Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelProject 70007

Delta looks back to its much celebrated commercial past for a retrofit on a 70-foot expedition yacht that is definitely worth her salt.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

It is clear why Delta 70007 is truly the stuff that nautical dreams are made on.

It is clear why Delta 70007 is truly the stuff that nautical dreams are made of.

According to information posted on the Delta Marine site, the details on Project 175038 are confidential—it is however, a 175-footer as the first three numbers indicate—while those of the 164041 and 156039 builds, and the already-named Monarch, at 150’8”/46.2m and Invader, measuring an impressive 215’/66.5m, are not. Then there was one tagged as Project 70007 that I was most interested in.

iWith its unique, in-house team of technicians, marine architects, and craftsmen, the Delta Design Team can create any vision.

With its unique, in-house team of technicians, marine architects, and craftsmen, the Delta Design Team can create any vision.

P70007 was launched in 1990—the first 70 hull was delivered in 1986—and was one of five in the series of 70-foot boats built by Delta to yacht standards. They were designed after the builder’s easily recognized and sea-proven commercial fishing vessels; those with prominent high bows and a rough-and-tumble, no nonsense profile that promised adventure limited only by imagination and the will to be aboard a boat of this configuration. Indeed, one of them, the well-known Zoepilote, owned by former race car driver and film director Bruce Kessler, went around the world. Because it traveled so extensively and visited so many ports, especially in Europe, the dock talk spread far and wide and soon enough, Delta found itself picking up momentum in the yacht building industry. And like a dream come true, I found myself walking down the dock during a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest with P70007 sitting out there as the distant snow-capped mountain peaks began making an appearance in the mid-morning hours.

Delta began building commercial fishing boats back in the 1960’s when brothers Ivor and Jack Jones opened the yard on Seattle, Washington’s Duwamish River. With names such as Bobbi Dee, Tanaga, and Nakchamik emblazoned high on their proud bows, the fleet of rugged Delta-built vessels slid down the ways and plied the dangerous waters of Alaska and the Bering Sea in search of full nets and holds. They ranged in size from 30 feet up to 70 feet and their profiles were as varied as their missions: from charter boats to patrol and Coast Guard vessels to purse seiners and crabbers. When federal regulations caused the fishing industry to change in the mid to late 1980’s, the Jones brothers decided to take their largest commercial hull and build a yacht out of it. And it was with the John Shubert-designed 70 foot hull that things took on an extra special quality both in practical sea keeping abilities as well as function and appearance.

 “This boat, being the transition hull from commercial builds to yachts, is part of Delta’s history and special to the company and to our family,” said Michelle Jones, Ivor’s daughter who, with her cousin Chris, Jack’s son, is for all intents and purposes, the next generation in charge of Delta Marine. His focus is in project management while hers is in sales and marketing.

Elegance and practicality are perfectly blended in the main salon.

Elegance and practicality are perfectly blended in the main salon.

“It means a lot to who we are and where we came from,” she added while we got comfortable in the main salon area. “The 70 hull is the perfect boat for a builder; it’s a manageable size where it can be taken out for some local fun and, of course, for much longer excursions,” Chris said. “The boat’s owner was getting on in years and decided to sell it. We bought it with the idea of a retrofit and decided to make it our first design project. And since we’re so well known for our expedition-style vessels, one of the things that we’re so keen on is her timelessness. I mean, just look at her lines.”

I had to agree with Chris. The same lines that were realized back in 1990 still look as dynamic and pleasing 22 years later. “Both of our parents are really good under pressure, have great ideas, and in the end, take the kinds of risks that usually result in a positive outcome,” recollected Michelle as we discussed the switch from the commercial/work boat end of the industry to the design and building of yachts and how important appearances were.

While some of the functions stay the same; that being a tough, ocean-going vessel with a lot of range—approximately 4,000 miles at 10 knots for Project 70007—one of the more important aspects of the refit conception was, while keeping her salty, no-nonsense exterior intact, to make sure all her interior creature comforts were properly upgraded to not only 21st century standards, but to those high bar factors Delta is so well known for as well. “If you go to a commercial yard that specializes in barges, you’re not going to get the kind of fit and finish that we deliver,” said Chris.

Comfort is guaranteed in the living accommodations.

Comfort is guaranteed in the living accommodations.

With the late 1980’s interior fairly modern for the time, including lots of color, the Delta Design Team, led by Jay Minor, who, by the way, came up under John Shubert, put on their building hats and began to figure out how to imbue the living spaces with the kind of timeless presentation they wanted. “As I said, this particular boat is very historic to the company so when we took on the project, we made sure to leave nothing to chance,” said Michelle. And that meant going back to classic yacht design.

As with most successful companies that enjoy their kind of longevity, Delta Marine still has some of the original workers that were there when Ivor and Jack first opened the doors and are now on second generation family members as well. “It’s not only us,” Michelle said, indicating Chris. “Some of the same workers that started building this very boat back then have watched their sons work on this one. And that means the same kind of work ethic, and loyalty and pride in the job that results in the level of craftsmanship you see here.”

With plenty of storage areas, the galley is definitely one of the more prominent focal points aboard.

With plenty of storage areas, the galley is definitely one of the more prominent focal points aboard.

What is seen here is nothing short of the kind of wood and finish work that, even to the untrained eye, is quite impressive including mahogany soles, masterfully crafted built-in furniture with burl veneers and wood painted overheads. “We really liked the theme our team developed when they worked with the Setzer Design Group on the interior of the 123-foot Marama, one of our 2008 builds,” said Michelle. “And we decided to go with that look for our 70 project.” As they would find out, there was much more involved than just an interior makeover.

