Captain's ReportAs often happens in life, several people zeroing-in on the same concept at the same time, found each other, fell in love and started a new company. The builder: Dan Fritz founded Queenship in British Columbia in 1992 and has built many boats from 70’ to over 140’, and was developing a new design along the lines of a retro canoe stern long range cruiser. The customer: Ed Koethe, a Midwestern who had owned powerboats all of his life, most recently a Bertram 46, who wanted to do some serious cruising and liked the lines of the Atlantique 50 which he had seen in a magazine, but he wanted a bigger boat.The matchmaker: In this case it was Sparkman & Stephens, the world-renowned naval architecture and yacht design firm which dominated sailboat design for much of the 20th century. Koethe contacted Bruce Johnson, S&S’s executive VP and chief designer about a 60’ retro cruiser design, and Johnson put the owner-to-be in touch with Fritz who he knew wanted to build just that kind of boat. S&S tank tested the design which includes an upside down teardrop-shaped bulbous bow and a canoe stern with a swim platform, liked the results, and released the drawings. Molds were made and the boat was built in Zhuhai, China at a yard called Unishine. Last year she hit the West Coast with a big splash. She was named Dauntless and owner Ed Koethe cruised her to Alaska as planned and according to press accounts is a very happy owner.
The Sea Spirit 60 is actually 63’ 3” LOA with a LWL of 57’ 6”, which is remarkable for a boat of that length and is one of many little details that account for remarkable performance. Her beam is 17’ 2”, she draws 4’ 11” and displaces 108,000 lbs. fully loaded. She carries 2060 gallons of diesel and 400 gallons of water. She is powered by a single 340-hp Lugger and has two generators – a 20 kw and a 16 kw Northern Lights.
Her prop and rudder are protected by the keel and a large shoe. Designer Johnson says that her bottom is very much like that of a sailboat and it is this design that not only gives her a sea kindly motion but also reduces drag. When it comes to sailboats, the name of the game is reducing hull drag. Sailboat designers spend their lives in pursuit of the most easily driven hull. Is it little wonder, then, that S&S could design a hull so slippery that the boat reportedly only burns 5.1 gph at 9 knots.This is remarkable for a boat of such displacement, but it is not the only example of a sailboat designer working magic with a powerboat hull. Ron Holland, one of the world’s leading offshore racing sailboat designers has done much the same in the hull of the 148’ Marco Polo. These two boats – the Sea Spirit 60 and Marco Polo – are likely just harbingers of things to come as more and more people decide to slow down and smell the roses when they go cruising.
Sparkman & Stephens
As to the question about what is S&S doing designing a powerboat – the fact is that S&S has always designed powerboats of all sizes. While the design firm is famous for its long list of 12 Meter sailboats that successfully defended the America’s Cup for years, of the 2600 designs the firm has produced, hundreds have been powerboats. But for the most part, only S&S’s sailboats have made headlines. S&S is taking a high profile in the Sea Spirit marketing for another reason as well. From the very founding of the firm, there has always been a sales division. Drake Sparkman joined Olin and Rod Stephens in 1929 to start the company, and he was on sales side. To Sparkman’s credit, as well as Stephen’s design talent, the firm not only started just before the Great Depression, it weathered it, and was one of the few marine firms to do so. Today the business division of S&S is still involved in brokerage, sales, insurance, yacht management and charter. S&S is the exclusive agent for the Sea Spirit lines of boats.
The Canoe Stern
The most distinctive aspect of the 60 is her canoe stern which is designed to enhance her sea keeping abilities in following seas. By presenting what amounts to a “bow” to the overtaking following sea, the vessel can more easily ride up and over, rather than be pushed, and slewed around with the possibility of seas coming aboard. The biggest danger to a powerboat offshore in rough weather is broaching. Sailboats are designed to be able to be knocked down, be on there “beam ends,” and recover and be none the worse for wear.Because motoryachts do not have deep keels and do have a high, vulnerable superstructure, most large powerboats can not heel more than 55 degrees or so without losing stability. When traveling in a high following or quartering sea powerboats can be difficult to steer because of their small rudders and their transoms which are often flat and present a large surface for waves to push against. A canoe stern is actually a “bow” on the stern of the boat that helps the boat ride up and over following seas. The stern design of the Sea Spirit 60 also greatly reduces drag, much like a sailboat. The 60 simply won’t produce a large stern wake like most conventional powerboats. Large stern wakes only use up energy, create drag and slow the boat. S&S has added a swim platform to the Sea Spirit canoe stern to give her additional waterline (and therefore a slightly greater displacement speed) as well as make boarder easier.
