By Eston Ellis
Ocean Alexander 860 Pilothouse Motoryacht: Sea Trial
Ocean Alexander 860 is a long-range cruiser's dream.
“You’re kidding: This boat isn’t a 100-footer?”
While many boats look and feel smaller than their actual length, it’s rare to find one that seems even bigger than it actually is. However, that is exactly the case with the all-new Ocean Alexander 860 Pilothouse Motoryacht — and it has surprised just about everyone who has been lucky enough to board this sleek, solid vessel.
The 860 is designed to make the most of its 22 foot beam, offering more square feet of living space than just about any other boat of this length. Amazingly, the interior space is remarkably similar to that aboard a 100-footer we recently had the pleasure of touring.
The new Ocean Alexander’s impressively sized interior is elegantly appointed, and there is room to entertain a crowd. The boat’s four staterooms (plus crew quarters) are well separated to ensure maximum privacy, and the yacht is equipped with five heads and just about every conceivable luxury amenity.
“No custom yacht builder has put more talented people, more resources or more commitment to quality into any project than Alexander Marine is putting into the new 860,” explained Jim McLaren of Orange Coast Yachts in Newport Beach, California, who gave us the grand tour of Hull #1.
Built to the Max
When Alexander Marine Ltd. decided to build the largest yacht it had ever created, the company turned to a familiar face — renowned Bainbridge Island, Washington naval architect Ed Monk Jr., who has designed every Ocean Alexander yacht since the first model was introduced 23 years ago.
However, the plan was not simply to design something just a little larger than the last Ocean Alexander yacht, changing a hull mold and tweaking a few lines here and there. Monk would start fresh to create a groundbreaking vessel — and so would this project’s engineering team.
Along with Monk’s design expertise, Ocean Alexander enlisted the talents of hydrodynamic specialist/naval architect Ed Hagemann, and structural engineer/naval architect Tim Nolan. Hagemann has worked with Monk on past projects; and Nolan has an extensive background in working on boats in this size range, with Nordlund and other Pacific Northwest-based custom yacht builders.
The result of this collaboration of experts is a boat that is built to the max. There are seven watertight bulkheads (including a reinforced collision bulkhead) — and each one was 4-inches thick BEFORE sound insulation material was added.
Aircraft-grade aluminum was used for structural support — including 5-inch I beams in the main decking and the boat deck. More aluminum beams are utilized in the sides of the hull and the saloon, to the California Deck bulkhead.
In the main structure, carbon fiber stringers are used to strengthen the decks, and carbon fiber is also infused into the hand-laid fiberglass hull. Longitudinal and lateral stringers are filled with high-density foam, high-density Klegecell foam/AL 600 sandwich construction is utilized above the waterline and interior structural components are all bonded to the hull.
This is one solid yacht. Even with advanced construction techniques and weight-saving materials, at 180,000 pounds, the 860 is no lightweight.
That bulk gives it a smooth, solid feel under way. And the 860′s wide beam not only makes for more interior space, but it also adds stability — an important concern for boaters who do a lot of long-range cruising.
Built for Boaters
Over the years, Ocean Alexander yachts have developed a strong following in the West, thanks to high-quality construction and practical seaworthy designs. The company has many repeat buyers — and those owners are not shy about expressing their desires for their next boat to Ocean Alexander dealers and the staff at Alexander Marine.
Ocean Alexander had several goals for the new 860, in answer to owners’ most frequent requests.
First, the new boat would be given a California deck for open-air entertaining, a few steps above a sportfishing-capable cockpit. The saloon would be on the same level as the California deck — and both could be customized during construction, so that Northwest boaters could opt for a larger saloon, or California owners could opt for a larger California deck.
The flybridge would be made available in either open or enclosed configurations. A Portuguese bridge would be included for ease of maneuvering and maximum visibility while docking. The boat’s full walk-around decks would be protected by an overhead, for all-weather practicality.
Accommodations would include an owner’s stateroom forward of the engine room, for maximum quietness. The boat would also include at least three guest staterooms and separate crew quarters.
The owner of our test boat, like many Ocean Alexander owners, is a repeat buyer. This is his fourth Ocean Alexander yacht. “The thing that impresses me most is that this boat has so much storage and living space,” he explained. “The engine room alone is bigger than my first apartment.
“I’m also impressed at how solid this boat is in the water. It feels like a Sherman tank — but it’s also a very quick and maneuverable boat. When you’re doing 14 knots, it feels like you’re running at 5 knots through the bay.”
During the boat’s test run in calm seas — with six people aboard, 3,500 gallons of fuel, 220 gallons of water and a 16-foot Boston Whaler tender — the 860 reached a top speed of 20.4 knots at 2,275 rpm. It cruised at around 18 knots, at 2,100 rpm. However, in previous tests, the boat has turned in a top speed of 22 knots.
