The Garcia Passoa is a serious blue water cruising boat. Both casual and keen observer will note the unpainted aluminum hull, scoop transom, watertight companionway hatch, welded aluminum stern arch, and heavy duty rigging. Little doubt remains about this boat’s “go anywhere” capability. If you’re lucky enough to be invited below you’ll be astounded by the bespoke varnished cherry interior and light filled accommodation with three staterooms and two heads. Don’t make the mistake of following “Exit” with your deep, fixed keel cruiser into waist-deep waters; you’ll fetch up on shoals as “Exit’s” 3-1/2 foot draft passes safely. And like an older woman, it’s best not to guess her age; you’ll be mistaken. This twenty three-year old boat shows as much newer thanks to her quality construction, superb maintenance and exterior refit at Lyman-Morse boatyard in 2015.
The Garcia shipyard in Normandy is renowned for building “go anywhere” cruising sailboats and the Passoa 46 is their most prolific design. With their low maintenance, welded aluminum hulls these yachts have voyaged to all latitudes and continents. Between the aluminum hull and beautiful cherry interior, foam insulates out noise and cold better than cored fiberglass boats. The centerboard allows shoal draft access and the ability to “dry out.” Upwind performance is best described as “surprisingly good” for a centerboard design. With the centerboard raised off wind there is nothing to trip over and pivot around. With the balanced spade rudder and aft “trimming” daggerboard they behave much better than a fixed keel boat.
“Exit” has had four owners since new. The first owner was the yacht’s designer, Pierre Frutschi, who had "Exit" built to cruise with his family. He subsequently worked for Garcia Shipyard as an in-house designer and is now an acclaimed designer of large custom motor and sailing yachts. The second owner was a German airline pilot who cruised Europe and the Atlantic basin. The third owner cruised “Exit” each summer in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes and stored her each winter at Lyman Morse in Thomaston, Maine. In August of 2014, he sold “Exit” to her current owner, his nephew who had Lyman Morse update “Exit” in preparation for an 18 month sabatical cruise with his family. This cruise down the east coast and to the Bahamas is now complete. “Exit” is currently stored on the hard in Deale, MD with sails and canvas stowed below. “Owner” is not really the right word to describe the person who has legal title to this boat. “Trustee” or “custodian” are really more appropriate when describing owners of great cruising boats. The next “custodian” will find a well found, well-maintained cruising yacht that could benefit from a few minor updates (anchor chain, watermaker membrane to name a few). But they will have on their hands a boat that leaves no excuses as to which aquatic destination to visit. Instant respect will be garnered by knowledgeable sailors who know of Garcia and the superb condition and outfitting of “Exit.”
“Exit’s” interior accommodations are well configured and constructed for offshore sailing and life in port. Three staterooms, two heads, and a central salon/galley/nav area have enough space while still leaving numerous lockers and storage areas for gear and supplies. Ample lights, ports, and hatches are fitted. Red night lights are found in each space. Handholds, rounded corners, countertop fiddles, positive cabinet closures, and louvered lockers leave little doubt that this is an offshore sailing yacht.
The accommodation is entered through a watertight, sliding companionway hatch over a low bridgedeck in the cockpit. Handrails, side bulkheads, and curved steps with non-skid keep this transition safe and easy. The three stateroom layout features a master stateroom forward with ensuite head forward. A guest head with sink and washer/dryer is to port in the forward passageway. A linear galley is to port and up a small step from the forward passageway. A large “U” shaped dinette is to starboard and a forward facing navigation station is to port, aft of the galley. Two aft saterooms are in each quarter with convertible single/double berths.
The interior joinery is hand fit and skillfully crafted from Canadian Cherry with solid trim, mitered/rounded corners, and obviously built for the “long haul.” The overhead is painted/staved white plywood secured with screwed-in wood battens. The cabin sole is a blue laminate flooring over marine plywood. All floorboards are removable for complete access to storage spaces and hull areas. Thanks to the thick foam insulation and welded hull construction, the interior is warmer and quieter than on fiberglass cruising yachts. LED recessed overhead lights and LED reading lights, cabin fans, fixed and opening ports, dorade vents, and overhead hatches are what one would expect on a proper offshore sailing yacht.
Headroom in the salon measures 6’ 6”. Large fixed side and forward facing ports provide excellent light and visibility in this central living area. The massive “U” shaped dinette is slightly raised. A fixed dining table comfortably dines six to eight. Sculpted cushions are upholstered with Naugahyde. Striped slip covers are fitted on the seat cushions. A bookshelf is outboard along the hull side. A glass hull side port helps seated visibility. Two large Goiot hatches in the cabin front and two overhead opening hatches offer excellent airflow. A large hanging locker with seat continuation inboard is aft of the dinette. The dinette seats are amply long and secure for off watch sleeping.