When Michelle and Chris first took the boat over, their thoughts were more in the fix or replace mode; new carpets, cabinets, soft goods and upholsteries. But that soon spiraled up to a let’s-get-rid-of-everything attitude. Every piece of woodwork is new as is the electronics, wiring and plumbing; the Dometic 10 ton air conditioning, Naiad stabilizers, 16-inch American Trac II bow thruster, 900gpd Aqua Whisper Sea Recovery water maker, 3,000 lb. Marquipt crane, and twin Kohler 36- and 20-kW gensets. “With the engine, that being a 402-hp Cat 3408, and since it only had a couple of thousand hours on it, we had a Cat tech put a fluoroscope inside and have a look. When everything checked out, it stayed.”

One of the more important considerations they kept in focus was in making the yacht quieter. “We did a good job back then,” Chris said, “But with sound technologies evolving over the years, we focused on the engine room, engine mounts and couplings, put in sub walls and triple overheads with lots of insulation, and replaced all the gaskets on the doors. Anywhere we could, we got sound levels down.”

“Our boats are continuing to evolve and we’re doing several proposals on some pretty big vessels right now. Hopefully Michelle and I, along with our fathers and other family members, can bring the company to the next tier by constantly focusing on how we can put out the very best product there is,” said Chris. With the kind of heritage Delta possesses, I would hard-pressed to think the company would not be on my short list twenty years from now without the same pedigree, legacy, and cache it now enjoys.

While we all have that special certain something for our boats, no matter what size or configuration she may be, it is the heart-thumping, dream-inducing kind of feelings one can easily conjure up while imagining being at the helm of the Delta 70 that I think best exemplifies a favorite and insightful quote of mine from Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat: “The mind of the master of a vessel is rooted deep in the timbers of her, though he command for a day or a decade…”. Indeed, she is the kind of boat that gets right into your very soul and confirms, beyond a doubt, why you even go out on the water in the first place. Delta Marine, 206.763.2383.


LOA: 70’/21.3m
LWL: 65’6″/20.0m
BEAM: 20’/6.1m
DRAFT: 9’/2.7m @ half load
DISPL.: 100 long tons @ half load
ENGINES: CAT 3408BHp @ 1800rpm
SPEED: 11.5kn
CRUISE: 11kn
FUEL: 4,400 USg/16,656L
RANGE: 4,000nm @ 10kn
GENERATORS: Kohler 36kW/Kohler 20kW
STABILIZERS: Naiad 254 (updated 3-term electronic control)
BOW THRUSTER: American Trac II 16″
FRESH WATER: 2,000USg/7,571L
WATER MAKER: Sea Recovery Aqua Whisper @ 900gpd
AIR CONDITIONING: Dometic 10 ton
PAINT: Awlgrip
BUILDER/YEAR: Delta/1990/2010
TENDERS: 20′ C-Dory/12′ Rendova
CRANE: Marquipt 50K Sea Crane 3,000lb.

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelA Good Call

The all new VIKING 55C easily picks up where her much-admired predecessor left off.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

The Viking 55C runs proud to a heritage that is built on pride of craftsmanship and a name that is synonomous with the best that a fishing boat has to offer.

The Viking 55C runs on a heritage built on pride of craftsmanship and a name synonymous with the best a fishing boat has to offer.

As all freelance writers can readily attest to, the sound of one’s own phone ringing is a joyous noise and when mine sounded off one particular day, I was quite busy negotiating getting a 47-foot catamaran out of her dock in reverse. While I pride myself on being a competent and intelligent multi-tasker, when it comes to safety, as in this tricky maneuver given having to deal with both a rather insistent breeze and a rip-roaring incoming tide, I decided to wait before picking up the phone until I had comfortably cleared the close-quartered pier and put my current charge on course for the preferred channel.

After the last time I spoke with Marlin editor Dave Ferrell, I quickly found myself with billfish-tight lines for several days in the waters off Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico. And while New Gretna, NJ’s Bass River does not teem with any kind of significant game fish, it is home to a very specific top-of-the-line predator of another genus. For this is where Viking Yachts are designed and built and my quarry this outing is nothing less than the brand spanking new Viking 55C.

Before we jump aboard and have a go at her, there is a little background information on this latest offering from the highly-respected company that will shed some light on this particular vessel’s importance in the Viking line up.

The first 55C, drawn by Bruce Wilson—with Viking since 1968 by the way—was introduced at the 1996 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. It was so well-received that 153 hulls later, the boat had established itself as one of the premier sportfishing boats in its size and accordingly, occupied a strategic place in the Viking fleet. As equally impressive is the fact that Wilson’s son Dave is responsible for designing the new 55.

In describing the 55 from the bottom up, Wilson explained how the convex shape is softened up a bit in the midsections. “We’re always looking to refine it some with tank testing; maybe drop the deadrise two degrees and then another. This new 55 is at 12 degrees at the transom where my dad’s boat was at 15/15 ½. Among other things, we’ve been working at getting a sharper entry up front and a little flatter in the back for a more improved and efficient planning area aft,” remarked Wilson. “Nothing too exotic here and we weren’t looking for any buzz words to describe the design. It is what it is; and if you come out with a good product you can call it a Viking,” he says with pride.

One of the many sisterships to my 55C test boat waits to move up the line at the Viking plant.

One of the many sister ships to my 55C test boat waits to move up the line at the Viking plant.

Besides the several factory visits at those strategic times during a new build, it has always been my assertion that one should first look at the engine room space before anything else on board. For it is here that one can readily see if the kind of thought and planning for such an important area is up to the task. If it is, you can just about count on everything else to follow suit. And that is just what I did.

With Viking’s Peter Frederiksen as my guide, I easily lifted the upper cockpit’s centerline hatch and, after comfortably negotiating the stairs, entered the space. My first impression was that this is a roomy and hands-on friendly space with the kind of work room that would all but eliminate the elbow-busting, knuckle-scraping conditions that are often present in engine rooms of similar sized boats. There is a bright white Awlgripped finish on the overhead and bulkheads and the Viking engineering staff fit in the pair of new MAN V12 1,550hp CRM power plants so as to provide complete access on both inboard and outboard sides. Among many other outstanding features, the latest from MAN offers maintenance-free, gear-driven fresh-water pumps, starter motors that can be fitted to both sides, multi-stage injection for quiet operation; and as I would find out during my performance runs, powerful acceleration and excellent and lightning quick reaction to the throttle. With this kind of power and room to move, this space is a skipper’s dream.

