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The new Marlow 97 E (for "Euro") was introduced last winter at the Miami Boat Show and is the largest boat built so far by Marlow Yachts.
We have seen many motoryachts this size and it is for that reason that we think the Marlow 97E will be a new benchmark for affluent cruising yachtsmen who want a motoryacht, but also want to go most anywhere in it.
All Marlow Yachts have a distinctive look because of their raised pilothouse with Portuguese bridge, a relatively high bow with the molded-in faux planks, and blue hull. It is a style that is designed for the world-cruising boaters. If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford its price tag, you have a thrill of a lifetime in store.
The Marlow 97E is 100'11" (30.75 m) LOA with a 21' (6.4 m) beam and draws 5'6" (1.67 m).
It is simple: go almost anywhere, almost anytime. We say "almost" because she is not intended for ice conditions and there are sea states which any responsible mariner wants to avoid no matter what vessel is under his feet.
The 97E is designed to have as many as 14 guests aboard, including the host and hostess of the boat. That means that the exploring can be done with lots of friends which will place a premium on entertaining, as well as cruising.
Marlow Yachts' owner David Marlow has no interest in building yet another heavy displacement cruiser that by its very nature is shackled to slow speeds, usually those under 10 knots. His philosophy is that a more practical and comfortable world cruiser is actually one that is semi-planing so that with enough horsepower applied the boat can go 17 knots or more for prolonged periods of time.
And, by building the boat relatively light, it can also fulfill the other part of its mission, which is to be transoceanic at displacement speeds.
She is all business up forward with two anchors and high freeboard. Traditionalists will like the faux planks in the topsides.
It is Marlow's contention, and we agree, that a boat is usually more comfortable in many light and moderate sea conditions at planing speed than it would be at displacement speeds. He feels that a light semi-displacement boat, properly built, is far more practical and comfortable than a heavy, displacement vessel.
Certainly a world-cruising boat that travels at 17 knots in bursts has a lot of advantages. One that can carry 14 passengers plus crew in 97' is virtually unheard of.
A Cruising Man's Motoryacht
The Marlow 97E has many things in common with a conventional flushdeck motoryacht, the kind which have been built in relatively large numbers the last 20 years. That is to say that it has a formal, and large saloon, a separate dining area with a stand-alone table that can be used for both formal entertaining and informal occasions and be expanded for a crowd when entertaining.
Below are the staterooms -- all six of them, and four heads! We have cruised on 125-footers with half as many.
Looking aft from the dinning area we see the large saloon with entertainment consoles in the stern quarters.
In the belly of the beast Marlow uses the same large diesel engines that semi-planing motoryachts use, and much of the ancillary equipment such as twin generators are also the same.
Where the Marlow 97E sets itself apart from both conventional motoryachts and conventional displacement cruisers are in these areas--
The boat has a waterline length of 83' (25.29 m) which is about as long as you will get under a 100' boat. If we multiply the square root of her length by 1.2 we get a speed of 10.9 knots, which should be about where this boat can be easily pushed without excessive fuel consumption.
Because she is relatively light due to her foam core hull laminates and "Full Stack Infusion" construction process, she draws only 5'6" (1.67 m). That means she is easier to push than a boat that is deeper with the same 21' (6.40 m) beam. At something like, say, 7 knots, the Marlow 97E should have prodigious range. We have not tested her, but she should have very long legs, indeed.
The Marlow 97E is low, long and sleek. Take a good look at the bottom shape in this drawing, noting how it is fine forward and flattens out aft. A skeg like the one here, protecting the prop, is unusual on a semi-displacement vessel of this type.
That means that she can both rush the 205 nautical miles from New York to Nantucket at full steam and be there in a comfortable day, or she can go slow and go from Bermuda to the Azores on a load of fuel.
2. Bureau VERITAS Certification
Bureau VERITAS is an international organization which sets technical standards for seaworthiness and safety for vessels in the marine field and then when requested appraises the level of compliance of the vessel with the rules and standards set up for that class.
Typically when a motoryacht is built to these standards it costs more money for both construction scantlings specified and equipment required. A further expense is the constant verification of the building of the yacht and the installation of systems at every step in the process. It is not unusual for a fiberglass motoryacht the size of the Marlow 97E to cost as much as $500,000 more in added materials, equipment and inspection fees if order to gain Bureau VEITAS certification.
The dining table of the 97E can be opened up to serve 12 people in a pinch. Obviously this is a semi-custom boat so a new buyer can have virtually any layout, wood, and furniture treatment desired.
This certification should not only give the owner peace of mind in all conditions, but should also raise the resale value of the vessel because the certification is relatively rare for fiberglass motoryachts.
In the process, the Marlow 97E also met standards for a CE "Ocean Class" certification.
You are looking at a very creative accommodations plan for a 97-footer. Study it to see how Marlow could get six staterooms and four heads in this space.
3. Accommodations For 14
We can't recall ever seeing a 100' motoryacht with so many staterooms. They start on the main deck where the owner's master stateroom is located just forward of the galley on the raised deck where a pilothouse helm is often located. This is an ideal and much desired location for the master and it is usually only seen on far larger boats, say those in the 125'+ range.
