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Altima 63 Pilothouse (2012-)
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Brief Summary

The Altima 63 was designed for the serious cruisers who do not want to be limited by displacement speeds of 7 or 8 knots, but who also do not need to go 30 knots. She is designed to cruise comfortably at 17-18 knots with minimum horsepower in a planing motoryacht that is heavy enough to be comfortable in all but the worst conditions. We think this 63’ (19.20 m) motoryacht is a perfect size for an owner/operator who is looking for a practical long range cruising yacht in the $2.150 million range.

Key Features

Specifications

Length Overall 62' 11''
19.18 m
Beam 17' 4''
5.28 m
Dry Weight 69,500 lbs.
31,590 kg
Tested Weight N/A
Draft 4' 10''
1.47 m
- Draft Up N/A
- Draft Down N/A
- Air Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom 6' 6''
1.98 m
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity N/A
Fuel Capacity 1,200 gal.
4,543 L
Water Capacity 250 gal.
946 L
Length on Trailer N/A
Height on Trailer N/A
Trailer Weight N/A
Total Weight
(Trailer, Boat, & Engine)
N/A

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Engine Options

Std. Power Not Available
Tested Power Currently no test numbers
Opt. Power Not Available
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Captain's Report

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The Altima 63 has a 17’4” (5.28 m) beam, a displacement of 69,500 lbs. (31,590 kgs.) and is highly customizable. As you can see she has a semi-displacement hull which means you can cruise on plane or at displacement speeds.

Brief Back Story

The Altima 63 is a tried-and-true hull that has been around for a number of years, and is an expanded version of the Altima 55 – a true 55-footer (16.76 m) which didn’t count the bow pulpit and swim platform as most all builders seem to do now. A few feet were added from amidships to the stern of the 55 which was originally drawn by Frank Sciortino, the founder of the Altima Yachts company. Then Sciortino decided to do what most other boat builders were doing and added in the length of the bow pulpit and swim platform and -- viola -- the Altima 63! Our suggestion is to forget the number designation of this and most other boats and dive into the specs, particularly the displacement and beam, which will tell the real story. (Her displacement is about 70,000 lbs./31,818 kgs., dry, with a beam of 17'4"/5.28 m.)

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The Altima 63 has classic West Coast raised pilothouse lines with refined touches.

The “Mission”

The Altima 63 is a boat that can be easily handled by a couple, yet is large enough to comfortably accommodate three couples in three staterooms for an extended cruise. She can cruise at 18 knots all day long, as well as travel at 8-knot displacement speeds, powered with twin engines under 900 horsepower. That means she is fast enough to keep up with the smaller express cruisers on the annual yacht club cruise. This is important for boaters who will use their boat locally, cruising with friends for part of the season, before taking off on one long voyage alone.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
One of the missions of every large motoryacht is "entertaining." Clear the tender off the boat deck abaft the settee for even more room.

We think the Altima 63 would be a good candidate to take on a long cruise to such places as the Alaskan panhandle, the coast of Labrador, through the Caribbean, down the Dalmatian coast, or through the Greek Islands, or most any other place you want to go – but not transPacific. (She actually does have enough range to go transatlantic via Greenland and Iceland at displacement speeds.) And, as we mentioned, to also go cruising in company around home with friends in smaller, fast vessels -- and not arrive at the watering hole just as everyone else is going to bed.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
Altima says the 63 has a WOT speed of 21.5 knots with a 1/2 fuel load when powered with Cat C-18s and 873-hp. We haven't tested the boat.

Distinguishing Features

There are many boats on the market that have an MO similar to the one outlined above and which look remarkably like the Altima 63. The fact is that the raised pilothouse motoryacht design has been popular on the West Coast of America since William Garden, Ed Monk and Art DeFever started drawing them over 40 years ago. So what sets the Altima 63 apart?First, she was designed by Altima Yacht’s team and naval architect and boat builder Charles Chang. They took the raised pilothouse concept and refined it. Second, the boat is built in China by the veteran and respected Taiwanese boat builder Charles Chang (who formerly owned Hi-Star). These two combinations are important to the bloodlines of this particular boat.What doesn't separate her from other good boats in class is her equipment. She is equipped with the same top-tier equipment as the best-built boats in this size range. That is a good thing.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
Looking forward in the main saloon of the Altima 63. Note the private stairway to the master stateroom under the open stairs to the flying bridge. Also, note that the A/C is wafting over the top of the double molding on the overhead -- no ugly vents here.