“We try, all the time, to always improve on things on all our boats; to find either a better design or a simpler method,” said Frederiksen as, making his point, showed me the centralized water system on the engine room’s forward bulkhead. Driven by a single, high output, continuous duty pump—yes, there is a backup just in case—with access to all the shut off valves, this system eliminates the need for any other ones to drive the live well, for example, any refrigeration that needs water, the wash downs, shaved ice unit, or water maker. “And if you don’t need a specific system, you can shut it off. It’s all done from right here.”

Efficient use of resin infusion is a major part of the Viking approach to its boat building. Weight saving along with stronger hulls and parts, and a cleaner, more environmentally safe work space definitely makes the company’s A list. “We are using a lot more cored material; like foam and balsa coring in the bulkheads, bringing in new composites, and being careful to look for anywhere to save some weight,” said Wilson.

Along with many of the smaller parts, including up on the bridge and underneath the hardtop, fuel and holding tanks and shower compartments, the 55’s hull has also been infused. Other notable Viking construction techniques include vinyl and polyester resins used in structural laminates and topsides, fiberglass side thru-hulls, prop pockets for draft reduction, solid reinforced keel, encapsulated foam fiberglass stringer system, and vacuum bagged composite bulkheads including the engine room, intermediate engine room, and forward bulkhead.

Viking prides itself on the company’s ability to provide almost ninety percent of everything you find on its boats being supplied by its own design, engineering, and manufacturing entities. And that includes the interior as well. Entering from the cockpit, the sliding door opens up to a well-balanced and functional salon.

This salon layout is one of many interior options available on the 55C.

This salon layout is one of many interior options available on the 55C.

On this 55, there is a C-shape leather couch to port—the cushions are removable with storage areas beneath—and a dinette just forward. The galley is to starboard and is available in either an island or peninsula configuration; the latter allows for a bit more counter space and can include a trash compactor as well. There is ample cabinet storage above the three burner electric stove top and sink and in either arrangement, the four drawer, under counter Sub Zero units make this galley capable of quick eats for busy fishermen or an elegant sit down dinner once the day is done.

The master stateroom offers style and comfort.

The master stateroom offers style and comfort.

The 55C is equipped with a three stateroom, two head layout. The master, with an en suite head, is to starboard with the two-berth quarters directly to port. The forepeak, available in either island berth or angled over under configuration, shares the port side head with the stateroom on that side. All these well-appointed living spaces are quite roomy with excellent headroom and adequate storage. And no matter where I looked or examined, I found excellent fit and finish complementing the tasteful décor all around.

Driving the 55C is nothing short of exhilarating and reminiscent of taking the wheel of a well-tuned and performance-oriented sports car; the result being an exciting and impressively hot nautical ride. While my test day saw clear skies, marginal wind, and flat calm seas, there is no doubt in my mind that she is all Viking and would relish some challenging seas. When I called upon the twin MAN V12’s for a full throttle run, remarking how quickly she came up out of the hole and settled in to spooling up 41 knots, I noticed how responsive the steering was and how well she answered the helm. Whether carving long and looping S-curves, letting her dig in either on port or starboard sides during hard over maneuvers, playing backing down on a near-grander, or just sitting back and letting her run straight and true, near instantaneous control was mine. At 2050 rpm, she settled into a comfortable 34.7 knots and when I knocked her down to 1800, watched the instruments log a 29.8 knot speed with a 93gph total fuel burn. At this rate, this particular boat could expect a range of approximately 440 nautical miles. And throughout my entire performance testing, not once did I detect any kind of smoke or exhaust from the engines.

When I told him about the 55’s remarkable and quick response to the helm, Wilson offered some first-hand insight. “The change here is due to some subtle distances we added between the rudders and the propellers and the space from the rudder to the transom. And like most of the things we’ve learned, it comes from the success on the other boats we’ve built.”

Unfortunately for me, but quite fortunate for her new owner, this 55C was sold and therefore, unavailable for a day of offshore fishing. Really too bad as the late summer bite off the Jersey coast was doing very well and having fished on many Vikings in the past, this kind of outing would have been something I would have truly relished.

The 151 square foot, self-bailing cockpit is Viking-ready for action and packed with all the requisite equipment to make her both a formidable participant on the tournament circuit or hosting a day with some family and friends. The extended flying bridge overhang can provide shade during particularly sunny days while the now-indispensable port aft facing mezzanine not only provides a “fifty yard line” seat for all the action but holds freezer compartment, insulated storage spaces, and tackle drawers as well. Add an optional fighting chair, an additional live well in the sole, and a pair of Rupp ‘riggers to her live well/tuna tube at the transom, her side gaff lockers, rod holders, and in-sole fish boxes, and all you will need to provide is a crew.

Topsides, the flying bridge is available two ways; the first is the traditional set up with access to the forward area over on the starboard side or in a ‘center console’ style. Either way, there is comfortable seating, ample storage areas, and excellent sightlines for the skipper not only into the cockpit, but out into the seaway when performing backing down maneuvers as well. You can customize the helm station to your liking with a variety of options and electronics as well as selecting a full enclosure or hardtop.

Yours truly making the call that will hopefully, get me out on this boat looking for deep waters and tight lines.

Yours truly making the call that will hopefully, get me out on this boat again, this time looking for deep waters and tight lines.

As we backed her into the make-ready dock, where over the next week or two she would get her finishing touches for her impending delivery, I had two thoughts. Firstly, I applaud Viking’s decision to re-introduce the Dave Wilson-designed 55C to the convertible line up. Given its size, power, performance, amenities on both its fishing prowess—it is a Viking after all—and creature comforts, there is little wonder the plant is already eight hulls out. She is truly a boat for the times

My second thought came in an admittedly selfish moment. I hoped that sometime in the future, and sooner rather than later, my phone would ring with an invitation to spend some time fishing on a new 55C.    Now that would be a really good call.

