BOAT TEST: NEW OCEAN 68 ENCLOSED FLYBRIDGE
The New Ocean 68 Enclosed Flybridge is tailor-made for the executive frequent flyer, reports DAVID LOCKWOOD
Captain Keith Hanson has, with his co-pilot, qualified shipwright and son, Ryan, found the perfect boat for the footloose executive. Of course, travelling in first class is a natural progression from cattle class, but if you believe that the school of hard knocks is the best life guide then these guys are worth following. You see, the Hansons adhere to the tenet that experience is not what happens to a man - it is what a man does with what happens to him.
Consider, if you will, salty Keith's CV. It includes extensive offshore raceboat experience - with poor hearing to show for it, especially when it's his shout - a motorcruiser circumnavigation of Australia, voyages to Papua New Guinea (returning last month again) and Lord Howe Island, among many other trips away to coastal towns like Grafton, where I, too, have shared his and Ryan's great company. With a few celebratory drinks at sunset.
So, experience tells me that if you follow in the Hansons' wake you are assured an adventure. Only now they are in charge of a different destiny. New Ocean Yachts are their conveyances of choice. The Kaohsiung City yard in Taiwan has won them over with what are obviously very well-finished boats. Yet it's the engineering that wows experienced boaters. When you have owned a few and then venture below decks, via the watertight transom door with pantographic action, you will be impressed.
A serious coastal cruising and liveaboard boat that fits Keith's charter, the 68 Enclosed Flybridge seen here was a wait-in-line exhibit at this year's Sydney International Boat Show. With the exchange rate the way it is, the Hansons are now in a position where they can also bundle more of everything aboard and offer a competitively priced, absolutely loaded boat.
But as you decide on the finishing touches, soft furnishings, electronic kit, and the option of a fourth cabin or utility room, New Ocean is almost a semi-custom yard. Each boat is built to suit individual needs, using Australian-sourced components with local warranties that are shipped to the yard. In respect of the layout, this owner opted for the three-cabin/three-head layout with utility room featuring laundry, pantry, and commissary. A useful amenity for crew.
The first thing to command attention is the flying bridge. Take the internal stairs and you will notice there isn't a naked fibreglass surface to be found. Everything is finished with craftsman-quality teak joinery and high-gloss walnut laminates in the bridge. Amtico mock-timber flooring in place of timber or carpet adds to the user-friendliness. As Hanson affirms, the 68 is a boat that can handle high traffic and serious offshore use.
Given its enormity, the flybridge will be popular underway and at rest. Measuring 32 feet or 9.7 metres long, it's a virtual sportscruiser in the sky. There's seating for a dozen guests - the Maritime limit - an outdoor aft deck with teak lounge, trick stainless steel garbage receptacles, awning window, internal L-shaped lounge/skipper bed opposite a wetbar, and three Italian-made Besenzoni high-backed height-adjustable helm chairs before the full-width forward dash. Oh, and there's an AV system. See what I mean about first-class.
The electronics package spans three 12in Raymarine multifunction E120 screens, closed-circuit television covering the extremities of the boat and engineroom, a night-vision camera for spotting a prawn trawler in your path mid-passage, and electronic displays for the upgraded twin 1600hp Caterpillar C32 V12 diesel engines.
To facilitate stress-free berthing our demonstrator had three outdoor docking stations with Twin Disc EJS joystick devices. Having used the Twin Disc system, I can attest to its delightful operation, with proportional control of the boat via the engines and bow and stern thrusters. Move the joystick in the direction you want to go and the boat slides there without the clunking inherent in some competitor's pod-docking systems.
Clearly, New Ocean Yachts is an expert at moulding. The hull is solid glass to the chines with vinylester resin, and foam-cored sides, deck and bulkheads tied together with vacuum bagging. The yards CEO, Jason Kao, is the naval architect behind the boat. It's then trimmed for perfect weight distribution in a tank before being shipped. Indeed, there's quite a bit of gear to weigh-up on this 68 Enclosed Flybridge.
Hydraulics via two power take-offs on the engines control the thrusters and anchor winch. That means you can lean on them at length without fear of tripping a circuit breaker like the more common electric-motor versions. Redundancy also exists via twin 22.5 and 11kVa Onan generators with autostart. Should the onboard voltage drop the generators kick in. You also get an SMS to your phone - useful if the (three-phase) shorepower has tripped out.
