beautiful orange light from the candle in the window. I’ll always remember that, and orange has been my favorite color ever since. 

Tell me about the person who has impacted your life the most: 

I can’t choose just one, I have to say my whole family. We’re pretty tight-knit, and no matter what my family has always been supportive and encouraging.

What do you cook when no one is home?


What’s your dream car?

Again, I can’t choose just one. I have lists broken down into sub-categories: In my wildest dreams / Maybe sometime in the future/ Maybe sometime sooner if everything goes right – that sort of thing. 

Dean – sea trial of a Back Cove 30 in 2012

Pepsi or Coke?

Mountain Dew. 

What are you best at?

I want to say golf, but it’s a lie.

What are you most proud of?

I once made a paper snowflake comparable to a Kevin Burns snowflake. (Honestly, it was nowhere close, but I still tell myself it was comparable)

If you had to sell everything you own, and could only keep one thing, what would you keep and why?

My 3-year-old lab, Riley.

What’s something your mother taught you that you’ve never forgotten?

Manners, and to be respectful. 

Tell me about your earliest childhood memory:

I was ice fishing with my Dad. It was probably around the same time as the candle memory. I caught a rainbow trout and it seemed huge, though it probably wasn’t. I don’t remember where exactly we were, but it was on a lake next to a big hill that we would slide on sometimes. I remember being really proud when we ate the trout for dinner. 

Tell me about someone who is your hero: 

Again, my family – it’s too hard to narrow it down. 

Photo Dec 18, 11 01 04 AM

Dean and Josh – sea trail of a Back Cove 34 in 2015

What super power would you like to have?

All of them, but flight most of all.

What, in your opinion, is the best thing about humanity?

Empathy. Our ability to understand other people’s emotions and experiences. 

Is it ever okay to break the rules?

No, it’s never okay, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Name one thing that always makes you smile:

My wife. 

What’s your least favorite thing about the world today?

Politics. Hands down.

What story will you tell your grandchildren when you’re 80?

I don’t know, maybe that I went to the moon, or won a Nascar race. Whatever it is, it will be totally made up.

If you won a million dollars what would you spend it on?

Bills, and I’d still be back here the next day working to pay more. 

If you could talk to someone who has passed away who would it be and what would you say?

My grandfather. And I wouldn’t talk, I’d listen. He was such a great man, and he accomplished so much in his life. Some of my best memories are riding around with him on his John Deere tractor when I was a little kid. 

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A Little Loop Adventure

Jan and I purchased our new Back Cove 34 in June, 2014, and immediately started to plan our trip around the Little Loop for the following summer. Using the Skipper Bob guides for the New York canal system, and for the Rideau and Chambly canals, we put together a rough itinerary and a list of key places to visit. We settled on a three month plan: one month from our home port in Hilton Head to Waterford, NY, one month on the Little Loop, and a month back home. Our Tibetan Terrier, Charlie, always travels with us, and we have no dinghy, so we planned to spend our nights at marinas or along the canals.

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The Little Loop starts where the Erie Canal joins the Hudson in Waterford, New York, then proceeds west on the Erie and Oswego Canals to Lake Ontario. Crossing the lake to Kingston, Ontario, the Little Loop picks up the Rideau Canal to Ottawa, and heads down the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Finally, the loop proceeds northeast to Sorel, Quebec, and follows the Chambly Canal to Lake Champlain, and the Champlain Canal back to Waterford, New York.

We spent May provisioning the boat, and left for Charleston, SC on June 3, 2015. The trip from Hilton Head to the Chesapeake was familiar to us, so we didn’t tarry along the way and arrived in Portsmouth, VA, on June 10th. We averaged a comfortable 18 knots, and only slowed our progress when we encountered 20 knot winds off our bow on the Alligator River. The boat was fine, but we and Charlie were bushed, so we tucked into the Alligator Marina to lick our wounds.

From Annapolis we made for Cape May, NJ, and made the 139 mile trip fairly easily on flat waters. Our next leg was equally still, but we encountered some heavy fog as we approached Atlantic City and the chart plotter was our guide into the breakwaters. From here we utilized the New Jersey ICW to travel on to Manasquan Inlet. It was our first time along this route, and stories about shallow water had us concerned. We went aground once, when I missed a channel marker, but for the most part we saw six feet or more of water along the way. We were happy to arrive at Hoffman’s Marina that evening.

