As I stepped aboard the Legacy 32 on an early summer morning, two words immediately came to mind: solid and comfortable. The overall impression is that of a no-nonsense, small cruiser designed for a couple or small family. A quick look around confirmed that the many small details that define a serious cruising boat have been addressed very well.

The sturdy swim platform and centerline transom door welcome you to the comfortable cockpit, complete with hot and cold shower, and an easy step up into the hard top covered salon, or helm deck, as Tartan calls this surprisingly spacious area. The engine, a 420 HP Cummins diesel, is below the floor, under an easy-to-lift hatch with a gas spring linear actuator. The settees on either side can double as berths, and an offset drop-leaf table completes this comfortable lounge.

The helm and navigators seats are elevated to provide excellent visibility through the large windows in all directions. A handrail on the centerline of the salon roof is a nice touch for when the weather kicks up. The cabin/galley is warm and spacious. The island-style double berth is surrounded by a varnished cherry interior. All cabinet and passage doors are raised panel solid cherry. There are lots of opening ports and hatches, port and starboard hanging lockers, lots of shelves and drawers for storage, and a built-in AM/FM/CD stereo system and overhead lighting. The galley is equally well appointed, with an electric two-burner cook top with cover, a built-in microwave oven and coffee maker (optional), a stainless-steel AC/DC refrigerator (12-volt), and lots of storage. The head features a separate shower stall, vanity, and sink. All these creature comforts are supported by an ELCI-protected AC shore power system, a Combi inverter/battery charger, and two 8D AGM house batteries.

The self-bailing cockpit also features molded steps allowing easy access to the side decks, complemented by stainless grab rails on either side of the hard top. The wide side decks are enclosed by a one-and-a-quarter-inch stainless perimeter rail which runs all the way aft to the steps. There are large, stainless mooring cleats forward, aft, and amidships. There are stainless chocks on the bow and amidships for spring lines and stainless mooring line hawse pipes on the transom and each quarter.

The Legacy’s hull shows the strong down east influence in her design. Her sweeping sheer, generous beam, and sharp entry reflect her Maine workboat heritage. Below the waterline, however, the 32 is thoroughly modern. A Mark Ellis-designed hull with a modified deep vee, wide chine, and center flats is completed by a full-length skeg that, in addition to providing directional stability, protects the four-bladed propeller and rudder from the shoal water that the Chesapeake has in such abundance.

Crusader Yacht Sales broker Mike Titgemeyer was my host for this outing. As we cleared the speed zone at the mouth of the creek, Mike turned the boat over to me. A gentle shove on the throttle had the big Cummins up to a little over 2700 RPM quickly, and the deep vee hull jumped up on a plane with a noticeable lack of drama. I found the ride a tad bow high, but a tap on the trim tabs brought the nose down nicely. The view forward could not have been better. Our GPS indicated 18-plus knots. The Legacy felt as if she could do this all day.

In fact, the Cummins burns about 14 gallons per hour at that speed, with a standard fuel capacity of 210 gallons that translates to a range of about 270 miles. Drop her RPM to 1500 and a speed of about eight knots, and that range increases to something exceeding 450 miles. Those are quite respectable numbers for a 32-footer!

My host explained that this boat is a bit of a transitional one. It is the first new Legacy built by Tartan since the acquisition of the Legacy line in 2008. The 32 reflects some of the influence of the new Tartan team, but the upcoming Legacy 36 will introduce a completely new product of the Ellis/Jackett and Tartan design teams. Tartan and Crusader are planning a gala debut celebration for the new line to be introduced at the Annapolis Power Boat Show October 15-18. If the new line of Legacys match or exceeds the 32 in excellence of design and construction, they will be well worth the wait. Asking price for the boat as tested is $400,000.


LOA: 35.6 ft (incl. swim platform & anchor roller)

Hull Length: 35.6 ft

Beam: 12 ft

Draft: 3.3 ft

Displacement: 16,000 lbs

Berths: 4

Fuel: 210 gal (in two tanks with crossover valves standard)

Water: 60 gal.

Engine Options: 380-hp and 420-hp Cummins diesel

by Capt. Rick Franke