All of this means is that Altima is leveraging the low-cost of Chinese labor, its inexpensive infrastructure, and the undervalued Chinese currency to produce a well-designed boat, managed by a builder, Activa Marine, which is known for quality boat building. Since Altima is the U.S. importer owned by a knowledgeable yachtsman (Frank Sciortino), and his company has very low overhead, the price need not have to cover a lot of corporate economic sprawl. The result is that the consumer can get a lot of boat for the money built by people who know what they are doing and have skin in the game -- and, that is what sets this boat apart, in our opinion.

Accommodations Can Be Customized

The standard Altima 63 comes with three staterooms and two heads, plus a day head off the saloon, but since the yacht is highly customizable, she can have three en suite heads, or two staterooms and an office, or what ever suits. Buyers can’t make the hull wider or move the structural bulkheads, but other than that, the accommodations layout is very much a blank piece of paper.Customization is important when you are spending $2 million for a boat. For that kind of money, you should get exactly the kind of boat you want and need. Then, you won't have to buy another one in a couple of years because the first vessel isn't "quite right."

Altima 63 Pilothouse
This is the standard 3 stateroom layout.

As mentioned elsewhere, the boat’s beam is 17’4” (5.28 m) and that pays off in extra space in the accommodations below, in the saloon, in the engine room as well, as compared with some other, faster motoryachts that are a foot or so less in width.

Sensible Power

The boat is powered by the standard engines, Cat C-18s, rated at about 873-hp. We are told by the folks at Altima that the vessel has a WOT speed of about 21.5 knots and a comfortable best-cruise of about 17 to 18 knots. We haven’t tested the boat, but based on our own experience with boats of this displacement, beam and horsepower, we’d say those numbers are realistic.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
We like this alternate layout where the guest cabin has a desk, a bench sofa and a Pullman.

We like diesel engines in the 850-hp range because at cruising speeds their fuel consumption -- while astronomical for the layman -- is, in fact, usually economically comfortable for the person who can afford this price boat. For example, at comfortable cruising speed these engines might burn something on the order of 65 - 70 gph.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The Altima 63 has walk-in head room between the engines. Note the shallow down-angle of the shafts for added efficiency.

Performance Estimates And Range

The Altima 63 carries 1200 gal. (4560 L) of fuel so at 18 knots we’d guess that she has a range of about 260 nautical miles with a 10% reserve. That gives an owner/operator 14 hours of running time on a tank of fuel.Crank her back to just over planing speed, say 14.5 knots, and you should be able to easily run two eight-hour days on a load of fuel and cover 285 nautical miles, or so. That is what she is designed to do, and that range will dictate where she can be cruised at planing speeds.For most veteran cruising powerboaters, the ability to cruise between 16 and 20 knots is the sweet spot – that is covering a mile every 3.75 to 3.0 minutes, which is fast enough for most boaters we know.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The galley is immediately abaft the helm and on the same level of the Altima 63 (you can see a corner of it in the lower right of the photo). This is not the only dining area on the boat. In the saloon, a coffee table is available with remote control can be raised to any high or low position to add additional dining space.

Displacement-Speed Cruising

At 53’ 8” (16.35 m) on the water, her theoretical hull speed is just over 8 knots if we use a factor of 1.1 times the square root of the water line length. At that speed she should be able to cover well over 1,000 nautical miles with a 10% reserve. These speeds and fuel consumption ranges mean that all of the Mediterranean can literally be your cruising oyster by mixing and matching displacement and planning speeds to the geography and spots where fuel is available.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
Squeezing a day head on the deck of a 63' motoryacht is a neat trick, but Altima has done it -- look abaft the lounge seat in the saloon.

Main Deck

The layout of the Altima 63 on the main deck is like virtually every other pilothouse motoryacht built from 40’ to 80’ (12.12 m to 24.38 m): the saloon is abaft the galley which is abaft the raised pilothouse. But there are three distinct features that make this layout a little different-- First, it has a day head in the saloon. Second, it does not have the U-shaped settee that serves as a saloon and dining area as on most boats of this type; but rather it is all saloon exclusively. Thirdly, in the pilothouse, rather than putting the bench seat behind the helm with a table, Altima has put it along the port side and adjacent to the helm. This is clever. Essentially, Altima has given up a chart table for more room in the saloon.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
Like the rest of the boat, the galley on the Altima 63 is customizable. Note the four under-counter drawers for the refer and freezer. Some 63's have a stand up, two-door refer/freezer at the head of the aisle.

