— By Richard Thiel
— November 2003
West Comes East
|Part 2: Also cruiser-friendly is the LRC’s three-pod helm.|
Because the couple plans on cruising without crew, safe and quick access to all parts of the boat’s exterior is also important to them. The M43 already provides fine foot-wide side decks, continuous handholds, a high, extended bowrail, aggressive nonskid, and a flat foredeck and house top to ensure easy line-handling. What it lacks, at least in the their view, is easy and safe passage between the bridge and cockpit in any weather. A bridge ladder, they reasoned, was fine if you weren’t in a hurry or loaded up with gear in a seaway, but what short-handed cruisers needed was an enclosed, molded-in stairway. And that’s what the LRC has: six wide, comfortable steps to the bridge. However, the landing on the bridge is open, unprotected, and pretty close to the passenger helm seat, making me worry about an inadvertent step into the void.
That helm seat and its companion are Stidds, solid, comfortable, and placed for good sightlines forward and to either side. Looking aft is problematic, so the couple either spots for each other or relies on the standard CCTV cockpit camera when docking. Also cruiser-friendly is the LRC’s three-pod helm. Arrayed in a kind of semicircle, it’s one of the best designs I’ve seen on any boat. Everything is right there at your fingertips.
On the LRC “everything” includes an impressive standard electronics package that the Dongos feel cruisers will appreciate. It encompasses a Furuno 1943 Navnet GPS/radar; Raymarine ST60 Tridata depth, speed, log, and temperature indicator; three Icom M602 VHFs (bridge, cockpit, and saloon); Robertson AP20 autopilot; and a serial port on the bridge for connecting a laptop to the navigation system. In addition, our test boat also featured an optional backup Northstar 957 GPS/WAAS chartplotter.
Also electronic are the standard Twin Disc EC200 engine controls and, on our test boat, the optional Cummins 480C-E diesels. Nonelectronic 370-hp Cummins 370Bs are standard, but Julio feels most owners will opt for the 480C-Es, especially when they see the kind of performance they produce. I measured 24.7 mph and a range of 406 miles at a fast cruise of 2250 rpm. (Julio later told me that after the test, Cummins found a bad injector in the port engine, which may have cost as much as three knots and substantially slowed acceleration times.)
Attribute such stellar performance partly to Tom Fexas’ efficient hull design, which also provides a short turning radius, good acceleration, and a moderate running angle that shouldn’t change much, since the single 600-gallon fuel tank is forward of the engines but aft of the saloon, where it has minimal effect on trim.
The Dongo’s requirement of comfortable accommodations is nicely served by the M43’s plan, so the LRC’s is basically identical. The main deck includes a large port-side settee with adjustable table from which there’s a good view of the standard 27-inch Sony Wega TV in the aft starboard corner. The cherry woodwork here and throughout the rest of the interior shows the deft touch Taiwanese craftsmen are famous for, especially in the roll-top desk forward and to starboard and custom doors for the eight-cubic-foot refrigerator in the U-shape galley to port. More beautiful joinery is below in the forepeak master stateroom, port-side guest stateroom with right-angle bunks, and starboard-side head, which has doors to both the master and hallway.
Julio and Claudia are pleased with their creation and excited about their new company, LRC East Coast Trading, which will market the LRC and other Mikelsons on the East Coast. But they’re already planning how to make Hull No. 2 even better. She’ll have a larger swim platform, which will be able to carry a PWC and will be a bit higher off the water, and a new rudder-quadrant configuration with dripless shaft seals. Meanwhile, they’ll be cruising Hull No. 1 between boat shows. What better way to come up with more design ideas?
LRC East Coast Trading Phone: (954) 583-8422. www.lrceastcoast.com.
Mikelson Yachts Phone: (619) 222-5007. www.mikelsonyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.