Selene 47 Trawler Review PDF Print E-mail

The Selene line of Long Range Ocean Trawlers is named for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon who travels across the night sky in a silver chariot drawn by white horses.  I had to look that up – but it did shed some light on the design of the brochure and it made me curious to sea trial one of these ocean trawlers that are quickly gaining momentum in the US and in Europe.  Howard Chen of Selene builder Jet Tern just announced a new line of motoryachts, the Artemis, which will included designs from 35-66 feet.  Sounds like Selene will be getting a new sibling but in the meantime, let’s look at the 47 footer that makes for an excellent bluewater trawler for a couple.

Design, Construction and Performance
The Selene line of modified displacement hull trawlers comes from Jet-Tern Marine, a subsidiary of Jet-Tern Group – the largest tableware manufacturer in the world.  The shipyard was started in 1998, employs about 500 people and is the darling of naval architect and passionate boat builder, Howard Chen.  Located two hours from Hong Kong on mainland China, the shipyard first produced a 43 foot trawler that was marketed under the name Solo but was later re-launched as the Selene 43 and then extended into what is today the Selene 47. 

There are some brand names associated with the Selene including Ted Hood, the pre-eminent sailboat designer who is now part of the Selene dealer network as well as advisor for design evolution of upcoming models.  The shipyard employs Taiwanese managers and engineers as well as Chinese workers and relies heavily on American input and owner feedback.  The line is very diversified from the 36 which is the only semi-displacement hull and is considered a coastal boat, to the upcoming offshore 62 footer that is due out at the end of 2004. 

Below the waterline, Selenes are solid fiberglass.  Above the waterline and throughout the deck, the construction is vacuum bagged balsa or Divinycell coring.  Structural beams are all fiberglass for longevity and attention to detail is very high in every aspect of the construction.  The boat has a fine entry but it gets tall and beamy very quickly.  Altogether, it is a snappy boat that responds quickly, is very maneuverable and although bouncy in chop, keeps roll to a minimum due to its flat bottom.  Visibility forward form the flybridge is not great but it is adequate from the sides and from the wheelhouse below where I found little vibration and noise even at top RPMs.  The 47 will turn easily in its own length and when we came back into a very tight slip at the brokerage, the boat drew an audience which, in this case was a good thing and a real testament to its maneuverability.

Top speed for the 47 is 10.5 knots with cruising speed around 9 knots.  The burn rate is approximately 3.6 gallons at 9.2 knots.  However, with the standard 950 gallons of fuel, at 7.5 knots it is possible for the 47 to have a range of 2,500-3,000 nautical miles which makes the boat a true bluewater voyager.  The boat sports a very shippy look due to its raked wheelhouse windows and is generally a very well appointed sea going trawler that is a great combination of safety, versatility and affordability.  The majority of owners on the left coast are couples who coastal cruise or head offshore in waters anywhere between Alaska and Mexico.

Flybridge and Deck
I’ll be repeating myself but one of the striking things about the Selene is the extensive list of standard features.  For example, the flybridge, which can be an expensive option on other boats, comes standard.  Other standards are the shower in the aft cockpit, the huge lazarette below the cockpit and the hinged swim step that can be useful for security to ward off unwanted boarders or a lifesaver in a marina that allows no overhang.  The cockpit is fully covered by the flybridge deck as are the sides to allow maximum protection against the elements.

Forward, there is a large Muir electric windlass with up and down control switches out of the way in the deep anchor locker so that the windlass is not activated by accident.  There are also beefy anchor rollers and a large Sampson post on the bow to take the strain off the windlass in an anchorage.  All hawse cleats are recessed so they don’t become knee knockers and there are plenty of handholds when moving the entire length of the vessel.  The additional storage near the bow and beneath the wheelhouse windows is a very nice additional feature.

Layout & Accommodations
The Selene 47 is simply beautiful inside.  Starting at the wheelhouse, we find a good seating area to allow others to keep the helmsman company and the bunk behind the seating bench extends 10 inches to a full 6’4” for anyone choosing to stay near the helm while off watch.  The flybridge is accessed from the cockpit and also from inside the wheelhouse for quick maneuvering.  The electrical panel is easily accessible and completely labeled and there is also a convenient, full-sized, pull-out chart table for the navigator.

The rest of the 47 offers generous living space in two layout options.  The most popular brings you down a few steps from the wheelhouse with a seagoing galley amidships.  The large saloon is a wonderful combination of top notch joinery, leather cushions, bamboo blinds, high end fixtures and a beautiful teak and holly sole.  A unique feature of the Selenes is the commissary, a crawl-in storage space below the saloon sole and behind the engine room.  This really makes an impression as it features a 10-cubic foot deepfreeze a wine rack and dry storage all of which are standard.  The finish in this pantry below the sole is of the same quality as anything that is visible in the galley or saloon. 

