An instantly recognizable addition to the builder’s line
Fleming has been producing cruising yachts for almost 30 years and has introduced a completely new model into its lineup: the Fleming 58. It shares the same look as the other three vessels in the family, including a low profile, very conservative and traditional styling, a dedicated pilothouse and a semi-displacement hull with twin engines. Flemings are instantly recognizable worldwide.
An indicator of how well the Fleming 58 has been received is that 20 of them have been sold worldwide, which augurs well for their future resale value.
New Design Features
The new 58-footer fits nicely into the size gap between the original 55-footer (of which more than 240 have been launched) and the 65-footer. The builder created a 1:12 scale model of the new design and had it tank tested at the Australian Maritime College test tank in Tasmania. The results of the design research work led to a volumetrically larger, much heavier vessel. The 55 displaces 66,000 pounds in light-displacement mode, whereas the 58 displaces 88,000 pounds in the same mode — a full 33 percent more, even though the length has been increased by only 5.4 percent. A well-designed heavier vessel is generally more comfortable when cruising along at displacement speeds than a lighter one, and our test boat was certainly more comfortable than the 55 we tested some time ago.
The 58’s designers were clever, and that creativity shows when you compare the new vessel to the 65. The designed displacement of the 58 is only about 17 percent less than the 65. Fleming has, in one new boat, improved markedly on the 55 and produced a vessel with performance very close to the 65. The 58, running as a displacement vessel, operates most efficiently at 7.13 knots. The 65, operating in the same mode, makes 7.87 knots, less than three-quarters of a knot more.
Fleming said most owners operate their vessel in the 9- to 10-knot range, and the builder focused design time and energy to make sure the 58 is efficient and quiet at that speed. It was time and energy well spent. During our test, when we operated the vessel at 1000 rpm, the boat moved along at 9.4 knots and burned 7.7 gph. Our decibel meter read only 66 decibels. Fuel consumption at that speed, for a boat the size of the 58, is excellent.
When Fleming talks about new design items, it is really comparing the 58 to the 55, and some of the new design items are quite noticeable, not just changes brought about because the builder had a bigger hull. One of the major changes will not be immediately obvious, even though it’s right in the face of any boater who walks up to the vessel. Fleming is famous for its beautiful, brightly finished teak caprails. Company owner Tony Fleming likes the teak caprails, but he said, “Unfortunately, it must also be said that maintaining this caprail is time-consuming and expensive.” Fleming is right, but rather than simply concede that it’s something owners must deal with, he did something about it. The builder developed a fiberglass alternative that looks every bit as good — or even better, according to some — as brightly finished natural teak. It’s a proprietary product Fleming calls Burrwood, in honor of Fleming’s East Coast dealer, Burr Yacht Sales, who first introduced the idea.
Four hull gates — one each to port and starboard about a third of the way forward of the transom, and two positioned to the aft of the Portuguese bridge — make getting on deck quite convenient. The traditionally wide Fleming sidedecks make moving fore and aft along them quick, safe and easy. A good, working foredeck provides space for twin anchor winches mounted vertically on an anchor platform that’s placed at a convenient height. There are three large storage lockers on the foredeck that can easily handle bumpers, deck cushions or extra line.
The aft cockpit, while very similar to the one on the 55, is bigger. A transom gate allows direct access from the swim step into the cockpit. The swim step is at the height of most standard docks, so it’s an easy, straight step across to it from the dock. A set of engine controls fits nicely on a pad against the salon’s aft bulkhead where it is covered by the salon roof. To the cockpit’s port side, a set of steps allows access to the large, comfortable flybridge, and under the steps is a storage locker that is tall enough to hang wet-weather gear until it dries.
A gas strut–stabilized hatch in the cockpit sole offers easy access to the standup-room engine space. It is well lit and well ventilated and sound insulated, accounting for the quietness throughout the boat, even when all 1600 hp are unleashed. The engine room is really the machinery space on board, and moving around to inspect and service equipment is not a problem.
