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Around-Australia boater and industry stalwart Keith Hanson lends his expertise to the creation of a new, near-faultless New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht destined for the wide blue yonder, reports DAVID LOCKWOOD

New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht

There's a gale warning for the Tasman Sea where we are about to venture in the New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht. The horizon has that green-around-the gills lumpy look that would otherwise send you scurrying for cover or the gunwale. White horses spill down the face of towering swells generated many hundreds of miles to the south as the wind blows some more. But no worries. Keith Hanson is at the helm. Surely you have heard of the intrepid Queenslander?

Hanson needs no introduction, but what the heck. The antipathy of your fly-by-night boat pedlar, he has been a part of the Australian seascape since this boating writer was in floaties. In recent years, he and son Ryan staged numerous annual boat-owner rendezvous from the Gold Coast to Hamilton Island and south across the border to Yamba for his loyal customers.

My family tagged along on one of the latter trips and wouldn't hesitate to entrust our faith in the footloose fix-it man again. This is something 79-year-old mate Ian Reynolds has done in the last few years, too. The footloose pair took a Riviera 56 to Lord Howe Island, around Australia and then PNG last year. Hanson's background driving raceboats, partly the reason he's a tad hard of hearing today, stands him in good stead when the going gets rough. Indeed, this sea trial was a case in point.

Today, Hanson is full steam ahead about his new passion - New Ocean Yachts. Built in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, from a yard that contracts its skilled labour to many other big-band boating badges, New Ocean Yachts can be considered the builder's boat.




Evidently, the New Ocean Yachts management team has impressive credentials, too. CEO Jason Kao is a naval architect (responsible for this terrific deep-vee hull) who has worked for Hargrave, Trader, Grand Alaskan and Marlow Explorer Yachts. President Zheng Chien-Hsin is said to have more than 25 years experience in fairing and mould making for New Ocean Yachts, Hargrave, and Horizon. And so it goes in painting, varnishing, mechanical, plumbing, joinery and laminating departments.

Construction is solid GRP for the running surfaces with foam-cored sides and decks. The hull is vacuum-bagged to the chines, with five bulkheads glassed in. Hanson says he researched the company for some time, was genuinely impressed by the depth of experience, workmanship and craftsmanship. The styling is just right for the Australian market, too.

Described as simple, clean, with good quality fittings, the interior of this first New Ocean Yachts in Australia features gorgeous gloss walnut joinery (grain matched), light oak veneer floors and bone Ultraleather upholstery. Of course, there are joinery options - walnut, cherry or teak - so the finish is up to you. The value-for-money component shines as well, with the 640 Sport Yacht rearing to go at $2.5 million drive-away as tested.




The point is, whether you're Hanson or Hsin, there's no substitute for time on the water. The owners of the New Ocean Yachts 640 dubbed Y Knot ealise as much. Raymond "Bluey" David and wife Denice drove from Darwin in their Porsche to take delivery of their New Ocean 640 as it debuted at the Sydney International Boat Show.

"We reached that stage in life where we want something comfortable in which we could go away for five days," explains Denice, adding that the boat is "like a holiday house and a family boat" and that, back home where they go boating, "the fishing is so good" that they specified the New Ocean with that in mind, too. Another thing, says Denise: "I've lost too many friends in recent years."

Built in Taiwan, the New Ocean Yachts is in many ways an Australian cruiser. You can see the pride that Hanson has in the boat when he takes you on the tour. He views everything with a critical eye and is especially pernickety or particular about the engineering. It really is impressive in there.

Hanson didn't give a second thought about engines. After some 15,000 nautical (ocean) miles around Australia in the Riviera 56, he specified 1015hp Caterpillar C18 common rail diesel engines because they never missed a beat. Vee-drives instead of shafts add to the boat's volume, especially in the full-beam (5.33m/17ft6in) stateroom, as well as removing the need for a shaft alignment after shipping the boat from Taiwan.




All the mod cons expected of today's top European sportsyachts are bundled on the New Ocean 640 as standard, yet the boat here was special, with bow and (optional) sternthrusters and yacht controllers for easy docking; a tried-and-tested HRO watermaker aboard; 22.6kVa Onan generator; and, for Darwin, plenty of air-conditioning (cockpit awning to come); along with a gel battery bank among the upgrades.

