Cheoy Lee 65/72 Motor Yacht (2010-)
Cheoy Lee’s Bravo 65/72 Motor Yacht is proof that classic design is timeless. Inspired by the masculine, New World boats of the early post-World War II years, Tom Fexas incorporated angles and straight lines, not Euro-swoops, to create a yacht whose profile reminds veteran boaters of yachts from a generation ago – maybe that’s two generations (we are getting older faster than we realize). Cheoy Lee was one of the first companies to build large production yachts in fiberglass, and Fexas designed most of them. Many knowledgeable boatmen feel the Bravo 65/72 was one of their finest collaborations.
The basic Bravo is 65 feet, without a cockpit, but Cheoy Lee also builds the boat as a 72-foot cockpit motor yacht. Otherwise the boats are the same, at least on paper. In fact, each boat is highly customized to suit its buyer.
Modern Under the Water
Although the Bravo 65/72 is traditional above the waterline, its cutting-edge bottom is as slippery as an eel. Fexas drew the underbody narrow to minimize resistance, and kept the chine above the waterline for the same reason. From tank-testing, he knew that a chine crossing the waterline added a virtual “knuckle” in the hull lines that increased wavemaking and, consequently, drag until the hull was planing and the chine free of the water.
The pilothouse is slightly raised above the saloon, and set up for casual dining as well. Big windows all around provide excellent sight lines.
But Fexas also believed that a hull wasn’t truly on-plane until its speed/length ratio reached 4.0 – that would be about 30 knots for the Bravo, faster than the intended speed. By keeping deadrise relatively low (13 degrees) and the chine out of the water, Fexas created a hull that would operate efficiently in the displacement and semi-planing speed ranges with reasonable horsepower. Originally the Bravo 65/72 came with twin 800-hp Caterpillar 406Es, but today standard power is a pair of Cat C18 ACERTS, 1,136-hp each. We haven’t tested the boat, so can’t report on speeds. Unofficial but reliable sources, though, suggest 24 knots top, around 21 knots cruise – again, don’t hold us to these numbers.
We could live here. The galley is behind the TV, on the same level as the pilothouse. There are many options for interior styling.
Not only was Cheoy Lee one of the first companies to build large production yachts in fiberglass, they also went one step further and used cored laminates extensively. Coring keeps the boats lighter without compromising stiffness, and Fexas insisted on paring weight to the minimum. The Bravo 65/72, designed in 1999, is built with Divinycell coring in its hull, deck and superstructure, sandwiched with high-strength bi- and multi-axial fiberglass fabrics laid in vinylester resin. Below the waterline, Cheoy Lee applies an epoxy barrier coat to forestall osmosis. The company covers the boat with a five-year structural and anti-osmosis warranty.
You’d expect a great galley on a yacht like this. The full-size refrigerator, lots of counter space and all mod cons make it just like home, but better.
Fuel, water and holding tanks are fiberglass, integral with the hull. Integral tanks are more difficult to build, but add security by creating essentially a double bottom under the tanks. Cheoy Lee includes cleaning manholes in the tanks, a nice touch too often omitted. Eventually all tanks need cleaning, and having the manholes makes it easy. The hull is also supported by fiberglass stringers and foam-cored bulkheads; there’s no wood in the structure.
The standard layout shows a large master stateroom amidships; one option replaces the walk-in closet with a second head for his-and-hers ablutions. A crew’s cabin aft is optional.
You can’t beat a full-beam master stateroom. This one has lots of stowage space, a sitting area, a small desk and a large ensuite head with two sinks. Small ports provide minimal natural light, though.
The Bravo 65/72 standard accommodations plan comprises three staterooms on the lower deck: a full-beam master amidships, VIP double forward and a twin-berthed guest in-between. Each cabin has an ensuite head – the master has a Jacuzzi and two sinks, too. An optional layout replaces a large walk-in closet in the master with a second head. There’s also a washer/dryer on this deck.
The living is easy on the Bravo 65/72’s main deck, with a nicely integrated pilothouse and dinette, an open-style galley and even a day head. The 65 version loses the cockpit.
The galley is up, on the main deck adjacent to the pilothouse, where there’s a dinette for casual meals. The saloon is aft, down a couple of steps, and fitted with settees port and starboard, a wet bar and a day head. Since each boat is highly customized, the standard arrangement plan is only a starting point – details, joinery and décor are left up to the buyer.
We’d expect more lounging space on the flying bridge; quite a bit is taken up by the tender. Some owners extend the deck to cover the cockpit on the 72.
If you’re looking for a comfortable cruising yacht with traditional styling, check out the Cheoy Lee Bravo 65/72. We think it’s a nice change from Eurostyling, and has all the comforts of home for extended cruising. The company, one of the best builders around, is open to lots of customization, so if you don’t see what you like, ask them. Chances are you can have it. Since the boat’s been in production for a while, there might be a few on the brokerage market.
As for pricing? Cheoy Lee is hesitant to provide specific numbers because each boat is different. We think they must have a figure written down somewhere as a starting point, but they’re not telling us what it is. However, we found a new boat for sale in Australia, listed in local currency at $2,970,700 – that’s about 2,062,878 Euros, or $2,713,000 US. It might be worth a flight, if you’re a serious buyer. You could cruise Down Under, then ship it home.