88 — By Richard Thiel —
One Man’s Fancy
|Part 2: A lot of engineering went into this boat, all the more surprising considering she’s a spec boat.|
I discovered it’s conservative, with the emphasis on strength and durability. The hull is solid FRP, but with an internal vacuum-bagged foam layer principally for thermal and acoustical insulation. Four full-length stringers are foam-cored, with additional high-density stringers and aluminum engine beds in the engine room. Primary bulkheads are of two-inch Nidacore; secondaries are of one-inch Nidacore. Lower-deck soles have one-inch CoreCell, and the main deck is one piece, supported by aluminum caps that allow for a thinner laminate and thus more headroom (6'8") below decks. Most impressive was the 18-foot-long bridge deck section cantilevered over the cockpit yet strong enough to carry a tender and crane. Like the entire exterior, it’s flawlessly painted in white Awlgrip.
But despite the coring, at 151,000 pounds (dry) the 88 is not particularly light for her size. Still her performance is quite acceptable: With 1,400-hp Caterpillar 3412s, she sees a top speed of better than 22 knots and cruising speed just under 18 knots at 2000 rpm. Considerably more than acceptable are her sound levels: At the helm I registered just 71 dB-A at full throttle and 67 dB-A at 2000 rpm (65 is the level of normal conversation). Credit that to the “floating” saloon floor and a Soundown insulation package.
Indeed, a lot of engineering went into this boat, all the more surprising considering she’s a spec boat. Take the electrical system. There are three Northern Lights gensets: two 25-kWs and one 8-kW. To prevent one of the 25s from running lightly loaded—a real no-no—the 8-kW is on auto start and buffered by a 10-kW inverter system. When the system senses load, the inverter picks it up. If it can’t handle it, the 8-kW genset comes online. The system reportedly works great in a blackout, too, with a nearly indistinguishable transition from shorepower to inverter/genset. It also features “selective frequency conversion,” meaning that in a foreign port, it doesn’t convert everything from 50 cycles to 60, just the frequency-sensitive equipment. Thus the transformer can be smaller, lighter, and cheaper.
The 88’s hydraulic stabilizers are powered by pumps on each main that also drive the Maxwell anchor and warping winches and the 36-hp Wesmar bow thruster. Also part of the system is a powerful reversible pump that can supply fore and aft fire monitors or draw water from any of five watertight compartments via a manifold in the engine room.
Speaking of the engine room, there are two entrances, one through a watertight transom hatch that leads through the aft crew quarters and the other from, of all places, the amidships master. You walk through a beautiful, acoustically insulated wooden door into a space between the port and starboard main fuel tanks. Here you’ll find fuel manifolds and transfer pumps (there are four tanks in all) and backlit sight gauges. Walk aft through another watertight door and you’re in a space with 360-degree engine access, 6'8" headroom, and a serious ventilation system. Separate port and starboard systems draw air in from external soffits via powerful fans and blow it into each forward end. Aft exhaust fans pull the air over each engine and out through vents on the bridge. Dampers will seal the space in the event of a fire.
Of course, it’s not only about engineering. The plan is well thought out, the main deck being on one level and the helm well forward for good sightlines. Access to the two large guest staterooms is to starboard of the helm, while directly aft of the pilothouse are port and starboard doors and a forward-facing dinette with great views. This space flows into the galley, with a marble-topped island with drawers beneath. To port is a double sink with big windows over it, while to starboard is one of two stairways to the bridge (the other is in the cockpit), evidence that Rayburn designed the 88 to be handled by a couple. The saloon and dining area occupy one big space, and the cockpit, about nine feet long, offers port and starboard steps to the swim platform, where there are port and starboard warping winches.
After spending a half-day poring over the Rayburn 88 and enjoying one pleasant surprise after another, I could easily see why Bill had been so taken with her. The truth is, by the time I walked off the yacht and into a cold Canadian dusk, the 88 had struck my fancy, too.
Rayburn Yachts Phone: (604) 820-9153. www.rayburnyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.