Jefferson 52 Pilothouse SE — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Part 2: Not only is the Jefferson 52 Pilothouse SE a solid, sensible performer, whether dockside, offshore, or cruising down a river, she’s turnkey-equipped.
Speed with mains at full chat was reasonable: top end averaged 25 mph. By pulling ‘er back a bit, I began seeing the economies inherent in a modest set of electronically inspired 460-hp Cummins MerCruiser 480C-Es and a sleek, trawlerish hull form. At 1750 rpm I recorded an average speed of 14 mph, a burn efficiency of .88 nautical miles per gallon, and a range of 540 nautical miles.
Because the run back up the New River to Billfish was a long one, I turned the helm over to Schmitz after the sea trial and toured the interior. The experience was a heartwarming one. Not only was the two-stateroom, two-head layout an expansive one, the complement of standards therein was complete. You name it—Sharp Aquos flat-panel TVs in staterooms and saloon; a well-stocked lower helm station with decent visibility aft for safe docking from the pilothouse; high-end equipage in the galley (like undercounter Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer units); a Splendide washer/dryer in a designated alcove; panels for a 15-kW genset and a 36,000-Btu air conditioner—everything was standard.
Shortly after helping Schmitz safely return our 52 to her slip, I hit the engine room, which was just as scrupulously outfitted as the interior. Order prevailed. The mains were situated forward, with two sight-gauge-equipped welded-aluminum fuel tanks outboard and two more well aft. Other components here included two stainless steel water tanks, four 8D batteries (two starters and two house types) in fiberglass boxes with strapped lids, a big, 20-gallon water heater, and an X-Changer oil-change system.
Accessing the engine room was easy, incidentally. I’d first lifted a cockpit hatch and stepped down into a lazarette containing, among other things, three Cruisair condensing units, Capilano steering hydraulics, a Glendinning Cablemaster, and a Bennett trim tab pump/reservoir. Then I’d merely opened a small door in the ER’s aft firewall and gone in. Headroom over the diamond-plate walkway was approximately four feet, walls and bulkheads were covered with sound-attenuating, perforated-aluminum paneling, and there was evidence of robust construction. Jefferson uses solid-glass laminates in the 52’s hull, with a vinylester barrier and ISO-NPG gelcoat to resist osmosis. Stringers, transversals, and a lattice of wrist-thick, hull-side-strenthening ribs are cored with closed-cell foam and the rest of the boat, including decks, superstructure, and bulkheads, is cored with NidaCore to add strength and cut weight.
Thanks to the heat radiating from our diesels, I emerged from the ER with a flushed face and a sweat-soaked T-shirt, but with an enthusiastic smile, too, a fact that seemed to impress Schmitz. “You love boats don’t ya, Bill?” he asked, shaking his head in wonderment.
But hey! Not only is the Jefferson 52 Pilothouse SE a solid, sensible performer, whether dockside, offshore, or cruising down a river, she’s turnkey-equipped. Toss in a modest retail price ($735,800), which has as much to do with standardization as it does with the cost-cutting realities of boatbuilding in China these days, and I ask you—what’s not to like?
Jefferson Yachts ( (812) 282-8111. www.jeffersonyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the July 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.