When I first saw Mallorca, it looked just like Santa Catalina Island. I had to wait for a closer look to realize that it was a "giant-size Catalina" — 125 miles south of Barcelona, Spain on the Mediterranean.
The water was clear blue and the vegetation was very much like the Southern California chaparral that covers Catalina. Mallorca's airport, on the other hand, was as big as many big-city international airports — built to accommodate the many tourists flocking to this Mediterranean retreat. Catalina's Airport in the Sky is another story: As you land, it's a short uphill run that suddenly ends at the edge of a cliff.
We were going to this Spanish island paradise as guests of Sealine International Ltd., to see and test a new Sealine C39 Coupe'. This was my third Sealine trip in as many years — and they have taken us to the Bahamas, Italy and now Spain.
At the pier located in Alcudia, on the far side of the island from where we arrived, Sealine had a full-time sales office, where three new Sealine C39s were waiting. On one side of the pier was the Sealine display and a small yacht harbor with boats hailing from all over Europe; on the other side was a pier, where coal was being unloaded from one small freighter after another.
Style and Substance
The C39 Coupe' is a very attractive sport cruiser, richly endowed with European styling. It incorporates a number of the great features Sealine has been building into its bigger models. These innovations are giving Sealine a reputation for being a worldclass master of push-button convenience features.
Just a couple of years ago, the company introduced a highly refined passarelle stern boarding ramp. Pasarelles are common in the Med for boarding off piers that can leave you staring way down into open water, with your boat moored farther away than anyone I know would want to jump. Sealine's unique passerelle rises, lowers and telescopes — all at the touch of a button — giving you a safe and easy way to get aboard.
A year ago, Sealine introduced the extending cockpit system, a patented feature that moves the aft seating area back nearly 2 feet with the touch of a button. "Why pay for more slip than you need?" was the first thought that went through my mind, when I viewed the cockpit extending a couple of feet, giving the owner and guests more room to gather and socialize in the stern.
But the magical extending cockpit does more than that. Are you ready to move up to a 42 foot boat, or would you just like to have the cockpit area of a 42-footer? In the C39, this is a feature that puts extra space where you will probably need it most and removes it when it is not needed.
This year, Sealine introduced a number of other electrical features, including an opening sunroof located just above the helm station, electrically opening side windows and an electrically adjustable helm seat.
The cockpit's aft settee moves aft when the cockpit extension deck moves, providing an especially roomy area for entertaining. Overhead, the area is protected by a Bimini top that puts itself away in an electrically operated compartment when it isn't needed.
The engine room is accessible through a hatch in the cockpit. The area is well soundproofed, and it provides ample maintenance space for the boat's twin engines and auxiliary generator.
You enter the saloon from the cockpit, through a large three-section glass door. Inside, there's a large L-shaped convertible settee and table to starboard, an entertainment center to port and a full-length grabrail thoughtfully placed overhead.
The boat's interior is trimmed in African wenge wood. Wenge is especially popular right now in Europe and New York design circles, and it is considered to be a sustainable natural material with abundant, non-threatened stocks.
Personally, I didn't particularly like the look of this wood. I guess that's because I have grown to love the rich-looking high-gloss finishes that Sealine has produced in previous models. The new wood is rather dark, with a dull finish.
Forward, there's a nicely arranged "racing-style" helm, with a contoured (and electrically adjustable) double seat and a large chart table. Red night lighting is provided overhead, and powered fresh air or air conditioning can be directly aimed at the skipper — in addition to the ventilation from the big opening sunroof.
The adjacent all-electric galley is compact, but well equipped. It is furnished with a two-burner stove, a microwave oven, a refrigerator and a double stainless steel sink with a resin cast insert.
Belowdecks, you'll find two staterooms — each with its own en suite head compartment. The forward cabin offers an island double berth, two hanging lockers, an vanity and abundant storage cabinetry. The aft stateroom comes with twin berths and a double infill cushion, two hanging lockers and a dressing table.
Each of the heads has a stylish glass washbasin that looks as if it came out of a designer home on shore — plus, an electric toilet and a shower with curtain.
