By Eston Ellis
West Bay SonShip 58 Raised Pilothouse Motor Yacht
West Bay's 58 SonShip celebrates 10 years of intense popularity.
At 58 feet in length, the West Bay SonShip 58 Raised Pilothouse Motor Yacht is too small to be called a mega-yacht. But take a ride in this solidly built and well-equipped cruising machine, and you’ll feel as if you fell into the lap of luxury.
Big enough for entertaining a large group of friends, yet small enough for a couple to comfortably handle by themselves, it’s no wonder that the 58 has remained West Bay’s top-selling motoryacht for 10 years.
Delta, British Columbia-based West Bay SonShip Yachts Ltd., on the Fraser River, has more than 30 years of experience engineering and building motor vessels. West Bay got its start as a shipyard that turned out hundreds of boats, ranging from rugged, high-speed police patrol boats to commercial fishing vessels. The company is a family operation, founded by Ben Vermeulen, who now operates the firm with his sons Wes and Bas.
After becoming well known for building tough, high-quality commercial vessels, West Bay turned its attention to building a line of luxury pleasurecraft, using the latest construction techniques and cutting-edge materials. The first model — the West Bay 4500 Pilothouse — appeared in 1985, and it was followed by 65 and 72 foot motoryachts.
In 1991, the first West Bay 58 made its debut. Designed by Ben Vermeulen, naval architect Howard Apollonio and yacht stylist Glade Johnson, the 58 boasted sleek, eye-catching exterior lines. However, it was also given all the practical attributes of a serious Northwest cruising boat — including a rock-solid ride, walk-around decks protected by beefy rails, a cockpit/aft deck big enough for sportfishing or al fresco dining, a spacious flybridge with a commanding 360 degree view and a roomy raised pilothouse with large windows.
Inside and out, this is clearly no ordinary boat. Built with a hand-laid fiberglass and Airex-cored hull, the 58 exhibits state-of-the-art weight-saving and hull-strengthening technology — including foam-filled composite stringers, Nida-cored bulkheads and endgrain balsa-cored decks. Hull pockets protect the 58′s props, and the boat’s underwater exhaust makes for a very quiet ride.
The interior is equally impressive, with an extra-large saloon, a raised galley between the saloon and pilothouse, two big luxurious staterooms belowdecks, a smaller guest stateroom and two heads. Joinerwork was expertly crafted of fine hardwoods.
Initially priced at $650,000 with a pair of 485 hp Detroit Diesel inboards, it’s no wonder that the 58 quickly became West Bay’s most popular motoryacht. Since 1991, West Bay has produced more than 60 of the boats — updating them each year with the latest amenities and interior accents.
Built Like a Mini Mega-Yacht
West Bay started with a solid platform, building the 58 on a modified-V hull with moderate deadrise. Spray rails and just the right amount of flare at the bow make it a very dry-riding boat.
You might expect a boat this size to handle with all the responsiveness of a 10 ton Winnebago. You’d be wrong. The West Bay 58 handles more like a sports car, thanks to hydraulics and oversized rudders. It banks solidly into turns, and it tracks precisely.
The 58 also has a lot more pep than you might expect of a boat this size. With a pair of Caterpillar 3406 diesels, the 58 cruises at 24 knots and can reach a top speed of 27 knots.
Fit and finish is excellent throughout the boat — from the mirror-gloss of the exterior fiberglass, to the window work, to the smooth surfaces inside lockers and other hidden spaces. Finishing details include fitted vinyl headliners with flush-mounted halogen lighting, designer wall coverings, fine carpet with padding underneath and solid-surface countertops. Interior joinery and wood trim throughout the 58 is finely crafted and flawlessly finished. Rift-cut oak is standard, and American cherry is an available option.
Gracious, How Spacious
You enter the boat from an integral swim step and step up into the boat’s roomy cockpit/aft deck. Engine room access is through a gas-assisted deck hatch. A large lazarette is adjacent to the even larger engine room, and there is convenient access to the powerplants and all mechanical gear.
The saloon, accessible through a hinged door at the aft deck, is also surprisingly large, taking full advantage of the boat’s wide 17 foot beam. It is an ideal spot for entertaining guests aboard.
A few steps up from the saloon, the 58′s combined galley and pilothouse area is also quite spacious. Along with conveniently placed storage cabinets throughout the galley, the pilothouse’s settee and dining table are built on a raised pedestal — with pull-out storage drawers in the seat bases and a cabinet in the table base.
The pilothouse offers excellent visibility through large windows (with heavy-duty windshield wipers), and port and starboard side door leads to the boat’s wide, rail-protected walk-around decks. One set of steps leads to another fully equipped control station on the roomy flybridge, and another staircase leads belowdecks, to the boat’s three staterooms.
The boat’s big flybridge offers a lounge seating area and can be equipped with a wet bar — another plus for boaters who love to entertain aboard. There’s plenty of room aft, where a davit comes standard — and the flybridge is topped by a radar arch.
Belowdecks, the master stateroom is about the size of two ordinary stateroms. It comes with a queen-size berth, two cedar-lined hanging lockers and an en suite head with a shower.
The forward guest stateroom also has a queen-size berth and its own cedar-lined hanging locker. The smaller third stateroom, to port, comes with bunk-style berths and a hanging locker. These two staterooms share a forward head with a stall shower.
The quality and cruiseability of the West Bay 58 is not a very well kept secret. As a result, this boat is continually in demand on the brokerage market — and used boat prices are often very close to those of brand-new versions. Keep in mind, though, that those used boats often come with a long list of optional goodies.
Whether you buy a 10-year-old model or a brand-new one, you definitely get what you pay for in a West Bay 58. The craftsmanship shows — and this West Coast favorite has already achieved the status of an enduring classic.
|Fuel capacity||1,000 gallons|
|Water capacity||260 gallons|
|Standard power||Twin 700 hp Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines|
Curvaceous lines and attractive exterior
Good-handling, seakindly cruising boat
High resale value
Even older examples are a tad pricey
|Base Price (2001)||$1.295 million (2002 pricing has not yet been announced)|
|Base price (1992)||$650,000|
|Typical preowned price||$925,000-$1.4 million|
|Years of production||1991-present|
For More Information
West Bay SonShip Yachts Ltd.
8295 River Road
Delta, B.C. V4G 1B4
(604) 946-6226; (888) SON-SHIP