|LOA||51 ft., 8 in.|
|Draft||4 ft., 6 in.|
|Engines||Twin Yanmar 6CX, 530 hp|
|Base Price||$851,345 (introductory)|
|- Twin Yanmar 6CX diesels
- 530 hp each
- Kohler 10 kw generator w/insulated sound shield
- 50-amp shore power
- windlass remote at both helms
- underwater exhaust
- double-wide bridge helm seat
- dripless shaft seals
- refrigerator/freezer and much more
|- Joystick Maneuvering System by ZF
- FRP hardtop w/hatches
- davit w/hydraulic rotation
- bridge bar w/refrigerator
- air conditioning
- bow thruster
- TV in salon and staterooms
- VacuFlush heads
- washer and dryer
- ice-maker in salon and much more
|Navigator Yachts, Perris, Calif.; (951) 657-2117; navigatoryachts.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|- CA Yacht Sales International, San Diego;
(619) 291-2628; cayachtsales.com
- Sundance Yacht Sales, Portland, Ore.;
(503) 283-3216; sundanceyachts.com
- Sundance Yacht Sales, Seattle;
206) 633-2850; sundanceyachts.com
Posted: September 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Built on the West Coast for West Coast boatersTom Nuxoll of CA Yacht Sales in San Diego stood in the cockpit and gracefully guided the Navigator 5100 JMS to the dock and set the Hold Position function so I could step aboard for our sea trial. I repeated the procedure at the end of the sea trial with decidedly less grace, though that was not the fault of the twin 530 hp Yanmar 6CX engines or the ZF Joystick Maneuvering System. I was guilty of what a lot of people fall victim to with joystick systems: overkill. Small, smooth movements produce results. Technically, so do big, jerky movements, but the small and smooth motions get you there much faster, without the one-step-forward, two-steps-back ballet I conducted.
Once you get the hang of the joystick, docking becomes quite easy, much like a video game, and the ZF JMS doesn’t require pods. It can be integrated with most traditional shaft-line vessels, controlling the engines, transmission and thruster all at once. The addition of a joystick in the cockpit, against the bulkhead between the salon and the cockpit, makes it easy for the captain to see what’s going on aft and along the port side of the vessel.
As with the pod-based joystick systems boaters are becoming increasingly familiar with, with JMS you can walk the boat sideways or at any other angle and spin it 360 degrees. What builders such as Navigator are finding out is that because joysticks ease much of the fear of docking, first-time boat buyers aren’t afraid to make a 51-footer, or bigger, their first boat, especially — as I’ve half-jokingly written before — if they have video-game-playing teenagers who are used to flying and driving futuristic vehicles in tight quarters and through enemy fire.
Navigator (and Californian) yachts have been built by the Marshall family since the early 1960s, and I get the sense the 5100 would be a great fit for a family of four or five, especially the three-stateroom configuration. That’s not to say a cruising couple wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the abundant space and handle the boat themselves — joystick docking can be thanked for that — but I can see a family taking full advantage of the various gathering spaces on the yacht.
On those days that demand your presence outside, the flybridge on the 5100 will be a popular place. It has a just-port-of-center helm station with an oversized captain’s seat. Aft of that is a J-shaped settee. To starboard is a built-in unit featuring a refrigerator, an ice-maker and storage. Forward of that is another settee with seating for four. Aft is a tender deck with a davit. Covering everything but the tender deck is a hardtop with a three-quarter enclosure and complete with lights and hatches, so you can feel the breeze while avoiding the direct sun.
A stairway just to starboard of the helm leads down to the pilothouse, which includes a dinette. In fact, the dinette is on a slightly elevated level with the pilothouse helm, and the captain’s chair rotates to port to give the captain a convenient seat at the dinner table, which could double as a chart table (not while you’re eating, though). The U-shaped dinette settee with room for five, maybe six, passengers wraps around a drop-leaf walnut table that swivels to ensure easy access. The face of the dash is wood and has room for a large flush-mount display. Engine controls and instruments are within easy reach, and there is a 360-degree view for those days when driving on the flybridge isn’t appealing.
