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Alaska 60 Pilothouse Yachtfisher

The idea of getting away on that ultimate adventure has always appealed to me. Cash in the superannuation and cruise off into the sunset on a long passage to somewhere special. Meanwhile, boats like the Alaska 60 Pilothouse Yachtfisher help keep my dream alive. A luxury, long-range explorer, the Alaska 60 will transport you to exotic tropical locales in comfort and style.

Based on the Alaska 57 Pilothouse, the new 60 Pilothouse Yachtfisher features an extended hull, an upgraded interior and a new large, open cockpit just perfect for watersports and fishing. This flagship of the Alaska fleet also looks good underway. She's long and sleek and the way the raised bulwarks continue around her bow is reminiscent of, to my eye at least, a tug.

At first sight you might be forgiven for thinking she's narrow beamed, but with a width of 16ft9in (5.105m) that's not so. I think, perhaps, we've grown accustom to seeing production boats a lot fuller forward these days. While such designs give greater accommodation it comes at the expense of performance. This isn't a beam-forward hull, yet it's also not lacking in space.

There are three generous cabins, including a full-beam master amidships, two en suites and a myriad of living spaces inside and out. Such is the room you could call her home for extended periods. Add 8000lt of fuel and consumption of 25lt/hr at 8kts and long-range destinations are well within her scope. But the top speed of about 23kts is not in question, either.

Satin-finished North American cherry timberwork provides a stylish and refined look throughout, while large side and rear windows provide plenty of natural light in the spacious saloon, where guests can make themselves comfortable. There's an elegant U-shaped sofa to port and stylish twin tub chairs opposite.

Mirror-backed cabinets house dedicated glass and bottle storage near a handy fridge, icemaker, separate freezer and dedicated wine cooler. We half expected the 40in pop-up TV and stereo system, but were pleasantly surprised by the supplied cappuccino machine.

Forward of the saloon is the raised pilothouse with galley behind the starboard helm, opposite a U-shaped dining area that could seat four for dinner or six for drinks and great views. Having all three areas located on the same level makes sense. If you were cruising along at 8 to 9kts you could have two or three people seated at the table, someone in the galley preparing lunch, the skipper at the helm, while everyone communicates and interacts together.

U-shaped, the galley has the lot: plenty of bench space and storage, four-burner gas hot plate (gas bottles on the sidedeck in dedicated storage with an inbuilt gas detection system), overhead range hood, convection microwave, twin under-bench side-by-side fridges, and even a drawer-style dishwasher.

There are two generators - 17.5kW and 7kW - looking after the 240V requirements away from shorepower, while a handy 5000W inverter powers the TV, microwave, fridges overnight, and galley power points.

Below decks, the luxurious accommodation spans three staterooms and two en suites. The full-beam master has a queen-size bed, a separate lounge and bedside tables. Its en suite includes shower room, toilet and basin. The VIP guest cabin forward has an island bed, while the guest stateroom to port has a single bed with an optional (removable) overhead bunk.

All cabins have individual air-conditioning, sound systems and beautiful furnishings. The second communal bathroom doubles serves as an en suite to the VIP cabin, with plenty of headroom, lots of storage, drawers and hanging space. Portlights and overhead hatches ensure lots of natural light and ventilation in all cabins and heads.

The helm is well thought out with a comfortable, fully-adjustable Navigator skipper's chair facing a large dash that's neatly laid out with a full suite of electronics, monitoring systems and controls. Everything the skipper needs, or wants to keep an eye on, is easy to see and at hand.

There's Cummins SmartCraft instrumentation as well as controls and monitoring panels for the Naiad stabilisers, generators, watermaker, inverter and gauges for fuel, water and holding tanks. Our test boat had a single Raymarine E140 touchscreen, but there was still enough mounting room for a second screen if required.

One thing I particularly liked here is that the flybridge is set back so it's not directly over the pilothouse. That allows for a large ceiling hatch above the skipper. That, combined with the large windscreen, gives this area a bright, open and airy feel. A large and watertight pantograph door adjacent to the helm leads out directly to the walkaround sidedecks.

All living spaces, indoors and out, are clearly defined but flow naturally together. From the saloon, large bi-fold doors lead to a fully covered aft deck featuring inbuilt seating on the transom and a large table. Protected from the elements, it's a great place to just sit and relax, or add some casual chairs to accommodate six for an alfresco lunch or dinner. There are also two cockpit docking stations fitted on either wing to make berthing easy, irrespective of what side the wharf is on. Access to the flybridge is via a moulded staircase next to the saloon doors. Head farther aft and down a couple of steps and you'll find the cockpit.

The large cockpit transforms this boat from a high-end luxury cruiser to a floating watersports and fishing resort. This is a complete lifestyle area, with a full-depth eutectic freezer, fish boxes, prep station with sink, stowage for rods, dive gear and water toys in the lazarette. The transom even swings down at the flick of a switch to form a dive-launching area or an extended fishing platform. Salt and fresh water washdowns and a hot and cold transom shower are located close by.

Out on the reef, or wherever you are, family and guests can kick back here and relax, put rods in hand, dive or swim, and be as active or as laid back as they desire. Come day's end, everyone can enjoy a couple of sundowners, recount their adventures, while the catch is cooked on the barbecue.

The flybridge is essentially another lifestyle area and accessed either by the internal staircase directly from the pilothouse - handy while underway, especially in rough weather - or via the stairs from the aft deck. The upper helm is located well forward with a large timber wheel, GRP console and instrumentation duplicated from below. A dual helm seat accommodates the skipper and a mate.

