By definition, a Long Range Cruiser should be set up for living aboard and/or extended traveling with guests. Having multiple living spaces is a critical element in a successful LRC and the Endurance 720 has a wide variety of beautiful spaces for living and entertaining. Start with the plush aft deck, airy salon with its dedicated dining and bar area and on forward to the bow seating. The namesake Skylounge adds an elevated vantage point for taking in the view complete with a day head and adjacent outdoor kitchen. And this is just the start of a long list of well thought through features on this boat.
With 50 years of yacht building under their belts, Hampton Yachts is no stranger to quality construction. The hull is hand-laid fiberglass and Kevlar with Vinylester resin for the first five layers of the hull lay-up. Then two layers of Kevlar are added from chine to chine with a third layer added in the forward collision zone.
The deckhouse is also hand-laid fiberglass but here it’s cored with Divinycell foam to reduce weight and keep the center of gravity down low where it belongs. The hull and deck joint is thru-bolted every 6” (15.24 cm), sealed with 5200 and then glassed over with three layers of hand-laid fiberglass.
This results in one of the strongest and impact-resistant hulls on the market… although we wisely chose not to test this claim.
The swim platform comes out 4’ (1.22 m) from the transom. There’s a watertight door in the center of the transom leading to the crew quarters and then to the engine room. Removable rails line the trailing edge of the platform and a swing down gate is in the center of the rails. If any one section of the rails is removed, it can be placed in open receptacles in the deck.
At the stairs there are side compartments. To port is storage, to starboard there are fresh and salt water washdowns, a shower, and a quick connect to the compressed air tank for blowing up those large fenders. The stairs are teak treaded.
The teak covered aft deck can be accessed in multiple ways. Two sets of stairs come from the swim platform, one to each side. There are also doors to both sides that allow boarding from a fixed pier.
The deck is open and roomy. An extended overhead is 6’6" (1.98 m) off the deck and allows for the installation of removable curtains, which were lined across the back of the deck on our test boat. Additional curtains to the sides would completely enclose the deck for three-season comfort. A 32” (81 cm) flatscreen TV drops down from the overhead, just abaft of the salon door.
Seating for eight consists of a forward facing couch and removable deck chairs surrounding a solid wood table with a beautiful compass rose inlay. The clever use of space that we’ll see throughout the yacht starts right here with a refrigerator under the table as opposed to a simple pedestal. Counter space and storage is ahead and to port. Further to port is a day head, allowing for ease of use from the swim platform, thereby negating the need to traipse through the salon in wet bathing suits.
We enter the salon through a stainless steel framed sliding glass door. Inside is an open and airy feel enhanced by the 7’ (2.13 m) of headroom and surrounding frameless windows.
Amenities start with twin chairs to starboard flanking the cabinetry that houses the 49” (124.46 cm) flat screen TV on an electric lift and the surround-sound system beneath that. Opposite is an L-shaped sofa and single seat wrapping around a solid wood table on a hi-lo pedestal with storage underneath.
The fit-and-finish and creative use of space is a theme seen throughout the Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC and here it starts with the African Makore Cherry wood with raised paneling and a satin finish. Overhead is a stylized ceiling trimmed in more of the Makore Cherry and the joinery is flawless. To the sides, the soffits conceal the air conditioning vents so the room is cooled more evenly.
The salon is separated from the dining room by a cabinet with glass doors and enclosed storage underneath. A step up also defines the division of the two rooms. The dining table is to port and seats eight. When the vacant chairs are slid under the table, the front legs slip into small receivers surrounding the table to hold them in position when operating in a seaway, thereby negating the need to strap them into place. The overhead receives the same treatments as the salon with lights embedded in a finished cherry trim piece.
Storage is underneath the port side windows and curves around to the divider just aft of the table. A 32” (81 cm) flat screen TV is also housed in this divider.
