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Pack 'n Play


Surprised to see a Portuguese bridge on a 78-foot yacht? You can opt for an open flying bridge instead, if you wish.

They took my toothpaste!

I was passing through the security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport in mid-October, and the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) agents pulled my carry-on aside to scrutinize my toiletries, which I had carefully placed in clear, quart-size plastic bags, as per the new regulations. They zeroed-in on my brand-new tube of toothpaste, and despite the fact that just two weeks prior I’d traveled with the same size, they decided it was exactly 1.2 ounces too big. So into the garbage it went.

I was reminded of the incident a few hours later while standing in the master head of the Ocean Alexander 78 off Fort Lauderdale, Florida, looking at the mirrored medicine cabinets mounted at eye level (well, an average man’s eye level, since I’m 5’2”). The cabinets easily could hold a standard-size can of shaving cream (ideal, considering the mirrors were well positioned for shaving), razors, and other assorted primping items. And there’d still be room for enough toothpaste tubes similar to the one I’d had that it wouldn’t even matter that the TSA agents had confiscated it, had I been flying south to meet my own 78.

In fact, not a heckuva lot would have mattered to me, given the abundance of stowage for everything from clothes to golf clubs to bottles of wine. In walking around the yacht, spending some time at the wheel, and talking with Ocean Alexander’s reps and delivery captain in the aptly nicknamed “playpen,” I soon learned why boaters who want to go out and play with their family are attracted to her.

Let’s start with that playpen. That’s the moniker Yolanda Phinney, a broker in Ocean Alexander’s Florida office, used to refer to the enclosed pilothouse. It’s really a mini skylounge, considering that six people can comfortably gather at the settee-table combination directly aft of the helm and a wet bar is directly at hand to port of the settee. There’s also a handy day head, which some builders overlook in small enclosed pilothouses. Unlike some other builders’ offerings in this setup and size range, Ocean Alexander equips the skylounge with two ample opening ports aft of the settee. The fresh air coming in from here, plus the two side doors permitting access to the Portuguese bridge (another pleasant surprise for a yacht this size), made it a comfortable spot for Phinney, Ocean Alexander’s marketing rep Sally Lawson, and me to converse as Capt. Steve Wenger, one of Ocean Alexander’s go-to captains for everything from deliveries to boat shows, took the yacht out of Port Everglades. (In fact, Wenger even got a chance to relax and join the conversation when Lawson took the wheel for a while, soon joking with her when she offered to hand the wheel back, “Hey, I was going down to have a martini!”)

If we’d really been on a relaxing getaway instead of a journalistic visit, martinis and full meals would have been on order below, in the country kitchen. (Ocean Alexander offers two configurations for the 78: one with a skylounge and a country kitchen, and one with an open flying bridge and a lower helm.) Since the galley is sunken and has a two-level, granite countertop, the upper level, which came to hip height on me, is the right elevation to serve as a dining counter.

This article originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.