Pacific Mariner 85 Pilothouse
Motoryacht — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Part 2: The dazzling finish of the interior complements the 85’s impressive handling and maneuverability.
“Jack,” I remarked appreciatively, “this baby’s quicker’n a cat!”
She’d been quick out on Skagit Bay, too. In two- to four-foot seas, I measured a top hop of 31.4 mph—a spirited number, given the extra weight onboard. Moreover, sound levels were especially low given the considerations I’ve already mentioned, and they might have actually been lower. Edson had two high-end sound meters with him during the trial, and they both read 2.9 dB-A less (on average) than the Radio Shack sound meter I was using. Why? It’s quite likely the Radio Shack, which normally does a fine job with the higher sound levels typical of most boat tests, is not as accurate on the low end.
Visibility was excellent from the pilothouse, too—I could even see the stern from the lower helm’s starboard side. And visibility from the bridge? We docked the 85 port-side-to using one of the wing control stations. Nothing beats surveying a vessel in her entirety while working a set of single-lever, electronic sticks in conjunction with a gutsy hydraulic thruster. Not only is it fun, but it also means the 85 can be easily operated by two people, even one in a pinch.
The dazzling finish of the interior complements the 85’s impressive handling and maneuverability. Joinery excellence comes from woodworking subcontractor ProNautic Custom Yacht Interiors of Sydney, British Columbia. The taste with which fabrics and woods were chosen is attributable to Edson’s wife, Sheri. And generally speaking, the layout’s both smart and conventional. There’s a pilothouse/galley/dinette on the upper deck (with Freeman watertight doors to port and starboard), along with a day head and a big, beamy saloon (with dining area) abaft. Below are four staterooms (master aft, VIP forward, plus guests port and starboard), with two more staterooms for crew in the lazarette. Noteworthy virtues include huge saloon and wheelhouse windows that offer views even while you’re seated, and a glass bridge with state-of-the-art components mostly from NEC, Furuno, and Simrad.
If performance and comfort are the reasons for the 85’s existence, engineering excellence is the means of achieving those goals. Sound and vibration are attenuated via clamshell-shape, “vectored-cowl” exhaust ports under water—they nix vibration and station-wagon effect by diverting exhaust gases laterally, away from the propeller tunnels. Other measures that reduce sound and vibration include the extensive use of 3M Thinsulate insulation in living areas; double-density Soundown foam in the engine room; isolation mounts on pumps, motors, and exhaust mounts; double-isolation mounts, underwater discharges, and secondary mufflers on the two Northern Lights gensets; and sound-absorbent pads under all carpets.
The engine room itself is a masterpiece. With rough-weather access via a cockpit hatch and routine access via one watertight Freeman door at the transom and another farther forward in the crew’s quarters, the place is laid out so that everything is easy to access, maintain, and repair. The forward firewall’s an excellent example. Arranged at or near eye level with circuit-board simplicity are a Sea Recovery watermaker, soft-start Aqua Air chilled-water air-conditioning units, Racor duplex filters, a Headhunter waste-treatment system (legally overboard-dischargeable almost anywhere in the world), and an ample chest of Snap-On tools.
Some weeks after I’d finished the test, I telephoned the boat to see how the Ducharmes were doing. They were ecstatic. Peace and tranquility reigned.
“She’s wonderful,” enthused Troy.
“Oh yes,” concurred Bonnie, casting about for words momentarily. “She’s simply our dream machine, Bill, in every sense those words convey. Our wonderful dream machine.”
Pacific Mariner ( (360) 466-1189. www.pacificmariner.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.