As an alternative, another layout is offered that removes this formal dining area and brings the galley aft into this location. Then, fully forward there is a more informal dining area. The simple question to ask when choosing is… are all the guests going to be gathered together at mealtime? If the answer is yes, then choose the formal dining area. If the answer is no, then go with the informal.
To the starboard side is a wet bar consisting of granite countertops with a raised edge, plenty of storage for glassware, a sink and chilled wine locker. The aft wall of the wet bar includes plenty of storage, an espresso machine, refrigerator, and icemaker.
With no lower helm, the entire forward section of the main deck is dedicated to the galley. And the area is simply stunning thanks to the wraparound windows.
The area has ample stone counters, all with raised edges. To the port side are six refrigerated drawers that can be configured in any combination of refrigeration and freezer units. Forward is an induction cooktop over a convection oven. There is a single basin stainless steel sink with a pull-out sprayer. The galley continues to wrap around with a dishwasher and trash compactor under the counters.
Storage is both below the windows and above surrounding the entire galley. The granite deck is heated by a separate diesel hydronic furnace that also heats the marble decks in all of the heads.
Watertight doors are to both sides of the galley leading to the side decks. To port, the door opens forward allowing access aft. To starboard, the door opens aft allowing access forward to the Portuguese bridge.
An interior set of stairs leads us to the skylounge, which is fully enclosed. Greenhouse effect is mitigated with the air conditioning, or we can open the sunroof, side door, two side windows, aft window and aft sliding door to combine the inside with the outside.
For amenities, to the aft port side is an L-shaped sofa wrapping around the solid wood table with expandable leaves. Two storage drawers are underneath the table. A separate section wraps around the front of the table, and the section also has a reversible seat back to switch from aft facing to forward facing seating. In the forward facing seating position there is another table that has a small storage compartment recessed into the center.
Just across is a storage credenza with open counter space and a flat screen TV on an electric lift. Just behind is another day head.
As we step out the back of the skylounge, there is yet another entertainment venue left to be seen. The boat deck not only can accommodate our water toys but also a large party. To the forward end, and at the back of the skylounge, there is a large double-burner propane grill. The propane stores in a cabinet right alongside. Next to that is a flip up lid over a sink. To the opposite side of the sliding door to the skylounge is a smoker that was purchased by, and installed at the request of, the owner of this boat.
At 16’ x 18’ (4.88 m x 5.49m), the aft deck is spacious enough for holding a number of water toys and owners can opt for keeping them all here or going with a hydraulic swim platform. With the boat-deck option the toys are launched with a 1,600-lb. (726 kg) capacity deck crane that is mounted to the side allowing it to reach either off the stern or over the side. With the water toys all in the water, the open boat deck is a mecca for entertaining and can accommodate a number of deck chairs or remain open to promote mingling.
The accommodations are accessed by a companionway to the starboard side of the galley fully forward on the main deck. The stairs curve down to an atrium that has a mirror beautifully framed in Makore Cherry hardwood. Cherry and Holly decking features and inlaid compass rose. Overhead is more beautiful artwork.
The master stateroom is located aft and it is full-beam. A king-size berth is mounted on center. To starboard is a chest of drawers below two hullside windows. Glass fronted storage cabinets flank these hullside windows. There's plenty of storage all around. Wood trim highlights the overhead just above the bed. To the port side, the theme of hullside windows being flanked by glass fronted storage cabinets is repeated. This time, however, the storage below includes a vanity with a flip-up lid. Just behind is a large walk-in closet.
The entrance to the master head is to the starboard side of the berth, opposite the entrance to the walk-in closet. It is a well laid out head with the usual accommodations of stone counterwork, a single basin sink, and walk-in shower. The marble floors in this head, as well as all of the other heads throughout the boat, are heated from a diesel hydronic furnace in the engine room.
As expected, the VIP stateroom is located fully forward. It features an island berth, with an ensuite head just to the right of the entrance. There’s ample storage all around, and we’re happy to see that Hampton Yachts included plenty of storage along the overhead, above the hullside windows. Additional storage is under the berth.