The galley is to port, along the hull side. A dish/cup cabinet with open shelf top is mounted on the dinette seatback on centerline. This serves as an excellent prop for the cook while underway. A stainless steel Alpinox three burner stove with oven is aft. Pot/pan storage is below the oven. A stainless steel pipe protects the stove. Double stainless steel sinks are fitted with a Danish Geyser retractable spray faucet and salt and freshwater foot pump spigots. Outboard of the sink is fixed hull side port and an open shelf where knife block and other often used galleyware is stored. Hinged door cabinets with shelves flank the hull side port. A large countertop with top opening freezer and front opening refrigerator is forward. Wire racks are mounted on the forward bulkhead. A pantry closed with six sliding plastic baskets is located just forward of the galley in the forward passageway.
A proper forward facing navigation station is to port of the companionway and raised slightly above the cabin sole. The white laminate top chart table has storage for full sized charts. A storage drawer and hinged storage locker are beneath the chart table. A Naugahyde cushioned seat and bulkhead backrest comfortably seat the navigator. Navigation and communications electronics are flush mounted and well-positioned forward and outboard. Electrical switch/breaker, and monitoring panels are outboard, beneath the side deck.
A guest head is located to port, in the forward passageway. The Lavac head is outboard and a storage locker is outboard and above the head. A vanity with round china sink, faucet, and mirror is forward and inboard. The clothes washer is ouboard of the sink, behind a hinged, cherry door. Additional storage is beneath the sink.
The master stateroom forward of the main bulkhead and entered through a locking privacy door in the forward passageway. A queen sized berth is to starboard and well raised. A thick upholstered mattress sits atop a Bedflex slatted wood base. Drawer and bin storage is beneath the berth. A hull side port, opening overhead hatch, and dorade vent provide natural light and ventilation. Cabin fan, reading lights and overhead lights illuminate this stateroom at night. An open bookshelf is outboard of the bunk along the hull side. Additional bookshelves are recessed into the centerline fore and aft bulkhead. Hinged door lockers are forward and outboard beneath the deck edge to starboard. Hanging lockers are to port along the hull side with top opening bin storage below and inboard. A large opening aft of the berth in the main bulkhead between this stateroom and dinette can be closed with either canvas, a removable wood panel or bug screen.
The forward head is all the way forward and entered through a privacy door in the forward stateroom. The Lavac head is to starboard with storage lockers outboard, beneath the side decks. A removable teak shower grate, shower hose/nozzle, and shower curtain allow showering in this space. A large opening overhead hatch ventilates this space and provides emergency egress. A vanity with oval china sink, faucet, mirror, and storage cabinet is outboard to port.
The aft staterooms are mirrored on each side and entered through privacy doors outboard of the companionway. An upholstered, single mattress is outboard. Cushions and boards infill inboard of the fixed berth to convert to a double berth. Engine/machinery space access panels are inboard, beneath the cockpit. A hinged door storage cabinet is aft, up high. An open bookshelf runs along the hull side beneath the deck edge. A hanging locker and storage cabinet is forward and outboard. Ventilation is excellent thanks to two opening ports into the cockpit sides, an opening port into the cabin side forward, and a fixed port into the hull side. Reading lights, overhead lights, cabin fans, and shades are as found throughout “Exit.”
“Exit” is a welded aluminum boat. Hull sides and side decks are kept unpainted for ease of maintenance. Due to the skilled Garcia shipyard aluminum fabricators, the hull is amazingly round and fair. And, they can get away without hull side fairing compound and paint. The bottom paint is black International tin-free Trilux 33. Thin green boot and sheer stripes along with a wide green stripe in way of the fixed hull side ports were painted by Lyman Morse boatyard in 2015. The cockpit, coachroof, transom, mast, boom, stanchions, forward hatch boss and other verticals were painted with white Awlgrip in 2015 by Lyman Morse. At the same time, decks were soda blasted to bare aluminum and grey treadmaster non-skid matting applied in the original factory pattern.
High, double, uncoated wire rope lifelines run between the welded aluminum bow pulpit and stern rails supported along the way by aluminum stanchions. Boarding gates with snap hooks are fitted midships and at the transom. Hull sides extend approximately two inches above the deck edge and are capped with a bulb forming a substantial and seamless toe rail. Closed mooring chocks are welded into the toe rail forward and aft in way of mooring cleats. Toe rail relief in way of the midships mooring cleat serves as freeing port on each side. Round holes drilled on approximately six inch centers in the toe rail allow endless strapping/tie down points for fenders and rigging. Welded aluminum “granny bars” on each side of the mast also protect dorade vents. Grab rails are welded into the coachroof top on each side.
