Ocean 73 Super Sport — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
A Tale of Two Boats
As Mr. Dickens might say, it’s a far, far better thing that Ocean Yachts’ 73 comes in two versions.
“My friends from the Bahamas, they say that the devil lives here, man,” says Jose, also known around the docks of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as Vanilla due to his light skin color. He’s one of two mates aboard the Ramon family’s 73 Ocean Super Sport, the company’s largest convertible to date, and is gesturing out past the tranquil waters of the inner harbor to the not-so-calm ocean. Angel, the other mate peering out the starboard side of the cockpit, is called Chocolate for obvious reasons.
Jose’s Latino accent bathes my American ears in a light Salsa ballad as the boat turns the corner at Bahia de San Juan and heads out to sea. I hear the turbos from the pair of 2,000-hp MTU 16V 2000s beneath my feet hit a high note as Capt. Jaime Ramon leans on the throttles. Sitting on the big boat’s mezzanine overlooking the almost 150-square-foot cockpit on this, the standard enclosed-bridge version, I look to port as a big slate-gray wave rolls by. I follow its rush landward until it explodes against the rocks under El Morro.
This is the first of two Ocean 73s I’ll be aboard. The other, which has the optional open tournament bridge and is powered by a pair of 1,675-hp Caterpillar C32s, belongs to Dick Weber of Mid-Atlantic 500 fishing tourney fame and the owner of South Jersey Yacht Sales of Cape May, New Jersey, an Ocean Yachts dealership. But I won’t be aboard that one until the upcoming 2005 Miami International Boat Show. Now, I’m focused on those ten- to 12-footers that are standing between us and Playa de Fajardo, where we’ll be spending the night.
As we pass the walls of the old Spanish fort, Ramon applies power and we plow into the heaving sea head on, throwing big spray out from either side. We’re doing around 22 knots, and I feel the big boat settle into the rhythm of the crest and trough of each wave. The smooth ride is courtesy of Dave Martin’s hull design with a sharp entry and tunneled aft sections. “When we developed the hull of the 73-footer, we kept the qualities we liked about our 70: good top-end and cruise speed, maneuverability, hull efficiency, and a smooth ride,” Mike Hartline, Ocean’s manager of research and development, told me during a previous interview. A big part of the nice ride is due to those tunnels. Ocean eased them a bit more forward of the props and flared the front ends, smoothing out the waterflow to the props and thereby increasing propeller efficiency. For the same reason, the depth of the tunnels has been reduced at their aft end, which ensures that the boat loses minimal running surface—and thereby lift—while also allowing the rudders to be placed in a more efficient location. Judging from my time at the wheel, Ocean seems to have found the balance it was looking for.
But while the hulls of both versions of the 73 are the same, much of the remainder of the boats is different, reflecting the needs of each owner. The Ramons are an older couple who enjoy cruising their 73 with friends and family—their son is their captain—so their enclosed-bridge boat features a stairway separating the saloon from the galley that winds its way topside. Here, in an expansive air-conditioned space, is lounge seating around a table aft of the helm, an entertainment center, and a wet bar, refrigerator, and ice maker to starboard. Not being hardcore anglers, they opted for a canvas bimini overhang in the cockpit area and chose to mount their tender and its davit on the foredeck.
Next page > Part 2: Each of these 73s is impressive in her own way and typifies Ocean’s ability to once again successfully balance a cruising boat with a horizon-chasing battlewagon. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
This article originally appeared in the August 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.