Now normally crew spaces are considered more of an operational aspect, but since this is clearly an owner/operated boat, it’s more likely that this will be used for additional guest accommodations.
An island counter has a single basin stainless steel sink with cabinets overhead. Two bar stools are to one side and they secure in position much like the chairs did at the main galley. The only ingredient to the galley that we feel is missing is a microwave that would provide complete autonomy from the deck above. Of course, one can easily be added but the owner of this boat chose not to. To the opposite side is a pocket door leading to a stateroom with over/under berthing that sleeps three.
There’s access to the water closet (sink and toilet) from the stateroom and then across the entry companionway from the transom door is the shower. This split head arrangement is exceedingly convenient allowing two people to utilize the separate facilities at the same time.
Overall, the fit-and-finish is the same as the rest of the yacht with the same quality woodwork and flooring.
As we look at operations, there are two focal points that are repeated throughout the entire yacht… ease of use and redundancy. These are not only the hallmarks of any cruising yacht, they are words that Hampton lives by. Our test captain found this to be among the simplest of cruising yachts to understand the usually complex systems on, easiest to handle, and among the most replete with redundant systems to allow things to keep working when some items might fail.
With a fully enclosed flying bridge/skylounge, there’s no need for a lower helm station. Therefore, the only helm is on the elevated perch of the flybridge with amazing visibility. On the Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC, Hampton went with a center mounted control station and a well-appointed panel.
It begins with three 17” (43.2 cm) screens that are user-configurable. To the left is the water maker control, and two tri-data displays above a VHF. A second VHF is to the opposite side. Below and to the center is a sub-panel with a Fusion stereo, the twin CAT engine displays, a Garmin autopilot, the ABT track stabilizer display, engine and thruster controls, the dual ignitions, the windlass control, remote spot control and trim tabs.
The steering wheel is a well-fabricated wood and stainless model with perfect joinery. Helm seats are from LeBroc and are fully adjustable for height, slide and swivel. They recline and include flip-down footrests and flip-up armrests.
Side deck access is via the aft door or a starboard side watertight door. To starboard there is an opening hatch that conceals the collapsed ladder that can be fitted to the trailing edge of the flybridge overhead so that we can gain access to the antenna array above.
In addition to the helm, there are multiple options for control stations aboard the Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC. As expected, there is a station on the lower aft deck, but unexpected was seeing one to both sides. Another was behind the flybridge, with the option of having them to both sides, and our test boat actually had two additional stations we need to highlight.
To both sides of the enclosed skylounge there are hatches that open with lift and lock latches. Reach inside and flip-up the panels to reveal and deploy a complete control station, one to port and one to starboard.
Caveats to the Side Stations
Now these side stations had our test captain questioning their feasibility. We already had two at the aft deck, plus another at the rear of the flybridge. Why add these two side units? Hampton made a case for them but Captain Steve wasn’t having any of it. What he did consider instead were the drawbacks to them.
- • In the flipped-up position they effectively block the side deck around the skylounge. This is why they flip back down to store out of the way.
- • In order to stow them away, the engine controls need to be laid flat in the full ahead or full astern position so that there’s room for the hatch to close. Woe be-tied the rare captain that tries to do this with the engines running and this station selected. It would take an extreme level of irresponsibility to make it happen but that’s why we have warning decals coffee cups.
And Then the Truth Comes Out
But truth be told, when it came time to pull away from the dock, Captain Steve first gravitated to the controls aft of the skylounge. Hmm, no forward visibility, no stern visibility… just out the side. The aft deck controls were even more limited in their visibility offerings. But at the side station, full view of the stern quarter, the whole side of the boat, and even forward visibility. The lines came off, he maneuvered out, and then drove the boat out of the tight confines from this one station. Something that is not possible from any of the other remote stations. Even the center-mounted helm can’t offer the side or stern visibility. So suddenly the genius of these pop up side controls is self-evident. As to the two drawbacks….
