Great Southern 76 Page 2

Great Southern 76 — By Capt. Bill Pike — April 2001

Part 2: Great Southern 76 continued
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• Part 1: Great Southern 76
• Part 2: Great Southern 76 continued
• Great Southern 76 Specs
• Great Southern 76 Deck Plan
• Great Southern 76 Acceleration Curve


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But how do such facets and features work in the real world? Although I sea-trialed the Great Southern in the coastal Atlantic well beyond the Fort Lauderdale jetties, sea conditions were wimpy on test day, with the biggest waves cresting at little more than five feet. Hardly a true test of a true trawler. Nevertheless, there was one aspect of performance I found remarkable. With the stabilizers off, roll when lying abeam was easy and remarkably slight. So faint was the motion, in fact, that pencils refused to move on the chart table. Even as we transited the mouth of the jetties, which offered an occasional eight-footer, the ride with the Wesmars off was more reminiscent of that of a freight train crossing open prairie than a boat negotiating turbulent shallows.

I discovered another nifty trait as we returned to our slip at Las Olas Municipal Marina, a tight spot if ever there was one. Thanks to a couple of five-blade wheels with lots of diameter and pitch, a set of big (2' x 5') stainless steel rudders activated by dual hydraulic rams, and a gutsy, 50-hp Wesmar hydraulic bow thruster capable of long stints of heavy-duty usage, our Great Southern maneuvered dockside with the authority of a tractor tug. How do a couple of modest 275-hp diesels (derated from 300 hp for continuous service) rotate such big wheels? Twin Disc 3.38:1 gears turn fewer revolutions at the prop, which cuts top speed but also imparts a healthy maneuvering kick when needed.

Underlying my dockside examination of the Great Southern’s machinery spaces, accommodations, and topsides was her ABS certification, which specifies five watertight compartments and numerous other features. One is the commercial-grade redundancies in the stand-up engine room, which sported a watertight door forward and watertight escape hatch aft. Another is Dahl duplex fuel-water separators and Alemite manual backup pumps for the electric fuel, water, and fire-main pumps. The easy-to-figure-out fuel manifold mounted on the forward firewall was of polished stainless steel, and other shippy components included emergency engine shutoffs with remote pulls for ventilator dams, an auxiliary engine-driven bilge pump cross-connected to the fire main, a Hamann SuperMini waste-treatment facility, eductor-equipped exhaust and intake fans, Halyard water-cooled mufflers for the dry-stack exhausts, and a hand-crank oil-transfer system.

Not nearly so commercial but just as well crafted, the interior features American cherry paneling, makore burl accents, Corian countertops, and leather upholstery. There’s plenty of living space, although the counter-type stern precludes accommodations aft. Nevertheless there are three staterooms below decks: a guest forward with two sets of bunks, a VIP abaft the guest on the port side with a queen-size berth and en suite head, and a master abaft that, again to port, with a large, adjoining, Jacuzzi-equipped head. The only quirky thing about the overall layout is this head. While a separate compartment for the Jets MSD is a nice idea, what’s the deal with see-through walls? Joe Johnson, stateside agent for Great Southern Yachts, says he’s soon going to add “frost-film” for privacy and plans on solid walls in the next boat. A wild crowd, those Aussies!

Otherwise, outfitting below decks and above is both salty and complete, with a giant Muir anchor windlass with one main and one backup hydraulic power supply (plus a manual crank with gearbox reduction), an outboard-powered RIB launchable and retrievable via the steadyingsail boom, a roomy, superbly set-up wheelhouse with Portuguese bridge, redundant electronics (repeaters at the upper helm station), two forms of steering (non-follow-up and tiller), a Pulsar all-weather viewing port in each of the two center windshield panels, a full-size chart table, and two cushy air-activated helm seats.

One final tidbit. In keeping with her bluewater pedigree, our Great Southern 76 is poised for a possible Atlantic crossing within the next few months—something about a European buyer. Johnson’s got his fingers crossed, salty soul that he is. I’ve got my fingers crossed as well, since I’ve been invited along. Nothing’s for sure yet, of course, except I’ll likely take along my battered old copy of Stability and Trim for the Ship’s Officer, believe it or not.

Great Southern Yachts Phone: (954) 468-0070. Fax: (954) 468-0071.

Next page > Great Southern 76 Specs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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