Viking 55 Convertible  Specifications

Length Overall (LOA): 56′ 5″ (17.20 m)
Beam: 17′ 9 (5.41 m)
Draft: 5′ 1″ (1.55 m)
Gross Weight*: 77,700 lbs. (35,244 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 1,414 gals. (5,353 l)
Water Capacity: 225 gals. (852 l)
Cockpit Area: 151 sq.ft. (14.0 sq. m.)
* Standard Fuel Load

Power: 2x 1,550 mhp MAN V12 CRM diesels
Fuel: Full, 1,414 gallons, standard
Water: Full, 225 gallons
POB: 3

RPM             Knots    Total GPH   NM range @ 95%   DBA
1500             20.5        62                444                           82
1600             24.8        73                456                           83
1700             27.0        83                436                           85
1800             29.8        93                440                           86
2000             34.2        108              435                           87
2050             34.7        119              398                           87
2100             36.0        124              399                           88
2200             38.2        138              380                           89
2300             40.1        147              373                           90
2330             41.2        158              357                           91
(2050 is typical cruise speed.)

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelOdyssey Bound

Yet another Northern Marine build, this time a special 64-foot custom project, sets its course for the kind of travel and adventure limited only by imagination.

Text and photography by Capt. Ken Kreisler

With her bow pointed seaward, Aquila is bound for adventures both far and wide.

With her bows pointed seaward, Aquila is bound for adventures both far and wide.

The words came into my head as if I had just read them.

“Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he has sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home…”

“Whoa there Ken,” I said to myself, shaking off the momentary space-out I was experiencing as I, at least for now, ushered the translated words I had long since memorized of the opening lines of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, out of my consciousness. Even after all this time, since first reading the classic work in high school and later on in scholarly study at college, it still had the same, mesmerizing effect on me.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to seek destinations beyond the realm of terrestrial life, it was one of those all too familiar instances, sparked into an almost-reality by the mere fact of being aboard a boat and away from the dock. Only this time I was at the wheel of Aquila,a special custom Northern Marine 64 build with my present location the deep, dark waters of the Guemeus Channel off of Anacortes, Washington. Troy was a long way off from the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest but the effect was the same.

Northern Marine has made Tod Taricco a very happy man.

Northern Marine has made Tod Taricco a very happy man.

I had been enjoying my momentary revelry for several minutes after having my hands on the wheel up on the bridge deck where I stood with Northern Marine’s president Andy McDonald and Tod Taricco, the boat’s captain, owner, and major design contributor for this particular build.

“We’ve revamped our approach over the last few years of what I call a young company,” said McDonald as we zipped up our fleece parkas against the bit of chill wind coming in off the water. “It makes it easier to get lots of fresh ideas from our designers and workers. In the end that means we are constantly working to improve the process and thereby, the product.” Adding to the build philosophy is the fact that Northern Marine’s fully custom profile relies heavily on owner involvement.

To McDonald’s point, Aquila—which, by the way, is the legendary eagle of Greek mythology; a powerful and magical entity that held Zeus’s thunderbolts in its talons, making it quite the formidable presence—and what has become known as Northern Marine’s Aquila Class of builds, is the tenth 64-foot hull the builder has sent down the ways but the first designed to meet U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter T-class standards and be so certified by adhering to the stringent regulations as to the vessel’s design, functionality, operational efficiency, and safety.

Andy McDonald at the helm of Aquila,

Andy McDonald at the helm of Aquila.

“On this project, the engineering cycle was a bit different. Everything had to be sent to Washington D.C. for approval, even prior to starting the actual build,”said Taricco. With past 64s, a more traditional approach resulted in a four stateroom, four head layout below with entertaining and dining areas and pilothouse on the main deck with a topside bridge and tender and crane space among other cruising amenities.

“With this particular project, and given Aquila’s commercial dive/charter/expedition yacht profile, with the ability to operate both in U.S. waters as well as foreign, and to carry paying passengers in international waters, the design was a bit more specific,” continued Taricco. “Andy and I made efficiency and energy-saving a priority.”

Aquila has a bit of understated elegance to her interior that definitely suits her purpose. And given Northern Marine’s fully custom abilities, Taricco got exactly what he envisioned. For example, a large communal salon was designed to allow everyone to be comfortable after a day of diving or exploring; a galley capable of providing not only the ability to serve food but also with plenty of storage space for ships stores while away from port for extended times; an engine room designed for ease of operation; and a pilothouse nothing short of a skipper’s dream. The original layout had the all-important pantry and laundry center down below. But during the mock-up phase; that’s where everything is laid out in actual size and arrangement, it was discovered there was wasted space underneath the stairs and therefore, a much more practical positioning was accomplished. The same thing occurred up forward with some of the door sizes and passageways, the layout of the crew mess, and the addition of the wet head outside enabling divers or others to utilize it before coming inside.

The massive hull of a Northern Marine build starts to take shape.

The massive hull of a Northern Marine build starts to take shape.

A big deal aboard is the boat’s rugged commercial systems including the rotary actuated, rack-and-pinion steering, robust pumps, waste treatment, life saving, and electrical. “Our mission critical criteria will sometimes mean that some of our crew, on any given expedition, are not us. They are employees and in our design here we’ve endeavored to make every ship-board system to be as easily operated as possible.”