- • In the flipped-up position they effectively block the side deck around the skylounge. This is why they flip back down to store out of the way. So what? It’s not like we need to run races around the skylounge when we’re maneuvering anyway. If fact, we’re not moving at all. We’re staying here to control the boat. This is a non-issue.
- • In order to stow them away, the engine controls need to be laid flat in the full ahead or full astern position so that there’s room for the hatch to close. Woe be-tied the rare captain that tries to do so with the engines running and this station selected. It would take an extreme level of irresponsibility to make it happen but that’s why we have warning decals coffee cups. Ok, this one is valid. People are stupid and you can’t fix that. But with a little ingenuity, the clever folks at Hampton could come up with a kill switch that disables the controls when the panel is lowered anywhere from the horizontal. That would solve the problem entirely.
So overall, the side stations, that were first thought to be a folly, are actually the preferred method of controlling the Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC around the dock. Go ahead and add the aft deck stations, they’d still be good for backing into a slip. Leave the stations aft of the skylounge off the options list.
Lower Side Decks
The main level side decks are not without their operational features. There’s 22” (56 cm) from the rail to the cabin sides and protection overhead from the elements. The air intakes for the engine room are on the insides of the bulwarks so they’re protected from salt spray and rain.
Fuel fills are to both port and starboard so we can fuel from either side and a crossover keeps the two tanks level. Large hawseholes have cleats integrated into them so we can actually reach the cleats from the dock to tie the Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC up.
As we continue forward, just ahead of midships, there’s connectivity for the shore power so we aren’t limited to only a stern connection. Rail height at this point is 3’4” (1.02 m). As we come around the superstructure, the decks curve around to form a Portuguese bridge with more clever use of space in the form of bulwarks storage, fore and aft.
The bow is accessed via a step up through a gate at the center of the protected Portuguese bridge. Bench seating is to both sides but the main focus of the foredeck is the ground tackle. It consists of a horizontally mounted windlass to both sides supporting a 60 kg (132 lb.) and 80 kg (176 lb.) anchor on all-chain rodes. Foot controls allow us to operate either side. And to both sides of the windlasses there are access hatches to removable bins leading to the chain lockers.
With the entire foredeck being recessed, we can easily hose down the area with either of the fresh or saltwater washdowns and the deck is covered in hand-laid fiberglass non-skid.
The operational features continue with the well-appointed engine room, accessed from the forward end of the crew quarters. The door is finished in the same quality woodwork as the rest of the yacht, and of course the rest of the crew space.
Upon entering there’s 6’9” (2.06 m) of overhead clearance, and while looking up we see two removable panels leading to the salon deck so we have access for major maintenance. Space between the two engines is 29” (73.7 cm).
In the center of the engine room are the two 1136-hp CAT C-18 ACERTs on stainless steel vibration eliminating mounts. Behind it is the SeaTourque propulsion system eliminating the shaft seals, cutlass bearings and vibration. Just above are the PTOs (Power Take Offs), one on each engine, providing the hydraulic power for systems including the thrusters, the stabilizers, and anchor windlasses. Left off of this list is the crane on the boat deck. That has its own proprietary electric/hydraulic system that it uses for launching the tender. But more to the point is the redundancy. If one engine dies, the other can power all the systems. There will, of course, be a reduced output so we will need to manage the loads but everything will indeed still work.
At the aft bulkhead, and to both sides of the entry, are the twin generators on elevated platforms. One is a 17 kW and the other is a 29 kW so we not only have redundancy, we’ve got plenty of power to spare for when the end of the day comes and we’re not only cooking, we’re running laundry, hair dryers, air-conditioners, stereos and TVs.
To the port side there are dual intake pumps for the water cooling and two circulating pumps for the chilled-water air conditioning. Just above we see more of the excellent use of space seen throughout this yacht, this time in the form of a storage space between the vent fans used to feed air to the engines.
