Author: Captain Tom Serio
Hargrave Yachts’ recent introduction of the 76 Open Bridge may seem like a departure for the builder, as 76 feet is on the lower end of its size scale, but au contraire!
First, the minds at Hargrave don’t do things just for the sake of doing them. There’s plenty of brainpower at work on every design. Second, those same minds at times reach for the innovative edge and take calculated risks. Add in the fact they know their customer base and have weathered the economic downturn of a few years ago, and it’s obvious why they are now in a position of strength to bring the 76 Open Bridge to market.
Logically, the Hargrave 76 is a practical size that fits into the builder’s yacht range of 70- to 135-footers. For seasoned yachties who prefer to downsize from the 100-plus-foot range, the 76 keeps them in a yacht that’s easier to operate and afford and still has a big “H” on the side (Hargrave’s signature emblem on most of its yachts). And for boaters moving up the ranks of yacht ownership, it’s a nice step up from the 50-foot level and a smart entry into the Hargrave family.
There’s a lot going on in just 76 feet. The hull offers a gentle but effective bow flair, a level shear line and appropriately sized (i.e., not obtrusive) hull-side stateroom windows. Closer inspection at the bow reveals a sharp entry with wide hard chines that run well aft to add stability and help knock down spray. That crisp entry also helps the Jack Sarin-designed hull achieve up to 24 knots at wide-open throttle. We clicked along near 22 knots average top speed, with half fuel and water, four people and a honking 20-knot breeze. Hargrave continues to fine tune this hull/prop combo, as it was much faster this time than when I originally tested it. C’mon it is hull #1. Tuning happens.
Side house windows in teardrop and rectangle styles are swept back to compliment the front windshield rake. The flybridge decking extends all the way back to cover the aft deck. In addition, it adds to the large overall appearance and creates usable space.
Hargrave has packed features into the 76 that are typically found on larger yachts. The flybridge deck includes a port-side U-shaped cushioned settee (with a freezer underneath) flanking a varnished teak table. Across is a standup wet bar with tiered Tropic Brown granite tops, a refrigerator, an ice-maker and a sink. Three fixed stools let guests imbibe a cocktail while taking in the view.
Just aft is a cabinet with a Jenn Air propane grill and storage. An integrated hardtop covers the area, and 20 built-in LED fixtures light the deck at night like it was daytime. Further aft is an open deck for lounge chairs or water toys. Keep the 13-foot Aqua Scan tender or jet skis up here, thanks to the heavy duty 1,600-pound davit.
Forward is a centered full-functioning helm, with Caterpillar engine displays, Furuno electronics including a NavNet plotter display, a VHF radio, a depth/speed log, Navpilot autopilot and others. There are also controls for the Maxwell anchor gear, the Naiad Multisea II stabilizers, the Fusion entertainment unit and the Naiad bow thruster, plus throttle controls. Size does matter, and there’s plenty of room in the dash for another chart/radar display and other devices. A port-side bench seat is large enough for at least two people and offers great visibility to stand watch or keep the captain company.
Additionally, the remote Glen dinning controls allow the operator to stand anywhere on the flybridge to operate the yacht. An owner/operator or a captain should have no fear when having to back around other yachts or docks, as the 76 deftly moves where it’s instructed. I’ve been on the 76 several times, and even when I operated it from the helm, the yacht was sure-footed, responsive and nimble; it didn’t matter if we were running bending rivers with narrow bridges or heading out an inlet to the open ocean.
On the forward main deck, Hargrave designed a lower helm station but made it relatively compact, to maximize the living space in the area. It blends nicely with the forward dining area, which consists of a curved settee along the forward window with an oval table and is appropriate for morning coffee or an informal gathering.
In the same space is the beautifully appointed country kitchen, finished in satin Makore wood with teak plank flooring. Immediately noticeable is the center island, with a Kodiak granite top and storage throughout. Along the port side and across the aft bulkhead are copious amounts of Kodiak granite countertop space, a recessed Franke sink and a GE Profile four-burner cooktop. GE appliances fill the galley, including a microwave, an under-counter oven, a garbage disposal, a full-size refrigerator/freezer and a dishwasher. The layout blends appliances and cabinets and drawers logically and makes for a very serviceable setup.
