— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— November 2003
A Beauty and a Beast
|Part 2: One thing’s for sure: The O’Donnells truly had fun building Poor Girl.|
One sweet angling feature I found while I was on the flying bridge is the cutback hardtop. The O’Donnells’ son, Sean, explained that if Jack wants to hook a fish from a rod in one of the rocket launchers mounted at the back of the flying bridge, he doesn’t have to worry about whacking the hardtop. “He’s got clearance,” Sean says, as he illustrates a hook-set.
The helm area may have been built for Jack, but some of the other 65’s features were definitely built for Marilyn, especially below decks. Take the amidships master. The couple wanted a vanity at one corner of the queen-size berth. Mann had Marilyn sit on the edge of the berth and then built the vanity to suit her height. Marilyn told me she also wanted the sinks in the two full heads below decks to sit a few inches higher than standard sinks so the couple wouldn’t have to strain their backs when bending over to use them. She also worked with Mann’s interior designer, Dennis Scott, to help marry the light- and dark-accented Avonite countertops (a theme which runs throughout the 65), the high-gloss cherry-and-maple soles in the galley and heads, and satin-finish, grain-matched cherry interior. Marilyn says she’s still tweaking the interior. “[Originally] we wanted something tropical, nothing fancy. We’re still working on it. We want something that’s classy-casual,” she adds, as she looks around the saloon doing a mental mock-up. One thing’s for sure: The O’Donnells truly had fun building Poor Girl. “I look at this boat and go ahh,” says Marilyn, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “When you’re building a custom boat, everything’s a decision. It was a very enjoyable process,” Jack says, just before starting his boat’s powerplants. It was time to see the fruits of this owner-builder collaboration in action.
The late-July day was getting hot, and I noticed the flags at the marina were stiff. The wind was blowing south-southwest between 20 and 25 knots. Jack ran his boat with confidence and ease during our speed runs, and the 65 averaged 42.4 mph (37 knots) without tabs in the short-spaced, four- to five-footers in the Atlantic. When he tabbed her down, she made 43.7 mph (38 knots).
A few moments after retiring my radar gun, Jack handed me the wheel. “You can push her harder than that!” a confident Mann bellowed as I ran the 65 headlong into the waves. The ocean was frothy enough to show what this boat could do in a seaway. I firewalled the Mathers controls and took advantage of her silky-smooth Hynautic power-assist steering to get her bow head-on with the whitecaps. Whether I ran her this way, stern-to, or in the trough, she took it all and dished it back without so much as a smack on a chine.
The 65 offers one solid ride. How solid? Right around WOT, I realized the other seven people on the flying bridge around me were talking like we were bellied up for cocktails at Rudee’s on the Inlet Bar, a local watering hole. Nobody realized (or cared) that we were traveling in any sort of slop or that the 65 was making 43-plus mph. No one noted any spray, compliments of an aggressive flare. No one felt the boat roll (‘cause she didn’t). No one had a care in the world; they were just enjoying a boat ride.
Mann was smiling, and I could tell he expected nothing less. “She’ll eat this up all day,” he says like a proud papa, smiling with arms crossed. And so did the O’Donnells. As Jack said to me when I finished my wheel time, “Too bad we ran late, Patrick, we really wanted to run off and do some fishing.” You can bet we won’t run late next time, Jack.
Paul Mann Custom Boats Phone: (252) 473-1716. www.paulmanncustomboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.