"Atlas Acadia 25" - "Petunia"


Our 25' Atlas Acadia

After nine years of rebuilding our 40'Marine Trader trawler, we came to the realization that it was just way to big for us and for our type of "cruising" at this point in our lives, it was just too much "work" for us to get it ready for a short day cruise and relaxing. Big everything. Big engines, Big anchor, Big mooring lines, basically huge amount of effort to get the boat ready for a short journey to a local afternoon of Florida sunning.

The original idea for "Gulf Trader", our trawler, was that at some point, we would join all those pro-cruisers and head to the Islands for a couple months or maybe even to the "Loop" that lots of other trawler owners have done.

Nope, we got "old and lazy". So, after reading all those books on trawler explorations and the nine years of bringing the old gal back from a very forelorn exsistance in an old broken down, backwater marina near Tampa, (be sure to take a look at all the work that we did to Gulf Trader, amazing!), we sold her to a much younger gentleman who appreciated all the work that we did to her over the years and would really fulfill our original dreams of long distance cruising.

(Note that we also sold the huge house too and moved to a nice tiny condo).

We started looking for an acceptable "tiny ship" that would actually be more suited to the "reality" of our type of cruising, which is mainly Sunday afternoons anchored out at one of the local Keys near Longboat Key.

You may of noticed that I tend to like "character" boats and have owned and built quite a few of them. No "normal" plastic powerboat for us. The next boat had to have some real personality so we started looking at the variety of small boats in the 25' range that had that "New England" look and feel.

Some type of hull design that not only "looked" like it could plow through the waves and rough water, but was also fully capable of doing so.

There are a number of boats from small builders as well as large makers who make very seaworthy boats that fit this description. We looked at quite a few and had thought that we had settled on one very popular manufacturer that has quite a good and loyal following.

However, and this is a big part of really figuring out how we are going to use the boat comes in. We are located in hot, humid sunny (and frequently) stormy mid-Gulf Florida. While a fully enclosed cabin might be exactly the right design for more Northern cruising locations, we needed "venilation" as we cruised, even for short distances.

We wanted a tremendous amount of air flow through the boat as we traveled to our favorite anchorage here. Lots of air movement, and a closed cabin with doors on the back would not allow that.

Also, some of these boat designs, while having a huge cabin, are somewhat "spartan" down below, especially in the Head area. A curtain as a door might work for some, but once in the bathroom area, you want privacy. So a solid door was required.

See the pictures below of the Head on the Atlas Acadia. A real "bathroom"!

Yes, still a bit cramped but for a 25' boat, not too bad.

So we narrowed our search down to mostly the Atlas Acadia 25. Perfect for hot weather cruising with the open back to the pilothouse area, a good size V-Berth and a fully enclosed Head.

Those "struts" that are raised up on the swim platform are the lifing arms for our Dyer Dhow sailing dinghy. See the pictures below for more details on this "homemade" dink lifing system.

Note that our boat, which is standard for all Atlas Acadia's, has a real swim platform. The outboard powered similar boats use this space for their outboard brackets, which pretty much eliminates this important area that can be used for easy access to the aft end of the boat, plus a great storage area for such needed items as our dink.

Other outboard powered boats need to store their dinks, soft or hard, up on top of the cabin roof. This pretty much eliminates space for solar panels which are a great way of minimizing the need for a small gas generator (except if you want to run the air conditioner which is certainly needed if you are anchored out down here, overnight.

Regarding the air conditioner, our Atlas Acadia has a real, "marine" air conditioner. A 5200 BTU Mermaid unit, water cooled.

As noted, it has to be powered either by dockside 110VAC electrical service, or a small Honda or Yamaha i2000 gas generator that you put on the swim platform while running.

Most of the outboard powered similar boats use an "RV" air cooled air conditioner that is installed up on top of the cabin roof. These work great but take up roof space that could be used for solar panels.

A very "sturdy" looking yacht!

Note the Dyer Dhow in the "up" position on the swim platform.

At our dock (right in back of our condo!) with the curtains down.

Lewmar windlass. Because we only used our big trawler for day cruises and never actually anchored out, we never installed the old windlass that had come with the boat. One day while cruising the West Marine shelves, I started chatting with one of the locals about anchoring and he asked me about the ground tackle on our 40' trawler. I stated that we had a 54 pound anchor and 250' of 3/8" chain.

He asked me if I had ever put it down and I said, No, we haven't anchored out yet. He then asked me if I had ever given any consideration to how I would pull that heavy anchor and chain back up. (Going down was simple). No windlass installed on the big boat!

So, fortunatly, our "tiny ship" came with a wonderful Lewmar windlass with about 150' of chain and 100' of rope, all very easy to help drop the anchor and retrieve it with a push of a button.

