BOAT TEST - Clipper Hudson Bay 50
Clipper Motor Yachts takes on a fresh look with the Hudson Bay 50, targeting the time-poor executive and family weekend boaters. JOHN ZAMMIT gets the scoop on the first of this new sedan range
It’s interesting looking back at how Clipper Motor Yachts has evolved since arriving here back in 1977. Its early 30- and 34-foot trawler-style cruisers became part of the fabric of Australian boating. In recent years, the yard has expanded and improved the line-up of trawlers, including the Heritage range of displacement cruisers from 36 to 40 feet and the Cordova series of semi-displacement cruisers from 45 to 60 feet.
In what appears to be a complete departure from tradition, Clipper has released the Hudson Bay 50 sedan and Trade-a-Boat had the distinction of being the first publication in the world to put it through its paces. And our verdict? We think the boatbuilder is on a winner!
Brett Thurley, managing director of Clipper Motor Yachts Australia said, "We are truly excited about this new range. The company has spent a great deal of time and energy to ensure they combine the classic lines for which Clippers are renowned with the relaxed lifestyle aspects of a sedan cruiser."
Combining classic, ageless looks with contemporary design, the Hudson Bay 50 is a single level, family-friendly sportsyacht available in either a two- or three-cabin layout. Both configurations feature two bathrooms, spacious indoor/outdoor living areas and a layout that lends itself just as easily to being a corporate entertainer, a luxury family getaway or a combination of both.
Family-friendly features abound, such as the optional Hydra-Swim hydraulic passarelle and tender lift fitted to the test boat. This innovative feature, an idea borrowed from superyachts, rises a metre out of the swimplatform, revealing three foldaway steps, creating a diving platform. Continuing outwards in an arc, it extends aft to form a passarelle and, continuing farther, submerges for swimming or launching a tender or jetski. We launched and retrieved the tender during our test and it proved brilliant in its engineering and child’s play in its operation. The swimplatform also incorporates a foldout swimladder with a hot and cold transom shower located nearby.
Stainless steel gates either side of the transom lead into the (covered) cockpit, featuring aft seating and an L-shaped dinette with a foldout table to port. Having the table here, rather than along the transom, saves space and provides a more open feel to the cockpit. To starboard are some entertainer’s delights; a teppanyaki flat-plate barbecue along with a Miele lava rock grill, fridge-icemaker combo and a wetbar sink.
The setup of the cockpit and swimplatform creates a real focal point for entertaining. Families and guests could spend hours out here socialising, relaxing, swimming and launching water toys.
More room to relax too on the foredeck, accessed along the sidedecks with high siderails to get you there safely. At the bow, a stainless steel CQR anchor comes standard with 60m of chain and a seawater washdown.
Outdoor living is just one aspect of this boat. Step inside through a sliding glass door and the sense is one of light and space courtesy of large side windows, a huge tri-panel windscreen and an electric glass sunroof. The look is contemporary and stylish, with a teak sole and satin finished afrormosia paneling and cabinetry alongside contrasting light-coloured Ultraleather upholstery.
The U-shape galley is aft to port and well-equipped with Ceaserstone bench tops, stainless steel double sink, flickmixer tap and a full complement of Miele appliances, which incidentally are all purchased in Australia and fitted here after the boat arrives. This proves cost-effective with the current strength of the AUD, as well as eliminating warranty issues should a problem occur.
Also included is an electric four-burner glass cooktop with overhead extractor fan, convection microwave, and two-door fridge-freezer combo. Storage is ample, both under-bench and overhead, while handy 240V power points are conveniently located nearby.
A 17.5kW Onan generator provides all the power you need away from the dock and a 3000W inverter drives all appliances, galley power points and the audio/visual gear. The entertainment system includes Bose surround-sound with Fusion CD/radio, eight speakers in four zones, iPod dock and a 26in LED TV. All are integrated and can be accessed via the Simrad touchscreen at the helm or from the cockpit remote, so you can have the kids inside watching a DVD while you’re outside listening to music.
A three-seater lounge is to starboard behind the helm, and opposite is the galley with a U-shape dinette forward providing plenty of room for dining or for guests to sit underway and easily converse with the skipper. The table also folds down to form a large double berth.
A large hopper window above the galley’s aft benchtop opens outwards on gas struts and with the sliding door open creates a seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining area stretching from the swimplatform and aft cockpit through to the dinette.
RETIRE IN STYLE
The three-cabin accommodation below is built around a central companionway. This area is stylish, roomy and practical, boasting plenty of head height and ample storage, as well as cedar-lined hanging space and reading lights in all of the cabins. The forward stateroom has a walkaround queen bed, LED TV and DVD, the opening portholes either side and large overhead hatch providing natural light and cross-flow ventilation. The portside guest stateroom amidships features a large double bed with storage underneath, LED TV and a deep cabinet inboard, perfect for luggage. Three large stainless steel vertical portlights let in the light and make this a room with a view. A third cabin opposite contains two large bunks and vertical portlights too. Air-conditioning is individually controlled from each cabin.
