Cruz Coastal Flyer — By Tim Clark — July 2002
|Part 2: People were transfixed|
On the bridge deck the port-side, high-gloss, mahogany dinette table, which can comfortably serve six, lowers on its pedestal to convert, with the L-shape settee and a pad, to a double berth for guests. Its base rises on an electro-hydraulic ram to reveal the full length of the single 440-hp Yanmar 6LY2(M)-STE diesel engine. Another hatch (5'x2') for the starboard side of the engine lifts manually just aft of the Stidd helm chair. The combination of the two hatches gave us good access while installing fuel-monitoring equipment in preparation for the sea trial, although most work went on in a crouching position.
At WOT (3300 rpm) the Yanmar and UltraJet 350 jet drive brought us to 27.4 mph, with our transition onto plane hardly noticeable. Hull No.1 was elsewhere reported to have reached 23 mph with a 420-hp Yanmar turning 300 rpm below its rated speed of 3300 rpm, presumably because it was "under-impellered." Santa Cruz claims that once a different impeller was installed, the first boat clocked 28.5 mph at 3300 rpm. If that's true, then Hull No. 2's performance, in light of her more powerful engine and more than 2,000 pounds of weight savings, is puzzling. Later both Brown and designer Gerr told me that this boat's different weight calls for yet more experimentation with impellers. "The different load on the engine has to be matched by a different impeller," Gerr says. "The possibility still exists that this boat will run faster than the first." Considering that the third boat in production is expected to weigh still less, I imagine this builder will eventually become well versed in the particulars of impellers.
Whatever the speed, with Gerr's hand-laid, balsa-cored, Kevlar-reinforced, "Gerr-V" hull form modified for jet propulsion, the Coastal Flyer handles enjoyably. While for a soft ride the form retains its tapering tunnel chines flanking a fine entry that adjusts to an upturned-bell shape aft, its deep forefoot has been moderated to avoid bow steer in a following sea. During our run along the coast at about 23 mph before a three-foot swell, she held her course nicely, without forcing an undue amount of correction from the wheel. At top speed she made 180-degree turns in a tight, stable, and true-tracking fashion.
The joystick control, which combines a Max Power hydraulic bow thruster with the jet drive, makes close-quarters handling also impressive. You can crab the boat in any direction, walk her side to side, and spin her in place. When we untied from a fuel dock in Oakland, an onlooker asked if we wanted the stern pushed out. Brown told him, "Thanks, anyway," then pulled away--laterally. The man's jaw dropped.
The boat attracts many such onlookers. At the end of the day while in the harbor at Santa Cruz, people were transfixed as we motored past, then stood spellbound as we sidled over to tie up. The following morning the boat would return to the builder's facilities, and the process of commissioning her would resume. When I think of the deep finish of her mahogany, the gleaming polish of her stainless steel bow plate, and the overall harmony of her design, I consider it likely that sooner or later every detail will be right on the Coastal Flyer.
Santa Cruz Yachts Phone: (831) 475-9627. Fax: (831) 786-1444. www.santacruzyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.