S48 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Worth Waiting For
|After 33 years of innovation, Sealine announces a new world-class 48 and a new parent company.|
Sealine is a classic example of a company that started small and dreamed big. It began building boats in 1968 in Kidderminster, a small town about two hours northwest of London, known primarily for its carpet manufacturing. Bounded by the River Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canals, the town dates to around 736 A.D.
From the minute it opened its doors, Sealine focused on becoming a world-class builder offering innovative, well-engineered cruising boats that could withstand such challenging waters as the North Sea yet be comfortable and easy to handle. Over the years, it has largely fulfilled that promise, but especially during the past three years under the guidance of chairman Gerard Wainwright.
The company's lineup includes the Flybridge Series, T-Series Motoryachts, and Sport Cruisers, of which the subject of this test, the S48, is the flagship. Having heard that the S48 was far and away the company's most sophisticated offering to date, I'd been trying to set up a test ever since its introduction in Lake Maggiore, Italy, back in May. I finally got a call in early June informing me she would be delivered to her owner in New York City.
The S48 was due to pick me up at about 9:00 a.m. at New York City's Chelsea Piers after a run down from Mamaroneck, New York. Unfortunately, I had to wait a bit longer. At 11:30 a.m. she was still a no-show. It should have taken a boat like this a little over an hour, dock to dock.
I'd arranged for the boat's captain to monitor channel 72, but my handheld VHF was silent, except for the occasional chatter between a couple of local pleasureboats. Al Cohen, Global Yachts' Northeast rep--Miami-based Global has been Sealine's exclusive distributor in the United States since 1995--had been pacing the dock with me when his cellphone rang. "They're five minutes out. The captain wanted to top off both fuel and water tanks, and there was a problem with the marina's fuel dock," he said. I understood, but I was getting impatient.
I knew all my impatience and anticipation was worth it the moment I saw the S48's captain adroitly spin her in the tight pick-up space, courtesy of the Sealine Docking System (SDS). This neat option coordinates the shifting of the marine gears with the bow and stern thrusters to control and precisely position the boat wherever the helmsman wants her. Simply point the joystick in the direction you want the boat to go--ahead, astern, sideways, or any combination thereof--and she complies. It's a system that takes the pucker factor out of even the diciest docking situation.
A few moments later I was at the helm. Once I'd cleared the marina's no-wake zone, I eased the Mathers MicroCommander electronic controls forward. The optional 635-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesels put us on plane in less than 10 seconds, and quietly, too. My sound meter registered 87 decibels with the aft canvas enclosure rolled up (65 is normal conversation), making it quiet enough for me to talk with Cohen, seated opposite on the port-side settee. And in no time I had the S48 cruising at just under 39 mph with the Cummins turning 2000 rpm.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.