Built by a yacht builder, for a yacht builder … and now for you
There’s a saying, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” Well, for Jeff Druek, president and CEO of Outer Reef Yachts, life is certainly running at blazing speed, forcing him to change plans regarding his new Outer Reef 700 Long Range Motor Yacht (LRMY). And that’s good for you. Here’s why.
Druek knows about the finer things in life. He is a high-end custom homebuilder of prestigious residences in the New York area (the Hamptons, to be exact), and he has successfully carried his building prowess over to the yachting world. During the process of having a yacht built for himself about 18 years ago, Druek was dismayed by the builder’s lack of commitment to the customer. He likened his experience then to how Henry Ford sold Model-T cars: “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.” Hence, the birth of a new builder.
Druek started Outer Reef Yachts, targeting the kind of discerning people he already did business with: people who know what they want, expect nothing but the best and value their investment. And Druek knows that if he doesn’t satisfy his yacht and home clients, they will go elsewhere.
The OR 700 LRMY was built on spec, for several reasons, most notably because it was to be Druek’s personal yacht. Plans were for him to use the yacht during his free time. Trouble is, thanks to other projects, Druek has little to no free time to speak of, so he decided to put the 700 LRMY on the market. Here’s the rub: Druek built the yacht with just about every bell and whistle he could, as he planned to use it as a display yacht at various boat shows. It is chock full of features and some surprises, too.
“There were no budget constraints,” Druek said, “and the options are combinations that most everyone would choose.”
Having sea trialed and reviewed a number of Outer Reef yachts through the years, I found that the 700 LRMY stands up to the building criteria, seaworthiness and standards instilled by Druek. And no two Outer Reef yachts will be exactly alike, thanks to the customization offered to owners who desire to put their signature on their Outer Reef yacht and the fact Druek is on a never-ending quest to improve his product, from one yacht to the next.
The 700 LRMY has a functional layout and can be commanded by an owner/operator or a light crew. Full walk-around, nonskid decks allow for easy line handling, anchoring and privacy. In the peak, there are dual anchors in twin chutes with two hydraulic windlasses, making Med mooring easy and providing built-in backup. Weather-tight doors on either side of the pilothouse make lower-station operation while docking less stressful. Get away from the inside crowd to the fully covered aft deck, complete with a bench seat and a large, glossy teak table, sufficiently sized for a dinner party. Hide out on the forward full bench/lounge seat that’s built into the Portuguese bridge. Or just hang out along the side rail and take it all in.
Tastefully designed for comfort and visibility is the salon. It follows an open-plan layout, so you can see from stem to stern and side to side, thanks to large windows and a small two-step rise from the salon to the galley/helm deck.
The L-shaped settee is nothing if not inviting. Thick fabric cushions are nestled on a semicustom teak base that blends nicely with the teak-planked flooring and teak veneer paneling. The satin varnish finish on the teak keeps glare down on sunny days and adds warmth when using night lighting. Across to starboard are two barrel chairs. A custom teak coffee table is bordered with wenge wood and has a mosaic inlay. Above, a tray ceiling has recessed and hidden lighting options and is encircled by a sturdy grabrail. Sconces affixed to the mullions between the side windows add panache.
Entertain yourself with the 46-inch pop-up LED 3D TV in the aft port corner cabinet; it’s connected to a Samsung Blu-Ray player and a DirectTV HD receiver. Sound is courtesy of Bose Lifestyle speakers.
When you see the size and layout of the galley, you’ll know that Druek and the Outer Reef design team were serious about palate-pleasing performances. It’s L-shaped on the port side with a peninsula that borders the main walkway, creating a work area with ample granite-covered countertops and storage options. A full complement of GE Monogram stainless appliances, including a microwave, dishwasher, four-burner cooktop, oven, trash compactor and garbage disposal, is found here. The full-height side-by-side refrigerator/freezer is across the walkway, nestled under the flybridge staircase. Accessorizing the sink is a full-sized cutting board with a center cutout to dispose of extraneous carvings down the disposal.
Placed amidships, the galley easily serves as the distribution point for dinner on the aft deck, cocktails in the salon or snacks in the casual dining nook forward near the helm.
