See How a New Boater Enjoys His Summit 54 on His Own Terms

What’s the Big Idea?

Henry Chapman has ideas. Perhaps even more importantly, he acts on them. This is not as common as many would like to think, and Henry does it the right way. He thinks his ideas through, figures out how to get from Point A to Point B, and executes his plans. It may sound so simple, but really it’s a recipe for satisfaction.

Henry had the idea he wanted to do some boating, and spend summers in Newport, Rhode Island. He wanted a boat that would be well-built and safe, and would offer him a boutique ownership experience. He was looking for a builder that, if he had a question or something went wrong, he could pick up the phone and the broker, or the service manager, or even the president of the company would say, “Hello Henry, what can I do for you?”

Henry is no stick-in-the-mud. He wants to have experiences, but he doesn’t want to head out across blue water in search of them. He wants to be able to have his experiences on his terms. That means he wants to learn the proper way to do things on his boat, which would be his first, so he will have a captain for the first year, and his insurance company heartily agrees this would be a good idea as well.

Henry decided on the Summit 54, the first model from Summit Motoryachts, a brand launched by Kadey-Krogen Yachts that offers a line of cruisers for a different user profile than the bluewater trawlers for which the company is known. The Summit 54 has a planing hull designed by vaunted naval architect Michael Peters and is powered by a pair of 542-horsepower Cummins QSB6.7 diesels with straight shafts. Best of all, this Summit is built like a Krogen, with a solid hull that doesn’t squeak or groan. She has an inviting interior with a comfortable layout and many smart features, and is fitted out with proven equipment for reliable operation.

“I bought the boat at the end of July of last year,” Henry says. “And since then, I’ve been from Newport all the way down to Florida, around Key West to Boca Grande, and back to Newport.”

Henry’s Florida trip was part of an agreement with Kadey-Krogen to represent Summit at the fall boat shows. Capt. Greg Sapp, who is a broker for Kadey-Krogen as well as serving as Henry’s captain for his first year of ownership, made the trip and helped show Henry the ropes. The Florida trip really helped Henry understand what the Summit could do. How those capabilities fit his plans make up an interesting use case, the first for a Summit Motoryacht.

“Henry was not looking for an opportunity to do what a typical Krogen owner would call cruising,” Greg says. “The good part about Henry is, he’s very realistic with himself. He knew that he wanted to do a lot of boating, but at the time he didn’t know a lot about boating.” Henry had the idea to learn the proper way to use his Summit 54, and he took an approach that would set him up for success when he eventually decided he was ready to run the yacht himself.

“Henry’s ego is not in charge of his brain,” Greg says. “So he doesn’t try to do stuff that he’s not able to do yet when you’re teaching him on the boat. He doesn’t go, Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it. I got it. Instead he says, Okay, show me that again.

Henry also got advice from family members when buying his boat, and these folks had plenty of experience. He looked at several boats on the market but he knew that he wanted that boutique experience, and the frank talks with Greg were a big part of that.

“We talked about it, and I told him that, being a new boater, the chances of him hitting something are much higher than the chances of me hitting something, right?” Greg says. “If you do hit something—and don’t get cocky on me, you will. You’re going to tear off a $3,000 prop instead of a $60,000 pod.” Plain-spoken discussion, to be sure, but this is all part of the thought process that led Henry to the Summit.

“Now we live on the boat for basically two months in the summer,” Henry says. “We like to be in a slip. I’m not someone who wants to be out on the anchor somewhere.”

Interestingly, it’s when Henry and his Summit got back from Florida that he and his family really started to turn his ideas into action. “My cruising speed is typically 18 to 19 knots, which allows me to get to Nantucket in four hours from Newport,” he says. “Montauk and Fishers are two hours away. Block Island is an hour and half, and the Vineyard is two and a half, which is great.”

It’s one thing to know the amount of time each of these jaunts would take, and keep them in one’s back pocket, like an IOU to oneself. The attitude is not uncommon on the dock: I could go to [insert desirable destination here] in [insert surprisingly short amount of time here]. I haven’t done it, but I could!

That’s not for Henry though. He had an idea of what he wanted to do, and he has done just that. “From Newport, we’ve gone to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Fishers Island, Block Island, Cuttyhunk,” Henry recalls. “So I’ve had it for a year and I have put about about 500 hours on her.” With the exception of Nantucket, those voyages have mostly been day-trip cruises.

The Summit 54 has two staterooms, a master and a VIP, and there’s a single for the captain. “We have a lot of guests,” Henry says. “Typically, when we have a guest, we’ll spend a night in Newport and then we’ll do a trip somewhere. We had a really good time with some friends that came. They spent the night, then we did a day trip to Block Island. We took the boat over, and we rented mopeds and explored all over Block and then made our way back to Newport before sunset.”

“I have no hairy stories to tell you,” Henry says. “The number-one rule I learned was never have a schedule, where you have to be somewhere at a certain time. So, obviously, like any captain, we watch the wind and the weather very closely, but we’ve been blessed as long as we’ve had the boat.”

The Summit has many features that recommend it for the kind of enjoyment Henry has in mind. A flying bridge makes for a delightful perch on those pleasant days, with plenty of seating for shipmates to gather and enjoy the view. That upper deck offers an overhang to shade the aft deck, where a settee and dining table are a terrific spot for taking in the sights and sharing meals. A large window in the aft bulkhead folds up against the overhead to open up aft-deck bar seating to the aft galley. There’s a robust integrated swim platform with easy access to either side through wide stairs. Forward there’s even more useful space, with a sunpad atop the trunk cabin.

“Just a week ago I had most of my family, my three daughters and their boyfriends, as well as my wife, and we took a nice day trip,” Henry says. “We left Newport and went to Cuttyhunk Island, just about an hour away. We got a slip for the day and got some food on the docks. We got four dozen oysters—Cuttyhunk oysters, which are extraordinary, the salinity is very high. And everyone had a lobster roll.” Cuttyhunk is at the end of the Elizabeth Islands off Southeastern Massachusetts, separating Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound.

“Off we went between two of the Elizabeth Islands, a place called Quicks Hole,” Henry says. “Quicks Hole is a great little spot to anchor just off a beach. We anchored in seven feet of water and swam to the beach. It’s probably the cleanest and coolest water in that part of New England. It was just a great experience, the girls all got some sun on the bow. It was a great time, and then we went back to Newport for dinner.”

Henry’s satisfaction comes through in his voice as he talks about this day, and why not? Just a year ago he was weighing his choices and deciding on what boat made the most sense for him. He learned about the experiences of others, and also thought of what would make him happy. The Summit 54 checked the boxes for him, and he’s living out the experience. What a great idea!