From the owner/operator point of view, the galley/dinette/helm is a smart configuration that allows cruising couples to work together in close proximity. (C’mon, you don’t buy a boat to get away from your partner, do you?) And if the boat is run by a hired captain, he can duck in and out of the starboard-side door, minimizing interruptions to owners or guests.
Elegance is in the styling, as the salon boasts a simple yet inviting scheme. Formal dining for six is at the forward expandable teak-and-inlay table (with an 18-inch leaf). Plush designer chairs with soft cushioned bottoms and backs are crafted with an open center but are fully upholstered, making them conversation pieces themselves. Across is a china buffet with a bar and an ice-maker.
One look at the lavish 9-foot-by-6-foot L-shaped settee in the salon, and you’ll want to kick off your shoes and lay down. Situated on the port side, it’s a great spot for socializing, as are the starboard club chairs. The 40-inch Samsung LED TV is mounted in the aft starboard entertainment center, so there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Hargrave hit it on the head hiring Yacht Interiors by Shelley to create a hip, younger design and feel. The chic but bold décor is evident in the Makore wood and vinyl headliner in the salon, the ebony veneer and Karelian birch burl cocktail/side tables, and the platinum, black and taupe fabrics throughout.
Step out to the teak aft deck and find a large varnished table and enough room for a small army to be seated, thanks to the aft cushioned bench seat and plenty of room for side and end chairs. From here you can hit the flybridge via the teak-capped stairway, head to the swim platform via twin staircases, access the full walk-around deck to the forward sunpads or catch a program on the aft-deck 32-inch LED TV.
No matter where you go around the yacht, there are grabrails, railings and handholds — something to hold on to. That’s one level of safety Hargrave goes to, which enhances the experience.
Behind a signature polished bulkhead door (with the Hargrave name mounted on light-up plexiglass) are twin 1,150 hp C18 TA ACERT Caterpillar engines. Immediately noticeable is the glistening white finish on the walls and floor, accented by polished rails ringing the powerplants. On most Hargrave yachts, you’ll find a single sea chest, right in the open with easy access. Racor fuel filters are centered, middle floor panels lift easily for bilge access, twin 20 kw generators are mounted on stands and piping/wire runs are well laid out with plenty of mounting brackets to eliminate vibration.
On the run, we encountered a fresh breeze and a chop of a few feet. With a hull that’s stabilized courtesy of Naiad and keeps sea and spray at bay, we were able to run the full rpm range. At 900 rpm, we cruised at 8.9 knots, while 1500 rpm yielded 13.1 knots and 2100 gave us 18.8 knots, which is good cut of speed. And there’s more if you need it, as the 76 topped out at 2320 rpm, offering 22 knots.
Trumping standard accommodations, Hargrave put a king berth not only in the full-beam amidships master but also in the forward VIP stateroom. According to Hargrave chairman Mike Joyce, Hargrave’s sentiment is that everyone should be as comfortable as possible.
The master is finished in Makore wood primarily, with Capiz inlay in the headboard. Twelve dresser drawers, nine desk drawers, two closets and storage drawers under the berth provide plenty of storage. Oh, and there’s 6 feet, 7 inches of headroom. His/her heads with Pearlato marble are joined by the central 14-square-foot shower stall.
The VIP boasts the same décor as the master but with a Makore and mirror headboard, a single-station head with a shower stall, eight drawers and a 32-inch LED TV.
Curious is the third stateroom with double berths. The standard configuration is with beds separated by a nightstand. But, the top drawer of the nightstand lifts off, and the lower portion slides under the aft bunk, as that bunk slides forward to join the fore bunk. Put the top drawer back on the nightstand, and the minds at Hargrave have designed a convertible stateroom, now with a queen berth. Neat!
Thinking of both cruisers and liveaboards, Hargrave constructed a laundry room that makes some home operations envious. The separate GE washer and dryer are built under a counter with ample space for folding clothes and storage for all kinds of cleaning products. Given the enclosed room’s location near the staterooms, extra towels and linens are but an arm’s length away.
Family is what you become when you own a Hargrave yacht. From Mike Joyce all the way through the ranks, the Hargrave team knows buyers have choices. But it’s the “out of the box” approach and designs-for-the-common-man approach that keep prior owners of Hargrave yachts coming back, and new ones stepping up.