After taking a close look at an Ocean 48 Super Sport, it’s easy to understand why more than 400 were built.
Jack Leek founded Ocean Yachts in 1977. Since then, three generations of Leeks have assembled yachts in the company’s South Jersey plant. The 48 Super Sport is high on the leader board of the success stories produced over three-plus decades. The longevity of her appeal is derived from her one-two punch of sleek looks—both inside and out—and sound performance.
From 1986 through 2003 the 48SS had one makeover and one major redesign. Combined, more than 400 hulls were produced. By numbers alone she makes a presence on the used market, but her popularity goes much deeper than simply volume.
“The original 48 was an adaptation of the popular 46 Super Sport,” says John Leek IV, Ocean’s General Manager. “We learned a lot from those owners. The 46SS offered a two- and three-stateroom layout, and the 48 improved upon that with greater interior volume and a more contemporary style.”
Well-known marine architect Dave Martin designed the 48. The original 48SS offered a two- or three-stateroom layout. The two-cabin version was a galley-down arrangement. Ocean Yachts’ strong following consists of both anglers and serious cruisers. Most buyers on both sides of the fence were looking for the third stateroom on a vessel of this size.
“When the 48SS was introduced, Ocean was ahead of its time as far as amenities,” continues Leek. “The 48-footer had a custom-boat look and the teak added to the appeal for the hardcore fisherman. The families, spouses in particular, approved of the interior.”
In 1991 the Super Sport got a makeover adding a more refined look to the house, newly designed windows, and a half tower. It continued to be powered by 485-horsepower GM 6-71 diesels. Performance with this package produced a mid-20-knot cruise with a 30-knot top end.
“Ocean strived to build yachts that were efficient to run and maintain. Customers could afford to fix anything on a 6-71, we built upscale yachts with an owner/operator mentality,” says Leek, referring the company’s overall mission.
In 1995, the 48SS changed from the keel up. Martin penned a new-style hull and added a more aggressive deadrise to the modified-V and increased the beam. Larger power options were also offered including 680-horsepower MANs, which produced a cruising speed of 28 knots. The wider beam also meant an increase in interior volume.
At the same time, the company began to employ a modular interior construction technique rather than a stick build. Ocean felt this method was more efficient while still maintaining a high-quality product.
Walking any dock, the Super Sport’s flare is a standout. There are minimal hard angles, and lots of sweeping curves and radius angles. The engines breathe through vents in the cockpit, leaving her hull lines clean. The trademark taper towards the transom doesn’t affect the cockpit’s square footage. She narrows by the waterline but the beam holds within the confines of the cockpit. The freeboard is low enough to land a fish with ease, and yet high enough to keep the grandkids secure. All the necessary fishing amenities are in place, including cockpit controls, a fishbox, and a livewell in the sole.
The ladder to the flying bridge is athwartships and at a gradual angle. Up top is prepped for a canyon run or a cruise to the islands. Twin helm seats and side and forward settees handle the seating. The helm is placed forward, offering great sightlines, but it pushes the forward-facing settee a little close to the enclosure. A six-station rocket launcher hangs on the rail behind the helm.
An Ocean Yacht interior is the moneymaker. Early on, the builder realized buying a boat is a partnership. The offshore sportsman could deal with an unornamented interior, but it wasn’t going to fly with the family or cruisers. (Post Yachts also had a knack for spacious and stunning interiors.)
A large L-shaped settee absorbs a crowd. The galley on the new vintage 48SS is U-shaped and up. The working area in between is quite wide; two cooks won’t be doing the “excuse me” dance. (A galley-down was still available.) Counter space is sufficient for entertaining, and a separate wet bar is to starboard when entering the saloon. A four-top dinette is forward of the wet bar, an entertainment system faces aft above the dinette.
The accommodation level is a three-step drop. The cabins are meant for sleeping. Due to the immense saloon, the staterooms are on the cozy side. Three deck hatches welcome daylight into the space. The heads and two stall showers are appropriately sized for a 48-footer.
The engine room is well lit and easy to maneuver around. The popular GM 6-92s leave plenty of room for a Westerbeke genset, air conditioners, batteries, and a toolbox. Please note the 8-92s tighten things up a bit.
Underway, the 48 rides like most Oceans. The minimal deadrise design at the transom pops the Super Sport out of the hole with ease.Once at cruise it’s as efficient as they come. It sits well beam-to and the modified-V takes most seas comfortably. A big head sea will initiate a pull back of the throttles, just the nature of the beast.
Ocean Yachts is currently building boats to order. Leek intimated readers should be on the lookout for an updated prototype of the 64-foot Makaira in the near future
This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.