To stand out from the herd, Numarine founder Omer Malaz knew he had to focus on construction and technology. The new 70 Hardtop proves his formula is a winner.
It’s twilight on the Gulf of Fethiye. The village of Gocek is 3 miles astern as our bow points toward the next anchorage. As we motor between timeworn cliffs bathed in the warm patina of the setting sun, I visualize a convoy of ancient Ottoman Empire galleys returning to the Dardanelle Straits from their latest conquests. Behind me, Omer Malaz is at the helm of his bright, and I mean bright, orange Numarine 78, fulfilling his own conquest.
Slicing through these azure waters, with the sights and sounds of his ancient country all around us, Malaz radiates contentment. An eclectic group of dealers, Numarine managers, and international journalists gather in various areas around the boat, basking in famed Turkish hospitality. Malaz—our host as well as founder and chairman of Numarine—is proud of the yachts he builds, and proud of the country in which he builds them. And, why not? He’s reached that enviable moment in life where all the stars align: He has a beautiful family, a successful business, and, oh yeah, a very cool boat. Malaz is right where he wants to be.
Malaz took his licks during the down economy, selling the majority of his company to a private equity fund when he needed the capital, and buying it back after realizing he needed more strategic and creative control to execute his vision properly. He speaks highly of his former financial partners, yet admits he wasn’t truly enjoying his job during this period. Like many successful builders that survived the Great Recession, Malaz’s company is now stronger, smarter, and more competitive than before the financial crisis, when the orders just flowed into factories with very little effort.
“Back then we didn’t have a sales problem, we had a production problem,” he says, referring to the challenge of keeping up with demand.
Today the new Numarine 70 Hardtop I’ve come here to test is a result of the recharged company and its revitalized leader. Standing beside him during our dinner run to a waterside cafe, we talk about boats and Numarine.
“We needed to do something to put us on the map, and it couldn’t be price. Someone always beats you on price,” he says, clenching his fist in emphasis. “We went the other way, with construction.” Building superior, cutting-edge yachts is the company’s mission and they are going all out to meet this charge.
For instance, the 70 is built—as are all Numarine models—using vacuum infusion with unidirectional and multiaxial E-glass with vinylester resin and PVC closed-cell foam in the bulkheads. Carbon-fiber caps are used on all the longitudinals, and additional carbon and aramid fibers are used throughout the 70’s structure for reinforcement.
“We’re just trying to make sure we’re using the best materials,” he says, easing back the throttles. All the components of the hull and deck are then post-cured, and try as I might, I could not find a blemish or print-through on even older, darker-color Numarine models moored next to the new 70 in Gocek.
To keep the weight in check, interior cabinetry is built around honeycomb coring. While talking about the layup and resin infusion process, Malaz claims they are achieving the optimal strength-to-weight ratio with a 60 percent glass-to-resin ratio.
“Resin has no strength. The strength is in the material,” adds Malcom Hutchison, Numarine’s production manager. “You want just enough resin to glue the materials together.” And here’s one of the most important elements to understand about the Numarine 70 Hardtop: Sure, it’s a well-designed, comfortable vessel with a striking profile, but by focusing on structural integrity and weight control as the primary objectives, and creature comforts as secondary ones, they’ve created a fine craft that checks all the boxes.
We achieve a top speed of 31.3 knots with the twin 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar C18 ACERTs. At this speed, there is no creaking or moaning from joinery or bulkheads. Nothing. Yes, all boats will work a little bit, but the 70 feels as solid as a slab of marble. I’m always amused at the weight—pun intended—which some boaters place on top speed, since real-world situations rarely offer the opportunity to blaze a trail with the throttles pinned on a 70-foot cruiser. In my opinion, it’s all about finding that cruising sweet spot. For instance, at 2000 rpm we measured a high cruising speed of 26 knots, while burning a total of 94 gallons per hour. At 1800 rpm we settled in at 21.5 knots while burning a total of 76 gallons per hour. Numarine offers several engine options, including 1,200-horsepower MANs that add a few more knots on the top end. (A flying-bridge version is under construction, too.)
At the helm, it’s easy to forget I’m driving a 70-footer. Adjustments are made with my fingertips, and the ride throughout the curve is comfortable and quiet. There is one integral fuel tank close to the centerline. I avoid using the tabs until I’m gathering my performance numbers, and begin to come off plane at speeds in the low teens. Throughout the curve, water breaks cleanly at about amidships and flies far to the sides.
Thanks to an expansive, one-piece windshield constructed in-house by Numarine, the line of sight from the helm is phenomenal while underway. Long side windows and a double opening to the cockpit allow for safe operation at high speeds. You want to turn hard over? One simple look over your shoulder and you’ll be able to check surrounding traffic. The large sunroof overhead, found on many of today’s large express cruisers, brings in the air and sun. If this were my boat, I would gravitate to the dinette to port of the helm. Not only does it offer additional friends and family a perch to enjoy the scenery while underway, it’s a natural nav area for longer cruises. (Yes, I still fold out a paper chart and log if I’m making a long ocean leg.)
Another distinction Malaz is focusing on in this market niche is his yard’s ability to customize. In Gocek there were two 70 Hardtops side by side, each built to suit the owners’ requirements. While some builders in this larger express category offer only a choice of hardwoods and soft-goods options, Numarine is willing to customize a boat fully. The only limiting factor is structural bulkheads. Customization is easy for Numarine to manage since it builds almost every component in-house, with a glass shop, a metal shop, a CNC waterjet to cut stainless-steel up to 30mm thick, and even a very costly 5-axis milling machine. This same machine allows Numarine to create its tooling. “I wanted to control the quality and I wanted to control the time,” Malaz says.
The 70’s fit and finish is very well executed. One of our test boats features a down-galley and three staterooms; the other has a galley up and an additional stateroom on the port side. Both versions have well-appointed crew’s quarters abaft the engine room, which could be swapped out for a tender garage. A head is perfectly located aft to serve bathers and watersports fans taking advantage of the large swim platform. There are a couple of details that would be nice to see added to the 70—little things like drink holders, outlets for phones, tablets, and all the other stuff we really ought to leave on the dock. These “gee-whiz items” that many builders now incorporate are great touches on a solid build like the 70 and pretty silly when used, as they often are, to add sizzle to a Salisbury steak.
The large arcing rails, which create a striking profile, are not just a distinctive styling treatment; they are a very clever safety feature. Walking forward while underway, I feel secure, and even pause along the side decks to gaze at the scenery passing by at 25 knots. Forward, the 70 follows the growing trend of creating a plush lounging area for enjoyment both underway and at anchor. A bimini makes this the ideal perch for an early breakfast in tropical sunshine.
Malaz stands up from the helm seat on his 78 as we enter a postcard perfect, horseshoe-shaped harbor. He excuses himself as the boat coasts to a rest and walks to the bow. Using the Yacht-Controller remote in very tight quarters, he Med moors his boat perfectly.
It’s moments like these that define what a private equity group or banker can’t understand about our business. Here is a passionate yachtsman building boats that he himself wants to use, boats that reap the benefit of every experience he’s had on the water since his first one at the age of six. There’s no spreadsheet in the world that can capture this essence but it’s exactly what makes the 70 Hardtop a special boat.
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Warranty: 10-year structural warranty, Generator: 1/9.5-kW Cummins Onan, 1/23 kW-Cummins Onan
Conditions During Boat Test
Air Temperature: 73°F; humidity 84%; seas 2-3'
Load During Boat Test
700 gal. diesel, full water, 5 persons; full owner’s gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,150-hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF-500 1-IV
- Props: 5-blade
This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.