By Captain Steve
Intrepid has a lot to offer the discriminating buyer. While the company motto is "One of a Kind, One at a Time" it should probably be "Do Nothing Halfway". As I walked the decks of the flagship 475 Sport Yacht, that's what I saw. Everything is top of the line, and what's more surprising…the Intrepid 475 SY was powered with outboards! As for performance, it was just as impressive as the boat itself. So with Thor's lightning surrounding the proving grounds, we set out to see for ourselves exactly what sort of performance four 350-hp Yamaha V-8 outboards could bring to the party.
The 475 Sport Yacht is the flagship of the Intrepid fleet. She has the largest master stateroom, the largest cockpit, and the largest about everything else of the 15 basic models that Intrepid produces. She is designed for a couple of purposes, the most obvious of which is as a move-up yacht for people who already own an Intrepid, and appreciate the level of quality, customization, and factory care that Intrepid provides. They also must enjoy, if even only a little bit, the approbation of their boating peers for owning an Intrepid.
Our guess is that the owner of a 475 will use the boat for fishing or diving -- which is likely how he was introduced to Intrepid in the first place -- but secondarily, he is now ready to dial back a bit from his earlier passion, recalibrate how he uses his boat. With the 475 he can cruise with two couples or a few buddies, explore the Bahamas, fish, dive, and glory in the fun of driving an exhilarating boat across the flats at 50 knots.
The 475 is intended to offer a higher degree of luxury and comfort that only a large boat can provide. Another specific mission of the 475 is to be the second or third boat owned by a yachtsman who has a large motoryacht or even a battlewagon in his navy. The 475 is just what its name says: a "sport yacht." For this owner the boat will be a fleet-footed day boat that he can operate without a crew, and take off on a moments notice. Because of her hull, heft, and minimum draft she can go most anywhere and is only limited by her 480 gal. (1,816 L) fuel tank -- and her owner's imagination.
Because she is so fast, the Intrepid 475 can be there and back the same day. Caught on one of the out islands because of weather or good fishing fortune? She has all of the accommodations needed for a comfortable week in paradise. Finally, part of the Intrepid's flagship mission statement is that it must also be a classy and elegant entertainment platform for an evening harbor cruise, or have enough room to be a VIP spectator boat for the start of the local yacht club's annual regatta. She must have enough comfortable seating for 12 to 16 people in the cockpit and on the bridge deck.
Power to Spare
First things first… to me at first glance the outboards on a boat this big seemed out of place. But it did not take me long to look a little deeper and see the advantages. So much space was opened up both below and above decks that it makes one wonder why everyone doesn't do this. Imagine all of the space under the bridge deck taken up by engine room as would be on a conventional inboard-powered express -- with the Intrepid 475 that space can now be used for living large or stowing equipment and gear.
Intrepid is quick to tout the improved economy of powering with outboards, and while they may be correct, without an apples-to-apples comparison, I'm not going to jump on that bandwagon. What really hit home was the fact that there is a choice between several combinations of V-6s and V-8s ranging from 1050-hp to 1400-hp.
The Intrepid 475 has a dry displacement of 21,500 lbs. (9,772 kgs.), including about 3,288 lbs. (1,494 kgs.) for her four Yamaha 5.3 liter V-8s. As I tested her our boat weighed 24,500 lbs. (11,136 kgs.), something near her fully loaded weight of 25,184 lbs. (10,992 kgs.) Under the conditions we encountered that stormy day on Tampa Bay we recorded a top speed of 58.0 mph (50.4 knots) at 5900 rpm where she burned 132.6 gph (501.9 lph). Remember that we had to feed 1400 horses at WOT speed.
I recorded a best cruise speed of 37.3 mph (32.4 kts) at 4000 rpm, where we burned 54.1 gph getting .60 nmpg for a range of 298 nautical miles. At that speed the boater will be across the Gulf Stream from southern Florida to Bimini in about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Nassau, anyone?
