And the final biggie was visibility. Whether I ran the 82 from the skylounge or the pilothouse-and I did both to gauge the qualities of each-visibility forward and to the sides was superb, no matter what rpm the mains were turning. And while visibility aft from the skylounge was typical of the motoryacht genre, meaning it was limited by the boat deck and its accoutrements (Zodiac Yachtline Deluxe RIB, Brower davit, wetbar with Jenn-Air BBQ, etc.), I could easily keep tabs on activities abaft the 82's stern by simply looking aft from the pilothouse beneath the overhead galley locker and straight through the saloon.
Testing went rapidly, thanks to one of Shaw's buddies who kindly copied numbers onto my clipboard as I read them off PMY's test equipment. The average top speed of 22.8 mph I got with the Stalker radar gun in two- to four-foot seas was respectable, and the operating efficiency of 1.04 mpg I recorded at 1000 rpm (for an average speed of 10.4 mph and a range of 2,293 statute miles) was excellent. And the sound readings I took in the pilothouse were church-mouse quiet thanks to sound- and vibration-reducing, watertight engine-room bulkheads sandwiched with three-inch layers of Nidacore, rubber isolation mounts under most ancillaries, and Nidacore-sandwiched cabin soles covered with teak planks 1/4 inch thick, leaded-foam insulation (in way of the machinery spaces), and thick, high-quality carpet.
We were just north of Boca Raton when I reluctantly turned the helm over to another of Shaw's buddies so Shaw and I could give the 82's traditional, cherry-and-burl interior a tour. We began with the lower deck, an expansive, conventionally arranged space with four staterooms and four heads forward of the engine room and a large crew quarters aft. Besides the top-shelf quality and sheer quantity of the equipage throughout, the most noteworthy aspect here was the level of fit and finish- the equal of much of what comes out of Europe these days.
The upper deck was just as slick. Residential-style GE appliances, granite countertops, custom cherry blinds, and a double stainless steel sink were the galley highlights. And the saloon's distinctions included leather upholstery on the sofas, a big cherry-and-burl dining/gaming table with six chairs, a whopping entertainment system featuring a 42-inch Panasonic plasma TV, and a day head with a VacuFlush MSD, a marble floor, and granite countertops.
We arrived in West Palm at sunset, and by the time we were tied up, it was well after dark. As we finished tweaking the last springline, the wives of Shaw's friends began to arrive, and an impromptu party convened onboard, featuring the convivial laughter of a genuinely salty crowd and more than a few guided tours of a vessel that's as sumptuously outfitted and finely finished as any big motoryacht I've sea-trialed lately. So infectious was the spirit of the festivities-and so inviting the arrival of whole piles of sugar-infested, carbohydrate-ridden munchies-that Raycroft and I hung in there, lingering well beyond the time when making a rental car reservation made any sense.
Which was fine, actually. Shaw organized a ride for us back to Lauderdale once we were ready to go. I did a hotel there instead of an airport. And Raycroft never came close to telling me I told you so. Not once.
Jefferson Yachts (812) 282-8111. www.jeffersonyachts.com.
Gear on Board >> MTU Electronic Controls
I'm a big fan of the MTU Smartline engine controls that were on our test boat for one big reason: built-in redundancy. Should a glitch beset either the gear-shift or throttle functions at any given control head onboard, an entirely separate system comes into play and, via signals from a computer, reassigns those functions to the very same throttle/shift levers. Such an arrangement does away with the need for a backup panel at the principal helm, with its clunky stop-gap controls that typically consist of toggles (for gear shifts) and rheostat-type knobs (for throttles). And since the built-in feature's part and parcel of every helm station onboard-our 82 had four (skylounge, pilothouse, and two wing statons)-there's no need to bolt for the lone backup panel at the principal helm for some far-distant location in the event of an emergency. Cool!
MTU (313) 392-5261. www.mtu-online.com.
Spotlight on | Freeman Marine Doors
Given that a couple of decades have elapsed, I guess it's not surprising that I can't remember whether the first Freeman Marine deck hatch I ever saw was atop the fo'c'sle of a commercial fishing vessel or a big, long-range passagemaker. But I do remember how sturdy and tough-as-nails the heavy-gauge aluminum component looked. Afterwards the name Freeman became synonymous in my mind with watertight integrity while on the high seas.
Today Freeman is still manufacturing beefy hatches for bluewater applications, but the small Oregon-based company also builds other things like aluminum doors, some watertight, some not. Our Jefferson 82 had a watertight model at the transom and a couple of watertight sliders on the sides of the pilothouse. The design of the sliders is sufficiently innovative that it qualified for a patent.
Examine the diagram shown here, and you'll see why. When actuated by a single open/close lever and "cammed in" (locked in by a complicated mechanism of sprockets, axles, and other parts), the door enjoys a full-perimeter seal that is impervious to sea- or salt water. Moreover, the camming feature also can hold the door open at any point along its track.
Single sliding doors from Freeman come in both manual and automatic models. Door panels (and the windows in them) can be configured to match most any yacht's appearance or shape and can be painted to either contrast or blend into any exterior color scheme.
Freeman Equipment (888) 373-3626. www.freemanmarine.com.
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