60 Hardtop — By Richard Thiel —
Something Old, Something New
|When this owner decided he wanted an up-to-the-minute yacht, Tempest simply transformed his 10-year-old 60 into one.|
Boats are created in many different ways. Some are born out of market research, some are the result of consumer focus groups, and some are just one man's vision of what he wants to build. The Tempest 60 Hardtop came to be via none of these routes. Instead, she is the offspring of an owner who wanted a new, modern yacht but loved his old one too much to give her up and a designer who knew how to combine the best of the old with the best of the new.
The old boat in question was a Tempest 60, which the owner purchased in 1990. A classic open sportcruiser, she displayed the kind of squarish, sculpted, European-influenced styling that was all the rage in the early `90s, and she had much to recommend her. Her hull was unusually deep--21 degrees at the transom--which helped make her seaworthy and steady in deteriorated conditions. She was built with an eye toward strength: a solid-FRP hull with Kevlar and vinylester resin, a Klegecell-cored deck and hardtop, balsa-cored stringers ahead of the engine room, plywood-cored engine beds and 6061 aluminum engine frames, and plywood-cored frames on three-foot centers.
But what made the Tempest 60 unique was her drive system. The T-Torque Drive was the creation of Adam Erdberg, president of Tempest and designer of the 60. Erdberg designed the T-Torque to combine the advantages of surface-piercing drives with the durability of straight inboards. Like all smart ideas, this one is simple: Prop shafts on five-foot centers exit the transom at about an eight-degree down angle. The struts that support them are cantilevered from the transom, as is the T-Strut abaft them that contains the rudders, rudder quadrants, and hydraulics. Since nothing moves but shafts, props, and rudders, the system is strong; since everything exposed is stainless steel, it is also impervious to corrosion. The moderate prop-shaft angle improves propeller efficiency, and since the noncleaver propellers are well aft where there's clean water, they get a better bite. The engines are well aft, too--nearly up against the transom--so on-plane performance and running attitude are enhanced.
While the T-Torque was never popular in terms of numbers, those who owned boats powered by it (including the U.S. Coast Guard) swore by it. That includes the owner of this Tempest 60, Hull No. 6, whose 10-year-old drives have never been touched.
But while the hull form, construction, and drive system have all stood the test of time, the 60's layout was a bit long in the tooth. Indeed, its open design offered distinct disadvantages to a man now 10 years older. Besides the fact that he was exposed to the sun and wind, the low, sleek windshield provided precious little shelter. The original square cockpit offered a nice blend of amenities, including forward wetbar, port-side lounge, and starboard sunpad, but it also lacked shade and wasn't what you'd deem comfortable by today's standards. The deep transom had a stylish camber, but its thickness wasted a lot of space, and the bolted-on swim platform had a distinctly added-on look. So as much as the 60's owner loved his boat, he reluctantly decided it was time to trade her in for a more modern vessel.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.