I'm told it was a picture-perfect, Indian summer morning in mid-November when Jerry and Diane Lynch launched their new 38 Wilbur/Duffy Lonrach--the perfect day for a boat whose namesake means "brilliant" in Gaelic, to ease her hunter-green hull into the crisp, Maine water for her maiden voyage to her homeport in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Now a month later it's a beautiful, mid-December, Cape Cod morning. Wilbur Yachts' president John Kachmar, the Lynches, and yours truly are at East Marine, ready to take Lonrach for a wring-out. But today the mercury is registering a meager 16F, with winds out of the northeast at 15 mph. And as Lonrach's being hauled the next day for winter stowage, there's no delaying the test.
So, first things first. I test the radar gun to make sure it will work from inside. It will (yeehaw!), and no sooner than that, we're pulling away from the dock. As luck would have it, the radar gun doesn't register from inside, thanks to my meager 5'1" height, and so I must run the numbers from outside despite the arctic chill and a few numb fingers, it is still a brilliant day. Why? Well, quite simply, the 38 is a brilliant boat. Lonrach boasts many unique interior features (she is, after all, fully custom) that make her both classic and modern and a perfect fit for this soon-to-be-retired cruising couple.
When the time came to build their boat, the Lynches had a number of specific ideas and knew Wilbur Yachts was the company to do the job. In fact, Lonrach is the couple's fifth Wilbur and second 38 Duffy. Why? "It's the people. They're an outstanding crew to work with," Jerry states without hesitation. Diane agrees: "They pick up on things and see things that we don't." Then as if to reinforce that thought, she turns to Kachmar and exclaims, "I love the cockpit without [the] teak [sole], John. It looks so much bigger!"
The Lynches wanted an enclosed pilothouse to facilitate their plan of extended cruising up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Since they didn't use the flying-bridge helm on their previous 38 often (the boat also had a lower station) and figured they'd encounter low bridges along the way to Florida, the Lynches felt they'd be better off without it. So instead of sending the 38 into the yard for a refit, back to the drawing board they went. "We thought it was a brilliant idea to go into debt at our age and a brilliant idea to take on a project of this magnitude at our age," Jerry, who is in his 70's, tells me. And thus, $850,000 later (base price for the 38 Wilbur/Duffy is $500,250), Lonrach was born.
With the only helm station just inches from the engine space, sound damping was a key concern for the Lynches, since Lonrach's enclosed-pilothouse design means that the engine is a mere four inches beneath the cockpit sole. Because of this, Wilbur contracted with Soundown to design what the company calls a "full insulation and isolation package."
Four special engine mounts and a Soundown elastic coupling help to isolate engine vibration, and a Soundown axial exhaust system reduces exhaust noise. The package also includes what Soundown refers to as a "built-in-place insulation program." In the case of Lonrach, that means using damped aluminum panels on the overhead and forward and aft bulkheads backed with quarter-inch-thick Tuff-Mass Barrier, which adds sound-blocking capabilities by building up mass. In addition, the cockpit sole is floated (spring-mounted) to decouple it from engine-generated vibration, and absorption materials are concealed in the panels in the ceiling to further reduce any ambient sound.
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