As You Like ItThe new 52 from Legacy Yachts is available in not just one, but two very different models.By Capt. Chris Kelly13,000 man-hours. That’s 3-1/2 years of a man working 10 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s also how long it takes to build a single Legacy 52 Sedan, according to Legacy’s president Paul Petronello. Of course, when you have 25 engineers, electricians, plumbers, and old-world craftsmen on the job, the yacht comes out a bit quicker. But that number is telling of just how much custom workmanship goes into every Legacy 52.The 52 is a big step up from the 40, and in fact, she was designed and built with input from former 40 owners. It’s available in two very different styles—the Sedan Flybridge or the Express—and here we’ll focus on the Sedan. Although she bears the heritage lines and sea-keeping abilities of a Downeast cruiser, the Sedan Flybridge is very much state-of-the-art. Our test boat was a two-stateroom, two-head layout, but with all the amenities modern mankind has to offer. On top of that, don’t let her traditional looks fool you...with a pair of 660-hp Caterpillar 3196’s in her belly, she can run with any motoryacht you’ll find here on BoatTEST.com.The 52 Sedan is primarily a cruiser designed for a couple who have occasional overnight guests. She is versatile and well prepared for entertaining both on and in the water. Her teak swim platform is 2-1/2 feet long, making it a perfect staging area for swimmers, divers, or for storing an inflatable dinghy on her beam-ends. Better still the optional teak transom--as seen on our test boat Veritas—is reinforced to handle manual davits. While the platform was conveniently long, the swim ladder was inconveniently located beneath and was awkward to deploy—a small point but something I would change if I were buying her.Moving aboard, the transom door has the solid feeling of a bank vault, yet it’s well balanced so it’s easy to open and close. Commercial-grade 316L stainless steel hardware keeps it closed, and you’ll find this level of quality all around the boat—hawse pipes, cleats, deck hardware—all of it is first rate and heavy duty.The CockpitThe cockpit itself is guttered all around so it’s a self-draining affair, and is well suited for director’s chairs or an optional aft-bench seat. You gain access to the lazarette from here, and the electrically opened hatch is supported by a single ram to make life easy. The lazarette provides direct access to the rudder posts, tie-rods, hydraulic-steering rams, autopilot gear (all above the waterline), and stowage on either side. Surprisingly, you are also greeted with a dog-latched, watertight door that leads forward to the engine compartment. Here the 660-hp Caterpillar diesels came close to the well-insulated headliner, but that was not an issue as remote coolant reservoirs mounted on the forward bulkhead eliminate the need to “pop the cap” on the fresh-water heat exchanger like you do on your car’s radiator. Both oil dipsticks were routed inboard and there was great separation—20 inches—between the powerplants to make it easy to walk fore-and-aft. Other features here included Tides Marine dripless rudder-post seals, a block heater for cold starts, trolling valves for low-speed maneuvering, and the engine bolted directly atop the stringers via rubber isolation mounts (not on brackets) for superior power transfer to the hull.Having confirmed the proper fluid levels for oil, coolant, and gear oil, it’s an easy egress up five teak-treaded stairs to the cockpit and then forward up to the foredeck. The sidedecks on the 52 are impressive—19 inches wide!—and surrounded all the way by raised toe kicks and your choice of single- or double-rail stainless steel handrails. Fully forward on the raised bow, you’ll find two lockers—one for fender storage, the other for anchor chain storage. A freshwater washdown is right there to remove the mud you’ll undoubtedly drag up in Northeastern waters.The FlybridgeWhen it’s time to weigh anchor and take command, you’ll appreciate the gradual ladder that leads up to the flying bridge. This is the most surprising area of the boat. Thanks to the raised elevation, visibility all around is excellent, and while our test captain preferred to dock the boat from the lower helm station just forward of the saloon, I couldn’t see any reason not to dock her—and run her most of the time—from here. An isinglass panel is a nice touch that slides in to the bimini top just forward of the helm station, protecting the helmsman from wind and possible spray without having to put up all the canvas. At the helm itself you’ll find a stainless steel destroyer wheel, and—unlike Palm Beach sportfishermen—a pair of single-lever electronic engine controls for easy maneuvering. While not required for safe operation, Legacy does provide optional bow- and stern-thrusters for the 52 (for a demonstration, watch the video!).Below DeckOnce you’ve reached your cruising destination, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the good life in the main saloon located just forward of the heavy-duty aluminum companionway door. Here you’ll find a teak-and-holly sole, and the interior is your choice of either solid mahogany or American cherry wood (as on our test boat). Once inside, any hint that you are on a “fiberglass” boat disappears, and the expertise of Legacy’s team of woodsmiths grabs your attention.To starboard, an optional flat-panel TV raises electrically at the touch of a button, and you’ll find curved storage cabinets in many locations. This is your first indication that Legacy’s craftsmen could be making cabinetry for a mansion just as easily as they do for a yacht. Across to port there’s a lounge area with cocktail table, and overhead the liner is completely done in ultra-suede.Moving forward, to port there’s a traditional navigator’s station complete with chart table and lounge, across from the single helm station to starboard with its Stidd helm chair. Both stations on Veritas had their own positively locking pilothouse doors for direct access to the sidedecks, and I would recommend this option for couples cruising alone. Big, frameless windows provide great light and a good view forward, and twin-strut windshield wipers maintain visibility when the going gets rough.Perhaps the most interesting part of the 52 is her lack of noticeable bulkheads in the cabin. From the lower helm, you can look directly down the six steps to the U-shaped galley, which is highly customized depending on the owner’s preferences. On Veritas there was complete raised-panel, custom cherry cabinetry combined with two SubZero freezers and refrigerators, plus a four-burner hotplate and microwave/convection oven. On Reunion (the 52 Express) it was more of a sailboat layout, with cold-plate refrigeration, propane stove, and a C-chaped configuration. This gives you a good indication of the kind of the amount of customization available on the Legacy 52. Either way, the dining area sits across to starboard with relaxed seating for 4 adults and good cabinet storage.Moving forward up the centerline hallway, you’ll find a guest stateroom with twin berths and access to the “day” head with shower (also accessed from the hallway). Fully forward in the bow, the master stateroom has a centerline queen-sized double berth with good steps on either side for easy access. That, combined with plenty of drawer storage, and an ensuite head with separate shower stall, and Moen faucets completes the picture of traditional luxury below.PerformanceOut on the test track, the Sedan (with 660-hp) came in at 30 mph, while the Express (with 800-hp but heavier) registered 35 mph. Both boats got on plane predictably and handling was light to the touch. Plus, new lifting strakes forward on the hull ensure a smooth, high-and-dry ride.All in all, the Legacy 52 is a great example of what happens when a team of craftsmen get together and pitch in for 13,000 man hours. And if you have any doubt about that, just open up a special cabinet located in the lower dining area. There, you’ll see the signatures in ink of every one of those men who worked on the 52, including the man who makes it all happen, Paul Petronello.Ed. Note: The Express version is based on the Sedan but has a second outside lounge area abaft the companionway bulkhead protected by a hard top, no flying bridge, and a little more usable space in the cockpit.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Legacy 52 Sedan Flybridge is 30.6 mph (49.2 kph), burning 68.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 258.14 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Legacy 52 Sedan Flybridge is 21.5 mph (34.6 kph), and the boat gets 0.59 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.25 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 373 miles (600.29 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 660-hp Caterpillar 3196 electronic diesels.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Windlass||Standard Muir Windless|
|Microwave||Standard GE microwave/convection oven|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Generator||Standard Northern Lights 16Kw with sound shield|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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