A 5000W inverter can run the fridges, icemaker, wine cooler and AC system alone. This way you can swing at a remote anchorage with cocktail in hand and enjoy nature's sounds and rhythms. There are also triple battery chargers and, thanks to all that power-generating gear, 130 Cantaloupe halogen lights matched by 130BTUs of ducted air-conditioning. Yep, climate control.
The 140lt/h watermaker delivers its potable product via twin freshwater pumps - more of that smart redundancy - while the 7000lt of fuel is carried in four tanks. Sans the optional 2000lt long-range tank, the boat has a 900nm range at 10kts that comes back to 405nm range at 22kts.
Dual Racor fuel filters for each engine let you perform changes while underway, and an oil-change system facilitates draining the big 32-litre engine blocks in what is an impeccable engineering space with stainless steel workbench. There are also separate 500lt black and grey water tanks that let you hang in the harbour for a week or so.
Engineroom ventilation comes via 240V blowers with washable veins, all the wiring is labelled, while sight gauges and strainers with glass bowls let you make at-a-glance checks from the rubber-backed walkway between the V12s. The heavy-duty running gear includes 3.5in Aquamet shafts, Twin Disc 2.48:1 gearbox and five-blade Veem props.
In fact, just about everything heads towards the maxi category on the 680 Enclosed Flybridge. The hydraulic swimplatform has a 600-kilo lift capacity, so you can tote a jetski if you want, there's an aft tender garage for a 4.1m RIB, where an air-compressor can top tanks, and a separate petrol-outboard fuel storage tank looks after your tender outboard. A nice touch, the cockpit shower has its own pull-up rose.
Even with a height-adjustable table and seating for eight, the cockpit remains expansive, while bulwarks and high rails with a safety wire make going forward to the bow and its recessed sunpad safe for grey nomads, their pouch, or grandkids. The stainless steel work with invisible welds is a highlight en route. And unlike some dicky arrangements, this boat comes with 100m of 13mm chain and a 60kg anchor in a double channel roller system so you can carry a spare. There is also storage for fenders and lines up front, plus twin salt and fresh water deckwashes.
Back in the elevated cockpit, the transom lounge conceals a grog locker, while the hydraulic-lift table rises to bar height. Cue Tom Cruise. Among the nice touches are stainless steel baskets in the cockpit fridge, Southern Stainless barbecue with extractor fan, boathook locker and television. Ah, cricket.
On the same cockpit level, the saloon melds with the outdoor areas that beg to be served from the aft galley with island bench and European appliances but for the Fisher & Paykel fridge-freezer. A Bose Lifestyle system will help set the mood around the forward dinette for eight, located before a big pop-up television and opposing plush lounge that let you dial-up movie mode or social mode depending on the circumstances.
Accommodation spans three cabins and as many heads, plus a massive utility room to starboard that can be configured with a crew bunk in place of the extra refrigeration, Miele washer/dryer and coffee-and-tea making facilities on our demonstrator. The large walnut grabrails didn't go unnoticed.
The third cabin to port has twin adult-length bunks, cedar-lined hanging space and, yeh, opening portlights; the VIP in the bow has the obligatory island bed with upsized en suite; and some two metres of headroom extends to all cabins. Naturally, the full-beam stateroom takes some beating. There's an island king bed, a bottle of Moet and champagne glasses sitting expectantly atop a table between tub chairs, walk-in wardrobe and full-beam double en suite. Crack the windows for fresh air.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
With the air-con running in the enclosed bridge and all the comforts of home, you won't need to see the coiffeur or chiropractor when you reprovision in Cairns. In fact, offshore performance is a highlight. Even though the flybridge looks a tad top heavy and oversized, we blasted east at 25kts and 75 per engine load using 460lt of fuel burn per hour.
At 22 to 23kts, the boat feels silky smooth. Top speed from the upgraded twin 1600hp Caterpillar C32 diesel engines is 31to 32kts over the 28 to 29kts standard boat with twin 1150hp Cat C18 engines. Driven like a raceboat in wild seas, Keith has made quite certain this New Ocean 68 meet his demanding specifications. Read the at-the-helm report hereabouts
Meantime, there's just so much to the New Ocean 68 you will need more than a day to digest it all. For some mere mortals, it may be beyond them. But for the cashed-up cruising clique who frequent Hamilton Island each year, explore the Barrier Reef and make an annual pilgrimage to Lizard Island, or the Kimberley, the New Ocean 68 takes some beating.