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Bad weather kept us at Hoffman’s an extra day before starting for New York City. It is always a thrill to enter New York harbor, passing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. After rounding the tip of Manhattan we headed up the Hudson to the 79th Street Marina, which is run by the city Parks Department. From our slip, which was a bit rolly, the subway was only four blocks away, allowing us to easily visit the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial; a sobering and worthwhile experience.

Next, a scenic run up the Hudson brought us past the palisades and West Point to our next stop in Hyde Park marina, where we visited the Roosevelt home and library and had dinner at the Culinary Institute. The Hudson River runs 130 miles from New York to Troy, and it‘s well marked, with few shallow areas with lots of lighthouses and villages to see along the way. That night we enjoyed the weekly band concert on the Troy waterfront.

While staying in Troy, our fresh water pump went, and we had to replace it. West Marine ordered a new one and a short taxi ride the next day put the new pump in my hands. I installed the new pump and we were on our way to the Federal Lock, just north of Troy. This lock is the first on the Hudson River, and just south of Waterford where you enter the Erie Canal; the official start of the Little Loop.


The Waterford municipal dock is free, and located just below four locks which comprise the highest lift in North America at 169 feet. All the locks on the Erie Canal have ropes or pipes to secure to, and our bow thruster was a great aid getting into position. We allowed a half hour for each transit, and used plenty of fenders to protect our topsides from the rough lock interiors. The chambers themselves were quite large, and we seldom had more than two boats going through at the same time. After the Waterford Flight another four locks brought us to Amsterdam, NY.

The Erie Canal is mostly in the dredged Mohawk River, and winds through the Mohawk Valley, which is very rural. On this portion of the canal very few towns are on the bank, and some persistent rain discouraged us from much walking. We did make it to Canajoharie to see a local art museum, which features a large collection of Winslow Homer paintings.

We arrived at Sylvan Beach, on the east side of Oneida Lake, on the afternoon of July 2nd. Our first try to cross the lake was hampered by westerly winds resulting in large waves. We turned back, tied up on the free town dock, and had a nice fried perch dinner at a local restaurant. The next day we crossed the lake in calm weather and stopped at the Brewerton Boat Yard, only to discover that the locks to the west were closed due to heavy rain. We spent 5 days here, waiting for the canal to reopen and enjoying a visit with my daughter and her husband, who drove over from Rochester to celebrate the Fourth of July with us.


Ten miles west of Brewerton is the junction with the Oswego Canal and river, and from there Oswego is 23 miles north on the shore of Lake Ontario. We were concerned about waves in the lake, but our 36 mile crossing was on water smooth as glass. Rather than heading straight to Kingston, we took a side trip to the Thousand Islands and got a slip in Clayton, NY, home of the Antique Boat Museum. A day trip up the St. Lawrence brought us to Bolt Castle and Springer Castle, the latter being fully furnished and very interesting.

Leaving Clayton, we headed for Kingston, Ontario, where we cleared customs, easily done by phone at the marina, and spent a few days exploring before entering the Rideau Canal. Kingston is a lovely city; the first capital of Canada with a lot of historic buildings to explore.

The locks on the Rideau Canal were installed in the 1840’s and are still in use today. They’re hand operated by the lock personnel, the grounds are beautifully maintained. Entering the Rideau Canal was very different from the Erie Canal, as the lock master does not use radio contact. A section of dock has a blue line painted along the edge, and tying up there lets the lock master know you wish to enter. When he gives the green light, you’re allowed to enter and tie up.

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The canal is very narrow, but the scenery is gorgeous. Some of the bends are quite sharp and we had to sound our horn to warn approaching vessels. After passing through 49 locks and traveling 126 miles, we entered Ottawa, Ontario. Canada’s capital city was moved from Kingston in 1857 to keep it away from those pesky Americans.

Arriving in Ottawa, we found a mooring only two blocks from the capital building, and had a great time visiting the state buildings and walking through the enormous farmers market. Leaving Ottawa, we passed through a flight of eight locks which dropped us down to the Ottawa River. 97 miles and two locks later we arrive in Montreal. On the way, we stopped at the Chateau Montebello, the largest log structure in the world, where they had a nice marina and an excellent dining room. On the river below the Chateau we passed through the Carillon lock, a 65 foot drop. We entered through a lift gate which rose above us as we entered the chamber. Instead of ropes, there is a floating dock in the chamber to which we secured, with the help of park personnel.

Unfortunately, the passage from the Ottawa River into the St. Lawrence was a bit confusing, and the guide books weren’t clear as to how to get into the city docks in Montreal. After some frustration we’d got the bit in our teeth to be heading home, so we decided to bypass the city. I’m sorry we did, everyone we’ve spoken to since has said that Montreal was a city not to be missed.


