The four yachts in this roundup are representative of the mid-70-foot class of motoryacht. They all have a couple of layout options, including three or four staterooms, galley up or down, a cabin for paid crew. Folks who pay this kind of money for a boat (or for anything, for that matter) want it their way, so each boat can be customized for the right fit. One of these four should float your boat.
The Ocean Alexander 72 Pilothouse is built for extended cruising, not for sitting in the marina. The 72 Pilothouse can carry the fuel, stores, and food to support that mission. She has full-sized appliances in the galley, including a stand-up refrigerator/freezer, and can be equipped with a dishwasher and trash compactor -- trash management is an issue when making long cruises through pristine waters, and compacting it makes it easier to stow until you can dump it. More to the point though, the 72 Pilothouse is designed to remain underway in good and bad weather. Her high freeboard and bow flare will knock away spray, and her side decks are protected by bulwarks and hand rails, so it's safe to move around the yacht offshore. At a comfortable cruise speed of 11.5 knots, she has 778 n.m. of range, according to our tests, but will make 22.7 knots wide-open, albeit with greatly reduced range. And because she's so big inside, and because each boat will be custom-built inside to meet an owner's requirements, the 72 Pilothouse can also serve as an entertainment center in the marina. With this yacht, you can have it both ways.
Monte Carlo Yacht's 76 can be powered with twin V-drives or ZF pods, either one linked to MAN diesels, 1,400-hp V-12s or 1,200-hp V-8s, respectively. The pod-drive boat is about a ton heavier, but thanks to pod efficiency needs 400 fewer horses. Our test boat with pods ran nearly 30 knots at WOT; throttled back, she cruised in the mid-20s but with only slightly better NMPG numbers. The bottom line is, there's no reason to spare the horses with this boat, at least not in the name of fuel-efficiency: You might as well let her run, which makes this boat a good choice for day cruising, where the port-to-port runs are short and time is of the essence. She's designed by Nuvolari & Lenard, and her lines show the Mediterranean influence you'd expect from a team based in Venice, Italy. But the Euro-styling isn't taken to an extreme: In our opinion, the Monte Carlo 76 is a tastefully styled yacht with just a touch of the Med to show where she comes from. (Monte Carlo Yachts is owned by the Beneteau Group.)
The Hargrave 76 is a custom yacht, built into a hull of fixed dimensions, but from there on open to the owner's wishes. Power, arrangement, equipment and so forth are per the client's wishes, within the parameters created by the hull dimensions and structure. This building process makes delivering a yacht faster and less expensive than starting each project on a clean slate, while retaining the custom possibilities that folks spending this kind of coin want. The Hargrave 76 we tested, for example, was built for a couple who wanted to cruise with their large family, so she has four staterooms, all with en suite heads, and crew's quarters. Don't need all those berths? Drop a stateroom and have an office instead, or an entertainment lounge. With twin 1,550-hp MAN diesels, she'll cruise more than 300 n.m. at 20 kts., top out a couple of knots faster. Throttle down and you'll get 1,000+ n.m. of range. The yacht has bow and stern thrusters for precise dockside handling, oversize stabilizers for comfort offshore in nasty conditions, high-capacity air conditioning for cruising in the tropics, a full electronics array at both helms, and a 10-page list of equipment specified by the owner. If you want a true custom yacht, the Hargrave 76 is one way to go.
The Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht has a wider beam than most yachts her size, which not only creates more room inside, but also makes her more stable and seakindly, and reduces her draft, too -- an important consideration for cruising in parts of the world where the water is thin. Like all Ocean Alexanders, this new 78 Motoryacht is strongly built, with carbon-fiber reinforcement in high-stress areas, aluminum deck beams to save weight and add rigidity, oversize engine beds and a 3"-thick crash bulkhead forward. She's designed and built to handle Sea State V -- up to 13' seas -- and her hull was tank-tested at the B.C. Research Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia, an expensive procedure that's like a sea trial in miniature to ensure the hull will perform as expected. The tank testing predicted a cruising range of 425 n.m. at 20 knots with twin 1,622-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels. The yacht is built in three- or four-stateroom models, both with crew's quarters for two (you'll want crew aboard a boat this size). The flying bridge is open in the standard arrangement, with a lower helm station, but most owners, we think, will choose the enclosed bridge and lose the lower station. Ocean Alexander calls this the "Sky Lounge" option; it turns the flying bridge into an upper salon, with a day head, while adding room on the main deck where the lower helm was removed. In both layouts, there's a boat deck aft of the bridge with a davit for handling the tender. (The OA 72 Pilothouse has the same Sky Lounge option.) A boat like the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht will take you just about anywhere you want to go -- but we think you should go to our Captain's Reports and check out her full details, along with those of the other boats in this roundup.
As always, don’t hesitate to drop BoatTEST.com a note if you have a question.
For those BoatTEST Members that have specific questions about any of the boats we have provided a link to our Captains for you to ask a question.