Goiot aluminum hatches and port are fitted where needed to ventilate and illuminate interior accommodation spaces. Two large opening hatches in the foredeck sit atop a raised “boss” keeping them well clear of wash water. Six fixed/recessed hull side ports allow good sightlines from below. A combination of fixed and opening ports and hatches in the coachroof make the central living are liveable in cold or warm weather. Opening ports from the aft stateroom into the the cockpit ventilate these cabins even in wet weather. Four dorade cowl vents are fitted in the forward deck for storm conditions.
The aft cockpit is well protected and nicely configured for sailing and lounging. A white yacht Sunbrella dodger with substantial stainless steel frame protects the cockpit forward and is secured to a welded aluminum foundation. A white Sunbrella bimini is fitted to a fixed stainless steel frame to shade the cockpit from sun and rain. This would be an excellent mounting location for solar panels if desired. A clear vertical panel connects the dodger and bimini. Cockpit seats are ergonomically slanted with high seatback/coamings forward giving way to a low coaming aft at the primary sheet winches. Teak slats are attached to the cockpit seat to keep cushions and butts dry. Removable teak slats outboard of the steering wheel effectively fill in the “T” shape for sleeping in the cockpit. A curved/slatted teak helm seat sits atop the aft deck. The cockpit sole is fitted with removable teak grates. A teak cockpit table hinges up from the steering pedestal front, allowing four to dine in the cockpit. Storage cuddy bins are closed with teak covers in the cockpit coamings. The cockpit is intentionally small, with excellent drainage to avoid swamping from following seas.
Every cruising yacht needs ample deck accessible storage for extra sails, ground tackle, snorkel gear, water toys, trash, outboard engine gas tanks, etc. “Exit” has plenty. Storage locker lids are of welded aluminum, gasketed, and positively latch closed. Two large bow lockers are located just aft of the anchor windlass on each side. The propane locker is located here. Aft of the cockpit two large stern lockers are fitted with wood organizing dividers. An outboard engine storage mount is in the starboard locker to keep the engine secure when laying up in foreign ports. Two additional top opening lockers are located on the scoop transom. These overboard draining lockers are ideal locations for fishing gear, trash, and outboard engine fuel.
One of the key features of this boat is the large scoop stern. This element is so critical to safe and enjoyable cruising: low to the water for easy swim access, a place to easily step aboard from the and wash sand from everyone’s feet before stepping up on deck, an outside shower location for the tropics, or a fish cleaning area to keep blood and guts out of the cockpit. “Exit’s” transom is very well done incorporating the stern arch and dinghy davit perfectly. Wood slats on the side lockers are a great place to sit. Treadmaster non-skid provides excellent traction and easily washed clean. A welded aluminum swim ladder folds up and out of the way when not in use. A recessed locker in the transom keeps the liferaft easy to deploy, safe from waves, and out of the way. A hot/cold freshwater shower is well situated for rinsing off salt water or extended showers. A thick teak board at the transom/hull join protects the stern from dinghy bow, mooring, or dock. A light on the radar mast illuminates this area at night. The dinghy davit lowers with a block and tackle from the stern arch making for easy dinghy launching and high/secure dinghy storage.
“Exit” is configured and equipped for long distance blue water voyaging. She has a dependable slab reefing mainsail with halyard and reef lines kept at the mast where one can tuck into the “granny bars” while raising or reefing. Sheets and other control lines are led aft to the cockpit where a battery of rope clutches and organized pulleys allow use of the six self tailing winches. Two removable forestays along, a furling headstay, and spinnaker gear ensure proper sail options from zephyr to raging storm. Rigid boomvang, adjustable backstay, and genoa car pullers will keep the sails properly shaped. Centerboard up and down along with an aft daggerboard provide a level of underbody trim and draft control making these legendary boats downwind and upwind performers.
Viking RescYou Pro six person self-righting liferaft (new 2014)
Lifesling2 man overboard rescue sling
Jim Buoy man overboard pole with stern; mounts on stern arch
(2) Yellow horseshoe rings on stern quarter holders
(3) FirstAlert OneLink networked carbon monoxide/smoke detectors (one in each stateroom)
FireBoy Xintex automatic fire suppression system in engine compartment
(5) Fire extinguishers (one in each stateroom, one under companionway ladder, one in cockpit)
Fire blanket in galley
Davis radar reflector
(2) Nylon webbing jacklines
(4) Spectra soft shackles for attaching harness tethers
ACR GlobalFIX PRO 406 mhz GPS EPIRB