— By George L. Petrie
— June 2003
|Slicing smoothly through rough seas is just one of the ways that the McKinna 58 shines.|
My April 1 trip to West Palm Beach to test the McKinna 58 was going to offer an added bonus, a brief respite from the bitter cold winter that still gripped the Northeast. Alas, I should have known better--the date was a sure tip-off. As if to play an April Fool's prank, Florida's weather was unseasonably cold, and the winds had been howling out of the north for two days, roiling the inlet at Riviera Beach into a steep six-foot chop that seemed to be coming from every direction. With wind fighting tide, the only other boats we saw challenging the gnarly water were some big, gritty sportfishing types.
But although the skies were overcast, the McKinna 58 shined in these conditions. In fact, the strong winds and choppy seas provided an ideal venue for checking out this yacht's performance, and I was immediately impressed by the efficacy of her hydraulic stabilizer system. Even with wind and waves dead on her beam, she was rock-steady with virtually no roll. And with her unconventional hull configuration (double chine plus a spray knocker--but more on that later), we were able to stay on plane and make 18 knots or more in relative comfort on all headings. To be sure, in head seas we took an occasional dousing of wind-driven spray across the flying bridge, but hey, this was a genuinely nasty day. And, remarkably, the yacht's teak foredeck appeared to stay dry, thanks to the protection of a generous bulwark.
We completed our performance tests in a relatively sheltered area of Lake Worth, along the Intracoastal, where we again had the waterways largely to ourselves, save for the playful pair of dolphins that frolicked in our wake. But even the dolphins gave up the chase when we opened the throttles on the twin 800-hp Caterpillars, as the radar gun displayed a top speed just shy of 30 mph. More impressive was her agility. Helm response was decisive and predictable. With a turn on her wheel, she banked with authority, as steady as an Olympic skater.
As McKinna's president Bob Million described the 58's hull form, I began to understand why she handled so well. Like many, the hull has a big spray knocker above the waterline, plus upper and lower chines below. But contrary to the norm, there's an exceptionally wide separation between the two; the lower chine line is some 18 inches inboard of the upper. This creates a running bottom that's only about 121⁄2 feet wide when the yacht is on plane, letting her cut and turn like a tailback. As she banks, the wide chine flats come into play to keep her feeling steady and secure.
While the 58 had performed brilliantly so far, in both rough and calm water, one aspect of our performance test remained that I thought would present a challenge. Backing into our slip at Palm Harbor Marina would be tricky enough in the stiff winds that still whipped out of the north, but looking aft from the upper helm station, I was dismayed to note that I couldn't even see the transom, hidden beneath the vast flying-bridge overhang. But with a coy smile, Million simply said, "Follow me." With that, we descended to the cockpit, where he gently lifted a small fiberglass panel, exposing an aft-facing control station built into the transom. With controls for the engines and for the hydraulic bow thruster, its close-up vantage point made docking a breeze despite the wind.
While the docking station is standard on the McKinna 58, the cockpit of our test boat was fitted with several options, including handsome teak decks and boarding doors to port and starboard that make it easier to step aboard from a low pier. Not yet installed, though, were the tender and davit, which are fitted to suit each customer's preference either on the flying bridge or with the davit built into the transom. In the latter case, the davit can also assist in lowering gear into the lazarette. In lieu of a davit, McKinna can build a 32-inch-wide hydraulic step into the swim platform to handle the tender.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.