One of the many items that we added to our boat was this very nice Dometic self-contained refridgerator. It's a real "compressor" fridge, not one of those thermo-electric units. We keep our drinks at about 33 degrees, full time, plus if we do any full time cruising, it will freeze too.

The two Kyocera 140 watt solar panels and the two Trojan deep cycle batteries will power the fridge just fine, night and day.

The overhead panel contains a RayMarine A65 GPS and RayMarine Depthsounder.

The GPS is a bit awkward to use (older system) but the sounder still works fine.

Note that we have a removable Garmin 4212 combo GPS/Radar/Sounder that is our main navigation system on the boat. It's removed and carried home in a fitted computer case upon our return to the dock.

A nice combo brass marine clock/barometer adds the "character" of our boat.

The gauge to the left of the clock is the Controller for our solar panel system. It is a regulator to keep the batteries from being overcharged plus has a number of functions to monitor the input/output of the solar panels.

We have added a number of LED White/Red ceiling lights to our boat, inside and outside.

These are simple West Marine round lights that have a White/Off/Red switch option.

Unlike the original Perko incandescent ceiling lights that draw about 2 amps per each (and get quite hot), these LED lights, even with all of them ON, draw less than a half watt. The "color" of the light is not very pleasant and they are not as bright as the incandescents, but they are very good for background light so that you can see where you are going, up top and down below.

Instead of replacing the original incandescent ceiling lights, we ran new wire from those lights over to the new LED lights, installed right next to the old lights. This allowed us to use the new LED fixtures, and/or the original (very nice color of bulb compared to the blue-white LED's) incandescent fixtures.

Note that we added, at the middle of the aft-deck ceilinglight array, a 50 watt spotlight. This hinges down, to the left and is used at night to illuminate our dock when we come in late in the evening.

Here are some details of the lifting arms for the Dyer Dhow sailing dinghy. I built the same system on our former 40' Marine Trader trawler.

I bought the aluminum angles and flats from "OnLineMetals.com". Quick shipping and they have most every metal/design that you will ever need for your projects.

Again, this is an advantage of having an inboard engine instead of an outboard. The swim platform has a number of uses, but especially for the dink storage. Much easier and faster to launch than storing it up on the cabin roof.

Note that the lifting arms extend all the way across the width of the Dyer Dhow and are bolted to the oar lock brackets. This helps the dink from deforming when it is in the up/stored position.

We did add some reinforcing to the lower side of the Dyer to help spread the load of the storage mode. The Dyer is a very lightly built dink and the hull will deform if it is stored on the edge of its side.

Our Yanmar 170 HP Turbo-Diesel engine. Fairly easy to check the oil, fluids and belt before heading out. The engine has about 2200 hours on it and is very economical. Cruising at 6-8 knots the sound level is fairly quiet and its a perfect level for chatting.

At about 8 knots, the bow of the boat heads upwards at the boat tries to plane which occurs at 14 knots. The diesel, a slight negative compared to outboard 4-cycle gas engine boats, is more than a bit loud at this point so some yelling is needed.

A nice design feature of this boat is that, with the very comfortable pilots seats on each side, the Skipper can stand in the middle, over the engine to get closer to the First Mate (or Admiral...), steer the boat and continue with the chats.

There are plenty of grab-bars to hang onto if the boat hits some waves, plus we have added two more for holding onto as you head down below.

Our boat is equipped with the optional electrica oil-change pump which makes this chore, a much more simple event.

The oil filter is a bit difficult to get to, mainly to get a good grip on the filter with the filter wrench since there is not much room between the engine and the side-wall of the engine bay. I found that by wrapping the wrench with Duct-Tape and doing the same on the filter, the wrench would not slip and could be tightened well. Always keep a roll on-board for any number of "boaty" applications.

A friendly Dolphin playing in our wake. It was an entire family and it appeared that the Mom and Dad were teaching their baby how to jump the waves from our boat. The Dad was doing a complete 360 degree twist as he jumped the wave.

A grey day but ""Petunia" looks right at home. The Garmin radar is part of our Garmin 4212 GPS/Radar/Sounder package. Our system is about six years old and works great. Very easy to see plus it can do a "Combination" mode where you can have all three screens showing at the same time.

We have, unfortunately, tried out the Sounder, "Shallow Depth" alarm a number of times. Here in the Intracoastal, the channels are so narrow that if you don't pay attention to your previous recorded (succesful) plots, you can go "instantly" aground. I noted that the ducks here are not floating in the water, they are standing.

