by Captain Chris Reid
The Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht was designed for owner/operators who want to entertain friends and family in tasteful, yet relatively informal surroundings, and who want to be able to strike out for distant islands and not have to worry about the weather. Her three en suite staterooms take advantage of the yacht’s 20’ (6.12 m) beam, as does the main salon. This is a yacht that is small enough to be easily handled by an owner and spouse and that -- along with her rugged construction and quality build -- will be her main attraction. Nevertheless, she also has large crew quarters for two, so if an owner cares to bring along a captain and mate, there are appropriate accommodations -- and ones much larger than those we often see on European-built vessels this size.
Ocean Alexander has long been known for building boats that were meant to go to sea, as opposed to many, perhaps, more flashy yachts that are designed first of all to be eye candy along the docks of St. Tropez and Cannes. The Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht will hold her own when it comes to dock appeal, but will probably be appreciated more by the veteran yachting crowd as opposed to those who are more interested in bling.
The folks at Ocean Alexander know their market and they tell us that most of the people who buy their yachts have been boating a long time and know what they want in a vessel of this size. They also know the taste levels of their clients, and again that runs to the refined and understated.
We happen to think that the 78 Motoryacht is an ideal size for most families. First of all, most marinas in deep-water locations have an outer dock that can handle a boat of this size. One of the unstated drawbacks to larger vessels, say, those of around 100’, is the lack of adequate dock space except in the locales catering to mega yachts. Another advantage is the fact that she is not much more difficult to handle than a 50-footer. In many respects, larger boats are easier to dock and maneuver than small boats because they move more slowly. With the addition of a strong bow thruster, most anyone can put them in a slip with a little practice.
also must be mindful of taking care of the vessel, and here again, most people we know would rather have a smaller boat to take care of than a larger one. Not only can a couple easily dock a 78’ motoryacht, but when it comes time to wash her down at the end of the day, it can be easily done in an hour or so. And our experience is that kids who would never think of lending a hand at home, love to wash down a boat. It probably has something to do with pride of ownership.
If Help is Wanted.
For those who like to have cocktails once the lines are secure, Ocean Alexander has thoughtfully designed comfortable crew quarters for a young mate or two. This can also be a fine place for a nanny, stew, or cook. For those who do not want help, the crew quarters become a fine fourth cabin -- and a very private one at that.
The Ocean Alexander design team tested the hull at the BC Research Institute in Vancouver. We’re told that the boat was designed to handle up to Sea State V -- 8’ to 13’ (4 to 8 m). These are conditions that most prudent boaters will never encounter, but it is good to know that the yacht was designed for these conditions.
In addition to her bottom shape and rugged construction, the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht has a 20’1” (6.12 m), which is somewhat unusual for motoryachts of this size. When we compared the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht with other famous brand names in this size range, we found only one, which was wider, and, virtually, all of the others were 18’ to 19’ (5.48 m to 5.79 m). Not only does this pay off in more room inside, but it also reduces roll and makes the boat more sea-kindly. And, for a boat of the dame displacement, a boat with a greater beam will draw less water.
The hull of the 78 Motoryacht is built to internationally-accepted scantlings, and Ocean Alexander has a long track record of building strong boats, ones with huge stringers solid engine beds, and robust bulkheads. In fact, her forward crash bulkhead is 3” thick. The builder uses carbon-fiber in high-stress areas. Aluminum beams are used in decking for rigidity and to save weight. Stainless steel brackets, hardware, and door frames are employed for both strength and attractiveness. All fixtures and equipment installed are world class and come from the same venders that supply the finest custom yards in the world.
The smaller touches are excellent, too. For example, the motion-sensor activated, high-quality automatic doors between inner and outer spaces are welcome. The lit aquarium as you board the boat itself is a pleasure to see. Soft leathers, granites, teak surfaces, state room en suites, Indian black marble countertops are lavishly used all over the boat. The boat features numerous large HD screens that can disappear with the push of a button, as well as dedicated DVD players and a truly state-of-the-art sound system all nestled in cabinets and bulkheads.
Flying Bridge -- A Tale of Two Versions
Inside or Outside?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both flying bridge options. For those who plan to do mostly day boating and entertaining, the open version will probably be the one selected. By being open, seating can be maximized for spectator functions and cocktail parties. And who doesn’t like the smell of salt air and gentle breeze? For those planing three-or-four-season boating, the sky lounge, enclose pilothouse version will probably be preferable. This version will definitely be more comfortable in windy, rainy, and cool conditions and for night running.
Upper Helm Station.
In the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht seen here, the ship’s only helm is located on the flying bridge. However, a lower helm station can be located in the galley area below, if desired. In the version with only the upper helm, space below is maximized for friends and family and living aboard. That is precisely the reason we think that the flying bridge-only helm makes a lot of sense. For those who want a captain, it also permits him/her to pilot the boat without disturbing the guests below.
In both versions, note that the ship’s tender rests awartships at the rear of the boat deck. This is the ideal place for the tender, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. When the boat is at anchor or at a dock, the tender is usually in the water, which frees up the boat deck for other activities. A 14’ extended hydraulic davit does the lifting and can be handled by one person.The chocks for the tender can be easily removed, making a smooth deck surface for cocktail parties or for chaise lounge chairs for sunning.
The aft deck is completely covered by the boat deck above and features a versatile dining table with comfortable seating. Some owners may want to rig their aft deck with isinglass to make a three-season “sun room” out of this space to maximize the utility of the boat. We have found that this is a good idea when an otherwise sunny day at sea can be chilly when running.
