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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Uniesse 65 Motoryacht

The flags stood at attention. I directed my eyes toward the horizon and gazed at the "buffalo" (big swells) running across the Gulf Stream. It was about this time that I began to appreciate the nearly two-inch-thick, solid-fiberglass core sample I'd seen earlier. Uniesse Marine USA vice president Ralph Barca had pointed to it, as well as an image of the 65 Motoryacht's beefy grid-type stringer system, back in his office. Combined with a solid bottom and hull sides cored with high-density Airex foam to add rigidity without substantial weight, this setup had looked bedrock-tough. Now seeing and feeling what went into her build inspired confidence in me as Barca pointed the 65 toward the horizon, where her toughness would be tested.

I was riding atop the vessel's expansive flying bridge, preparing to record performance data in the steep four-, five-, and occasional six-footers, as this 81,500-pound (full-load) behemoth beat the ocean back with every ounce of wave-slicing deep-V meanness she could muster. Thanks partly to a small keel, my test boat tracked laser straight.

While we would eventually take the 65 to protected water to get the most accurate data, she easily made 30 mph in these less-than-ideal conditions while the optional 1,360-hp 12-cylinder MAN diesels turned 2000 rpm. (On the protected ICW, the 65 made a 31.4-mph cruise at that setting.) My vessel didn't offer up even a hiccup running through the slop. Even in the wash, she managed to go full throttle. The 65 was running with the buffalo.

When we took the steep seas on the forward port quarter at cruise speed, she occasionally threw spray on the wide-open upper helm. Note, though, that this boat was still awaiting a custom hardtop that her owner had ordered. Combine the hardtop with an optional enclosure, and the helm, the companion seat, guests seated at the U-shape table aft to port, and those on the lounge would be bone dry. As you can see in the photos that accompany this story, there are a lot of places to hang out up here, and yet there's still room for an optional 11-foot tender, a davit, and a barbecue.

During my turn at the wheel, I was impressed at how sportily the 65 handled. Her hull offered a slight lean into turns, with a couple-hundred-rpm drop at cruising and higher speeds. The hydraulic power-assisted steering allowed this 65-footer to dodge and feint like a runabout. The 1,360-hp MANs, a $149,000 upgrade from the standard 1,100-hp MANs, provide good low-end torque for around the docks. I noticed, however, that during acceleration testing there was some sluggishness through the midrange rpm. There may have been some turbo lag going on (see acceleration curve, this story). Once the engines got through their midrange—around 1850 to 1900 rpm—they were great at both cruise rpm and WOT (2350 rpm). And when this boat is at WOT, the flying bridge is the place to be for cruising enthusiasts.

But some alone time at the wheel can also be a good thing. The 65's whisper-quiet (the low-70 dB-As at cruise speed), and the standard leather and electronically adjustable port-side helm chair is the ticket. A pantograph-style door next to the helm seat leads to the side decks. This door is certainly heavy-weather tough, but it has no porthole. Being a window-seat guy, I'd like to see one. If you get tired of your alone time, there's a small dinette across from the helm for company.

I found the same level of sophistication sitting here that I felt in that leather chair in the saloon, thanks to optional, rich, dark wenge on the sole (carpet is standard). It's accented by contrasting white oak on the bulkheads.

With regards to the galley, the high-end feel of the 65 is reflected in an array of stainless steel Miele appliances, from the four-burner cooktop to the deep fryer and, of course, standard marble countertops. There's also a Bosch stand-up refrigerator and under-counter freezer. The owner's decision to add some overhead cabinets reduced the openness between here and the dining and saloon space—basically, you have to bend down to see and converse with someone. In exchange you get plenty of places for your stores, with five overhead cabinets, four drawers, and under-counter stowage. I'd prefer this space be open for chatting with guests and move the cabinets.

Like the main deck, customization is available for the below-deck's layout. This owner opted for version A, which places the master aft. Its berth runs athwartships. This positioning of the king-size berth and the master head—aft of the berth and just in front of the engine-room bulkhead—allows for three guest staterooms forward of the master. In version B the full-beam master's berth is on the centerline, and the head is forward and to starboard of the berth, a setup that eliminates the starboard guest stateroom. Uniesse can arrange the accommodations in a multitude of ways.

You have to like how Uniesse encourages owner input and can usually make the wish list happen. When you blend that with a solid-riding, heavily constructed, quiet, and comfortable vessel (especially when the buffalo are running), you get a seriously fun yacht demanding serious consideration.

For more information on Uniesse Marine USA, including contact information, click here.

Who doesn't love the sound and aroma of a deep fryer doing its thing? Well, this owner surely does, and so he asked Uniesse to install a Miele fryer on his 65-footer. Underneath the unit, a hose runs to a storage tank. When the fryer's duties are completed, the cooking oil drains down the hose into the the tank, which is accessed via the saloon. Behind the port-side saloon end table is a panel in the bulkhead, which gets removed, and then the owner can dispose of the oil and be ready to cook again.—P.S.

This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.