There are two bathrooms, one an en suite to the forward stateroom and the other to port servicing the remaining cabins and doubling as a dayhead. Both have vanities with Ceaserstone benchtops, ceramic sinks, travertine marble tiled floors, mirrored ceilings, Tecma electric heads, separate shower stalls with rain showerheads and frosted glass doors.
The engineroom is accessed via a hatch in the cockpit sole and everything here is neatly secured and well-engineered. There’s plenty of headroom and good space between and around the twin Cummins engines — except outboard of the port engine, where it’s a bit tight due to the location of the hot-water service and the air-con units.
Battery switches are handily located close to the entry on the aft bulkhead and Racor fuel/water separators forward. The batteries in vented boxes are starboard along with the charger and auto fire extinguisher, the Onan generator housed aft. The three fuel tanks, holding a total of 1892lt, are interconnected, fitted with sight gauges and ahead of the engines. The 567-litre water tank is farther forward. A separate hatch in the cockpit sole reveals a huge lazarette and access to the rudder gear, with plenty of space left for storing fenders, water toys or dive gear.
AT THE HELM
The helm is comfortable with good vision through the windscreen over the well laid-out dash. The test Clipper Hudson Bay 50 came with a complete array of Simrad electronic gear, including an NSS 12in fully integrated touchscreen. Overhead are electronic controls for the wipers, rocker switches and a mimic panel. A Livorsi sports wheel and a comfortable Marine Tech helm chair add to the quality look and feel of the helm.
What I especially liked was the optional pantograph skipper’s door to the sidedeck. I always find a door here handy and very practical. The skipper can quickly and easily step outside forward or aft, especially if anchoring or docking shorthanded. It’s also great for looking astern when backing into a berth, while travelling at night, I find it easier to go outside and identify lights in the distance rather than through a glass windscreen.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Standard power is a pair of Yanmar 6LY3-ETPs rated at 480hp each, but the test Hudson Bay 50 was fitted with optional twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3-600 engines, which I thought were a great match for the hull. While I’ll reserve my final judgment until testing the boat with the smaller engines, my slight concern is that the lesser rated motors may not have quite the same get up and go.
The QSCs performed really well getting the Clipper up and out of the hole in quick time. She’s very easy to handle, predictable, soft riding, tracks well and feels rock solid underway — even at WOT, which on the day was nearly 26kts.
The Hudson Bay 50 had full fuel and water for the test in 1.5m of swell with around a half-metre of sea on top. We ran her with, across and into the swell at various speeds and not only did the boat perform well but also stayed surprisingly dry with no water over the bow. In terms of performance and handling the Clipper rates highly, my only criticism being that she took a long time to come around — I’d be looking to see if the rudder gear needed a tweak.
At around 1500rpm, the Clipper loped along at around 9kts using just 35lt/h, but I thought her best cruising speed was at 2450rpm, which with about half tabs down produced 16.5kts using 136lt/h. At that rate, leaving a bit of fuel in reserve from the standard 1892lt capacity, she’d have a range of around 200nm. As a dayboat or weekender that’s okay, but for coastal cruising (which she’s more than capable of) then it’s nowhere near enough and I’d be looking at fitting larger tanks.
Sedans have been popular in Australia over the last few years, most of a sportsboat style. The Clipper Hudson Bay 50 has a more classic and ageless look, with a high-quality and contemporary interior. Her handling is exceptional, she looks good, has all the comforts of home and represents good value.
This boat would appeal to a younger market, someone still in the workforce, perhaps with a family, that wants to get out on the water but can’t afford the time away for long trips. As she is, the Hudson Bay 50 is perfectly suited as a luxury dayboat, long weekender or a stylish corporate entertainer. With the addition of larger fuel tanks and a bit more refrigeration she’d be capable of going almost anywhere. As I said earlier, I think Clipper is on to a winner with this boat!
CLIPPER HUDSON BAY 50
PRICE AS TESTED
Twin 600hp Cummins QSC8.3, full fuel and water.
*Sea-trial data supplied by Clipper Motor Yachts Australia. Fuel burn is both engines combined.
Upgraded engines to 600hp Cummins QSC, electric sunroof with Oceanaire blind and sliding insect screen, Sunbrella dinghy cover, teak rail capping rail, main deck Sunbrella windscreen cover, Hydra-Swim hydraulic and extended swimplatform,
17.5kVa Onan genset, stainless steel pantograph helm door,
Bose surround sound system, and Simrad NSS 12 touchscreen electronics package (inc. GPS, fishfinder and autopilot).
$1,049,000 w/ twin 480hp Yanmar 6LY3-ETP engines
MATERIAL: Handlaid FRP
TYPE: Semi-displacement monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 15.88m
PEOPLE (NIGHT): 6
HOLDING TANK: 189lt
MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Cummins QSC8.3-600
TYPE: Six-cylinder electronic turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 600 (each)
DISPLACEMENT: 8.3lt (each)
Clipper Motor Yachts,
Gold Coast City Marina Waterfront,
76-84 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, QLD, 4209
Phone: (07) 5519 4019; 0419 788 000