Speaking of the lower helm, its design does not take up a lot of space. Despite a shallow depth that doesn’t impose into the living area and a low-profile dash that maintains visibility out of the five forward windshields, the helm doesn’t skimp on controls or features; rather, they are placed above and below the line of sight. Outer Reef used a full complement of Furuno navigation electronics at the lower and upper stations, including NAV 3D systems, Navpilot 700s, FM 4000 VHFs, AIS and more. Three Hatteland 17-inch displays are built into the dash, and CAT engine displays, throttles, ABT hydraulic bow and stern thrusters, and more are on the console. Overhead are ship system lights, a VHF, A/C controls and others that are suited for occasional adjustment or glances. ABT TRAC stabilizers minimize roll, adding to the ride’s overall comfort. A Glendinning remote control keeps your finger on the pulse, or at least the throttle, as Capt. Randy Ives demonstrated by deftly maneuvering the 700 LRMY alongside the dock during our run.
Access to the flybridge deck is via a staircase from the aft deck or inside at the helm area. Designed across the full beam and reaching fully aft, the flybridge is a big piece of real estate. Comfortable Ultraleather twin Stidd helm chairs reduce fatigue and offer superb visibility. Port and starboard L-shaped settees have teak tables and full storage underneath. Aft are counters that contain a sink, a refrigerator, an ice-maker and a 36-inch gas barbecue grill. Even with the 13-foot AB Nautilus tender and a 1,700-pound Sea Star hydraulic davit, there’s room for lounge chairs or other toys.
Attention to Details
It’s the seemingly little things that get appreciated aboard the 700 LRMY. The metalwork, from the flybridge stanchions to the railings to the foredeck fender holders, features welded joints, not fitted pieces connected by screw-down couplings. Each junction is ground, filled and polished, resulting in a first-rate finish.
Access to the main-deck day head is via an exterior door from the starboard sidedeck, which means nobody has to go through the salon with wet feet. It would have been easier to not design this door into the mold, but easy is not what Druek aspires to — pleasing the customer is.
On the flybridge hardtop are 250-watt solar panels to charge batteries and a hinged electronics mast for low-bridge cruising. Forethought at its best.
There’s more, too: through-bolting the upper helm Venturi windscreen, installing a privacy panel between the galley and the lower helm to separate the areas and reduce light glare into the helm when cruising at night, and including teak grates in flybridge bench storage areas to keep items dry. In the lazarette, there’s a workshop with a table vise mounted on the bench. And Outer Reef used ceramic-coated exhaust pipes, thereby eliminating the need for exhaust blankets that need to be maintained and changed.
As with all Outer Reef yachts, the 700 LRMY is fabricated from only three major molds, significantly reducing open seams, tabbing joints and caulking. The hull is not released from its mold until the stringer grid system and interior components are installed, to ensure a rigid and sound module. Stainless steel bolts every 6 inches and 3M 5200 adhesive secure the hull/deck joint to eliminate “squeaks, creaks and leaks,” as Druek put it.
Go ahead, look closer. The finish of the fiberglass components is as important as the finish of the interior woodwork and every other furnishing.
Power to the People
How do you get 110,000 pounds of yacht through the water? Power it with twin Caterpillar C9 ACERT 503 hp diesel engines (options up to C18) coupled to ZF 360A transmissions. The speed/fuel numbers during my run were very close if not spot-on to the Outer Reef test numbers. Cruising at 9 knots (1500 rpm) yields a burn rate of 4 to 5 gph (each engine). Opening up to 2400 rpm scooted us along at 12.8 knots (average of two reciprocal courses) and burned 23 gph. By the numbers, the 700 LRMY can attain a 3,000 n.m. range on full tanks.
Outer Reef soft mounts the engines and generators to inhibit vibration from carrying through the hull, while an underwater exhaust system helps to reduce sound vibration. Also standard on the LRMY models is the Seatorque Control System, a fully enclosed fixed-shaft drive system that reduces drag and vibration while increasing efficiency and running gear protection.
Rest for the Weary
No less important and equally as luxurious as the rest of the yacht are the lower staterooms. The amidships master has a king berth, an en suite head with a shower stall, a 32-inch LED TV and plenty of locker/cabinet storage. The forward VIP stateroom has a queen berth and the guest stateroom has double bunks, and each has an en suite head with a shower. An aft crew quarters could double as a fourth stateroom and includes a small galley and second washer/dryer units (the other washer/dryer units are in a closet in the stateroom foyer).
The bottom line with the 700 LRMY, as with all Outer Reef yachts, is Druek’s formula to design and build yachts to live well. “The experience is what it’s all about,” Druek said.