On the all-important electrical side, Taricco gave me a crash course in Aquila’s unique cascading bus system. The way it works is that the selected power required from the various sources; inverters, shore power, large generator, for example, allow the loads that are capable of being handled by the selected source to be turned on. So it you have the 27-kW genset in operation, you can run everything. As you drop in kW to the smaller genset, certain things that are not necessary or important at the time, such as the Jacuzzi, won’t turn on. And with shore power, no matter where you plug-in, whether it is in South America, North America, wherever, you are good to go. “We’ve got 6-kW of inverters aboard driven by two large alternators that eliminate the need to run a genset during most crossings,” added Taricco. Another facet to the electrical system is the sophisticated Allen Bradley programmable logic controller which does things such as turning on the nav lights and any pump on the boat; it can monitor current draws, and trends in exhaust temps among many other functions. “From the electronics to the electricals, we have emergency and back-up systems backing up the emergency systems.”

Aquila awaits her launch, up the ways.

Aquila awaits her launch, up on the ways. (Photo: Northern Marine)

The Aquila build was a challenge for MacDonald and the entire Northern Marine team and one that they met head on. Because of the build’s uniqueness, the company has already begun to integrate some of what it learned into the current production boats already on the line. “As I said before, we are constantly looking to improve our processes to make as superior a product as possible,” said MacDonald.

The Pilothouse as realized by Northern Marine.

The Pilothouse as realized by Northern Marine. (Photo: Northern Marine)

So the next time you hear the Sirens of Circe singing, it’s time to listen to your own personal muse. And if that happens to be when you chance to be looking for an ultra-cruising boat, make sure to see what Northern Marine has to offer. You just might find your own odyssey unfolding before you in a most special way.

Northern Marine 64: SEA TRIAL

RPM             SPD(KN)               GPH                       dB(A)

600               4.5                          1                              51
900               6.0                          3                              55
1200             8.0                          5                              58
1500             9.0                          9                              59
1800            10.5                        17                              62

Test Conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS in 100 feet of water on the Guermas Channel, Anacortes, Washington with calm seas and no wind, with 3,100 gallons of fuel, 500 gallons of water, and four people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

LOA: 64’7”
BEAM: 18’6”
DRAFT.: 6’6”
WATER: 500 gal.
FUEL:  3,100 gal.
ENGINES: 1 x 400-hp MTU Series 60

OWNER PROFILE: Fred Kirsch Balances The Ledger and Gets A New 80-foot Northern Marine

Long time boater Fred Kirsch knew he would get what he wanted when he approached Andy McDonald and the crew at Northern Marine.

Long time boater Fred Kirsch knew he would get what he wanted from the crew at Northern Marine.

Fred Kirsch has an outgoing and welcoming personality and one that pulls you right into the conversation. “My father inflicted his sons and daughters with a disease called boating when he bought a 21-foot CruiseAlong back in 1951,” he recollects, an infectious smile spreading across his face as we stand on the reality-in-progress work being done on the foredeck of his new Northern Marine 80 footer.

Hailing from the Chesapeake Bay area, boating has been a major part of his and wife Sharon’s lives. When they married, they promptly acquired an 18-foot runabout until working their way up to a 36 Chris Craft Constellation. “I remember wandering into a yard and seeing a 46 Hatteras Convertible. Three years later, we had a 48 LRC. We put 100,000 nautical miles over the years on Playpen by buddy boating and traveling all over the Caribbean, the Great Lakes, Bermuda, through the Panama Canal, and working our way up to Alaska. My wife liked that boat and so did I.”

The ever-traveling Kirsch’s saw their first Northern Marine years back and had the kind of impression most boaters do when they realize they are looking at their future. “We spent some time researching all sorts of production boats and kept coming back to the custom builds. Having been in the home construction business all my life, I did my due diligence and decided on Northern Marine. Building a custom boat is not for everybody but, here I am and finally getting what I want. These guys know what they’re doing, from the grinders on up to the fabricators and engineers and especially Andy. It always starts at the top.”

What the Kirsch’s are getting is New World Adventure, an 80-foot custom-built yacht with the kind of amenities, accommodations, systems, equipment, and rough-and-tumble, robust build to fit their cruising lifestyle and needs. It’s something that can be summed up in a discussion Kirsch told me he had with his wife when they felt they were ready. “Fred, the ledger books say we can do this.”

The Kirsch’s are planning to spend almost a year in the Pacific Northwest before heading out to, well, wherever they want to. Fair winds folks. Fair winds.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Sea Trials


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Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelMann vs Fish

Fishing sails on Cancun’s Isla Banks in varying sea conditions proves to be a showcase for custom builder Paul Mann’s latest launch.

Text and photography by Capt. Ken Kreisler

Alina leaves a fine wake aft as she shows off her fine profile and Paul Mann pedigree.Photo courtesy of Paul Mann.

Alina leaves a fine wake aft as she shows off her fine profile and Paul Mann pedigree.
Photo courtesy of Paul Mann.

It’s a slow start. Two knockdowns and a small bonita. The little tuna relative slips the hook close in on Blood and, with a whispered Spanish expletive, he decides to go inside and play solitaire on his small laptop. “I loss 23 games,” he would say in his pleasant, pidgin-English and smiling later as we made our way back to Enrique’s Dock on Isla Mujeres when the day was done. “Y’can’t even beat yourself, can you there Sangre,” Capt. ‘Butch’ Cox grinned as he gave Blood a fraternal tap on the shoulder before heading up back to the bridge from the salon of Alina, the 58-foot Paul Mann-built sportfish we were fishing on. Later in the day, Blood would also drop a ‘cuda as well—not so much his fault as a quick look at the frayed and bit-through line would testify to—.and once again, retreat to the cabin to do battle with the electronic deck of cards and a memory chip that would just not give any quarter.

The cerveza is always frio for the fishermen and those visiting funky, laid-back Isla Mujeres.

La cerveza siempre esta fria for the fishermen and those visiting funky, laid-back Isla Mujeres.