Owners in the Mediterranean
like to moor their motoryachts stern-to and have al fresco dining on the aft deck in the evening. It’s fun to see the passing boat mates as they walk past on the hard. Owners wanting this sort of use of the aft deck we would recommend a slightly different layout than the one seen in the photo above, as well as a differently shaped table. Ocean Alexander will be glad to make these changes as to a great degree the vessel is highly customizable.
The salon is furnished with a large L-shaped sofa with two facing barrel chairs and a large wood coffee table in the middle. The sofa is custom-made and is not built in, which make the salon more like one’s living room. There is storage under all of the seats and a hide-a-bed can be built into the sofa if desired. The deck is covered in carpet, and, overhead, there is a soffit with lighting. As can be seen in the images above, the 20’ (6.09 m) beam permits lots of space to walk around in the salon.
With an overall finish of granite and stainless steel, the kitchen is beautiful to look at and use. It actually strikes one as made for land on first impression -- large, fully functional appliances, plenty of cabinet storage space, a double sink. The refrigerator has French doors, and the oven is 27” and top-of-the-line. Keeping in line with the boat’s owner/operator mission, there are labor-saving devices -- garbage disposal in the sink, microwave, and full-scale dishwashing machine -- all elements that make galley chores easier on the water. The 78 Motoryacht offers options in galley design. The one seen here has ample counter space for food prep and plating meals to serve guests on the aft deck or in the country kitchen.
Lower Helm Available.
A lower helm is available for those owners with an open flying bridge who are concerned about inclement weather. We might also suggest that isinglass can be installed around the helm in the open flying bridge.
All three of the 78 Motoryacht’s staterooms are large enough to be comfortable enough for long trips. A foyer acts as the hub between the three staterooms -- the VIP guest space under the bow, the master suite amidships across the foyer, and the guest cabin to port. Each stateroom comes with HD screens, rich wood closet space, and en suite heads (the master with a his-and-hers).
As in virtually all motoryachts of this type, the VIP stateroom is in the bow. In truth, not a lot can be done here to make this space much different one boat to another, but the folks at Ocean Alexander have tried. First, they have not crammed the cabin too far forward, which allows there to be a fair amount of space both port and starboard of the island berth. The lower halves of the hullsides are covered in the same Sapele wood that we have seen in the rest of the boat, and there is counter space port and starboard. Above that is a ledge with a stainless steel keeper that will be used to stow cell phones and the like. There are his-and-hers hanging lockers and a fairly large head with separate shower. There are no portlights in this cabin because Ocean Alexander has found over the years that they are vulnerable to water intrusion due to the very nature of their location.
Engine Room and Crew Quarters
Just abaft the master’s en suite head is the heavily engine room. The fuel tanks have been placed on the forward side of the engine room, thus creating an effective sound shield between the engines and the master stateroom. Behind the engine room is the crew’s quarters. There, we find two bunk beds, a full head, and a mini-galley with microwave, sink, and refrigerator.
The 78 Motoryacht is equipped with two Caterpillar C32 ACERT 1622-hp engines and comes with two Kohler 32 kW generators onboard as well. We have not tested the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht, but the folks at the company have. They report that the boat will make 24.5 knots at 2300 rpm. Further, they say that the boat has 425 nautical mile cruising range at 20 knots. We were not told what the load factor was in the tankage.
The Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht comes standard with a long list of equipment that is often optional on many yachts in class. For example, she comes standard with two Kohler 32 kW generators, stabilizers, thrusters, and a hydraulic anchor windlass. Contact Ocean Alexander for a complete list of standard equipment.
About $4.5 million.
With its 2,000-gallon (7,571 L) fuel capacity, rugged construction, and systems redundancy, the Ocean Alexander 78 Motoryacht is ready to go nearly anywhere the owner wants. This is what the brand is known for. Her styling is modern without garish flourishes, and so she should age well and not become dated as some large motoryachts have become.
Every boat is a compromise
, and this one is no exception. Clearly, Ocean Alexander has decided to target this design more to people who are serious boaters and who understand that the interior space is limited and must be used for the greatest utility possible. It has, therefore, omitted a formal dining area, choosing instead the country kitchen layout. Those wanting a more formal dining venue should turn the aft deck into that space by means of some modifications that we have pointed out.
To Enclose or Not?
Making the decision to go with the enclosed flying bridge or an open one is more difficult, it seems to us. We like the breeze and “openness” of the hardtop version, yet the enclosed model with its large windows and excellent visibility is also compelling. Perhaps a suitable compromise is a well-made set of polycarbonate curtains to surround the helm of the open model. We have navigated in chilly weather behind isinglass and found it not uncomfortable with a proper coat. In rain and fog, however, it is problematic. The choice of a single upper helm or an upper and lower is, we think, an easy decision. The lower helm eliminates a proper and comfortable inside dining table, so we would go with the single helm on the flying bridge.As far as the equipment goes, we are big fans of the Cat 32 ACERT engines, as well as the Kohler generators. Both the fuel and black water capacities are appropriate for this size boat, but we’d like to see the freshwater capacity increased to 650 gallons (2,460 L) or so. Few builders do that these days, but with a laundry washer, dishwasher, and six people showering, water goes fast. Certainly a large capacity watermaker is in order for anyone planning on cruising any distance in locations where freshwater is limited.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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