Down East Cruiser 23 by

[DE23] Long cabin version of our NV23

Length overall22' 10"6.96 m
Beam8' 2"2.49 m
Draft8"0.2 m
Weight1499 lbs680 kg
Displacement2500 lbs1134 kg
Engine power50 - 100
Hull construction Stich-n-glue
See also Harbor Master 19Novi 23Down East Cruiser 25 Long Cabin VersionDown East Cruiser 25 Long Cockpit Version



The DE23 is the long cabin version of our NV23. She combines traditional styling with an efficient, easy to build planing hull. She is not a true lobster boat of the double wedge type or a pure fast planing hull. The hull type is similar to what is now frequently called a picnic boat; a seaworthy planing boat but the topsides are more in the Down East cruising boat style. We kept the deep forefoot of the modern fast lobster boat hull but the underbody is a true monohedron. This means that the transition to planing speeds will be smooth without any excessive change of trim and without the wasteful suction of warped bottoms running at an S/L higher than 2. (S/L ratio is speed in knots divided by square root of WL in feet. Displacement boats are the ones with an S/L<1.3, planing boats have S/L>2)

The Down East 23 will perform well at displacement speeds in bad weather and run efficiently at moderate planing speeds with relatively small engines.

The Down East 23 has an enormous capacity: she can be loaded with up to 2,000 lbs of passengers, engine and gear.

To provide 6' 2" (185 cm) of standing headroom in the pilot house, the sole is lower than in our NV23. However, the cockpit floor is still well above the waterline and self-bailing.


The calculated top speeds with moderate load (displacement 2,600 lbs) are as follow:

  • 50 HP: 25 mph
  • 70 HP: 29.5 mph
  • 100 HP: 35 mph

Compared to traditional lobster boat types, the Down East 23 hard-chine vee bottom hull will not only be faster than the typical round bilge type but also deflects spray more efficiently. The reduced deadrise aft increases stability at slow speed or rest.

Compared to our HM19, the vee hull will pound less and give much better tracking when running off a steep sea.

The soft riding vee hull requires more labor and materials to build but this hull shape is required for more exposed waters.

She also differs from our faster planing hulls through her deeper forefoot and generous skeg for stability and tracking.

This boats transom is designed for a standard 20" shaft. The transom can easily be modified to accept other shaft lengths.

New, August 2004: we added a closed transom version ot the plans package. This allows to install the engine on a bracket and frees a lot of room in the cockpit.


The safe self-bailing cockpit is deep and wide: 5' long (1,5 m), 8' wide (2,40 m) and 28" deep (71 cm). The full height motor well bulkhead provides excellent protection from following seas. The cockpit is self-bailing but the cabin sole is lower than the cockpit. To keep the inside floor dry, there is small step between pilot house and cabin, see the options paragraph. The pilothouse offers standing headroom: 6' 2" in the middle (185 cm), the forward cabin with two bunks has sitting headroom.

There is room for a portable head under the vee berth. The dinette is can be lowered to make a 34" (86 cm) wide berth.

The backrest of the steering seat can be hinged to extend the galley working surface when lowered.

A sturdy samson post is welded to the forward bulkhead.


There are so many possible options that we can not list them all.

  • The outboard can be mounted as shown in a motor well or on a transom bracket.
  • We show an open cockpit but the builder can easily add all kind of benches, seats and other boxes.
  • The pilothouse door can be modified to use a high drop down board and shorter doors. This will allow to safely leave the doors open offshore in bad weather.
  • There is room for a small emergency outboard (kicker) on the transom.
  • The plans show wide scuppers in the side but through transom scupper are an option.
  • The companionway can be left open or closed with doors.
  • The pilothouse rear bulkhead can be left open and fitted with a roll up canvas curtain bulkhead.
  • The windshield can be hinged and lift.
  • Hatches and portholes are optional.
  • Access to the chain locker is shown from inside through a cut in the forward bulkhead but the builder can also cut a deck hatch if he prefers.
  • Fuel capacity is ample with 34 gallons in one tank but there is room for a second fuel tank.
  • The DE23 can be made unsinkable with expandable buoyancy foam under the sole and foam sheets glued under the gunwales for upright flotation.
  • New August 2004: we added a closed transom version.

Down East Cruiser 23


See also

Design Length Beam Sail area Engine power Compare
Harbor Master 19 Harbor Master 19 by
[HM19] Small but able outboard cruiser based on a dory style hull
18' 9"
5.72 m
7' 10"
2.39 m
- 10 - 55
Novi 23 Novi 23 by
[NV23] Nova Scotia style outboard boat
22' 10"
6.96 m
8' 2"
2.49 m
- 50 - 100
Down East Cruiser 25 Long Cabin Version Down East Cruiser 25 Long Cabin Version by
[DE25Cabin] Down East style cruising outboard boat. Long Cabin Version
7.61 m
8' 4"
2.54 m
- 90 - 200
Down East Cruiser 25 Long Cockpit Version Down East Cruiser 25 Long Cockpit Version by
[DE25Cockpit] Down East style cruising outboard boat. Long Cockpit Version
7.61 m
8' 4"
2.54 m
- 90 - 200

Boats about same size as Down East Cruiser 23

  Redwing 21
Power launch

LOA: 21'/6.4 m   compare
  Redwing 21 Pilothouse
Pilothouse power cruiser

LOA: 21'/6.4 m   compare
Novi 23   Novi 23
[NV23] Nova Scotia style outboard boat

LOA: 22' 10"/6.96 m   compare
  Bay Power Cruiser 23
Power cruiser / Bass boat

LOA: 23'/7.01 m   compare

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