The day had dawned with muscular gray clouds instead of sunshine, remnants of a deep-troughed front that swept across the Yucatan last night leaving behind enough wind to get the sea up. Alina slides over a big wave, a bit bigger than the heave we were running in before setting out our lines at the first sighting of a flock of sea birds descending from up high, obviously with something else in mind here besides being avian and enjoying floating back and forth on the thermocline. For a moment the horizon aft disappears as the massive, broad-backed shoulders of the wave rolls away. The single side band crackles. Roberto, one of two mates on Alina today, his already walnut-hued skin now a bit browner from fishing in the Mexican sun for the past week ever since the boat arrived at the dock after her shakedown trip from Mann’s Harbor in North Carolina, with leisurely stops in Wrightsville Beach, Savannah, Palm Beach, and Key West before topping off her 1,354 gallon fuel tanks and making the poke across to Isla Mujeres.


Owner Eric Mansur waits his turn.

Alina’s proud owners are Eric and Patricia Mansur, and home is the island of Aruba. “This boat,” Eric says as he looks out the large salon windows at the rolling sea on our way to the Isla Banks. “Is a dream come true for us. We had it built for our family as well as being a hard-core fishing platform so it serves two functions.” And while Eric made sure his custom Mann had all the necessary fishing amenities—gated tuna door, a pair of 41-foot, triple spreader Rupp Tournament Riggers, Release Marine fighting tuna chair, fresh and salt wash downs, cockpit, mezzanine, and fish box drains, bait well, Eskimo shaved ice maker, four teaser reels, and mezzanine freezer compartment among a long list of must-haves—it was his wife who insisted the interior would be up to her standards of comfort and luxury.

“I was involved in everything inside; the three stateroom, two head layout, the colors of the wood finish and the fabrics, and even the kind and shape of the moldings and trim,” Patricia commented as she led me through the design process. “Paul had fabricated a foam mock-up of the inside; exactly where everything would be so I could actually see and feel the layout. That was a wonderful experience in realizing the final product.”

Roberto looks up at the bridge from the cockpit. “Norte” he says to us as he nods to Cox. Haphazard, another  boat out fishing in the area as well, has called us in. But Alina has something else aboard that sets her apart from any other Mann boat here or anywhere else in the world today—there are presently six altogether in Isla at the moment. Paul Mann is one of our anglers.

In the midst of some bad weather, Haphazard now has the birds following her as the crew gets ready for a fish feeding frenzy.

There was never much doubt that Mann would first be involved in charter boat fishing and then make his mark in the DNA pool that is the exclusive enclave of that particular ‘hot spot’ of North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks boat captains and builders: Originators Omie Tillet and Warren O’Neal, long considered the creators of the Carolina style along with their protégés Buddy Davis, Sunny Briggs, John Bayliss, and Randy Ramsey among a fine cadre of others. It would be as if one lived between Mozart and Beethoven with Da Vinci and Michelangelo residing across the street and not having something rub off. Indeed, I was on one of Mann’s most recent masterpieces.

The Paul Mann version of relaxing.

The Paul Mann version of relaxing.

“I started mating on charter boats when I was 18 and by 20, had my captain’s license,” he says. “All of us that ran boats usually helped boat builders build boats during the winter for some income and something to do. That’s how the whole Carolina thing began. Fishermen building boats for fishermen. I built hull #1 when I was 28 years old and when that first person came along and asked me if I could build them one…well, so there it goes. When someone comes to realize one of my cold-molded, custom builds, they finally know what they want. Fishability and the capacity to run and perform well is a given on a Paul Mann.” In addition, Mann is now known for his interiors with the 81-foot Georgia Girl, topping over 60 entries and winning the Cabinetry category and grand prize in the seventh annual Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge™, one of the most highly respected and well-known craftsmanship competitions in woodworking.

During the early years, Mann carried all he had learned to the next level and admittedly says that boat building came relatively easy to him. “I was always a pretty savvy carpenter and found that if I could see it, I could build it. More to the point, I was really interested in boat design and especially the bottom; why and how it does what it does. I’ve been building my hulls for some 25 years now and they have performed very well because I’ve been able to keep tweaking them to get the boat to do what I want it to do,” Mann says. “A fine entry, less exit, and a spray rail design that is sharper and wider to keep the water on the water is what I’m looking for.”

Alina's hull begins to take shape.

Alina‘s hull begins to take shape. (Photo courtesy of Paul Mann.)

Alina is a cold-molded, jig-built boat with three layers of quarter-inch acumi plywood and fiberglass between each layer. Once the hull is constructed, the outside is glassed with two layers of 17 ounce on the outside. Down the center, where the keel would be on a plank-on-frame boat—Alina has none—the area is routed out and nine layers of 34 ounce are laid in there. After that, the outside is glassed over and the boat is flipped and totally encapsulated inside, as well as the sides, with several layers of 17 glass as well. Then the structural bulkheads go in, set on top of a high density foam after which everything is tabbed in with three layers of glass.

My full day aboard Alina, from sunrise to after sunset in conditions that ran from big rolling swells to rain to spotting a waterspout to running in cresting seas convinced me he has figured things out pretty well. At no time during our run out or getting back to the barn, especially when dealing with substantial quartering seas, did Butch need to pull her back. We maintained a steady 25/27 knots through the slop—topping out at about 30 while racing the sunset—and when coming off big waves, Alina landed softly with no pounding or slamming. “The true Carolina boats run best with the weight aft and we depend on our tabs to push the boat over. Then, when we burn our fuel off, you don’t have use the tabs,” Mann commented as he and I sat in the salon during the morning run. “And my engine rooms? Well, I’ve got one way of thinking on that topic: Y’gotta be able to get two hands on anything you’re liable to be working on.”

Alina's business end gets the job done.

Alina‘s business end gets the job done.

Another 10 or 12 miles and we spot Haphazard running down on a big gathering of birds, her ‘riggers tick-tocking back and forth in the beam sea. Butch throttles down and a dazzlingly white, jade-tinged swell of water promptly rises against the transom and just as quickly disappears with a muffled hush, replaced by the reassuring thrum of the boat’s twin 1,000-hp C-18 Caterpillar diesels. Roberto and Rob Belcher, the other mate, immediately work at getting our gear in the water. Butch has already lowered our ‘riggers and within a matter of moments, he swings Alina’s bow a bit to the west and starts looking for cutting fish. We have birds, just a few at first and then more and still more.