Bulbous bows have been on super tankers for decades, but it turns out that they are just as effective on displacement motoryachts. One yacht designer we spoke with recently claims that he has gotten up 10% more hull speed with a bulbous bow. On the Sea Spirit 60 the bulbous bow seems to have given the boat 5% added speed over her predicted displacement hull speed.Her theoretical hull speed is 10.16 knots (LWL/Squared x 1.34 = Speed). 57.5’ squared = 7.58 x 1.34 = 10.16 knots. S&S says that the boat’s maximum speed is 10.7 knots -- .54 knots more than predicted, or 5% more.
Single Lugger Engine
In addition to a slippery, sailboat-like hull, the bow and the stern, the other key to making the Sea Spirit 60 so fuel efficient is the fact that she has just one, low rev in-line 6 cylinder diesel engine. It is a 340-hp Lugger L1276-A2.Lugger, which is owned by Northern Lights, has installed on board diagnostics on this engine which could pay big dividends if something goes wrong in the boonies. In principal, the diagnostics will tell you what is wrong and you can have parts flown in. Northern Lights has dealers in 40 countries. This engine is said to be clean burning, and is given a continuous horsepower rating of 340-hp at 1800 rpm. The engine is turbocharged and aftercooled, two things we’d like to eliminate, but virtually no engine company is making naturally aspirated diesel for pleasure use these days. The weight saving is simply too substantial not to go with the bolt-ons. Lugger diesels have been popular on West Coast and Alaskan workboats for decades because of their reliability. Lugger's design philosophy is to find out what goes wrong on a marine diesel and engineer the problem out. For example, fresh and raw water pumps are gear-driven to eliminate belts. Most hoses and leak points have been engineered away. Most service points are grouped on one side to be easily accessible. And the water jacket-cooled turbocharger has been placed low and at the rear of the engine for ease of installation and service. We recommend that you take a good look at Lugger’s pdf on this engine…Everyone worries about a failure in a single engine boat while in the middle of the ocean. Both builders and owners tell us that when an engine stops it is almost always because of dirty fuel. Keeping fuel clean is the key and the Sea Spirit has a fuel polisher and four tanks. So start with three full and one empty, polish the fuel and pump it into the empty tank. Make sure that your fuel polisher is high volume because they tend to be noisy.
The Sea Spirit Passagemaker 60 comes with both a Wesmar bow and stern thruster driven by hydraulic PTOs. This is the way to go – not electric! Electric thrusters quickly overheat, often blow breakers, are not there when you really need them, and provide all manner of other problems. Sea Spirit uses a Wesmar APU “get-home” system that has either one of the generators hydraulically power the main drive shaft in case your main engine fails. The builder says that the hydraulic set-up will drive the boat at 4.7 knots. There are several get-home solutions, and of them all we think this one makes the most sense for boats of this size.
Obviously we have only scratched the surface with this introduction to the Sea Spirit Passagemaker 60. But by discussing the truly important aspects of this boat’s speed and propulsion you can get some insight into the kind of thinking that has gone into this vessel. There is a lot to like. We think you’ll be hearing a lot more about boats of this type in the future and about Sea Spirit in particular.In talking with the staff at Sea Spirit, one of the things that comes through clearly is how eager they are to make modifications to please each owner. There are already several alternative plans for each deck, and we suspect that a new buyer can get a boat to his liking within the existing hull.We’re told by the folks at S&S that there is one 60 available in Ft. Lauderdale at the present time. To make an appointment to see the Sea Spirit 60, call one of S&S’s sales offices…
New York, NY: 212.661.6170Fort Lauderdale, FL: 954.524.4616Newport, RI: 401.847.5449
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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