66 MY — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Tried and True
|We test a heavily built, uncommonly outfitted motoryacht with a proven track record.|
Usually, I know a bit about a test
boat before I test her—I’ve either done some preliminary Web-based research, read a brochure or two, or harkened to a little gossip. Occasionally, however, I find myself climbing aboard a test boat I’m about as boned-up on as I am on the finer points of brain surgery or the dating preferences of Mary-Kate and Ashley, the Olsen twins of television fame.
Such was the case with Uniesse’s 66-foot Motoryacht. While hoofin’ it around the marina at Miami’s Biscayne Bay Marriott, looking for the 66, I realized at some ineffable juncture that I knew virtually nothing about the boat. Not what she looked like, not what engines she carried, not even if she was brand-new!
This last detail turned out to be critical. Once I’d located the 66, I decided to go onboard alone, since the guy who was joining me for the day, Uniesse importer Gerry Berton of Global Yachts, had called to say he was running late. So, with the blessing of one of the ladies in Global’s front office, I opened the solidly constructed watertight door at the transom, stepped into a large lazarette (with 6'6" headroom), and immediately copped a bad attitude. To starboard, Craftsman tools and toolboxes were strewn across a welded-aluminum workbench. To port, spools of three-strand nylon were stashed against a stacked pair of Onan gensets. And in other places, plastic crates of cleaning supplies were scattered about haphazardly. “Jeeze,” I grumbled.
The engine room was disappointing, too. I entered via a thick, louvered-aluminum door in the lazarette’s forward bulkhead and surveyed an unlikely scene. Frowzy water lay in the bilges. Aluminum, diamond-plate panels in the deck showed wear. Rust stains blemished sparkling gelcoat. And rag-filled Tupperware containers obscured big banks of expensive, fast-charging, zero-maintenance Optima batteries. Had Berton not arrived when he did, with a four-person cleaning crew in tow, I think I might’ve thrown some kind of fit.
“Sorry I’m late, Bill,” he apologized, “and sorry about the way things look—this boat’s been through it. I’m just introducing her stateside, but she’s been on tour in Italy for over a year now. See the hour meters.”
I scrutinized the gauges Berton was pointing at—233.3 hours, they read—and experienced a change of heart almost immediately. Our test boat wasn’t grubby and questionable, she was simply used. Moreover, she was a bonafide bluewater cruiser—Berton said she’d been built to “Class A” European standards for “unlimited offshore” duty. I looked around again. Under the superficial wear-and-tear that had sidetracked me earlier, I began seeing safety features, systems redundancies, and gutsy construction details galore.
Take the fire-suppression system, for starters. In addition to the automatic bottle-type setup, a fire pump was installed at the foot of the workbench in the lazarette. It supported two full-fledged fire stations, one on the foredeck and the other in the stowage trunk at the transom. The pump itself was a big, two-stage, cast-bronze affair from the respected Italian manufacturer Gianneschi & Ramacciotti. And the canvas hoses at the fire stations were of the commercial sort, with big, bronze nozzles.
The ventilation system was cool, too. Again, for the engine-room blowers, big Gianneschi & Ramacciotti electric motors and fans had been used, along with densely baffled, eductor-equipped demisting boxes with emergency air shutoffs. Topside, air-intake ports were installed in the after corners of the boat’s deckhouse, not in her saltwater-ingestion-prone hull sides where most builders put them.
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.