The salon is very much like all Flemings, with excellent fit and finish and a traditional look and feel throughout. The large U-shaped galley offers prep space for a snack or for a full gourmet meal. It boasts a four-burner cooktop, a full-size oven and a convection microwave. A full-size side-by-side refrigerator/freezer combo and a full-height pull-out pantry provide plenty of space for food storage. There’s also plenty of drawer and cupboard storage. Solid countertops allow for quick and easy cleanups.
The salon lounge and entertainment center features a 40-inch flat-screen TV and a bar. A comfortable seating area with a high-low table gives the area a home-like feeling. The salon length on the new 58 is about the same as on the 55, but the width is greater because of the 58’s extra beam. Owners can specify various seating options, and with a clever combination of fixed and moveable seating, the salon can be truly open and comfortable.
Because of the wide sidedecks, the vessel does not have the interior space of many of the new, modern designs.
The three very comfortable staterooms are reached via a set of centerline steps from the salon forward of the galley. The master stateroom, complete with a centerline island queen bed and an en suite head with a separate shower stall, is in the forepeak, while the other two staterooms are to port off the hall that leads to the master. A washer and dryer are in a closet in the accommodation space. The quality of the fittings and equipment in the accommodation space is first class, as is the fit and finish of all the joinery. The 58, unlike the 55, offers a number of interior options, including a full-beam master stateroom. Our test boat had the traditional layout.
The pilothouse has room for twin helm seats thanks to the 58’s larger hull. Visibility is excellent all around at cruising speeds, and the L-shaped settee and table make a comfortable sitting area for passengers who want to keep the skipper company. The day head is also conveniently located in the pilothouse.
A Word About Engines
Our test 58 featured twin MAN R6 800 hp 12.8L (781 cubic inch) engines instead of the standard Cummins QSC 8.5 with 500 hp. The 800 hp R6 is the lowest power rated engine European manufacturer MAN makes. Apparently the first three 58s were sold to European owners, and the buyers wanted European engines. To push a new, fully loaded 58 at displacement speed, about 9.5 knots, the hull requires only about 210 hp, but the Fleming dealer who was on the boat when we tested it said that some owners want to be able to go faster, so more power was installed.
We fired up the twin MANs, and they started instantly without shudder, hunting or smoking. They idled smoothly, without excessive noise, at 600 rpm and, as we left the dock we moved along at 5.4 knots, burning 2.9 gph. As noted earlier, when we upped the rpm to 1000, we made 9.4 knots while burning 7.7 gph. The vessel ghosted along very quietly. At 1500 revs, fuel consumption went up to 22.5 gph at a speed of 12.5 knots. At 2000 rpm, we moved along at 15.8 knots and fuel consumption jumped to 52.5 gph. Wide-open throttle, 2375 revs, gave us 20.2 knots with a fuel consumption of 80 gph.
At all speeds the vessel responded smartly and precisely to all control inputs, even when the helm was put hard over quickly. One feature that concerned us as we ran the speed up was the bowrise of the vessel. It created a “sight shadow,” and from the pilothouse we couldn’t easily see anything on the water close to bow. The problem does not exist at the speed Fleming says most of its buyers operate, about 10 knots. The problem is much less noticeable from the flybridge.
The Fleming 58 continues the Fleming tradition. If anything it will improve it. It is very well built, beautifully finished and uses first-class fittings and equipment throughout. It performs brilliantly and efficiently in the speed range Fleming buyers want — that 9- to 10-knot cruise. Fleming’s new offering will satisfy the boating needs of buyers looking for a vessel in the 55- to 65-foot range and who want a traditional, timeless look.
Because the new vessel has more than 200 available options, including a bulbous bow, that will allow the buyer to make the vessel his own, it is difficult to come up with a hard cost. However, it seems the 58 starts at about $2.5 million. The only way to get a firm handle on that would be for a prospective purchaser to contact a dealer.