At speed one bright sunny day, we were not paying attention to the good plots and slammed up onto an oyster bar. Tried backing off but we were solidly stuck. So, our big 24" 4-blade prop and the full 170 HP turbo- diesel to the rescue. Cranked the RPM's up and she slowly moved off the bar. It wasn't very far, only about 10' but that's an example of how quickly it gets shallow here. Probably couldn't have done that if we had outboards. The full keel and protected prop and rudder is a real asset to the design of the Atlas Acadia.

One of the items that I always seem to be attracted to on our Saturday morning yardsale-ing ventures is "rope". If I see it, I buy it. Miles of the stuff. And of course, properly hang it on the sidewalls of our boat. No idea if I will ever actually need it but, one never knows.

This is one of the main reasons why we liked the Atlas Acadia, compared to other similar boats, the fully enclosed Head. "What happens in the Head, stays in the Head..."

A real solid door, toilet, sink and a shower (the faucet on the sink comes out to form the shower head fixture).

Since we have a huge, engine heated hot water heater on board, there is always lots of hot water for a shower.

However, we have never used the shower in the Head. No need to get the entire "room" wet when we have another shower on the aft deck. Again, both hot and cold water. Although the water down here on the boat gets so warm that it is rare that we use the hot water from the hot water heater.

One of the improvements that I made to the boat was to replace the existing small 3 gallon hot water heater with a much larger 11 gallon unit, with the water heated either from the engine or from the 110 VAC dock.

Actually, the only reason why I increased the size of the hot water heater from the original 3 gallon unit to the new 11 gallon unit was to increase the stored water capacity of the boat. The existing standard water tank on the Atlas is 20 gallons. Increasing it by another 8 gallons allows us to do a few more wash-downs after a day of swimming in the Gulf.

I modified the original Holding Tank system to include a Macerator Pump/Y-Valve to allow off-shore pump outs.

The V-Berth is quite a good size.

Compared to some of the other full-size cabin "Lobster" style boats in this size, the Galley is a bit small, actually very small. Mostly just used for food prep. While the boat is equipped with a small alcohol (not pressurized) stove, any real cooking would be done on a gas grill on the back deck. That helps to keep the down-below area cool and keeps cooking smoke from entering the cabin.

Shown are just some of the drawers/cabinets in the boat. Tons of storage.

The small door below the sink is for knives and forks and the large door under the counter is for a huge Igloo cooler that slides out. Since we have the Dometic electric fridge, this cooler is used for storing food and drinks.

More drawers and storage under the V-Berths. There are removeable panels under the beds for more storage. The Mermaid marine air conditioner is under the starboard bed. The intake grate is shown.

This is the main electrical panel for both the 110 VAC and 12 VDC power systems. Since I have added a number of electronic and electrical items to the boat, some of these breakers protect several items at a time.

Here’s a list of the gizmos/modifications that we have made to our Tiny Ship in the last two years (big boat gizmos for a tiny boat…):

I removed the acorn nuts on the center windshield along with the opening bracket. Now, with the help of a square dowel rod, we can open the center window almost so it’s horizontal. Lots more air flow.

The boat came with a RayMarine A60 GPS and RM sounder but I had removed our huge Garmin 4212 GPS/Radar/Sounder from our former trawler and that’s our main way to get around now. (Also used the iPad with Garmin app which works great as a GPS).

I added too large Kyocera 140 solar panels and a above dash controller with read-outs. The boat as one "Engine Start" battery, I just added two new Trojan deep cycle batteries for the house battery side.

Added a 20 amp dual battery ProMariner charger.

The boat came with the sink faucet shower in the Head, but also already had an aft deck shower which is the one that we use. I also added at the rear of the side deck, a normal hose faucet for wash downs, etc.

I redid the design of the Holding Tank and pump out. The system was set up for the option of the toilet pumping directly out of the hull bottom. The former owner did a ton of long distance traveling in the boat. The Holding Tank was set up for dock pump out only. I redid it with a macerator so that the Holding Tank, itself, could be pumped out under the boat (way off-shore if we ever to that) or at the dock. No directly pump out now for the toilet.

I added two very bright, CREE six LED “car” driving lights to the upper edge of the front facing cabin roof. Normally not used at night but this past July 4th, we used them to find our local unlit markers coming home. Also two halogen driving lights on the rear of the roof. These came in very handy coming home so that the drunks would see us as we were chugging at 5 knots and they were blasting past us at 40 in a very narrow channel.

We had the boat up last summer for bottom paint. It had ablative paint but we had that all taken off, a barrier coat applied and two coats of Petit Trinidad hard paint applied.

It has an existing autopilot which comes in handy. Push the button and it holds the existing course. Going to hook it up to the GPS sometime so that it will track a WayPoint track.

Bradenton, FL

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