A four-stateroom update refreshes a popular model
Ocean Alexander has taken its popular 72-footer and refreshed it with a four-cabin interior. The Ed Monk design is a go-far vessel that can do Alaska or Mexico in grand style and not get in the way of the reason you’re out there, namely, enjoying the reason you’re out there.
The 72 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. The aft cockpit has a long transom seat with deck chairs, so six people will fit at the alfresco dining table. A small wetbar is to starboard just below a drop-down flat-screen TV. Wide sidedecks lead forward, flanked by tall bulwarks topped by an elliptical stainless steel handrail that feels great in the hand.
On the bow is a large sunpad and a vertical windlass in a divided locker that has built-in steps, so you can climb in and deal with any mishaps with the 300 feet of chain rode. A hands-free anchor chain wash will make sure you leave the kelp and gunk out of the boat; plus, there are freshwater washdowns at the bow and stern.
The 72 Pilothouse is easy to navigate on deck if you have to move from one end to the other quickly, and with a crew of two, it’s a breeze to manage dockside, even with a crosswind.
The new interior of the 72 Pilothouse adds a fourth cabin to expand the living options on the lower deck. The three cabins forward are accessed via steps down from the pilothouse, at the bottom of which is a small landing with a cabinet for a stackable washer and dryer. Below the floor, a space houses the Sea Recovery 900 gpd water-maker.
The VIP stateroom in the bow has an overhead hatch, a queen-sized island bed, a TV and DVD player, hanging lockers and an en suite head with a marble shower stall. Soft accent lighting gives the entire cabin a warm and high-end hotel-like feel. Two more guest cabins have over/under bunks, one perpendicular and one parallel configuration, and share a head with an all-marble stall shower.
For complete privacy, the full-beam master stateroom has its own access from the salon amidships. The king-sized bed is against the forward bulkhead, which is padded for sound attenuation, and there is 6 feet, 5 inches of headroom. To starboard is a flat-screen TV, a vanity with a stool and a full cedar-lined closet in which I found two Ocean Alexander embroidered terrycloth bathrobes (neither of which found its way to my bag, unfortunately). The bathroom (you can’t call this a head) is aft, so it and its fore and aft walls separate this suite from the noise and vibration of the engine room, which will make for sound sleeping.
The master bath is awash in marble and granite. It features his-and-hers sinks, plenty of storage cabinetry and a shower room that, at nearly 8 feet long, is the size of a Swedish sauna for four. Our test boat had the optional heated granite floors.
Although amidships, this stateroom doesn’t feel buried in the hull. Between the large windows and Ocean Alexander’s fresh air system that brings in filtered air directly from the outside, the master is a light and healthy environment in which owners will delight.
The shared social spaces are no less special. I entered the salon from the cockpit via the electric glass sliding door. The push of a button opened the door, which closes on its own after five seconds but has a motion sensor, so it won’t pinch kids or pets. The door, like the two pantograph doors in the pilothouse, has a Phantom retractable screen door, so airflow can be enjoyed in bug-free comfort.
With 19 feet of beam, 6 feet, 8 inches of headroom, a mirrored ceiling and surrounding windows that are one-quarter again as large as on the previous 72-footer, the enormous living room has the vibe of a dance floor. There’s simply nothing small about it. To port is a cabinet with a 46-inch pop-up flat-screen TV, and to starboard is an L-shaped sofa for six. Forward are additional cabinets (or space for an optional full-sized dining table) and a stairway to the pilothouse that can be placed either to port or amidships.
The combination galley/dinette/helm station of the pilothouse has been reconfigured in this four-cabin version. The helm moved from centerline to starboard near one set of water-resistant doors. Twin Garmin 19-inch 8500 Series (black box system) multifunction displays (MFDs) provide navigation information from the radar and chartplotter, as well as feeds from cameras mounted all around the vessel and in the engine room.
The electrical panel has been replaced by an OctoPlex 2000 touchscreen control panel that manages all AC and DC breakers, monitors the batteries and reports on most systems aboard. Engine information monitors, a Garmin wind instrument, thruster controls and other displays are laid out on a flat mount below the MFDs. One thing I would appreciate is an angle to the instruments. While the Garmin MFDs face the helmsman, all other screens are mounted flat and suffer from the glare of the overhead windshield.
On the right armrest of the Stidd helm chair is the GRID remote input command pod. With a small joystick and control of the information displayed on the MFDs, the helmsman can manage the vessel without so much as leaning forward.
In the opposite corner is the galley, to create the open feel of a great room. The country kitchen has an expanse of granite countertops and a granite floor. The full-sized home-style appliances include a stainless steel JennAir refrigerator, an electric cooktop below a 30-inch JennAir microwave/convection oven, a double-drawer dishwasher and an optional trash compactor. Loads of storage is provided by cabinets overhead and multiple drawer-style lockers below the counters. There is also an island that provides easy movement in the entire pilothouse and allows multiple cooks to coexist. It’s a galley I’d enjoy in a home, much less aboard.
Way Up Top
There are two access points to the flybridge — one from the pilothouse and one from the cockpit. Both staircases are civilized and easy to navigate, even with one hand occupied. Up top is a second helm station with twin Stidd chairs, twin Garmin MFDs and all the necessary instrumentation. To port is a granite-topped bar with swing-out chairs and footrests for four. To starboard is an L-shaped settee for four more, and aft is an optional Electri-Chef full-size grill. The whole area is protected by the standard hardtop, which also holds a drop-down flat-screen TV and serves as the attachment point for an optional canvas enclosure.
For four-season boating, the optional Skylounge model of the 72 Pilothouse encloses this area with a hard structure. In that case, the lower helm station is removed and the upper one becomes the primary helm — and only, if there is no supplementary cockpit station.
Ocean Alexander hulls are solid fiberglass below the waterline and a closed-cell foam-core sandwich above. For additional strength, the builder 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. At 110,000 pounds, the 72 Pilothouse is a substantial boat that makes steady flat turns and comes around a full 180 degrees in just under 30 seconds at speed. We ran in two directions — into the 8-knot wind and chop and with it — just to get the feel for acceleration and handling, and there really wasn’t much difference.
The twin 1,150 hp Caterpillar diesels are the only engine model offered on the 72 Pilothouse, and there isn’t any reason to need an upgrade. At the top end, the efficient hull managed to eke out 22.1 knots at 2250 rpm, burning 120 gph, coming up to full speed in just under 17 seconds. At 80 percent load and 19.6 knots, the diesels burned 100 gph, for a range of just under a 300 miles. For long distances, a more economical cruise is around 11 knots and 1200 rpm, where the range is about 800 miles (with a small reserve). That means you can get from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in about three days without stopping for fuel.
Back at the dock, all maneuvering is done with the thrusters, and you can forget about the wheel. A continuous hold mode will push the boat up against the dock, so a single-handing captain can step off and manage the dock lines alone if necessary. A third and optional control station with thruster switches may be added to the fiberglass pillar in the aft cockpit.