There was also an optional submersible swimplatform with 600kg lift capacity for totting a jetski, a garage in which to carry the 325 Williams jet tender, and a big Australian-sized cockpit topped with heavy-duty stainless steel deck fittings and hinges wherever you look. The lift-out rails tracing the swimplatform (optional) will assist with fishing, while the attention to detail in the welds and teak flooring is a factory hallmark.

An arena of Aqualuma underwater lights and LEDs on deck add to the ambience after dark, while the pop-up transom shower with concealed designer rose and tap-ware is a nice touch. Up front, along the walkaround decks with semi-bulwarks and plenty of handy rails, is some impressive anchoring gear - 50kg stainless steel plough and 100m of matching chain. The recessed sunpad adds to the pull.

Engine access is a highlight, via a waterproof aft ship's door, with Pirelli rubber flooring underfoot, and full headroom above. The AC/DC system is all coded and labelled, ditto all seacocks, with big-boat strainers featuring glass inspection bowls, and Racor fuel filters with backups for each engine. There were Victron 12V and 24V chargers (including for the generator battery) and a 3000W inverter - the charger system is a model for other boatbuilders - big Seafire FM-200 fire-fighting system, and AC/DC-powered engine venting.

Access to all sides of the generator and main Cat engines is unfettered, there's even a workshop area with sink as you walk in, while the batteries are carried down low in the keel. We also noted six Ultrasonic anti-algae transducers on the boat and we like the fact that the condensing water for the boat's air-con units drains directly overboard. In short, the engineroom and engineering are to Hanson's high standards, that is, in keeping with an around-Australia boat.

Back up top, the cockpit can cater for eight around the teak high-gloss table and chairs, with al fresco lunches cooked on the Aussie-made stainless steel barbecue. The icemaker and fridge are handy, LED lights (LED nav lights as well) also light-up the boat's name, while speakers for the Bose entertainment system will keep the party going.




A three-way saloon door brings the outdoors indoors, whereupon the aft galley is ready to please. Amenities range from inbuilt Fisher and Paykel fridge and dishwasher to Miele all-in-one convection microwave oven. Three stools pull-up to the generous solid counters, with thick bevelled edge and concealed sink, thereby creating a breakfast or cocktail bar.

A chain drive delivers the pop-up television from a cupboard to starboard, its flat screen facing a generous portside L-shaped lounge for eight around a brace of rubber-footed coffee tables. Views extend in all directions, with an inbuilt wetbar nearby. The separate internal dinette for six is opposite the helm station and set behind the windscreen for views.

"Everyone's connected," says Denice, "in fact, it's the most connected boat I have been aboard." Italian Cantaloupe lighting helps set the mood but, perhaps, the only thing missing was a sunroof - I'm betting it's an option.

The helm has twin high-backed chairs so you can cruise in comfort with your partner or navigator. There were Caterpillar engine panels and electronic shifts, controllers for the twin thrusters, Bennett trim tabs, and a Garmin electronics package among other things, such as a full lighting and plumbing plan.

We'll get to the drive, but suffice to say, the vision was fantastic over the bow and once underway, it's easy to forget you're commanding a 60-footer, cruising at 20-something knots. And the motion is uncannily smooth, even in a gale.




There's a good deal of volume in the 640 hull and it's hard to argue with the three-cabin and three-bathroom layout. Although there is scope to create a fourth cabin from the utility space to starboard, which otherwise housed a separate washer and dryer and pull-out pantry for stores, that's pushing things. Underfloor access reveals even more scope for storage as well as useful 380lt blackwater tank.

The boat's third cabin to port has side-by-side adult-length single berths, its own TV and opening portlights for natural ventilation, as well as an en suite with shower; VIP guests get the bow with island berth, full-length mirror, portlights and hatch, plus big en suite with solid vanity top, shower and Vacuflush head; and then there is the stateroom.

Running full-beam, owners are treated to great views out the albeit fixed panorama windows from their queen island bed flanked by a vanity to port and breakfast table and chairs opposite. The aforesaid utility room can be used for making hot toast and coffee without needing to head to the galley up top, while the double cedar-lined hanging locker swings the robes, and the en suite back aft features his-and-her sinks and a truly huge shower.

