Explorer 78 — By Capt. Bill Pike —
|Part 2: I was not at all surprised to see an amalgam of nautical ambiance, high-end equipage, and sweetly crafted joinery.|
“Been a while since I’ve had this much fun in this kinda weather,” I said, while clearing the windshield with big, gutsy wipers and spurts of fresh water. Sightlines ahead and to the sides were superb, as was visibility aft. More to the point, the latter was so good, thanks to an accommodating window in the saloon bulkhead, that when we returned to our berth at Miami’s Rod & Reel Club after the trial, Marlow docked the boat while seated in the Stidd at the lower station, exhibiting the same sort of nonchalance I suppose he espouses when parking his black Porsche on the street.
The Rod & Reel Club’s a nifty, palm-shady little spot, just perfect for doing dockside walk-throughs. Marlow and I began with the 78’s engine room, which can be entered easily either via a scuttle-type cockpit hatch (for bad weather access) or a couple of watertight doors, one through the transom and the other through the forward bulkhead of the crew’s quarters/lazarette area. It boasts 6'4" headroom, epoxy fuel tanks mounted transversely amidships (against the forward firewall) to obviate the effects of load condition on trim, a seachest (with Lexan viewing/clean-out port), duplex fuel-water separators for both gensets and mains, and clear Lexan panels in the genset soundboxes, so an engineer can keep tabs on water pumps and hoses. Elbow room was ample and lighting excellent.
“Take a look at this,” Marlow said as we went aft through the crew’s quarters. At a spot on the swim platform, he began lifting a gasketed hatch after undogging it, slowly revealing a single 240-hp Yanmar 4LHA-STZP diesel configured (with helm station controls) to push the boat along in flat water at 9.5 knots. “It’s for rivers, the ICW, stuff like that,” explained Marlow, “where idling the mains for hours is inefficient.”
We pushed on into the 78’s interior, which offers a giant, full-beam master and three other staterooms on the lower deck (with an additional crew’s quarters astern), and a saloon, dining area, galley, and lower-helm station (with adjoining lounge) on the upper. Both the layout of our test boat and her resin-infused, vacuum-bagged, Kevlar-laminated, cored construction were highly reminiscent of the Marlow 72 I tested a year ago (see “Cutting Edge,” July 2003). In fact, the 78 is much the same vessel as the 72, except that she sports an extended, Euro-style cockpit and transom as well as a few other layout and engineering tweaks. At any rate, while examining our test boat’s accommodation spaces, I was not at all surprised to see an amalgam of nautical ambiance, high-end equipage, and sweetly crafted joinery.
Marlow and I finished the day with a simple, solid handshake, which seemed fitting. The opinion I’d formed of the Marlow Explorer 78 was just about that straightforward.
While the boat’s classical lines, state-of-the-art engineering, and high-tech construction were great, her offshore capabilities had darn near blown my socks off. Now all I had to do was field a few calls from the Big Apple.
Marlow Explorer Yachts Phone: (800) 362-2657. www.marlowmarine.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.