Mann 63 — By Tim Clark — March 2002
|Part 2: Paul Mann 63|
The craft produced with these materials appears at once classic and current. Fairing on the hull is excellent, and while her broken sheer, long cambered foredeck, and generous flare are hallowed hallmarks of the Outer Banks, they are combined with dramatically swept-back strokes that bespeak contemporary, unabashed speed and avidity. This is the form that Paul Mann referred to when at the outset of construction he told Larry Bonadeo, the 63’s owner, "I’ll do anything you want with the boat so long as it doesn’t change my lines."
Bonadeo, an exceptionally involved owner in Mann’s estimation, didn’t hold back. The cockpit, with its broad teak caprails and teak sole, is crowned with a custom-made Release fighting chair to battle fish lured in with Rupp triple-box-spreader ‘riggers and a center ‘rigger. To port, just aft of the house, a stainless steel-lined refrigerator and freezer has a combined capacity of 25 cubic feet. Its freezer side is automatically fed by an Eskimo icemaker below deck that also feeds a stainless steel, insulated, six-foot-long fishbox built into the transom. In addition to a Miele grille and a set of controls under a lid to starboard, there are fresh- and saltwater washdowns and stowage for tackle, gaffs and brushes, and six rods.
Stowage for 14 more rods is to starboard on the flying bridge, where, with one glimpse at the helm, any lingering suspicion that the 63 is not abreast of the times is soundly quashed. Forward of a brightly polished Release wheel, a huge, lidded console opens like a treasure chest to reveal a pirate’s wealth of electronics. In addition to a Northstar 962 chartplotter, Furuno 292 fishfinder and 96-mile radar, and Robertson autopilot, there are controls for three color-video cameras–one in the engine compartment, one mounted aft under the flying-bridge hardtop, and the third overlooking the cockpit from beneath the flying-bridge overhang. To record the action off the stern, Bonadeo needs only flip a switch. Images from all the cameras can be viewed at once in three quadrants of a 15-inch DMP-MD1500 display, leaving the fourth for the Texas Instruments infrared night-vision camera forward.
All the cameras are joystick-controlled, so before we left his private dock to make our way to the St. Lucie, Bonadeo swept the engine compartment for his FloScan readouts, then zoomed in for an inches-away closeup: Presto! Fuel-flow data at the helm. The twisting canals through the mangroves provided an extended demonstration of the 63’s close-quarters maneuvering. With smooth Glendinning single-lever electronic controls, twin 1,300-hp MAN diesels, and 41-inch-diameter props that took big, forceful bites out of the water, we easily negotiated hairpin turns at creeping speeds.
Once upon the wide waters of the St. Lucie, the MANs pushed the 63 up out of the hole with marked poise (see acceleration chart). At a cruising speed just past 38 mph at 2000 rpm, she handled like an express boat, swiftly and precisely tilting into turns whose grace was increased by Hynautic power-assisted steering. Time constraints kept us from making the trip downriver to open sea, so I had to make do with doubling back on our wake to get any impression of the boat’s open-water handling. She hardly registered the two- to three-foot rollers–a good sign, but an inconclusive test of her sea-keeping abilities.
When I later told Paul Mann that we’d broken 45 mph at WOT, he seem pleased and recounted that during the 63’s construction he’d frequently kidded Bonadeo about the boat’s potential speed, given the lavishness of her interior. At 58,000 pounds (dry), the 63 is fairly light for her size, but when you go below you find a lot. The interior layout Bonadeo commissioned from designer Anthony Kalil is at once family-oriented and richly outfitted. The 63 sleeps Bonadeo’s family of seven in a twin-berth stateroom amidships to port, a master with en suite head and shower forward to starboard, and quarters in the bow, which, with chest-high twin bunks to either side of a centerline double bed, can also serve as a VIP. The primary woods and veneers include buffed cherry liberally accented with blistered pommele sapele, an African exotic. Mann’s craftsmen, some of whom have been with the yard for more than 10 years, build the cabinets "from the hull inward," cutting back frames where necessary to take full advantage of space. The stowage I found on this boat was creative and clever and voluminous enough to decisively forestall territorial arguments among the kids.
In the galley and saloon, superior Outer Banks craftsmanship stands alongside more distinctly contemporary appurtenances, notably Namibian blue granite countertops, 15 cubic feet of Sub-Zero freezer space, and a 45-inch Fujitsu plasma TV, mounted in a corner cabinet at the aft starboard bulkhead, that swings open to reveal audio/visual equipment.
When I noted the automatic air-controlled sliding door to the cockpit, Bonadeo told me that it was exactly wide enough to allow for the removal of the MAN diesels. Under the saloon carpeting there were also MAN-size hatches, which after entering the engine compartment from the cockpit, I found mirrored with polished stainless steel on their undersides. Crouching when inspecting the engines is kept to a minimum; you need only sit comfortably in the wide alley and scan the mirrors. Everywhere I looked down here I thought I saw double. Redundant systems included freshwater and air-conditioning pumps as well as gensets, all on soft mounts.
Surrounded by a dozen examples of the latest in marine engineering amid gleaming gelcoat, I found it hard to believe I was in the bowels of a frame-and-plank-built boat. "Mann-Made" included the best of the old and the new. While the builder may be rooted in "true Carolina" tradition, he’s clearly not living in the past.
Paul Mann Custom Boats Phone: (252) 473-1716. Fax: (252) 475-3995. www.paulmanncustomboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.