S48 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler — August 2001
Worth Waiting For
|Part 2: Sealine S48 continued|
Those Cummins sit on foam-encapsulated FRP stringers wrapped in a fiberglass liner and girdled by 5"Wx2"Hx1/2"D galvanized steel beams. Access to the compartment is through a large hatch in the teak cockpit sole that allows for regular fluid checks and maintenance. Additional access is possible by lifting the stairs leading to the living quarters.
But for the passing wake of a pleasureboat or two, the sea conditions in the upper Hudson River were flat calm. While there was to be no opportunity to test her rough-water capabilities, I at least got to sit back and enjoy an exhilarating ride. I did notice that when I was seated there was enough bow rise during acceleration that I lost sight of the seaway until the 48 got on plane. The remedy for this, I discovered, is to simply flip up the helm seat, transforming it into a comfortable leaning bolster. And in another sight-related concern, I found the view of the seaway through the Isinglas distorted, even in fine weather. A glass insert, possibly with a wiper, on the driver's side would solve the problem.
The rest of my time at the wheel was pure pleasure. At cruising speed the S48 tracked straight and true and answered the helm immediately during quick, sharp turns. And characteristic of a well-designed running bottom, she maintained most of her rpm when I held her hard over in a 360-degree turn. Such a controlled ride comes courtesy of a modified-V running bottom whose deadrise goes from 25 degrees amidships to 18.7 degrees at the transom. Construction details include a solid-glass bottom and Divinycell-cored sides and decks and, in keeping with her North Sea heritage, a sturdy bowrail, plenty of well-placed handrails, and heavy-duty cleats, hinges, and locks.
While Sealine obviously wanted the S48 to deliver a pleasurable driving experience, it also took care that her living spaces would be just as enjoyable. Instead of trying to cram in three staterooms, as is the norm with boats of this size, Sealine opted for two large, comfortable ones--one forward, one aft and each with its own en suite head and shower--the logic being that most owners will be empty nesters. There's plenty of stowage space in both, and headroom is just as generous: 6'4" in the forward stateroom and 6'10" in the aft cabin. Between the two is a large saloon illuminated by a pair of Bomar hatches. The galley occupies the starboard side, and offers a two-burner electric stovetop, under-counter refrigerator and freezer, combination microwave and grill, and a teak and holly sole. With plenty of counter space and stowage, it's easy to prepare anything from a snack to a sit-down dinner.
Of particular note was the workmanship throughout the living space. Grains on all doors, cabinets, and furniture matched, and the joinery was precise. I especially liked the way the multiple coats of varnish brought out the brilliance of the cabinetry, doors, and other furniture.
Sealine's emphasis on comfort continues outside, where the cockpit is outfitted with a pair of opposing couches and a table to starboard. For alfresco food preparation, there's a BBQ grill, refrigerator, sink, icemaker, and even room for a small microwave in a module located on the port side. Best of all, this is a true all-weather space. You can enclose the entire cockpit and helm area with the optional canvas and flip on the heat or air conditioning, or push a button, open up the bridge-deck sunroof, and let in the sunshine.
But perhaps the most impressive feature aboard the S48, and one that indicates just how far Sealine has come, is found abaft the cockpit. With the push of a button, the entire aft end of the boat--transom and platform--glides into the water, not only making it easy to drive a PWC or tender on and off the platform (it has foldaway chocks) but also enhancing the ease and safety with which swimmers and divers get on and off the boat. This complicated structure is not only practical, but it's also a major piece of engineering. Complementing it is an electrically operated passerelle that retracts into the hull when it's not needed.
A large reason why Sealine has been able to come up with innovations like these year after year is that it's virtually self-contained; it uses almost no subcontractors. Almost every component from furniture to bowrail is built in-house, often using computers for accuracy. Even the furniture is laminated using vacuum-bagging, and the company recently invested in a costly machine that does nothing more than create perfectly finished edges for all laminates.
By any measure, Sealine has come a long way since those early days in Kidderminster, and its customers aren't the only ones who have noticed. So have its competitors. Indeed, as we were going to press, the company had just announced it had been purchased by the Brunswick Corporation, parent of Sea Ray, Bayliner, Maxum, and a few other brands that could legitimately be considered competition. According to Wainwright, the move "will result in resources and opportunities that will accelerate the growth of the company." Translation: More innovation. You can't help but imagine what the next generation of Sealines will be like. Whatever they may be, you can bet they'll be well worth the wait.
Global Yachts Phone: (305) 371-2628. Fax: (305) 371-4420. www.globalyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.