|Beam||16 ft., 11 in.|
|Draft||4 ft., 3 in.|
|Engines||Twin Cummins QSM11-M, 715 hp each|
|Base Price||as tested $1,495,000|
|Twin Cummins QSM11-M 715 hp diesels, Onan 20 kw generator, Magnum 4000 inverter, Max Power bow and stern thrusters, 30-gal. water heater, electric heads, Maxwell anchor windlass w/controls at windlass and pilothouse, stacked washer/dryer, SubZero drawer refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, microwave/convection oven, central vacuum and much more.|
|Westcoast Custom Yachts, Port Coquitlam, B.C.; westcoastcustomyachts.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Crow’s Nest Yachts, Seattle; (206) 625-1580; crowsnestyachts.com
Crow’s Nest Yachts, Newport Beach, Calif; (949) 574-7600; crowsnestyachts.com
Crow’s Nest Yachts, San Diego; (619) 222-1122; crowsnestyachts.com
Posted: December 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Express Cruiser
An express coastal cruiser in excess of 60 feet? You betWhat do you do when, about 20 years after you retired from the boat-building industry, you get bored? I guess you could retire from retirement and go back to building boats. But what octogenarian would want to make that drastic decision? If you figure that won’t happen, you’ve never met 81-year-old Forbes Cooper, former builder of Maple Leaf sailing vessels and Prowler motoryachts, because going back to building boats is exactly what he did.
Cooper’s latest offering, however, is unlike any boat he built in the past. In fact, if I had not seen a photo of the boat before arriving at the Crow’s Nest Yachts dock in Seattle, I would never have picked out the sleek racing-like express cruiser as a Cooper build. And no wonder — this is the first express cruiser Cooper has ever built. When asked why he chose to build such a boat, Cooper’s response showed that while he may have been out of the building business for two decades, he has been paying close attention to industry developments: “That’s what’s selling right now.”
Cooper’s Westcoast 64 is one of the largest new express cruisers currently on the market. Because of its size, all of the spaces on board are large. Headroom throughout is 6 feet, 10 inches, and there are three staterooms, all en suite with separate shower stalls.
The current Westcoast hull began life as a 55-foot semi-displacement hull originally designed by well-known Washington state naval architect Howard Apollonio. After building a number of the original design, Cooper re-engineered the hull: widened it, raised the bow and added more flare. The vessel’s sharp entry cuts through chop nicely, and the pronounced flare gives the vessel a good reserve buoyancy.
The solid fiberglass hull bottom has a keel that ends about 15 feet short of the 12-degree V transom. The solid glass of the hull bottom extends about 8 inches above the waterline, and from there to the deck the hull is cored with Divinycell. Cooper built in a fair bit of rocker when he re-engineered the hull, making it deeper roughly amidships than at either the stem or the stern. With the engines installed in the deepest area of the hull, shaft down-angle is only about 8 degrees, rather than the 12 to 15 degrees of similar-sized vessels, unless they have prop pockets. This creates a more efficient drivetrain and better speed and fuel economy.
Two glassed-in foam stringers run in the hull bottom from stem to stern and are doubled in the engine room to provide extra strength for engine mounts. Decking is 2-inch Nida-Core structural honeycomb that is glassed top and bottom. This structure creates a very stiff, lightweight deck.
Access to the vessel is through the transom into the lower cockpit. Take two steps up, and you are in the upper cockpit, immediately aft of the salon, an area being referred to as a “California deck” on many new vessels that share this configuration. The lower cockpit features a built-in barbecue, a sink and a food prep area. The California deck has L-shaped and linear settees, so that a dozen people can easily gather on the aft of the new 64 without bumping into each other. Access to the engine room is through a watertight door from the lower cockpit, and a hand-held docking plug connection is located on the California deck. The lazarette is huge and can stow any reasonable number of bumpers, water skis and deflated inflatables.
The sidedecks are adequate to allow easy and quick movement along either side of the deckhouse, and a good, sharp nonskid surface provides solid footing even when the decks are wet. Access to the roof of the deckhouse is via a ladder that stows aft when not in use. The decks everywhere on the vessel were solid underfoot, and I detected no flex in them.