Enclosed by a hardtop and clears, the flying bridge is the ideal setup for this type of boat, especially in the tropics. Underway or at rest, you can roll-up the clears to take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine, while guests relax on the large L-shaped seating around a table. Farther aft, a Corian-topped outdoor galley, with sink and barbecue, gives more entertaining options. Aft is space for a 3.3m dinghy and 600kg davit.

I always think that you can tell a lot about a boat from its engineering. Accessed from a hatch in the aft deck, the Alaska 60's engineroom is impressive. As well as the two 715hp Cummins QSM11 diesel engines there are two Onan gensets, digital stabiliser controls, dual Racor fuel filters for each engine (so filters can be changed while underway), and batteries neatly housed in battery boxes with switches conveniently located on the aft bulkhead.  Everything is clearly labeled, secured and housed.

There's a separate machinery room accessed via a hatch in the aft deck sole. It houses the 130lt/h watermaker, air-conditioning systems, hot-water service, battery chargers (one 24V 100amp, a 12V 20amp and a Victron 5000W inverter/charger combo) with space left over to use as extra storage.

Full of fuel and water, the Alaska 60 headed out of the Gold Coast Seaway into 1.5m of swell with a slight chop on top. Unless you were embarking on a long, continuous passage, you wouldn't normally run the boat with full tanks. However, performance was impressive. The variable deadrise hull was just as comfortable loping along at 9kts, engines ticking over at 1200rpm using 40lt/h of fuel, as she was when ramped up to 21kts.

I found her easy to handle whichever way we she was pointed, travelling into, across or with the sea, and she stayed really dry. The boat took longer than expected to come around on the wheel, but I was told the power steering was yet to be bled after the lines had been removed for some previous work.

The optional Naiad stabilisers did a brilliant job of quelling the roll, especially at slower speeds and when we were travelling of this size. Overall, I was impressed with the performance and ride and would comfortable taking this boat almost anywhere…. Not just in my dreams.

(Facts & figures)

The Alaska 60 is a very easy boat to handle from the pilothouse or the flying bridge. Both stations offer a comfortable perch, with good vision forward and all the instrumentation is logically laid out and accessible. Advance the throttles and the boat remains soft riding and dry at 8kts or 20kts. Stabilisers add to her surefootedness, while bow and stern thrusters and aft-wing docking stations make backing into a berth stress-free.

<B>$1.85 million</B>

Twin 715hp Cummins QSM11 turbo-diesels, 90% fuel and 75% water

RPM              SPEED          FUEL BURN          RANGE
700                6.75kts         12lt/h                  4500nm
900                7.5kts           20lt/h                  4053nm
1000              8.2kts           25lt/h                  3000nm
1200              9.2kts           40lt/h                  1840nm
1400              10.6kts          60lt/h                 1414nm
1600              11.6kts          90lt/h                 1031nm
1800              12.2kts          122lt/h               800nm
2000              15.4kts          168lt/h               733nm
2100              16.9kts          169lt/h               800nm
2200              18kts             215lt/h               670nm
2300              19.6kts          232lt/h               675nm
2400              21kts             248lt/h               677nm
2500              23kts             285lt/h               645nm

* <I>Official sea-trial data supplied by Alaska Motor Yachts. Fuel Burn figures are for both engines combined. Range is based on 8000lt of fuel.</I>

Engine upgrade, Raymarine electronics package, eutectic freezers to aft deck and cockpit, additional wing docking station, two cockpit killboxes with Jabsco inlet and outlet pumps, upgraded shorepower to three-phase, stainless steel baitboard and rodholders, folding hydraulic transom door, Reverso engine oil-change system, plumbed high-pressure water blaster,
Onan 17.5kW and 7.5kW generators, 13kW Naiad stabilisers with control panel at helm, upgraded engineroom fire system, upgraded air-conditioning system, washer-dryer combo, upgraded ITIM gauges at helm, flybridge freshwater washdown for clears, upgraded fresh and salt water pumps, ITIM gas detection system to galley, Fisher & Paykel drawer-type dishwasher, Head Hunter toilets, cockpit breezeway covers, hydraulic davit, tender and outboard package, S&K 110lt/h desalinator, remote control for bow and stern thrusters, stainless steel barbecue, engineroom camera system, and dive compressor

<B>$1,63 million</B> w/ 670hp Cummins QSM11 and a long list of standard inclusions

MATERIAL: Hand laminated fibreglass
TYPE: Semi-displacement monohull
BEAM: 5.2m 
DRAFT: 1.45m (max) 
WEIGHT: Approx 31 tonnes 

FUEL: 8000lt 
WATER: 860lt  

MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Cummins QSM11
TYPE: Six-cylinder turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 715 (each)
WEIGHT: 1188kg

Leigh-Smith Cruiser Sales,
Gold Coast City Marina,
76-84 Waterway Drive,
Coomera, QLD, 4209
Phone: (07) 5502 5866 
Tradeaboat says…
Designed as a long-range liveaboard cruiser, the Alaska 60 has walkaround decks, lots of indoor and outdoor living spaces and a yachtfisher cockpit perfect for watersports, diving or reef fishing. With a luxury fitout and a long list of standard inclusions, plus a comprehensive options list, owners can tweak the boat to specific needs. 

Whether you're yearning for the outer reefs, chasing those big coral trout or red emperor, looking to circumnavigate Tasmania, or covet a luxurious long-range passagemaker, you'd be wise to have a long, hard look at the Alaska 60 Pilothouse Yachtfisher.

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