The St. Lawrence Seaway locks are enormous, and we passed through two on the way to Sorel. Pleasure craft are instructed to tie up to a dock in front of the lock and call for guidance. They were very efficient, we never had to wait for more than an hour before being told to enter the lock for our transit.

At Sorel, we left the St. Lawrence and entered the Chambly (Richelieu) Canal which took us to Lake Champlain. This was at the height of the Canadian boating season, the Chambly was quite crowded, and we occasionally had to wait for the lock to cycle before getting our turn to transit. We passed through customs at the entrance to Lake Champlain, and were asked to leave the boat while the inspectors boarded the vessel and did their checks. It took about an hour before we were back on the water and headed for Haines Marina.

Lake Champlain is a beautiful body of water with lots of wooded islands and anchorages. Unfortunately, having a dog on board with no dinghy made it difficult for us to fully enjoy the lakes many splendors. We stopped in Burlington for a couple of days and enjoyed walking the city streets and wonderful restaurants, then headed south past Fort Ticonderoga and into the Champlain Canal.

We crossed our wake at Troy completing the Little Loop, and arrived back in Hilton Head on August 24th. All told, we traveled 3500 miles, passed through 112 locks, burned 2081 gallons of fuel, and had a great summer’s trip.

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~Aubrey & Jan

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Kevin: 10 years with Back Cove & Sabre Yachts

As Vice President of Design and Product Development, Kevin’s time with Back Cove Yachts and Sabre Yachts has been a busy succession of one project, and one innovation, after another. Ten years ago Kevin “hit the ground running” designing for Back Cove Yachts, and would begin designing for Sabre not long after. Today, with projects like the Sabre 66 Dirigo and the new Back Cove 32, it’s doesn’t look as if he plans to stop running any time soon. Lucky for us, Kevin made time to satisfy our curiosity in this anniversary interview. Our thanks and congratulations to Kevin, from your fellow members of the Back Cove & Sabre Yachts Team.



What has changed the most since you started designing for Back Cove?

The power of the design tools we have, and our teams’ internal ability to use those tools has advanced exponentially.

If you could send a message back through time your younger self what would you say?

“Kevin, you will live past 28 – the long view is important.”

Tell me about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen:

Some years ago, I was traveling with a colleague in Washington State.  We took a side trip up into the hills above the Skagit River and, after a short hike, came to a precipice overlooking the tulip farms below us.  It was surreal seeing the huge fields of different colored flowers in neat patches spread out over the valley.  Fun to see the natural world and the human world come together in such a spectacularly pretty way.

Tell me about the person who has impacted your life the most:

Pretty sure my wife holds this title.

What are you best at?

I can cut a mean paper snowflake.

What are you most proud of?

My children.  They are both so kind and thoughtful and interesting.

Tell me one thing that none of your coworkers know about you:

I was really into BMX racing in the 80’s.

What is your theme song, and why?

U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name.  When I was in the service, a group of us went skydiving.  Someone took video of the day and edited it with this song as the soundtrack and it stuck with me.

What’s something your mother taught you that you’ve never forgotten?

How to fold a fitted sheet.


What’s your favorite book of all time?

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. I read that book while I was a college student, and it was the first time I felt personally challenged by a novel.  It was the elevation of competence that really appealed to me – and the challenge was “are you going to be competent in life or are you not?”.  There was a hero who was creative and productive and capable and ethical – it was inspirational to me as a young man.

Tell me about someone who is your hero:

Archimedes has greatly influenced my life.

What super power would you like to have?

The ability to pause time.

What, in your opinion, is the best thing about humanity?


Tell me about an embarrassing moment:

I walked into a (very clean) plate glass door on a 50 meter tri-deck yacht during the Ft. Lauderdale boat show many years ago…left a face-print and everything.

What’s your favorite song of all time?

Impossible question.  Instead of answering, I’ll open my iTunes and tell you the first song to pop up:  Queen/David Bowie – Under Pressure.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Space Ship Designer

Where would you go in a time machine?

I’d like to see where we will be in 200 years.

What would you hope to see in 2216?

I’d hope to see us having broken through the sustainable energy ceiling – there aren’t many problems with the world currently that couldn’t be solved by our having the ability to produce cheap electricity in a way that doesn’t contribute to degrading the human environment.  Sustainable energy is like money – It can’t buy you love, but having enough sure makes life easier.

If you could talk to someone who has passed away, who would you talk to and what would you say?

My Grandfather, and I would choose to listen.



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