Thursday, February 02, 2006
Have you ever taken a double take on an object from a great distance? While you approached such an object you are going through your personal checklist of features. It then feels like evermore before you can think of the right thing to say?
Well, that’s what happened to me as I approached "Q" for the first time last year and met her owner Mark McIntire. I believe I said, “ Sexy Boat, Does she have a sister”?
Not really the best choice of words and yes she does have a number of other sexy sisters. “Q” is one of the first designs from Tim Kernan, working for himself. PELIGROSO is the big sister at 70 feet and cleaning up the racecourse the past season. OUTBOUND YACHTS yachts has contracted Tim for a new 56 design and the family’s little sister is the COLUMBIA 30. Another boat being built is for that sailor who wants to go power with the 48-commuter style yacht due to hit the water before summer. Tim Kernan is the hot new designer on the block and you really need to see this family on the water to truly understand what I will be trying to describe to you here.
The Design & Deck Layout
Always on the lookout for that perfect performance cruiser I was attracted to the helm of “Q” immediately. Stepping behind her twin helm station and imagining myself in a following sea I started to grin. The cockpit is well laid out with an open transom with shower, radar mast, outboard davit, anchor windless remote and a designed place to store your outboard. Looking forward you start to notice the functional design and location of the electronics and winches and deep comfortable cockpit seats. Kernan added a new touch by adding a starboard settee storage area with workbench. It very easy to step out of the cockpit and walk forward to the mast, this may not sound like much although if you have ever been on a long watch, in a large sea, this feature makes changing gears much easier therefore safer. Ballenger Spars built the aluminum mast with Navtec rod rigging, full batten main with luff track and boom basket. “Q” custom carbon rudder system was built by ACC. ACC is the name of the company in Santa Cruz where you go when you have a J boat and your bearing and steering system has come apart after two years. Next you will notice the eight self-tailing Anderson self-tailing winches along with her Profurl roller furling and fixed bowsprit with integrated anchor system. The bow provides for a watertight bulkhead and large storage area.
With crew and guests forward of her duel helm she is driven effortlessly while everyone is well protected from the weather from her dodger. The engine controls panel, and Navtec controls for the backstay and vang are within reach of the helmsman.
The Concept Marine 55 was designed for builder Mark McIntire to be a fast, lightweight cruiser for his family. The objective was to create a simply built boat that employs optimized design rather than exotic (expensive) materials to achieve lightweight and high stability. Hull construction is vacuum-bagged e-glass/PVC foam/epoxy. Deck construction is vacuum bagged e-glass/balsa/epoxy. Balsa core in the deck eliminates the need for localized core reinforcement in high load areas. Weight is kept close to the lcg to minimize pitching. Raised saloon layout gives the interior an open feel and provides ample area below the sole for tankage and machinery.
On stepping below you are at once taken by the warm, welcoming and spacious nature of the interior. The large custom ½ inch compound pilothouse windows keep the interior bright. The ceilings are finished out with upholstered panels. The teak and holly sole throughout the boat is warm and pleasing to the eye while still being very practical for a sea going yacht.
To starboard is the main head with a large stall shower and bench seat that features auto thermo water system. Vacuflush head with 35 gal. holding tank. Plenty of ventilation with two opening ports, sinks, mirror, storage, and lighting are all abundant throughout.
Across and to port is the guest stateroom with privacy door hanging locker and huge double berth, two opening ports and changing seat.
Continuing forward is the main salon with the dinette to port that features a very large U shaped dinette that is raised to provide panoramic views and the perfect platform for entertaining. The salon features a Clarion stereo with Sirius radio and six Polyplanar speakers along with a flat screen TV.
Across and to starboard is the navigation station with plenty of room for books, electronics, autopilot controls, and custom navigation chair.
To the port side looking forward is a substantial U shaped galley featuring two deep stainless steel sinks, custom countertops, three burner Force 10 stove and oven, microwave oven, Glacier Bay refrigeration and freezer. Two opening ports for cross ventilation. The galley blends in perfectly from the salon, which makes it easy to entertain throughout.
Moving forward from the salon, there is a door to the owner’s cabin with a queen-size berth to port and two full-length hanging lockers. There are a number of large drawers below the berth to make easy access to this storage area. Across, on port, there is a slatted bench seat, Glacier Bay air conditioning. Next forward is the owner’s head and shower.
There is a watertight bulkhead at the forward end of the owner’s cabin, which makes into a large sail locker and storage area.
My experience, moderately priced boats marketed as “ dual-purpose performers” tend to reflect compromises in performance or amenities, but that not the case with this ULDB 55. Compared to similarly sized cruisers, the Concept 55 is a moderately priced, sturdily constructed, well-appointed yacht that benefits from a top designer. Cruisers will travel quickly and in comfort. With proper preparation these same cruisers will find themselves at the top of the fleet in long distance races. While a minimal crew is trimming the chute and the boat is touching 20 knots downwind “with the mast dry”, meals can be prepared in a spacious area while the off watch is viewing DVD on the flat screen and enjoying a well prepared meal. In this case, there doesn’t seem to be a compromise between “performance” and “ going in style”.