Down two steps from the pilothouse are the galley and salon. The U-shaped galley — complete with Corian countertops, storage above and below, a refrigerator/freezer, a microwave, a double stainless sink and more — is between the salon and pilothouse, but the bar-height breakfast counter keeps the area open, creating one large room. When the double stainless steel entrance doors are open, passengers from the cockpit to the pilothouse can be part of the same conversation.
The salon includes an eight-and-a-half-foot sofa to starboard, a barrel chair to port, a 40-inch TV on an electric lift and two stools at the breakfast bar. Finding room for game time or movie time will not be an issue. There are windows all around, so natural light pours into the area. Plus, you can create a nice breeze through the main cabin by opening the salon doors and the starboard-side pilothouse door, which provides access to the foredeck.
Throughout the main cabin, rich, high-gloss walnut is set off nicely against the white upholstery, carpet and headliner. It definitely has a homey feel that can only add to your peace of mind at sea.
Belowdecks at the foot of the stairs is a landing that provides access to the staterooms and heads. Our test boat has three staterooms and two heads, but there is an option for just two staterooms. In the three-stateroom option, both heads are smaller, and the forward stateroom loses some closet space, but the bunks provide two more berths. In either scenario, the master stretches across the entire 15-foot beam amidships and benefits from two vertical portholes on both sides. A 24-inch TV with a DVD player drops from the ceiling, and there is a hanging locker to each side of the TV and storage below it. The en suite head includes a full shower stall, a vacuum-flush toilet and a sink in a Corian countertop.
The other staterooms have an optional 19-inch TV with a DVD player, and they share a head with a shower stall and a vacuum-flush toilet. Throughout the accommodations, there is enough headroom for most people, and portholes and hatches provide a breeze and keep the area well lit.
After we put the 5100 through its low-speed maneuvers in Newport Harbor, we headed for open water to find out how it handles at higher speeds. The seas were calm that day, so we had to make our own waves, and the planing hull with a 14-degree deadrise aided in that effort. Cutting the wheel hard to starboard at around 20 knots put us into an aggressive turn and created a good-size wake that the 5100 sliced through with no trouble. A hard turn of the wheel to port got us going in the opposite direction and completed a tidy figure-eight, or an infinity symbol, depending on your perspective. The yacht didn’t shake or shudder throughout the maneuver and felt stable the entire time.
With the twin Yanmar 6CX diesels maxed out, we reached a top speed of just over 26 knots at 2920 rpm, while burning between 53 and 54 gph. An rpm count of 2400 yielded 19.8 knots with a fuel burn of 38 gph. Pulling back to 2000 rpm pushed the yacht to 15 knots and burned 26 gph. If you want to take your time to Catalina or up to the San Juans, setting the engines at 1500 rpm will have you moving along at 10.9 knots and burn 11.5 gph. The power in the Yanmar powerplants comes on smooth, and the 5100 gets up to speed with little bowrise, keeping visibility high and increasing the safety factor.
Independent testing, the numbers of which were close to ours during the test, showed one strength of the Yanmar engines. While the gph climbed with the rpm, as expected, the range was essentially the same from 2400 rpm on up to WOT, between 292 and 319 miles.
Back at the dock, even while I learned the ropes with the joystick, there was never any hard engagement when the drives kicked in. Every change of direction happened smoothly, especially once I figured out that less is more. And the Hold Position function, or “I-Anchor,” with a built-in GPS that holds the boat’s position until it’s disengaged, allowed Nuxoll and me to finish our conversation while the boat held steady.
The Navigator 5100 is definitely a vessel for West Coast boating, benefiting from the fact its builders are West Coast boaters who manufacture in California. It’s solid and sturdy, and while it doesn’t have one of those aggressive profiles that instantly make you think about speed, it can reach 30 mph with no problem.
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