During sea trials on Puget Sound, the Caterpillar engines pushed the boat to 24 knots at 2,300 rpm, and idled back to a leisurely 11 knots at 1,200 rpm.

During sea trials on Puget Sound, the Caterpillar engines pushed the boat to 24 knots at 2,300 rpm, and idled back to a leisurely 11 knots at 1,200 rpm.

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The day I was to test the latest edition to the Ocean Alexander fleet (the Ocean Alexander 68 Motoryacht), I found the boat at the foot of the dock at Roche Harbor Resort on the western shores of San Juan Island, just off the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Puget Sound. I was to meet Ocean Alexander's Seattle-based representative, Tom Waugh, who was there operating the company's summer office at the resort (tough job).

The 68 is a new model built using a proven Ocean Alexander hull from Ed Monk Jr. and his design team of Ed Hagemann (hydrodynamics) and Tim Nolan (structural design). Interior refinements are credited to designer Sylvia Boulton.

The result is a tight, refined package with every square inch of the boat utilized in some way. The boat is expertly designed and engineered to maximize livability. Even corners where you might expect to find wasted space incorporate small storage lockers.

Accommodations

Entrance to the 68 is gained from the large tender platform at the stern, where you'll find a large settee and a high-low table. Through the sliding stainless steel and glass doors at the stern, the first thing you notice is the single-level main deck.

As you make your way through the saloon, the galley and the pilothouse, there are no stairs to climb. Each space blends into the next, culminating in a pilothouse with a large dining settee just abaft two gorgeous, electrically controlled Naugahyde Pompanette helm chairs.

The 68 we tested was equipped with what Ocean Alexander calls the luxury package: custom fabrics used in the upholstery of the furniture and overheads, Japanese shoji panels over the portholes in the staterooms, Phantom screens, a flat-panel 20-inch LCD television in each of the staterooms and in the crew quarters (including a 42-inch plasma television in a cabinet on the port side in the saloon). This television cabinet and several doors throughout the boat are equipped with custom hardware, one of a few subtle Asian touches that give the boat its distinctive look.

Teak-rimmed burlwood has been used throughout, with matching grain teak flooring in the galley and heads. A white holly sole connects the galley to the pilothouse — an unexpected but welcome touch.

End tables sit on each side of the settee in the saloon. A custom coffee table houses a large ottoman that can be removed to provide more seating when the boat is at the dock or at anchor.

The galley reflects efficiency (and the idea that most of the cooking is going to be done up top). Tucked into one corner of the granite-topped counter, almost as an afterthought, is a three-burner glass top Kenyon stove with a convection/microwave oven installed at eye level. Storage is located overhead and below the counter.

To the right of the stove is one of the largest stainless steel refrigerators you will find on any boat. To say it is big is an understatement. This is not the galley of a cook who plans to replicate everyday home cooking and baking on board. This is a galley for the quick, efficient preparation of meals (or the reheating of frozen or refrigerated meals).

The galley is fully integrated into the rest of the boat, not isolated, allowing the cook to be a part of conversations taking place at the dinette in the pilothouse or even in the saloon, while looking out onto the water through large windows.

A central vacuum system promises to take the burden out of some of the chores of maintaining the 68 (which is mostly a wash and wear boat with very little exterior wood).

Outside

Full-size sidedecks provide ample room to walk, bend and handle lines. The boat is rimmed in 2-inch oval-section rails that fit the hand perfectly and provide security when you are moving from the stern to the bow. The bow also contains an inset for a sunpad. An anchor roller system (with an 80-pound CQR stainless anchor) at the bow has a protective stainless plate in the work area.

The aft deck has an electric high-low table and a large settee perfect for socializing, while the upper deck has a restaurant-grade DCS stainless steel barbecue with an equally social dinette that has seating for eight to 10 adults.

The three staterooms are belowdecks — about half a dozen steps from the pilothouse. A small stateroom with two single bunks is located to port while the guest executive suite with a walk-around queen-size bed is in the bow.

The master stateroom, amidships, is luxurious. Mirrors and large portholes ensure ample light. A small vanity is equipped with a swing-out seat, and swing-out reading lamps are located on both sides of the walk-around queen-size bed.

