52 Super Sport — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— November 2000
A Matter of Balance
|Heaving seas neither prove to be a problem for Ocean’s 52 nor prevent her crew from catching fish.|
This past summer, weather in the northeast was not typical. There were brutally hot days in June, windy and wet conditions with cooler-than-usual temperatures for most of July, and an August that began with torrential rain and two straight weeks of little or no sunshine across the region. Given this meteorological anomaly, when the opportunity came for me to spend a day fishing the Baltimore Canyon, some 70 miles out in the Atlantic, aboard the newest Ocean, I kept a wary eye and ear tuned to my local weather channel.
With a 36-hour window of fair weather ahead and Ocean's 52-foot Super Sport to level out an ocean still heaving from a front that had moved through the previous day, we set out from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Aboard with me were Ocean's president John Leek, his wife Pam, sons Ryan, age 9, our mate John Leek Jr., age 19, skipper Don Wilkinson, grandson Nick, and PMY mid-Atlantic sales manager Dave "Doughnut" McGee, whose nickname I'll explain later.
As dawn broke I could see the sun's easterly glow highlighting the purple-bruised clouds I hoped did not portend things to come. I also noted the quartering sea, typified by long rollers whose height I calculated at six feet, with an occasional run of eight-footers thrown in.
From the flying bridge Wilkinson worked the throttles until he found the correct setting for the sea conditions, finally settling in at 1750 rpm at which speed our twin 800-hp Caterpillar 3406Es were pushing us along at a steady 30 mph. (Her fast cruise is more than 35 mph, at which she has a range of 371 nautical miles.) The 52 not only made the rollers tolerable, it made the ride downright respectable given the size of those swells.
"This boat was designed to replace our 53," Leek Sr. told me. "We wanted it to ride smoother than that one, as well as our other 48-footer, which we were already very pleased with." To accomplish this, Dave Martin, who designs all of Ocean's boats, deepened the forefoot entry and changed the forward spray rails by extending them and setting them at a different angle. "We also modified the chine at the aft end, creating a concave hollow in the last eight feet before the transom to help the boat break free easier and get on plane quicker," Leek added. To further enhance seakeeping, Martin repositioned the fuel and water tanks and the engines to work in harmony with the running surface refinements.
With more than two hours to go before we would wet the lines, we sought the comfort of one of the 52's three staterooms to grab some extra sleep. There's an athwartships queen island bed in the forepeak, a double berth in the starboard quarters, and a queen-size berth in the master to port and amidships. The master has 6'4" headroom courtesy of Martin's main-deck design, which includes a galley and dinette that are raised two steps. All the rooms have fine joinery and plenty of stowage, including cedar-lined closets and drawers. Each has an en suite head, with the starboard doing double duty as a day head via a hallway door. A closet just aft of the starboard quarters houses a washer and dryer combo.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.