I was very impressed with the handling capabilities of the 475. I hate to overuse the word “solid” but that is the definitive impression I got from this boat. Since she has a stepped hull I wanted to see if she would slide or exhibit any bad habits in a sharp turn. I brought her up to over 50 mph, and since I didn’t have passengers to worry about, I cranked the wheel hard over just to see what would happen. What happened was, the 475 carved a perfect turn with an average bank angle of 5-7 degrees with no slide or no tendency to slip off the turn. The 475 was in her element.
And while it was a relatively calm day I was able to create a good sized wake. Then I added power to come around and blast through it. It was anti-climatic. She carved right through the 2’ (.6 m) wave as if it wasn’t there. Then I tried again and launched her off the top of the wave. I expected a smash back down but instead the re-entry was soft and gentle as the 475 landed in the center of the hull, and then gently pressed down towards the bow.
There was nothing I could do to get the hull to pound, or even take spray on the windshield. This is a boat designed for offshore and hard use. With her, I would not worry about any nasty weather that might pop-up. She can handle it. Toward the end of this report I will explain why the 475 Sport Yacht has such a solid feel.
A Huge Cockpit
Open space seems to be the keyword when looking about the 475 Sport Yacht. I measured 110 sq ft (10.23 sq m) of open space in the aft cockpit. Folks that is huge, as large as one will find on a number of far bigger battlewagons. There are accommodations for an in-deck recirculating livewell, and an enclosed space for a gas or diesel generator. In addition, there is a dedicated pumproom that allowed easy access to all of the main mechanical components under the deck. I also noticed that all the hatches fit perfectly flush, and when opened I saw gutters surrounding the openings to channel water to the overboard deck drains.
I also find it interesting that with all of the space that this boat presents, that Intrepid still managed to find room for side decks.
The Bridge Deck
The bridge deck is up two 8" (20.3 cm) steps and has accommodations to hold a party here. A quick glance shows seating for eight, and very comfortable seating at that. There's a space for an optional flatscreen television to port. Our test boat had the optional 24,000 BTU helm deck air conditioning, which I thought was a nice touch on our hot Florida day even with the open cockpit. The vents for the helm A/C ran across the top of the entire panel, not just an opening or two at the end of a hose.
Down below Intrepid went with an interesting design layout. Rather than the usual galley-to-one-side-dinette-to-the-other layout that we see in practically every boat of this size, Intrepid went with a very lengthy galley leading to the forward dinette. The U-shaped dinette can easily seat six large adults. An electrically actuated high-low table will allow for easy conversions to a queen berth if the owner happens to have six people overnighting instead of the more comfortably accommodated four.
A surprising amount of natural light is allowed into the salon from hull-side port lights, and four opening overhead hatches. This is easily the brightest salon area I've seen in class. And the salon boasts 7' (2.13 m) of headroom which is unusual. The galley features a very large side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, a single-burner stove top, a single basin stainless steel sink with a retractable cover (no worries about where to store that), and a microwave in one of the cabinets. All the drawers are lined with stainless steel and are self closing. This is an important sanitation detail.
I noticed that the largest galley cabinets are 13" (33 cm) deep which will handle storage for full size dinner plates, this is something that boat builders often forget to accommodate.
Staterooms and Head
When I first looked at a diagram of the 475's layout, I assumed that the head would be shoehorned into a small space but nothing could be further from the truth. This head even featured a separate shower stall with teak grating, a built-in seat, and plenty of natural light and ventilation from an opening overhead hatch. I found more than enough storage for each of the overnight guests to have their own space for toiletries.
The master stateroom lies to port and features an athwartships queen berth and three large hullside portlights. The view out of the portlights from the seated position is spectacular as one is just above the surface of the water. Imagine waking up in the morning and looking out across the harbor.
Additionally, there's a counter atop two drawers that I found made a surprisingly comfortable spot to sit and put shoes on and just get ready for a night out on the town. As for headroom, I measured well over 6'8" (2 m) and with 3'4" (1 m) of clearance over the berth, I even had extra room over my head when seated on it. Intrepid was still able to accommodate an overhead deck hatch that allows for ventilation as well as an emergency egress.