A large and open salon appears even bigger, thanks to its 6 feet, 10 inches of headroom and wrap-around, bonded windows. It’s also bright and cheery, flooded with natural light even on a dull day. Cherry paneling contrasts nicely with the beige headliner and upholstery. The entire galley and helm area is painted a contemporary red. Berber carpeting is used in the salon sitting area, and laminate flooring is laid down in the galley and helm area.
The U-shaped galley is outfitted with a Sub-Zero drawer-style refrigerator/freezer, a dishwasher, a four-burner electric stove, a microwave/convection oven and a combination ice-maker/wine cooler.
Three staterooms, all with electric toilets, vanities and separate shower stalls, are down and forward. The full-beam master boasts a queen-size island bed and a walk-in closet. Forward of the master, to port, is a double stateroom that could be set up as an office. The third stateroom, in the forepeak, features an island queen bed, a head with an electric toilet, a vanity, a separate shower and plenty of storage. A companionway locker hides a washer and dryer, while in another locker just forward of that are pumps that provide for various accommodation features, such as plumbing, drains and other items that need regular service. This is a useful feature from a builder who has had to fix it himself when he’s out boating.
The engine room is the largest I’ve seen in a vessel this size. Again, the 6 feet, 10 inches of headroom adds dramatically to one’s perception of the room’s size. Aluminum checker-plate flooring provides good footing and makes oil spills easy to clean up. Both sides of the twin diesels can be serviced easily, as can the 20 kw generator. The 64’s engine room is laid out cleanly and simply, without any of the complex web of wiring or plumbing you sometimes see in other engine rooms. The fuel tanks, port and starboard, have sight gauges, complete with a tape measure so you can immediately see what’s left of the fuel supply and not have to rely solely on an electrical or electronic sender. Each engine has its own analog gauges in the engine room. An Isotherm transformer is present, to clean up “dirty” shore power.
We fired up the twin 10.8L (661 cubic-inch) 715 hp engines, with no signs of smoke or clatter, and idled away from the dock at 600 rpm, burning a total of 2.3 gph while making 6.4 knots. At 1000 rpm, we moved up to 9.2 knots and burned 5.7 gph. We burned 19.5 gph at 1500 revs and made 13.7 knots. Two thousand rpm, at which point the engines were under a 54 percent load, brought us up to 20 knots and burned 36.8 gph. The top rpm reading, 2500, produced 25.6 knots with a fuel burn of 63.9 gph. Engine load at that speed was only 79 percent. Speeds were measured by an independent GPS, and fuel-consumption figures came from the engines’ onboard computers.
It’s clear from our tests that the hull and driveline operate very efficiently at 1000 revs, making almost 10 mph — trawler speed — and getting 1.75 mpg. This is excellent mileage for a vessel this size. Operating at that speed, the engines were loaded to only 33 percent.
The vessel responded smartly to the helm and carved sharp turns like an Olympic-class slalom skier. It handled well at all points of the compass, regardless of speed, and tracked dead straight, even with almost no helm input.
The Westcoast 64 came on plane at 8.2 knots, 3 to 5 knots less than other vessels this size, with its modest power. The rockered hull, when the stern began to suck down as power was applied, brought the bow up slightly, but steadily, reducing the wetted surface and the drag forward, allowing the whole vessel to lift quickly on plane. In other words, the bow did not plow water as it accelerated, and Cooper’s new 64 is one of a few hulls with this design feature.
In the past, Forbes Cooper was known for building uncomplicated, honest vessels. He has a reputation for building a boat that a couple could operate effectively. Since he and his wife boat 70 days each year, he has had to service boats he built. Such experience led to vessels that are easy to service and don’t have unnecessary frills. The 64, while it is the first express cruiser Cooper has built, still retains the same basic simplicity his other offerings have had.
Posted By: Gordon On: 12/7/2012
Title: West Coast 64
Forbes, You may recall that ordered your 1st COOPER 353. That boat is now making another owner happy in Homer Alaska, and is 32 years old. I will contact you in the Spring to have a look.
Good for you!!