Helmsman 43 Pilothouse
The Helmsman Trawlers 43 Pilothouse improves upon its predecessor 38 with upgrades to accommodations and storage capacities by providing an additional cabin and greater range for owners. For anyone familiar with the Helmsman Trawlers line, the boats feature tried-and-true design qualities that are shared with an entire history of working boats: a low-rise pilothouse with reverse-rake windshield, substantial freeboard, and a high bow. Built with high-quality materials and thoughtful layouts, the new Helmsman 43 is a versatile, comfortable, and capable coastal cruising passagemaker.
The Helmsman Trawlers 43 Pilothouse features a full-beam saloon and galley combination that can be converted into private sleeping quarters. The saloon table drops to become a queen-size berth and owners can hang a privacy curtain (provided by the manufacturer) that divides the saloon in half, lengthwise, allowing guests their privacy while still making the galley, pilothouse settee, and the helm accessible. The curtain encompasses the berth as well, and creates one of the best features of the 43: A dayhead tucked forward and to port that feels private despite its proximity to the main dinette.
The master cabin benefits greatly from the 43 Pilothouse’s 14-foot 2-inch beam that is carried fairly far forward, as well as from the freeboard and moderate bow flare, resulting in an inviting stateroom with 6 feet 10 inches of headroom throughout.
In all, the boat handles seven adults comfortably, though the second, dedicated cabin will benefit from a rework, according to Helmsman Trawlers’ Scott Helker, who says the company has already implemented a design change to increase the berth size and the floor space of the second cabin. In the forward accommodations area, there is single access to a simple but elegant head and stall shower.
Powered by a single 250-horsepower Cummins QSB6.7 common-rail engine that also drives the successful Helmsman 38, the new 43 Pilothouse offers an efficient 1,000-nm range at 8 knots. Combined with her deep forefoot, sharp taper aft, low-deadrise transom, and hefty 40,000-pound laden displacement, it is no surprise that the 43’s overall running feel is sturdy and stable. Due to time constraints, we weren’t able to test the boat vigorously in big seas, but at an 8- to 10-knot cruise, fuel consumption hovers around 3.5 gph. For owners who need a little extra oomph, an optional engine package will push the 43 into the 15- to 16-knot range. At the more trawler-like speed of 8 knots (at 1680 rpm), conversation was no problem in the pilothouse or saloon, even with the engine room in close proximity.
The 43 features a solid fiberglass laminate hull with an FRP structural grid for increased hull stiffness. Inside, she features traditional teak interiors, hand-varnished finishes, louvered door panels, and a teak-and-holly cabin sole. There aren’t a mess of fussy fiddles and trim pieces, and the simplicity gives the overall look a classic, and a cozy feel without being dated. Soft overhead panels are neatly installed and drop out for easy access to wiring runs. With the simple push of a button, access to the 43’s engine room from the saloon floor, engine, filters, and other mechanical necessities are all easily accessible.
Helmsman Trawlers, 240-508-8779; www.helmsmantrawlers.com
: 35,000 lb.
: 500 gal.
: 200 gal.
: 250-hp Cummins QSB6.7