56 Sedan Bridge — By Tim Clark
— November 2001
Not the Girl Next Door
|A fast cruiser from north of the border.|
In the United States we don't think about Canada much. Rather than recognize that Canadians have a valid national identity, we see them as just like us but with quirks--curious references to the metric system, clipped speech peppered with "eh," and that impulse to plaster themselves with maple leaves every time they wander more than a mile from home. I, for one, was so dismissive of Canada that I was in my early 20s by the time I learned--from a Torontonian--that Canadians find people from the United States arrogant. I countered by loosely quoting the Montreal novelist Mordecai Richler: "Canada is not a country, it's the next-door place." She wasn't amused.
Not long ago I flew to Buffalo and drove "next door" toward St. Catherines, Ontario, to have a look at Neptunus' new 56 Sedan Bridge. Being an arrogant American, I didn't expect much contrast across the border. But once I was through customs, Buffalo's suburban sprawl was suddenly replaced by long swathes of forest over gentle hills, and within minutes I was snatching bright blue glimpses of Lake Ontario. By the time I reached peaceful St. Catherines Marina on the lakeshore, a three-minute drive from where the yacht is built, I held this little corner of Canada in high regard.
So I wasn't surprised when, once I was aboard the 56, I learned that the boat's new U.S. owners--whom for their privacy I'll call Judie and Herb--had been glad denizens in St. Catherines for the past month. But it wasn't just the charms of a lakeside Canadian town that had made their stay so rewarding. They had also been closely involved in the final weeks of their 56's construction, and, to quote Judie, "it was a wonderful experience."
Herb and Judie are capable boaters. For more than 20 seasons they and their five boys were regular contenders on the tournament sportfishing circuit, first on a 38-foot Bertram and later on a 48-foot Ocean. Retired, with their sons grown and their appetite for sportfishing largely satisfied, they decided to switch to this stylish cruiser.
"We have really studied the market, and we know this is a great boat for us," Herb told me. "Judie and I have differing priorities where boating's concerned. She wants an elegant interior with plenty of well-thought-out space. That's fine with me, but I still want something like the performance I was used to on my sportfishermen. The Neptunus meets both of our needs."
For proof of Herb's predilection, all I had to do was lift the benchseat along the 56's transom and climb down into the engine room, where I found that he'd opted for a pair of Caterpillar 3406Es mounted on galvanized steel top plates over stringers that ran stem to stern. Out on the lake a short while later, in a two-foot chop kicked up by winds of 15 to 20 mph, their synchronized 1,600 total horsepower took the 56 to nearly 37 mph at WOT (2260 rpm). At 1750 rpm she cruised at 28 mph on the nose, for a range of 400 miles. On this boat Herb will dash from port to port rather than offshore in search of marlin, but these speeds will certainly remind him of the chase.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.