We run six lines out; our port long ‘rigger drags a dredge, a veritable double school of goggle eyes, what with the umbrella-within-an-umbrella configuration, while the starboard one flicks a line of pink squid just across the surface of the rolling ocean. Our short lines are baited with ballyhoo as are the pair of flat, gunwale transom rigs. “We got cutters,” Mann says, as Butch had already turned the boat, almost prescient to the call out.

The fish are indeed right on top; quite a few by the quick count of their familiar dorsal fins and bills now cutting and slicing back and forth on the dark surface water as they herd the bait ball in closer and tighter. The birds dip quickly and then faster as the leavings, and those whole fish that are still alive, rise to the surface. The whir of the hard-top mounted electric teaser reels on the bridge comes to life as the dredge and teaser lines come in, allowing Eric, Mann, Roberto, and Rob to work the four rods in the ample cockpit.

Fully customizable interiors allowed the Mansur's to not only get what they needed but what they wanted as well.

Fully customizeable interiors allowed the Mansur’s to not only get what they needed but what they wanted as well.

The engines drone down a hundred rpm or so and the boat moves off a bit to starboard as the anglers reel in, drop back, and change positions, rods expertly maneuvered in a veritable danza de los Pescadores, to avoid getting caught up with one another. Roberto’s line suddenly goes tight as does Mann’s. Eric picks up and drops a fish. Rob clears his rod, gets it set in the holder and stands by to assist the others. Roberto’s line is now slack as well and he quickly puts up his rig, waiting to see what will transpire. Mann’s fish is on. The other fishermen move back into the cockpit to rebait, allowing Mann and Butch to now maneuver the fish dead astern.

As last man standing, Mann gains some and quickly loses twice as much. Then he loses even more. The line starts to straighten out. The fish jumps twice and again before stripping out more from the dancing rod tip and reel. Alina throttles up in reverse and one of those big seas crashes into the transom. For a moment, a shimmering veil of water leaps up into the air. Mann gets the fish in closer and leads it over to the port side where Rob, gloves on, is ready to grab the leader. A jump or two close in, and with a subtle and expert flip of the leader, the fish slides back into the water.

They had to be real thick out there for yours truly to get one to the transom for a successful release.

They had to be real thick out there for yours truly to get one to the transom for a successful release.

That’s how it would go for the rest of the day out on the Isla Banks. We’d get into the fish, lose them, and find them again. Yours truly managed to bring one to the transom as did the rest of us in the cockpit. Sometime during the day, Blood had whipped up his interpretation of a Philly Cheese Steak, Isla Mujeres style and the salon talk on the way back was rife with the kind of camaraderie that comes with the territory; of being out on the water on a fine boat with old and new friends. We caught and released some and we got released as well.

Alina would be staying in Isla for a while until heading over to Curacao for an upcoming tournament. From there, she heads home to Aruba until fishing South American waters for yet some more competition and more after that. The Mansurs and their Alina are now part of a prestigious community of Paul Mann custom boat owners that has as its many attributes, all the confidence and pride that a well-designed and well-built boat brings.

Length Overall:  58′ 9″
Beam:  18′
Draft:  5′ 6″
Weight (dry):  62,000 lb.
Layout:  3 staterooms, 2 heads
Fuel capacity:  1,354 gal.
Water capacity:  275 gal.
Engine(s):  Twin Cat C18 1000 HP
ZF Gears and Controls
Generators:  (2) Phasor Marine 21kW
Steering:  Sea Star Power Steering
Cruise Speed/GPH/RPM:  28 knts, 66, 1920
Top End/GPH/RPM:  35.8 knts, 92, 2328
Riggers:  Rupp 41′ Tournament with triple spreader
Helm/Fighting Chair:  Release Marine/Tuna Chair w/Rocket Launchers
Hardtop:  Palm Beach Towers
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheel

A Splendid Way To Get Anywhere

The HORIZON EP69 may very well be a ‘vessel of interest’ for those desiring an efficient, full displacement expedition yacht with a bit more speed and luxury.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

With a strong and robust profile, the Horizon EP69 is a stable, safe, and elegant traveling platform.

With a strong and robust profile, the Horizon EP69 is a stable, safe, and elegant traveling platform.

One of the great things about what I do is having the ability to travel. And one of the truly great perks of the job is that I get to do it on boats; boats of all sizes, profiles, amenities and functions and ones designed and built in shipyards all around the world. This time out, it’s aboard a Horizon EP69.

A mere six years after its founding in 1987 by CEO John Lu, himself a product of the National Taiwan Ocean University with a degree in naval architecture, Horizon, already a business in the throes of its own country’s nasty recession, saw its forward thinking leader adjusting his company’s target markets. With Europe, Asia, and Australia showing up on Lu’s radar screen, he also decided to enter the large yacht arena by launching an 80-footer. That was in 1995.

Horizon Yachts' John Lu

Horizon Yachts’ John Lu

What followed over the next few years and continuing into the 21st century, would be a series of high points including, among many others, applying the patented SCRIMP resin infusion technology to the building process, establishing subsidiary companies consisting of Altech Composite to manufacture hulls and superstructures as well as megayacht-dedicated Premier Yachts, and launching the 130+ foot Miss Rose, billed by Horizon as the then-largest, one-shot, SCRIMP-hulled vessel in the world. And it is with that same progressive attitude the company now offers its EP69, an expedition yacht with a lot more than a rugged exterior.

I have to say that right from my first sighting of her big red hull and salty, ship-like exterior including a Portuguese bridge and bulbous bow, at the end of the dock at the Lake Union, Seattle-based facility of Emerald Yacht Sales, the EP69 does offer a fairly tempting nudge in the right direction for fulfilling nautically-powered dreams of those who suffer from what I term as terminal wanderlust.

