West Bay 58 PHMY
Bay 58 PHMY — By Richard Thiel
— February 2000
|With high bulwarks, protected side decks, and solid construction, the West Bay 58 is ready to go to sea.|
Some boats you ride on, some you ride in. Those you ride on–especially express cruisers–are typically sleek and stylish and put you close to the water. On a calm and sunny day, this is the boat to be aboard. But when the seas rise and the winds blow, it’s far better to be in a boat, surrounded by a solid structure, safe, secure, and relatively comfortable.
The semicustom West Bay 58 is this kind of boat. You don’t so much board her as enter her, and the moment you do you feel ensconced and secure. Her tall horizontal surfaces and sharp angles make her look serious, strong, and seaworthy, and her high bulwarks, solid handholds, and wide walkways confirm the impression.
Nowhere is this secure feeling more apparent than in the 58’s seven-foot-long cockpit, where internal freeboard exceeds three feet. Her flying bridge covers two-thirds of the space, providing shelter from sun and rain. Cabinets forward can hold not only gear but also accessories like a barbecue and sink; they’re to starboard of molded-in steps and a stainless steel ladder that provide a secure passageway to the bridge.
There’s even security on the three-foot deep swim platform, thanks to a nearly full-width transom grabrail, two smaller vertical grabrails at either side, and five massive, individually removable, three-foot-high stern rails. It’s two big steps from cockpit to platform, so although the standard transom baitwell makes fishing a definite possibility, an aft freeboard of 5'10" means you probably won’t be dragging any giant tuna through the port-side transom door.
The high cockpit sole produces a huge lazarette. Accessed through a large hatch in the center, the space on our test boat easily swallowed a central vacuum, Sea Recovery watermaker, water heater, two 130-gallon translucent water tanks (with gallons printed on them so you can see exactly how much water you have), and a variety of pumps and batteries, with plenty of room for spares and provisions left over.
Also accessed from the cockpit via a separate hatch beneath the saloon steps is the engine room with six-foot headroom and walkaround engine access. Indeed, amid the stark, white environs (including painted 500-gallon aluminum fuel tanks to either side), our boat’s Caterpillar 3196s looked positively Lilliputian. Everything here and in the lazarette is clearly labeled and accessible, especially the inboard-mounted sea strainers and duplex Racors. Simplicity provides operational security. The forward bulkhead has little more than a fuel manifold and d.c. main panel. Aft of each engine, our 58 had a 20-kW Northern Lights genset (one 12-kW unit is standard), aft of which were the a.c. electrical panels, the MSD manifold, and the reservoir for the power-assisted hydraulic steering. Powerful lights combine with the arctic ambience to make the space feel more like a kitchen than an engine room. Both fuel tanks have graduated sight glasses with seacocks top and bottom, and the prop shafts are oversize three-inch stainless steel.
There’s another kind of security topside. Simple barrel bolts accessed from the lockable cabinet beneath the cockpit sink can secure both the lazarette and engine room hatches. Thus it’s a matter of turning just two locks–the one on this cabinet and on the saloon doors–to secure the boat upon leaving.
You needn’t worry about compromising safety when you send someone forward to tend lines or ground tackle. Two steps to either side of the cockpit take you to foot-wide side decks (there is port and starboard side-deck access from the pilothouse via flush-opening doors) that are protected by a toerail and rock-solid, 2'6"-high welded rails. Once forward of the pilothouse, these side decks widen, and although it’s a moderate step from them to the cabin top, all surfaces are basically flat and covered in aggressive nonskid. The rail encloses the pulpit, and the standard windlass is self-tailing, so anchor hauling and retrieval can be accomplished from either helm.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.