A few steps down on the port side, there is a washer/dryer combo that is standard and immediately to the right is the engine room door.  The engine room is remarkable.  It is a crawl in engine room but it is very well designed for working underway and everything is accessible.  Attention to safety is evident everywhere – from the handholds, bracing and access to key systems.

On this layout (with the galley amidships) the stateroom is in the bow, with an island berth, plenty of storage space and a plush finish.  The master head features a bathtub.  The guest cabin has two bunk beds and can be left open for an airy feeling down below.  The guest head has a separate shower stall and just like the master head, feels like a “bathroom” rather than a head.  Storage is excellent with huge, cedar lined hanging lockers and tons of drawers and the boat is pre-wired for TV and stereo.  An optional layout for the 47 places the master stateroom amidships and the galley above to port.

Systems & Mechanical
Again, many of the systems on the Selene are standard including the dual Racor fuel filtration system, 4 bilge pumps, oil change pump system, 8kW generator, washer/dryer, and bowthruster.  Optional systems are few so an owner can focus on spec’ing out electronics and an autopilot, and adding an inverter and microwave and the vessel is mostly ready for extended cruising.  Most of the components and engines are US sourced and include names like Grunert, Westerbeke, Northern Lights, Cummins and a Forespar mast and dinghy hoist which are also standard.  Gel coat, paints, and pumps are also sourced in the US or outside of China so future maintenance and parts availability are both greatly simplified. 

The Selene 47 is powered by a single Cummins 280HP diesel but a 56HP Yanmar can be added as an optional wing engine that is the “get you home” engine with its own complete system including shaft and propeller.  There is also an optional fuel transfer system to spread the weight of the 950 gallons of fuel between two baffled tanks so the skipper can adjust the trim depending on the kind of provisioning that was done.  The boat is designed so that the engine can be removed via the saloon sole, over the galley (the headliner is removable) and out above the flybridge deck.  It takes approximately a half day for removal and a half day for installation of the engine.  Few boats are actually designed for ease of engine removal and this feature really shows some forethought for major overhauls down the line. 

The basics of the plumbing include two stainless steel tanks for water – one of which is located under the master berth forward for a total of 300 gallons.  The heads are plumbed to a 40 gallon holding tank.  As for power management – there is plenty of juice for all the toys.  Standard battery power includes one 200 Ah battery for the engine start, one 120 Ah battery for the generator and two 200 Ah batteries for the house bank.  A 105 amp alternator is standard. 

The systems on the Selene line are so similar from model to model that most of the boats differ primarily in length. The length and beam are mostly added through the saloon and cockpit areas so according to the dealers, the whole line is basically the same boat.  This makes it easy for owners to move up in the line to larger boats without having to come up a completely new learning curve.

The Selene Line
The numerous models in the Selene line can be confusing with available hulls in lengths of 36, 43, 47, 48, 50, 53, 55, 57 and 62 feet.  With time, it is likely that a handful of popular models will emerge and the line will not cannibalize itself with so many close options.  Jet-Tern Marine produces approximately 50 hulls a year but their goal is to put out 100 hulls annually within the next 3 years. 

Resale value has held or actually increased over the past 5 years which speaks volumes to the value that these trawlers provide.  For anyone considering heading offshore for extended cruising, a general rule of thumb is that you can expect to add 10-40% to the base price for outfitting for bluewater voyaging.  Consider then, two factors that make the Selene a viable and valuable option:  1) the extensive equipment list for the Selene should ease some of the financial burden of outfitting and 2) 30% additional spend is more reasonable when starting at a moderate price point rather than at a high one.  The Selene 47 comes in juts under $500,000.  Consider also, that you can take at least one item off the outfitting list – every Selene trawler comes with a custom set of flatware – courtesy of Jet-Tern Group.

Jet-Tern receives high praise from their dealer network for being receptive to dealer and owner feedback and the 47 model, of which there are already 24 hulls in circulation, has benefited greatly from tweaks and improvements over the years.  Selenes are built to order and currently there are approximately 20 hulls in process, but the 47 is available for immediate inspection in local waters.  Anyone who is seriously considering bluewater voyaging under power should put the Selene on their list of possibilities.

Those who study mythology will know that Selene was a goddess known for her many love affairs.  I’d say then, that Selene’s ocean trawlers are aptly named because it’s not hard to fall in love with this line of no nonsense passagemakers.


Specs for Selene 47 Long Range Ocean Trawler

Designer:    Howard Chen for Jet-Tern Marine
LOA:   51’ 10”
LOD:   47’ 2”
LWL:   44’ 2”
Beam:   15’ 8”
Draft:   5’ 1”
Bridge Clearance: 13’ 9” to 22’ 3”
Ballast:  4,000 lbs
Displacement:  56,000 lbs (full load)
Fuel Tankage:  950 gallons
Water Tankage: 300 gallons

Disp/Length  321
Speed/Length (Top) 1.58
                    (Cruising) 1.35