The heads all have granite counters; the master head has a black Magnum Opus ebony toilet and the guest and crew quarters have bone-colored vacuum heads with en suite shower stalls. In the master suite, two sinks are set into the granite.

The crew quarters are obviously not an afterthought, either. The wood in the two small private staterooms has an attractive satin finish, and includes a compact galley/flip-up dinette with a microwave oven.

Mechanicals

You can enter the engine room via two watertight doors, the first off the dinghy platform at the transom, the second at the end of a hallway through the crew quarters.

The well-equipped engine room is dominated by twin 1,000 hp Caterpillar diesels (C-18) and a pair of Northern Lights 12 kw and 20 kw auxiliary generators. Each engine drives a hydraulic takeoff system, allowing a lot of auxiliary power for the Keypower bow and stern thrusters and Keypower stabilizers (6-foot fins), plus a 2,000-pound capacity dinghy crane, a Maxwell windlass — or anything else added on later.

Just inside the engine room door is a Fireboy halon system (with automatic engine shutdown) and a Trace inverter. A bank of seven Cruise Air central air-conditioning compressors sit atop the tanks at the forward end of the engine room.

Pilothouse

The 68's navigation package includes a Furuno 1943C 10.4-inch color LCD display with a NavNet sounder, a Simard AP20 autopilot, an Icom M602 VHF radio, a Sea Tel WaveCall satellite phone, a Simrad IS15 wind system with analog wind display and a Furuno GP37 GPS receiver with a WAAS loop antenna.

Instrumentation is laid out within easy reach of the helm chairs. A large wooden spoke wheel controls the hydraulic steering, and engine control is courtesy of MMC Electronics. The only accommodation for paper charts is a small chart drawer below the table, reflecting the trend toward electronic charts.

This is a proper pilothouse with doors port and starboard, a beautiful dinette abaft the helm and a small head to port.

Under Way

During sea trials on Puget Sound, the Caterpillar engines pushed the boat to 24 knots at 2,300 rpm, and idled back to a leisurely 11 knots at 1,200 rpm. With a flat aft section (10-degree deadrise), this is a fairly slippery hull.

Fuel consumption per knot for both speeds is roughly the same. Your decision involves choosing the most comfortable cruising speed for the wave, wind and tide on a given day. If fuel consumption is a factor, displacement speed for this hull (based on a 59-foot waterline, including the dinghy deck) should be around 10.29 knots, only a slight drop from the 1,200 rpm. In other words, the 68 offers a good range of speed and economies in this hull and engine package.

My advice: Go like stink when you're making good time in fair weather. Slow down when the next fuel stop is farther up the Inside Passage and you want to take time to smell the roses.

Ocean Alexander 68 Motoryacht

Length68'
Beam17'6"
Draft4'4"
Weight79,500 lbs.
Fuel capacity1,090 gallons
Water capacity300 gallons
Holding tank capacity92 gallons
Base price$1,705,400
Price as tested (with twin 1,000-hp Caterpillar engines)$2,250,000
Top speed26.5 mph
Miles per gallon at 24 mph0.25
Range at 24 mph300 miles

Standard Equipment

Four staterooms with captain's own kitchenette and private lounge; day head in pilothouse; twin Caterpillars 1000 hp; Northern Lights generator 20 kw; Aircon system; Grohe faucets; Franke sinks; Maxwell windlass; 2,500 W inverter/charger; VacuFlush heads; Elliptical S/S rails; protected walk-arounds; aluminum structural beams with carbon fiber reinforcement.

Options

2nd NL 12 kw generator; hardtop; hydraulic stabilizer and bow and stern thrusters; LCD and plasma TV throughout; complete Furuno/Simrad electronics with SeaTel system.

Construction

Hand-laid fiberglass hull; select AL600 balsa-cored sides; solid fiberglass bottom with built-in prop tunnel design for optimum performance; aluminum structural beams with carbon fiber reinforcements.

For More Information

Alexander Marine Yacht Sales Inc.
Seattle, Wash.
(206) 344-8566
www.yachtworld.com/oceanalexandermarine

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