The Guest Stateroom.
To starboard is a guest cabin with a second queen berth which stretches from the hull side to the bulkhead, making it a crawl-in berth. There is standing headroom at the entrance, the usual hanging locker storage and drawers, and I found the same overhead opening hatch. This cabin is small, but in this size and type of boat it is amazing that it is there at all.
Looking at the 475 on the trailer was very revealing. Intrepid uses Imron paint on all of their hulls, and even for the boot stripe and the Intrepid logo. This one had been getting the wet-sanding and buffing process for several days, and it had an astonishing mirror-like finish that has to be seen to be believed. I did my usual stare down the side and saw not a single ripple, not a single bend, not a single flaw…anywhere. It was meticulously perfect.
As for the inside, the same attention to detail can be seen everywhere. Joinery lines were arrow straight and sealed. Any visible screw heads were all facing the same direction, all angles met perfectly. It was an obsessive-compulsive's dream come true.
Unusually Strong Construction
Intrepid's cabinetry construction is quite unusual and may be unique in the U.S. powerboat-building industry. Boaters who appreciate the very best construction will immediate realize the importance of it. Most builders make cabinets for people to put things in. Intrepid makes cabinets to make their hulls stronger, and as a bi-product, one can put things in them. None of Intrepid's built-in joinerwork is actually what it appears to be. Rather, it is a series of boxes made of resin impregnated Divinycell PVC foam core and fiberglass that is vacuum bagged and laminated as separate modules. These parts are then fitted carefully to the hull sides, or hull and overhead, and glassed in with two layers of 1708 fiberglass cloth once there is a perfect fit.
The result is that from the floors and stringers up to the overhead, the accommodations area in the forward part of the boat is a series of fiberglass boxes that create a monocoque hull that has remarkable strength, but which is light weight, much like an egg crate. This system keeps the hull from oil-canning or "wheezing" and keeps the deck from flexing. It creates one unified structure that is the highest tech engineering I have seen in this class of boat.
Wood veneer backed by a sheet of paper thin aluminum is affixed to the fiberglass modules with heat treated glue, then repeatedly varnished to a high gloss. Fitted inside each cabinet is a fiberglass liner. Suffice it to say that the process is far more involved than it is being described here, but that is the general idea. This build process is another reason why Intrepid is much envied by engineers at other boat companies. It can build in quality that is simply too expensive for most production builders to tackle. Further, only a small, privately owned company can make both the kind of decisions and quantity of them, fast enough, with which this kind of intricate work demands.
Not only is the Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht a boat for veteran boat owners who are connoisseurs of the art of boat building, it is also a vessel other boat builders can admire. In an industry not given to false admiration, Intrepid's peers are nearly universally unanimous in their praise for the company's build quality and technical standards. To a great degree, Intrepid has attained what I think of as "Hinckley status." Hinckley being that venerable Maine builder of sail and powerboats that popularized the "picnic boat" concept and was known for its "high-quality no matter what the cost" attitude. Hinckley's boats were so well executed and so expensive that production builders never even tried to compete. After all, there were only so many Rockefellers and Fords to go around.
And so it is with Intrepid these days. If people can afford one and appreciate what goes into them, then that's the brand they will buy. Smart consumers who appreciate what Intrepid does but can't afford it, should carefully inspect the Intrepids and find the next best thing that fits their purse. Right now, Intrepid is the builder setting the bar highest in this type and class of boat, in our opinion. Having said all of that, because Intrepid sells factory-direct the dealer mark-up is eliminated which makes these boats closer in price to some production boats than one might imagine.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Intrepid Boats 475 Sport Yacht (2012-) is 58.0 mph (93.3 kph), burning 132.6 gallons per hour (gph) or 501.89 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Intrepid Boats 475 Sport Yacht (2012-) is 37.3 mph (60 kph), and the boat gets 0.69 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.29 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 298 miles (479.58 kilometers).
- Tested power is 4 x 350-hp Yamaha Four-Stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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