At the forward bulkhead are the twin 1,000-gallon (3,785 L) fuel tanks. All filters are easily accessed, all fittings are readily visible, and two sight gauges allow a quick look at the fuel levels. The dual filters are controlled by a ball valve so they can be changed out on the fly by switching from one to another. Between the two tanks is an 1 1/2” (3.81 cm) crossover that can be opened in the event we want to fuel both tanks from one side (there are fill ports to both port and starboard). Each engine still draws fuel from the tanks independently.
It’s also worth noting that with the bulkhead-mounted tanks there’s a distinct noise separation between the engine room and the master head just forward. This provides two levels of separation between the engine room and the master berth.
Additionally, the lack of outboard “saddle tanks” removes the concern of uneven weight distribution as fuel is burned off. Plus we have more room to access the outboard sides of the engine for servicing.
A Feature We Want On Every Cruising Boat
Below, there are Y-valves connected to the main engine water intakes so that we can easily switch between drawing water from the electrically bonded thru-hulls or from the bilge, making the main engines serve dual-duty as emergency bilge pumps. Why we don’t see this in every yacht is a mystery to us, but Hampton wouldn’t even consider not having it on any of its yachts.
The Hampton Yachts Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC has a LOA of 74’4” (22.65 m), a beam of 18’10” (5.73 m) and a draft of 5’2” (1.57 m). With an empty weight of 116,600 lbs. (52,889 kg), half fuel and four people onboard, we estimated our test weight at 123,690 lbs. (56,105 kg).
With the twin 1136-hp CAT C-18s doing all the heavy lifting, we reached our top speed of 20.7 knots at 2365 rpm. Now because this is a distance cruiser, there is no best cruise, per se, but it’s more of a… set the speed based on how far you want to go. For example, that full speed setting produced a range of 326 nm. Drop down to 16 knots and the range opens up to 363 nm. Bring her down to a 12-knot trawler speed and she’ll keep going for 677 nm. And at 10 knots she’ll run for 1052 nm, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boats 2,000-gallon (7,571 L) total fuel capacity.
As we got underway, I have to say… I was skeptical of the pop-up wing controls when there were controls at the aft end of the flybridge, and in the lower aft deck. But… when it came time to start maneuvering, guess where I ended up… mostly because of the visibility out the front that the other controls don’t allow. As for her maneuverability, it’s outstanding. The 33-hp hydraulic thrusters had more than enough push to get us away from the dock with just slight pulses of the controls. I also liked being able to drive us away from the dock and into the fairway using the engine controls before moving into the bridge and the main helm station. Once underway her close quarters handling ability came into play in our tight confines leaving us with no concerns about lack of space.
While underway she’s a peaceful and sedate ride, regardless of whether a test captain tries to get heavy handed. She is surprisingly responsive to the helm and turns tend to remain fairly level. We naturally had calm conditions during our tests so we can’t comment on how she handles in hard sea conditions, but otherwise, her handling characteristics are predictable and comfortable.
When it came time to return to the dock, it was back to the wing controls, that I really came to appreciate. It allowed me to drive all the way into the marina, and then transition right to maneuvering without having to move stations. And again, the thrusters made short work of the sideslip as we laid port side to.
The long range cruise market is a tough one since there are such specific requirements for these yachts. Having one that can be operated well above trawler speeds is beneficial, particularly when running from a storm. Additionally, it’s nice to be able to make time heading to a destination and then haul the speed back and loiter for weeks at a time, all without having to refuel. The Hampton Yachts Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC offers this sort of versatility, as well as the luxury, redundancy and ease of use that make this such an ideal owner operated yacht. As for the fit-and-finish… well that’s frosting on the cake.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Hampton Yachts Endurance 720 Skylounge LRC (2018-) is 23.8 mph (38.3 kph), burning 114.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 431.49 liters per hour (lph).
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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