Below, there are six staterooms and four heads. This is a remarkable number, and that in itself is very unusual for this size boat. Four of the staterooms have en suite heads. Two of the staterooms are largish and should qualify as VIP cabins. One stateroom is quite small and will probably be used for children, nannies, or a stewardess.
The master stateroom on the Marlow 97E is on the raised main deck, forward of the galley. Now this is living.
There is an unusual "commissary" below that is handy for all of the guests, as well as convenient laundry facilities.
Crew Quarters: The crew quarters are aft where they ought to be on this size boat. To port is the captain's cabin with a double bed and to starboard there is a cabin with two bunks for the mates which also have a mini galley.
How did Marlow shoe-horn in all of these accommodations? There are two answers, and the most important one is in the vessel's designation: "Explorer." This is not a gin palace, an ICW ditch digger, or a show-and-tell extravaganza that is intended to spend most of its time tied up behind a house in a canal in Ft. Lauderdale. Rather, the Marlow 97E is designed to go exploring and to take a full crew of people along for the ride.
Because David Marlow is a veteran yachtsman he knows that the most important thing to have at the helm is not lots of nav screens in your face -- but good visibility. That is why his nav screens are lowered to a level even with the bottom of the windshield frames.
The vessel's 21' (6.4 m) beam helps, as does the fact that all but the VIP cabins are on the small size for this size vessel. That is the brilliance of the two VIP cabins -- they are reserved for the poohbahs.
4. Great Design Ideas Abound
The owner of this boat is obviously someone who likes to do outdoor cooking and entertaining. There are two grilling stations -- one on the aft deck and one abaft the helm/sky lounge. These are mini outdoor galleys and will make al fresco dining even more fun.
The main deck of the 97E has four venues for its 14 passengers as they cruise into paradise. Note that the master stateroom and head are on the raised deck forward.
The helm/sky lounge in itself is a very practical design, although it certainly has been around for 10 years or more. We like the way Marlow has executed the concept, putting two helm seats facing forward.
Free juice. On the roof of the sky lounge is a solar photovoltaic power generation source for recharging the batteries and with an 8 kW inverter can power onboard appliances while the owner is away and the boat is not in use. In this way, if the boat is left on a mooring in a remote place for a few days, the freezer and refer systems can be supplied with power without running the gen set.
Aft, the 97E has a hydraulic transom door and swim platform. This becomes a good place to stow water toys and scuba tanks and gear. -- it couldn't be more handy.
Here we see inside the helm/sky lounge. We would add a second tender to the boat deck. While at anchor or in a slip the tenders can be launched making the boat deck a great place for sunning or entertaining.
5. Clever Use Of Deck Space
The Marlow 97E has one of the most clever fore decks we have ever seen. While some Italian motoryacht builders have been putting tables and settees on the bow of their large yachts for some years, Marlow has done them one better by putting two comfortable banquets on the bow.
Just forward of the Portuguese bridge bulwarks, these seats swirl around and make an ideal place for 14 or more people to watch whatever is going on forward of the ship. That could be the start of a sailboat race, July 4th fireworks, or just the scenery going buy. It has a strategic advantage over the aft deck in that you can see where the boat is going instead of where it has just been.
It is easy to imagine the installation of two tables serving these banquets and being able to serve all the guests at once.
Let your imagination run wild with this set up. We'd have collapsible tables and chairs stowed under the seats. We also have just one hatch on the centerline.
The Boat Deck. There is ample space on the boat deck for two tenders. This is unusual in this size boat but it is a smart way to go for the serious cruising yachtsman. The crew can be using one tender to provision the boat, while the guests are in the other tender exploring. Or, if there is something spectacular to visit, all 14 passengers can be accommodated in the two tenders. If one outboard engine goes on the blink, there is redundancy.
David Marlow has a good reason to be smiling -- his 97E is a beauty. When buying a Marlow you will get the value of his involvement and expertise in both the design, outfitting, and in the build process.
David Marlow is a lifelong yachtsman, both power and sail, and he has a keen eye for what looks good in fiberglass. When he started his company over 11 years ago he took some of the best ideas around in offshore motoryacht design and then mixed them together in his own way to make the Marlow secret sauce. It has ended up producing some beautiful boats.
To some degree Marlow has even been a visionary in the industry, stating for one an all to hear that heavy displacement "crawler trawlers" were not the only way to do long distance cruising -- it could be done comfortably in lighter semi-displacement boats as well. Over the last 10 years many more people, and other builders, have gravitated to his way of thinking.
All of this is to say that when you commission a Marlow Yacht you get David Marlow and all of his experience and insight, in the bargain. We like it when the owner of the company is deeply involved with the details of each boat and works closely with the buyer. The Marlow boats are built in China and David is often there.
If you like the Marlow look, and you buy into David's concept of offshore cruising, then he is a man you should talk to before signing a contract with anyone else, in our opinion. You may or may not strike a deal, but in any case, chances are you will come away knowing more than when you began.
= Standard = Optional
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Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!