The Great Constant: Dyer 29
This past spring the order came in for hull No. 356 of the Dyer 29, a link in an unbroken chain that goes back to 1956, when the anchorage in Warren, Rhode Island, began offering the same model to owners who appreciate a boat that never goes out of style.
In the early days of fiberglass, Bill Dyer took a chance and asked Nick Potter for a design that, as Dyer put it, “would be a traditional hull that could take more than its crew could.” The result was a boat able to travel at a steady 15 mph no matter what, while burning only 2 gph. Designed for comfort, not speed, it succeeded as a great sea boat, and some with its design do service as pilot boats off the Virginia capes.
With its sweeping sheer line, rounded chines and long keel, it’s a classic bit of New England. The cockpit is massive, almost half the boat’s length. It’s also built to last. Hull No. 1 is still alive and well, plying the waters of long Island sound. Bob Stine, of Black Dog Boat Works in Denton, Maryland, who specializes in maintaining old 29s, likes to say they grow old gracefully. Few, if any, come to him with major problems resulting from age. Mostly he’s just upgrading systems or swapping out an engine.
New 29s come as a soft top, hardtop or extended hardtop, or as a flush-deck bass boat. The latter sports a tiller at the transom, as well as a helm, and is used by anglers pursuing stripers. Prices start at $180,000 with a single 200 bhp Volvo Penta diesel. Not cheap, but they’re well-equipped and, unlike most boats, one of these guarantees a good return on your money. That is, if you’re foolish enough to sell it.