Comparison With Other Yachts

When we compare the Altima 63 with other motoryachts in class built in the U.S. and in Europe – the popular brand names – we find that the Altima 63 carries a wider beam (by an average of 1’/.30 m) than all put one of five other yachts we compared. Moreover, all but one of the other motoryachts had far less displacement, ranging from 7,000 lb. (3,181 kgs.) less to nearly 20,000-lbs. (9090 kgs.) less. One planing motoryacht weighed 45,000 lb. (20,454 kg.) more. That comparison puts the Altima 63 in a very enviable position, we think. She is lighter than the heavy weight which means the 63 needs only about half the horsepower to cruise at 18 knots. On the other hand it is heavier than the more narrow motoryachts which are built to go 30 knots and are far lighter. The Altima 63 is squarely in the middle of the displacement spectrum -- not at one extreme or the other. Having cruised extensively in a boat with these basic specifications, we can attest to their good sea-going nature.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The master stateroom has a private entrance in one layout. All veneers are made out of the same log and are match-booked.

Styling

In the minds of many consumers most boats built in the Far East take a back seat to motoryachts built in Europe because of both exterior and interior styling. While it is true that the most contemporary designs are coming out of Italy, the question begs as to how long these styles will be in fashion. Because the Altima 63's design is more refined, more graceful, and perhaps a bit more delicate than other West Coast raised pilothouse boats, we think she has a bit of the "softer" look of a European boat. Nevertheless she is a classic design. That look has been around for at least 40 years and it will certainly be here 40 years from now.

Marketing -- East is East and…

Most European and Far Eastern boat builders go about marketing their boats in two distinctively different ways. European builders come to the U.S. and find dealers to sell their boats and then – typically -- advertise them with leggy blondes posing all over them. Asian boat builders, on the other hand, use North American importers to advertise and market their boats. Generally, it is the responsibility of the importer to advertise the boat, display them at boat shows, and interface with the customer…and take care of warranty claims.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
We like the fact that Altima has his-and-hers chairs at helm station on the flying bridge.

This arrangement usually means that the builder in Asia pays for the design and tooling. The importer dictates the quality level and specs out the yacht and the builder quotes a price for the finished product. Typically, when the boat is shipped, the Asian builder considers his job complete.This tradition means that the importer of the Far Eastern-built boat is the key person as far as the consumer is concerned. Once the boat is shipped, it and the owner are in the hands of the importer.

Altima Yachts

Altima is the North American importer of boats built by Activa Marine, which is located outside of Shanghai, in China. Frank Sciortino of Montreal, Canada started Altima in 2001 as an importer of yachts when he found Activa’s manager and part owner, Charles Chang, and bought a boat.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
Running across the Gulf Stream from South Florida for a long weekend will be some people's mission for the Altima 63. Three hours and you are there at 18 knots, or go at 8 knots and make it in 6 hours 45 minutes.

Before Sciortino could take delivery a friend convinced Frank to sell the yacht to him. That's how Sciortino found himself in the boat business. Today, Sciortino outfits Altima the way he thinks is best, and one look at his equipment list told us that he is shooting for the high-end of quality. It also told us that Frank knows what makes a good boat.

Keeping it Simple

Frank also has his own ideas about what makes a good, low-maintenance boat and for that we applaud him, even if we do like teak cap rails and teak decks. They all can be added to Altima as optional equipment. His small importing company has an office in Montreal, Canada and is backed up by his administrative assistant Mona Roshke, who is a ball of fire. He told us recently that he has two men working in Ft. Lauderdale doing customer service and warranty work on boats that have been sold. That's it. This is about as small as an importing company can get. Again, we think that is a good thing. We can tell you from experience that the most important elements of a boat are the design, build strength, quality of the systems installations and joinery -- and the integrity of the people involved. And the fewer people who are involved, the fewer pay checks are larded into the base price of the boat you buy.

Warranty

Sciortino says that Altima issues a one-year warranty on the boat covering everything except the engines, which are covered by the engine maker. That is a good warranty for this size and type of boat and not many builders of large yachts go far beyond that. To find out about Sciortino's claims process and the satisfaction of his previous customers, we recommend calling some of the 18 people who have bought Altima yachts since 2001.