Remember: Nothing is a waste of time if you use your experience wisely. And with this boat, and some cruising experience, the world is your ocean.
Caterpillar pod & joystick
After questioning the merits of pod drives - Volvo Penta has sold more than 4000 units - US engine maker Caterpillar has capitulated and announced its working on an innovative Cat POD system featuring Twin Disc's QuickShift transmission technology. A Joystick system will integrate with the Cat POD and be available in 2014.
NEW OCEAN 68 ENCLOSED FLYBRIDGE
AT THE HELM
Yours truly reported about the impressive New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht that introduced the brand to our shores late last year. This 68 is based on the same hull - actually, the mould stretches 90 feet and is multipurpose so that you can cut and shut to suit - only it boasts an extra metre more running surface to help support the additional 1000hp, 1200lt more fuel, additional 200lt of water, and the flying bridge superstructure.
Actually, when you take into account all the extra engineering and the bigger engines, the 68 is an entirely different class of boat to the 640. We're told it weighs an extra 15,000kg or thereabouts, too. The big thing is the addition of a keel forward of the props. Upon hearing this, it raised the spectre of stability. But while the boat wears a big top, it proved surefooted during our sea trials. We also didn't need to call on the Bennett trim tabs.
When the Hansons took delivery for the Sydney International Boat Show, Port Botany was closed due to heavy seas. "They were radical, believe me, four-to-five-metre monsters with a couple of metres of sea on top. Once I turned north, I drove the boat flat out just to try it out. We were doing 30kts and travelling on an even keel," Captain Keith recounts with a boy-racer giggle.
Twin 1600hp Caterpillar C32, 2846lt fuel, 1048lt water, 15 aboard
RPM SPEED FUEL BURN
600 7.3kts 15.142lt/h
900 9.9kts 98.42lt/h
1200 11.9kts 181.7lt/h
1500 15.5kts 246.05lt/h
1800 21.1kts 503.46lt/h
2100 23kts 514.82lt/h
2320 31kts 643.52lt/h
* Official sea-trial data supplied by New Ocean Yachts.
PRICE AS TESTED
$3.695 million loaded w/ 1600hp Caterpillar C32s
Raymarine electronics package, night-vision camera, satellite communications, 600kg-lift hydraulic swimplatform, painted hull topsides, HRO watermaker, upgraded air-con, sternthruster, autopilot, swimplatform rear rails, Aqualuma underwater lights, premium bathware and galley-ware packages, and more
$2.75 million w/ 1150hp Caterpillar C18s (subject to exchange rate)
MATERIAL: Fibreglass w/ composite vacuum-bagged foam-cored hull sides and deck
TYPE: Deep-vee planing hull
LENGTH OVERALL: 21.95m
HULL LENGTH: 20.57m
DRAFT: 1.67m (inc. props)
WEIGHT: 55,000kg (laden)
BERTHS: 6 + 2 (+2 in flybridge)
HOLDING TANK: 2 x 500lt
MAKE/MODEL: Caterpillar C32
TYPE: V12 turbo-diesel w/ common rail injection, and aftercooling
RATED HP: 1015 at 2350rpm (each)
DISPLACEMENT: 32lt (each)
WEIGHT: 2840kg (each plus gearbox)
GEARBOXES (MAKE/RATIO): Twin Disc / 2.48:1
PROPS: Five-blade bronze
New Ocean Yachts (Aust) Pty Ltd,
PO Box 751,
Main Beach, QLD, 4217
Phone: (07) 3036 0787
Fax: (07) 5533 2695
The New Ocean 68 belongs in the modern motorcruising world. Travel fast without getting wet, while luxuriating in a bubble boasting total climate control, as you recline in a supportive high-backed leather helm seat, deferring to the latest electronics. You could argue that it's not real boating but, well, that's the very attraction of first-class travel. Watch this space for news on the New Ocean 54.
From Trade-a-Boat magazine, issue 420. Photos: Ellen Dewar; New Ocean Yachts. Video: Supplied.
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