Master 520 — By George L. Petrie — September 2001
A Home on the Water to Go
|Part 2: Harbor Master 520 continued|
Though her main deck accommodations feel just like home, the upper deck leaves no doubt that the 520 is ready to go. Well forward, the pilothouse offers commanding views over the bow thanks to large windows all around. An open layout lets the captain stay in touch with guests in the saloon area, but sight lines aft are somewhat limited. The helm station is compact and efficient, with precise Mathers controls close at hand and gauges grouped on a tilt-up panel just forward of the wheel. There's plenty of room alongside to flush-mount optional electronics. A Todd freestanding chair offers a comfortable seating position at the helm, but for yachtsmen planning to cruise anything but sheltered waters, I would recommend the optional clip-downs to keep the helm seat in place.
The flying bridge command station layout is similar to the main helm, but with a fixed-mount seat on centerline flanked by two matching companion seats and clear sight lines all around. During our trials in the crisp morning air, I really appreciated how well the reverse-canted windscreen protects the helm. We opted not to deploy the full bimini top, instead soaking up the warming rays of the sun. Available options include Sunbrella dodger panels for the bridge and sundeck, a benchseat on the flying bridge, and a wetbar with icemaker on the sundeck.
Optional twin 370-hp Cummins 370Bs deliver a good turn of speed: Our radar read just under 30 mph at WOT. Backing off the throttles to about 2400 rpm yielded a comfortable cruise speed of better than 20 mph, at close to a 1-mpg fuel rate, with sound levels in the saloon at just 74 dB. At lower rpm the sound dropped to 65 dB (the level of normal conversation) or less. Wide chines helped her get up onto plane quickly, and a 12-inch keel made her track straight and true.
A major factor keeping the saloon quiet is that the engines are mounted well aft, beneath the cockpit sole. Access through a large hatch (about 4'x71/2') made it easy to reach most systems and equipment, including a Kohler genset mounted athwartship along the aft bulkhead, oversize Perko raw-water strainers and bronze through-hull fittings, and Racor fuel filter-separators. Both main engine dipsticks were to the inboard side, but access to engine-mounted fuel filters and the alternator on the port engine is outboard (therefore more difficult to reach); ditto for the raw-water pump on the starboard engine.
Mounts for the main engines are through-bolted to the four main longitudinal stringers. The solid fiberglass bottom is reinforced by a total of nine stringers and four cross-frame bulkheads, as stout as the foundation of a house. Hull sides are cored with end-grain balsa, and the deckhouse is laminated over a 5/8-inch plywood core. Vinylester resin is used throughout for stronger secondary bonds and to resist blistering.
A day aboard the Harbor Master 520 brought to mind a new way of thinking about a house on the water. Why not get all the comforts of home, but wrap it up to go?
Harbor Master Boats Phone: (615) 452-4343. Fax: (615) 451-0352. www.harbormasterboats.com.
George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at Webb Institute and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is www.maritimeanalysis.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.