With the generator running, I couldn't determine even a murmur in the stateroom - the gennie has a gas/water splitter, which augurs well if you are running the air-con 24/7 in tropical climes. The TV and Bose will otherwise keep you entertained. At which point, we're really struggling to find fault, even with the silicon wipes and out-of-sight finishes. Time to tackle the gale.








After retrieving the anchor, Hanson flashed a Cheshire grin and took the reins. Despite many sea miles under his feet, he clearly still thrills to the drive. That there is a gale warning only adds to the fun. Using trim tabs to great effect, he does everything you would want of a skipper: button the bow down into the messy headsea, and then let the boat run free when we surf back home.

Predicably, Hanson's boats are made for going places, even in Sport Yacht guise (there's a flybridge variant of the 640 that we should see at the 2011 Sanctuary Cove Boat Show). As tested here, the 640 Sport Yacht carries 5800lt of fuel, far in excess of many European marques, for a range of up to 870nm at 10 to 11kts, or about half that at 20 to 21kts, says Hanson.

At one point, we lost the sunpad off the bow while doing our top speed into the wind. There was probably 60kts apparent, so it was entirely our fault for not tucking the cushion away. But in all other aspects the ride was just amazing - not one thump, no great lash of spray, the deep-vee hull performed like a real thoroughbred. And we don't make such comments lightly.

There might be more efficient 60-footers out there but we reckon a good many of them won't keep up when the going gets rough. With a touch of trim tab, holeshot was brisk for a top speed of 26.6kts as recorded. So the boat isn't that fast, though perhaps more of a 28kts boat in normal conditions.

It felt truly unstoppable at 1950rpm and 20.5kts for 178lt/h, and 2100rpm and 23.5kts for 337lt/h. Such were the rough seas, these fuel figures were probably overstated. But come hell or high water, this is definitely a boat for going places as well as assuaging today's comfort-driven cruising types.




Twin 1015hp Caterpillar C18, 90 per cent of 5800lt of fuel

RPM     SPEED     CONSUMPTION                                                                                  1100     10.4kts     60lt/h                  
1600     14.5kts     180lt/h   
1800     18kts        240lt/h   
1950     20kts        260lt/h   
2100     23kts        315lt/h  
2200     24.5kts     360lt/h  
2350     27kts        395lt/h  

* Officials sea trial data supplied by New Ocean Yachts




$2,516,576 loaded with Caterpillar C18s




Garmin electronics package, Oceanview Apollo II night-vision camera, KVH satellite communications, 600kg-lift hydraulic tender, painted hull topsides, HRO watermaker, upgraded air-con to 122btu, sternthruster, autopilot, Karcher gurney, LED nameboard, rear swimplatform rails, Aqualuma underwater lights, premium bathware and galley-ware packages, and more




$2,305,800 with Caterpillar C18s



MATERIAL: Fibreglass w/ composite vacuum-bagged foam-cored hull sides and deck
TYPE: Deep-vee planing hull
BEAM: 5.33m
DRAFT: 1.68m (inc. props)
WEIGHT: 34,000kg (half load)




BERTHS: 6 + 2
FUEL: 5800lt
WATER: 800lt




MAKE/MODEL: Caterpillar C18
TYPE: Inline six-cylinder diesel w/ common rail injection, turbocharging and aftercooling
RATED HP: 1015 at 2350rpm (each)
DISPLACEMENT: 18.1lt (each)
WEIGHT: 1905kg (each)
GEARBOXES: Vee-drives
PROPS: Four-blade bronze




New Ocean Yachts (Aust) Pty Ltd,
PO Box 751,
Main Beach, Qld, 4217
Phone: (07) 3036 0787
Fax: (07) 5533 2695




To say we were impressed with the New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht is an understatement. Last we say of Hanson and the owners Raymond "Bluey" David and wife Denice were their backs as they bid Sydney farewell and made for Darwin with the wind up their tale. As testimony to the New Ocean Yachts yard and Hanson's exacting standards, this boat was one of the most difficult to fault that we've been aboard in many years. Truly convincing, up to the most critical inspection, and good value, too.


Find New Ocean boats for sale.


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