|LOA||66 ft. 8 in.|
|Beam||17 ft. 10 in.|
|Draft||5 ft., 5 in.|
|Engines||Twin MTU Series 60, 825 hp|
|Base Price||$2,630,000 as tested|
|The hull is solid fiberglass to the waterline with a foam core above. The deck and superstructure are cored with balsa. Aluminum beams add structural strength.|
|Twin MTU Series 60 825 hp diesels, dual Racor fuel filters, 4.5-mm-thick aluminum fuel tanks, five electric bilge pumps w/auto and manual switches, high-water bilge alarm, 40-gal. hot water tank, AGM batteries, Delta T intake/exhaust fans, wet exhaust, windlass, trim tabs, Pantograph windshield wipers, tempered dark-tinted window glass, fiberglass bow pulpit w/stainless anchor roller, large corner cleats, solid wood flooring in pilothouse, mattresses for all berths and more.|
|Teak-covered swim platform and cockpit deck, underwater lights at transom, electronics, fuel-polishing system, flybridge barbecue, swing-out third control in cockpit, Quattro 5,000-watt inverter/charger, Sea Recovery 900 gpd water-maker, air conditioning and heating, various galley appliances and more.|
|Alexander Marine Ltd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan; oceanalexander.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Ocean Alexander California, Newport Beach;
(949) 515-7700; oceanalexander.com
Ocean Alexander Washington, Seattle;
(206) 344-8566; oceanalexanderseattle.com
Posted: April 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
New deck and interior layout enhance the quintessential aspiration boatOcean Alexander’s founder, Alex Chueh, ended up in the boat-building business by accident. He was a flooring manufacturer in Taipei when he loaned a friend some money to buy a boatyard. When the friend was unable to repay the loan, Chueh became a boat builder, and in 1978 he began his lifelong collaboration with naval architect Ed Monk Jr. Chueh died last year at the age of 77, but his legacy lives on in the range of yachts that now runs from a 54-foot trawler to a 155-foot mega-yacht. In between are Ocean Alexander’s motoryacht and pilothouse designs, including the recently unveiled 65 Pilothouse, which sports a new deck and interior aboard the old 64-foot hull. This 2012 design has added a bit of room, comfort and even more luxury.
Stepping aboard the new 65 Pilothouse, the first thing I noticed was the amount of space. It’s a big 65-footer — as if there is such a thing as a small one. The second thing I noted was the smooth ride when the docklines came off, and the grande dame took off with a surprisingly quiet grace — the way a Cadillac would feel if it were built to float.
The 65 Pilothouse has port and starboard boarding gates, or you can come up from the swim platform that has steps along either side to the aft cockpit. From here, a curved staircase leads up to a flybridge that has been lengthened and accessorized with a full wet bar, a refrigerator, a home-style stainless barbecue grill and a stretch of granite counter that will work nicely when entertaining.
On starboard is a U-shaped settee that will easily seat six. Forward, and still under the protective cover of the extended hardtop, are two mechanical Stidd helm chairs, the centerline wheel, and an expanse of dash with a full suite of electronics that, on our test boat, is mostly Furuno running NavNet 3D. Aft is an open deck with a 1,600-pound dinghy davit and room for another 10 guests with a cocktail in hand — when the dinghy is in the water.
Back in the aft cockpit, I stepped down through the optional teak cockpit sole into the lazarette that could practically hold a Mini Cooper. There is no shortage of storage space. I accessed the separate engine room through a lifting hatch built into the wet bar in the cockpit. This is also a sizeable space with twin MTU Series 60 825 hp engines with near walk-around access. Our test boat also has two Kohler 23 kw gensets, hydraulic thrusters (25 hp bow and 15 hp stern), hydraulic Keypower stabilizers and 615 amp hours in the house bank with separate starting batteries for the engines and gensets.
I moved forward from the aft cockpit to the bow on wide sidedecks protected by 35-inch-high stainless safety rails that are 2 inches in diameter and elliptical in shape, so they’re easier to hold. I noticed the fuel fills are conveniently located on both port and starboard. Another nice touch is the wipers and defrosters on each of the three forward windows. Clearly, this boat would be at home in Mexico as well as gunkholing in Alaska.
Once at the bow, I checked out the opening chain locker, behind which is a collision bulkhead. A hydraulic Maxwell VWC3500C windlass and a large plow anchor on several hundred feet of chain round out the safety package that will keep you off a lee shore in a blow.
The new interior is where the 65 Pilothouse really shines over its predecessor. Several of the living spaces gained a few feet from the original 64 design. For example, the galley, located in the pilothouse, grew by a foot. This is a full-sized kitchen with an expanse of Giallo Veneziano Fiorito bullnose granite countertops and a granite floor. The appliances are plentiful, including a full-sized stainless steel JennAir refrigerator, a Kenyon electric cooktop below a 30-inch JennAir microwave/convection oven, a Gaggenau 24-inch electric oven, a dishwasher and a Whirlpool trash compactor. Loads of storage is provided by overhead cabinets and multiple drawer-style lockers below the counters.