Progress Payments

Since all of his motoryachts are built to order, Frank requires 20% down when the contract is signed, then progress payments as the boat moves along. A payment must be made before the engines are installed, which is typical for these kind of builds in the Far East. Another payment is due when the superstructure is done and yet another when the wood work has been completed. The customer is kept abreast of the work on his boat on a dedicated web page which has pictures of the progress on that particularly boat, we are told. Frank says that when the boat is ready for shipment 75-80% of the boat has been paid for. Typically sea trials are conducted in Asia either by the buyer or his representative, who is often an American surveyor flown over for the task. Once the boat has been accepted and the final payment has been made, the yacht is put aboard a freighter and shipped to the destination port. That takes about a month.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The VIP stateroom is in the bow. We like the way the builder has used the bow flare for cabinets.

The Buying and Building Process

Generally customers sit down with Frank and go over the boat they want and discuss the interior accommodations, the layouts, equipment lists, engine options and all of the major items to be incorporated into the boat. If a customer does not know what he wants in the boat, then Frank will give him a recommended layout or list of equipment. If the buyer does know what he wants, then he and Frank go over the details.Then drawings are made and Altima quotes a specific price. It is then that a contract is signed and the deposit is made. Build time from the moment the hull is laid up is about 8 months for the 63 we're told. All told, the process for the 63 takes a year or so, if work can be started immediately.

Where Are The Savings?

While the labor rate in China is lower than in other parts of the world, labor is only about 20% of the cost of a boat of this size. But because the labor is cheaper buyers tend to lavish the interior with lots of joinery, driving up the man-hours over what would have been done in the U.S. or Europe. This brings the amount spent on labor somewhat closer to parity to boats built in the West.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The port guest cabin is exactly how we would configure it: a desk with drawers on one side, a bench sofa with a Pullman berth outboard.

Resin and fiberglass are world commodities and cost the same in China as elsewhere. Likewise American-made engines and equipment all have to be bought in the U.S. and shipped to China, making these components actually more expensive than they would be stateside. The same goes for many fabrics and other items that must be purchased in Europe or the in U.S., shipped to China, inventoried, and installed as the boat is being built. So where are the big savings?The savings to be had by buying an Altima yacht have more to do with the cost of building and operating a factory, the cost of operating capital, amortization of tooling, and marketing. All of these expenses add to the cost of every boat no matter where it is built. But it is here where the savings lie in a boat like the Altima 63 which is built in the Far East.Frank says that the Altima 63 at $2,149,000 is about $100,000 cheaper than his competitors in the Far East. Well, that may be some of them. Many others will cost significantly more. To that you can probably add another few hundred thousand dollars for boats built in Europe or the U.S.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The aft deck is probably the most popular place on a boat of this size. We'd put a teak table here and install the optional teak deck to make the boat look like the $2 million baby that she is. You want a longer boat? Add it here for peanuts.

Getting More Boat for the Buck

Make it longer:

When building a semi-custom boat there are several ways to get more boat for the money. The first way is to add to the length of the boat in the stern -- simply making the boat longer -- if you can. In the case of the Altima 63, the mold that is used is actually 66' (20.11 m) long so Altima can make a 66' (20.11 m) long boat -- including bow pulpit and stern platform. Because an extra foot in the stern is really only the lazerette there is not much more involved than added fiberglass, resin, and labor. The added charge might be something on the order of $10,000 per foot. If a buyer knows how to use this space it can be a worthwhile exercise.

Altima 63 Pilothouse
This Altima 63 is buttoned up with polycarbonate enclosures, effectively turning the bridge into a three-season space. Why not enclose it permanently and turn it into a sky lounge?

Make it higher:

A way to add valuable living space to boat of this type is to add an enclosed sky lounge where the flying bridge would be. In this way the helm can be eliminated in the pilothouse and this can be turned into a formal dining area, an office, a captain's cabin, or whatever. Altima will add a sky lounge to the 63 for something on the order of $75,000. Now you have two added spaces, the old pilothouse and the new area abaft the helm in the sky lounge. Typically in a sky lounge people put in a sofa, a couple of chairs and a coffee table, a wet bar and entertainment center. Building a yacht can be a lot of fun. Good luck.

Standard and Optional Features

Systems

Air Cond./Heat Standard
Head: Fixed Standard
Washdown: Fresh Water Standard
Washdown: Raw Water Standard
Windlass Standard

Galley

Microwave Standard
Refrigerator Standard
Stove Standard

Exterior Features

Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Transom Shower Standard
Wet bar Standard

Boats More Than 30 Feet

Vacuum Standard
Washer/Dryer Standard

Warranty

Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

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