Testing the C39
We tested the C39 with three different power options: stern drives, tunnel-drive inboard diesels and Arneson surface-drive diesels. Sealine had not published a price list at test time for the three different power configurations, but it is believed that the Arnesons will add approximately 60,000 pounds ($93,861, at press time) to the price, and top out at about 40 knots; while the Cummins with the tunnel drive should be approximately 14,000 pounds ($21,902) above the stern drive price. The Cummins-powered boat hit a top speed of 38.6 knots, while the Volvo Penta stern drives hit 34.7 knots.
The C39 handled as close to a sportboat as any big boat I ever driven, in each of the three power configurations. It banks hard in tight turns, to the point that you have no side visibility until you finish your turn and bring the boat back to level.
Acceleration was very quick, with all three boats running within a couple of knots of each other at top-end rpm. The stern drive boat, which is the lowest-priced version, is best suited for freshwater use, because the outdrives will remain at least partially immersed all the time. For saltwater applications, there are two options: surface drives or tunnel drives.
The Arneson surface drives were developed in conjunction with world-renowned power boat racer Fabio Buzzi. Topping out at over 38 knots, it was quite a sensation to look back and see a tall rooster tail behind what is essentially a cruising boat. These surface drives use a six-blade prop that runs with only the bottom portion in the water, so there's room for some tweaking to bring the top speed up to the builder's target of 40 knots.
The Cummins-driven tunnel drives also threw up a bit of water, and were easier to handle than the surface drives, topping out at 38.6 knots. However, they took full trim tabs to get up on plane and were slightly noisier.
We personally couldn't see the value in the surface drives for the extra money and would opt for the Cummins engine package. When all of the performance bugs are worked out, you'll probably spend an extra 40 to 60 grand for an extra 3 to 5 mph with surface drives, but acceleration will be the biggest plus you'll achieve for the extra bucks.
If you're looking for speed, style and the ultimate in push-button convenience, Sealine's new C39 Coupe' offers all that — and more. The C39 also offers boaters something that no other boat can supply: This true 42-footer, at your command, transforms into a 39-footer, for easier and less-expensive docking.
Sealine C39 Coupe' Specifications
|Weight||15,433 to 22,325 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||276 gallons|
|Water capacity||100 gallons|
|Propellers||Volvo Penta C-4 Duoprop|
|Maximum power||twin 440-hp Yanmar diesels with surface drives|
|Top speed||34.7 knots (with twin 285 hp Volvo Penta KAD300 gasoline stern drives)|
|Miles per gallon at 26-knots cruising speed||1.8|
|Estimated uel cost for 100 miles||$83.33|
|Range at 26-knots cruising speed||496 miles (to empty)|
(Estimated fuel cost based on a fuel cost of $1.50 per gallon.)
Hull and deck structures are formed using quadaxial and biaxial fiberglass reinforcement, together with balsa coring.
Sealine Extending Cockpit System with fold-out dinghy chocks; electrically opening glass sunroof; four electrically operated windows; three-section curved sliding saloon door; hot and cold cockpit shower; low-level cockpit lights; stainless steel parofil rail; teak decking; Corian galley counters; two-burner stove; microwave oven; refrigerator; stainless steel double sink with cast resin lid in galley; glass wash basins in each head; saloon entertainment center; both automatic and manual bilge pumps; twin fuel filters; engine room soundproofing; engine room fire extinguisher system; AM/FM/CD stereo system; Raymarine speed log with sounder; windlass; windshield wiper and washer system; night vision LED lighting; full-length grabrail overhead in saloon; emergency exit hatch in forward cabin; dedicated liferaft storage compartment in cockpit; ETA-technology circuit breakers; auxiliary generator; VHF radio; adjustable trim tabs; helm instrumentation; chrome clock and barometer; wenge and larch wood furnishings and joinerwork.
Tropical filter (solar film) for sunroof; stern floodlights; bow thruster; navigational/electronics packages; magnetic chrome-plated doorstop in midcabin.
For More Information
Global Yachts International Inc.