I passed the steps on port that take a shortcut up to the flybridge and plopped down onto the large, plush, L-shaped dinette. From here I had a clear view of the walk-through between the galley counter and Stidd helm chair that now is more open so it’s easy to move about. The two watertight doors on either side exit to the decks, and with their stainless steel dogging mechanism, they’re works of art.The dash on the 65 PH is impressively sized but also ergonomically designed. All instruments are within reach from the chair, and the helm area on our test boat is padded and covered with Ultraleather. Two 17-inch Ambient LCD monitors display navigation information from the radar and chartplotter, as well as feeds from cameras mounted all around the vessel.
From the pilothouse, three steps lead aft and down to the living room-sized salon with acres of windows that you can see out of even when you’re seated. The satin finish is impeccable, with generous use of Afromosia wood paneling and cabinetry. On starboard, our test boat has a large L-shaped sofa and a low coffee table. Two chairs and an end table are on port. All furniture for Ocean Alexander boats is done locally, so the owner has a lot of say in the layout, fabrics and décor. Other amenities in the salon include a Sunpentown wine cooler, a 40-inch LCD TV and an audiovisual system with surround sound, so home will never be missed, even at anchor.
The three cabins forward are accessed via steps down from the pilothouse with a pause on a small landing, or foyer, which holds a Maytag washer/dryer. The master stateroom is amidships, and several feet were added to this space in the redesign. The port-side head, with a Svevo marble shower floor and trim, is now full sized, as is the cedar-lined hanging locker with auto lighting. A small vanity desk is on port, and a 32-inch LCD TV is on the forward bulkhead. Two fixed windows were also added to either side of the hull to provide more ambient light and make it feel less like you’re “inside” the boat.
The forward guest stateroom in the bow has a queen-size bed, a TV and DVD, hanging lockers and a head that is shared with the third guest cabin, which has two side-by-side berths. Soft accent lighting gives the entire interior a warm, high-end hotel-like feel. All lower walkways are lined with chamois cloth to minimize scratches and damage, and the whole headliner is removable throughout the boat for easy access to the electrical systems.
The 65 PH, like other Ocean Alexander hulls, has prop tunnels that put the propellers and shafts farther aft and higher up into the boat. The thought is that it reduces both draft and fuel consumption and increases speed. Other purported advantages of the tunnels are increased lift, which can account for another knot of speed, and reduced vibration and noise. It is true that on our test, the only time the props made themselves known was in a very sharp turn when they began to cavitate.
The standard twin 825 hp engines are farther aft, which results in up to 8 feet of additional interior space. An upgrade to 1,000 hp engines is available but only gains you 2 to 3 knots at the top end while taking a ding out of fuel economy. Our test boat cruised at 1200 rpm, making 10.6 knots in little wind and flat seas while burning 13 gph, approximately 0.9 mpg. Fuel consumption jumped when we stepped up to 1400 rpm, which yielded 12.1 knots and a fuel burn of 23 gph. A cruising speed of 15 knots put the burn rate in the mid-40-gallon range. At 18.1 knots, the boat was burning 60 gph and the engines were turning over at 2000 rpm. At the top end, the efficient hull managed to eke out 22.4 knots at 2350 rpm and burn 89 gph. Overall, Ocean Alexander’s engineering and underwater exhaust create whisper-quiet yachts with good fuel economy for their size.
The 65 PH is surprisingly easy to run for a big boat and could be managed by a couple. The skipper can keep an eye on all systems from either helm station and can check on various parts of the vessel with cameras that provide a view of the engine room as well as other spaces. Our test boat is virtually single-handed, and when we came in for a landing, the captain pulled a steering station out of a locker in the aft cockpit. He brought the engines to neutral and put the bow and stern thrusters into a hold position to press the boat up against the dock even in a cross breeze. Without a hint of apprehension or hurry, he stepped off the boat, secured the docklines and only then shut down all systems.
Ocean Alexander hulls are solid fiberglass below the waterline and closed-cell foam-core sandwich above. For additional strength, Ocean Alexander uses aluminum I-beams that are relatively lightweight, strong and corrosion-resistant. The deck and superstructure are balsa cored and vacuum bagged to be light and stiff, and despite its 75,300 pounds, it’s not really a heavy boat. As of 2012, all Ocean Alexander models are painted with two-part Alexseal paint. White is standard, while other colors are optional. The advantage of paint over gelcoat is that it will not oxidize and doesn’t need to be polished and waxed regularly to retain its long-lasting beauty.
The smallest in the Ocean Alexander line is a 54-foot trawler, which means the builder’s clientele is composed of experienced boaters rather than first-timers. Despite their size, however, most of these boats are run by their owners rather than professional crew, and these are knowledgeable people who provide useful feedback to the company.
The semi-custom 65 PH is the kind of vessel that boaters transition to from something else once they have amassed the necessary experience and confidence. It is a stately yacht with generous proportions, good fuel economy, plentiful luxury and good sensibility on the open water. The Ocean Alexander 65 Pilothouse is also an “aspiration boat” that says, “I’ve arrived, and I know what I like.”