“The EP69 began life as the company’s Bandido 66 but as the design team tuned it up, they added more space so that now she serves as the entry level vessel to our line up of expedition yachts, that being the 77, 110, and 148,” said Lex Mitchell, Emerald’s west coast distributor for Horizon, as he led me onto her teak-decked swim platform. There is amidships boarding on either side as well but with her stern-to docking here, the ladders were still stowed in the engine room. Not that it’s a negative; in fact, I found getting aboard to be simple, safe, and easy via this large, solid area. And once there, surrounded by all that beefy safety railing, there’s convenient access up to the main deck using the wide stairways to either side or right through the big, dog-latching door smack on the boat’s midline leading to the crew quarters.

“One of the many aspects we really like about what we are able to offer is the yacht finish, both inside and out,” Mitchell remarked as he swung the door open and ushered me inside.

Horizon offers its owners the ability to fully customize the interior to suit their individual tastes and functionality.

Horizon offers its owners the ability to fully customize the interior to suit their individual tastes and functionality.

If this was the start of being impressed with Horizon’s ability to finish off the EP69’s interior to yacht standards, the Taiwan-based builder had my attention. Even with the space’s functional profile, its décor still favored the elegant. The fully found galley, seating area with dining table, and plenty of storage space lies to port, and the head, shower, and two-berth stateroom are to starboard, all surrounded by beautiful cabinetry featuring outstanding joiner work with the area taking full advantage of the boat’s 21’8” beam. And yes, the fit and finish was excellent and a foretaste of what to expect topsides.

A duck into the engine room just forward, via yet another sturdy dogging door, also confirmed Horizon’s ability to provide a working space paralleling the vessel’s mission; that being open ocean cruising where the need to get things done in the most practical and time sensitive way demands quick and easy access to all critical maintenance and machinery areas. I could not find any knuckle crunching, elbow smashing, or forehead denting spaces that would prevent me from getting the job done. With two engines, and lots of space for spare parts and proper tools, the chances of being dead in the water or underway during a crossing or extended voyage, favor the latter.

With its wide open spaces and excellent access to all critical maintance and service areas, the engine room aboard the EP69 is sure to please the hands-on owner/operator or its skipper.

With its wide open spaces and excellent access to all critical maintenance and service areas, the engine room aboard the EP69 is sure to please the hands-on owner/operator or the vessel’s skipper.

Topsides, the mood definitely changes from the practical elegance I just visited to classy sophistication, and on this particular EP69, to one with a trace of contemporary touches to the décor and furnishings.

Entering from the sizable aft deck area, itself outfitted with a proper transom seat, finely finished table, and teak sole, the salon offers wide-open spaces for creative decorating. “We’re a completely custom builder and owners can furnish the boat out to individual tastes and needs,” said Mitchell as we toured the main deck, galley, lower pilothouse, and living accommodations.

With a galley laid out like this one, the dining possibiliites aboard the EP69 are endless.

With a galley laid out like this one, the dining possibilities aboard the EP69 are endless.

The wide-open spaces of the salon allow for creative seating and entertaining areas, and choices of woods and finishes. The galley offers an area for the kind of culinary equipment and facilities to make food prep as laid back or tasteful as the situation demands. And the pilothouse is as professional and well resourced as any with fine woodwork all around, large windows forward and to the sides, and a comfortable seating area to port. Down below, the three stateroom, three head layout allows for spacious forepeak,  starboard side, and full beam master accommodations, all with ample storage space, superb cabinetry work, and the kind of room found on larger vessels.

Access to the bridge deck is via a stairway from the aft deck or in the pilothouse and once up here, it’s a hard place to give up. Seating areas abound with cooking and serving facilities, a bar to port, C-shape couch with a table to starboard, and port side helm. Aft and to starboard, there’s room for a 12-foot tender with the davit mounted on the outboard side.

There were no surprises when out for a ride on the placid waters of Lake Washington, unless it’s the stingy 12gph rate at just over eight knots or the hush quiet 59 dB(A) reading at the lower helm. And even at 11.2 knots, I registered a still-respectable 30gph burn. “We feel it’s the kind of vessel the ‘trawl crawl’ crowd is looking for. She slips easily into that six-plus to eight-knot speed with very efficient fuel consumption for a boat displacing some 72 tons when light,” Mitchell remarked.

While designing the EP69 to be a world traveller, the builder took care to provide elegant accommodations for the owners and their guests, as typified here in the master suite.

While designing the EP69 to be a world traveller, the builder also took care to provide elegant accommodations for the owners and their guests, as typified here in the master suite.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what EP means, hang on we’re almost there. You see, while I don’t mind leaning on the throttles now and then, and feeling the adrenalin rush of big iron coming to life and pushing a massive planning hull up out of the hole, I do have a very special place in my nautical heart for just taking it easy and having a strong, well-built vessel at my command. And that’s where the ocean-going Horizon EP69 may come into play for those like-minded mariners. EP stands for Economical Pilothouse, and in these days of fiscal stress and strife—and even though they will come to pass—getting away from the dock, and staying away for as long as is necessary, just got a lot easier. Horizon Yachts, 886-7-860-7770,

RPM                   KNOTS     GPH          dB(A)

650                    4.7              2.3              56
900                    6.5              6.0              57
1200                  8.2              12.0            59
1500                10.1              19.0            60
1800                11.2              30.0            65
2100                12.1              48.0            65

Test Conditions

Speeds were measured by GPS in 200 feet of fresh water on Seattle’s Lake Washington, with calm seas and 10-knot winds, with 1,000 gal. fuel, 520 gal. fresh water, and four people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

LOA: 77’8”
191,400 lbs.
4,760 gal.
800 gal.
2 x 560hp MAN D2876LE diesels
2 x 560hp MAN D2876LE diesels

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Sea Trials


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