43 Sportfisher — By Richard Thiel — July 1999
Different by Design
|Part 2: Indeed, this is a real space ship.|
It's easy to get caught up in the performance of the 43, but Mikelson and Fexas didn't ignore space planning. Indeed, this is a real space ship. A 125-square-foot cockpit puts the 43 at the top of her class in size, although thanks to those engines below, it's 4'9" from gunwale to water and 3'9" from gunwale to the standard swim platform. Despite her attractive price, most everything you need is standard: an integral transom circulating baitwell that's lighted from below, four flush-mount rod holders, a two-foot-wide transom door (two feet off the swim platform), a built-in tackle center, a cockpit shower, two removable in-sole fishboxes, and a saltwater washdown. Two additional features bear mention: The tackle center has a locker designed to accept a soft-side, four-drawer tackle case, which you can easily take home with you at the end of a trip. (Regular tackle drawers are also available.) And for the ultimate in luxury, order the toilet/shower compartment that nestles into the forward port corner of the cockpit.
Another unusual aspect of this boat is her engine access: Virtually the entire cockpit sole opens in three panels--two large, one small--to expose the engines. Inside, there's three and a half feet from engine to hull side and enough room aft for a second genset, plenty of stowage, and easy access to the steering gear. The standard 8-kW genset sits abaft the starboard engine (well away from the living spaces), and there's space for a second unit abaft the port motor. The engine beds are extra-thick FRP over a foam core, and the engine bearers are fabricated aluminum.
The spaces inside the 43 are just as wide open; flat panels and right angles dominate, instead of curves and slopes. Combined with 6'10" headroom, the result is an unusually spacious feel in the saloon, which offers a fairly conventional arrangement. An L-shape settee with table occupies the port side, from the aft bulkhead to the galley, and a smaller one across from the galley can be a dinette or convert to a twin berth. Abaft this seating area is an occasional chair and, in the aft corner, an entertainment center. All upholstery is Ultraleather, and day/night shades cover the windows.
The galley is U-shape, with a double sink outboard and forward, a three-burner stovetop, microwave/convection oven, and a refrigerator (a placement that can permit spilled goods when the refrigerator door is opened underway). There are no overhead cabinets on the after side, yet the lack thereof doesn't seem to matter, as there are plenty more elsewhere.
In fact, if you're looking for real stowage, step forward and down into the accommodations area, then turn around and lift the steps. Here, in what would be the engine room of a straight inboard boat, is a seven-foot-long compartment flanked by nonintegral FRP fuel tanks that has enough space to hold a couple month's worth of provisions. I was told West Coast owners often rig bladder fuel tanks here for added range, despite the boat's generous 630-gallon (800-gal. optional) fuel capacity.
Forward of the stairs the 43 offers two staterooms: a guest aft and to port with bunks at right angles, and a forward master with queen-size V-berth, four ports, a large hatch, and a rarity these days: chain locker access. A large head with stall shower lies to starboard and can be accessed directly from the master or from the companionway abaft it.
The 43's bridge is no less generously proportioned than the rest of the boat. There's plenty of space for built-in electronics at the helm, plus a real nav station to port, including a place for a chartplotter and GPS, and even a lexan-covered chart holder. There's also space for two VHFs. A pair of staggered pedestal seats provide seating for the helmsman and guest, but there's plenty more seating aft in an eight-person semicircular settee with table. And how many 43-footers have you been on with an aft observation deck complete with a place for an optional second control station--with wheel? You can also order throttles and shifts for the cockpit.
In a time when boats often seem to all look the same, the Mikelson 43 can truly lay claim to being different, and not just for the sake of being different. The philosophy behind each design decision is easy to see, making it simple to understand what the 43 is all about. Even if you can't figure out the name.
Mikelson Yachts Phone: (619) 222-5007. Fax: (619) 223-1194. www.mikelsonyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.