Still, the boat gets its best fuel economy at displacement speeds. At 11 knots, the boat consumes around 22 gallons per hour.
Whatever your preferred speed, the 860 is a dry-riding boat with a rock-solid ride.
A Place for Everything
Our test boat was equipped with an enclosed flybridge with a state-of-the-art helm station, a futuristic array of electronics and one of four sets of Kobelt electronic controls aboard. “Enclosed” may perhaps be a misnomer, as when the two side doors, the aft door and the large aft windows are opened, this area has the fresh air and wide-open feel of an open bridge, with the increased comfort and sun protection of a closed bridge.
Aft, there’s a large boat deck with room for a 16-foot tender and a davit. Forward, a Portuguese bridge gives the skipper a full view for close-quarters boat handling.
The lazarette and the big, stand-up engine room are accessible from the cockpit. The engine room features Delta T positive pressure engine room vents, a lube oil change system, triple sound and heat insulation layers, two shore power connections to a Charles Isolation Booster, two Northern Lights 20 kw generators, an oil change pump system for the generators, two 4 kw Trace inverters, two battery banks for the 12v generator starting system, two battery banks for the 24v engine starting system and a battery bank for the 24v house system with two 160 amp chargers. In all the various systems, redundancy is built in, for cruisers on the go — and the boat can handle (and compensate for) just about any type of dock power hookup — or lack thereof.
Our test boat came equipped with an impressive array of “dream” features — including bow and stern thrusters, a quiet-running chilled water air conditioning system (just like high-rise apartment buildings have), two Glendinning Cablemasters and hydraulic stabilizers with power take-offs from both engines. An underwater exhaust system adds to the boat’s quiet operation. The flush-finished frameless windows are of tempered safety glass, for maximum security.
The interior is just as impressive, trimmed in fine teak, birds-eye maple and burled wood. The stainless steel-framed glass door between the California Deck and the saloon opens to reveal a phantom screen system: The screen slides out from within the door frame, when it is needed.
Our test boat’s roomy saloon was equipped with such niceties as a plasma screen television that rises from a cabinet hideaway at the touch of a button. An Italian-design flush overhead halogen lighting system was utilized, and air conditioning vents were concealed in the overhead trim treatments. Surround sound speakers were also neatly tucked out of view. A massive wet bar, flanked by burled wood columns and a mirrored backbar, instantly grabbed our attention as we entered the saloon.
A few steps away, a U-shaped saloon offers all the conveniences of the kitchen back home — plus a few things that one might not have, such as a plasmas-screen television built-in next to the breakfast bar. Opposite the galley, there’s room for a dining table and chairs — although this area can also be turned into a full pilothouse, for owners who want an open bridge on the top level. A pair of doors lead out to the walk-around side decks.
Two sets of stairs lead to the belowdecks staterooms. One set of steps leads aft to the master stateroom — with walk-in cedar-lined hanging locker stowage, a king-size berth and an en suite divided head and an oversized shower/spa. — and the VIP stateroom, immediately forward. This stateroom features a queen-size berth, abundant hanging locker stowage and another en suite head.
Two (or, optionally, three) guest staterooms — also with their own heads — are forward, accessible by the second staircase. Crew quarters (with yet another head — on its own system) are accessible from the cockpit.
Ocean Alexander spared no expense to produce its largest boat yet, and the care the designers and the builder lavished on this project shows. This is one top-of-the-line yacht that can truly be called a flagship.
Ocean Alexander 860 Pilothouse Motoryacht Specifications
|Dry weight||180,000 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||3,000 gallons plus 1,000-gallon side tanks|
|Water capacity||650 gallons|
|Propellers||Five-blade computer machined|
|Sound level at cruise||71.5 dbA|
|Base price with twin 800-hp Caterpillar 3406E diesel engines||$4,100,000|
|Top speed||22 knots|
|Miles per gallon at 11 knots||.58|
|Fuel cost for 100 miles||$260.87|
|Range at 11 knots||2300 miles|
(Fuel cost based on a fuel price of $1.50 per gallon.)
Five Sony stereo systems; teak and holly sole in galley and pilothouse/dining cabin; 1,000 gallon per day water-maker; two Glendinning Cablemasters; Charles Isolation Booster, granite or marble countertops; Nutone central vacuum system; hydraulic stabilizer system; hydraulic bow and stern thrusters; Delta T positive pressure engine room vents; Sylomar floating deck system with sound absorption; dual Racor filters for engines and generators; oil change systems for engines and generators; Interprotec 200E epoxy-based antifouling-anti-osmosis system; 20 kw Northern Lights generators.
Options on Test Boat
Twin 1,480 hp MTU/DDC 12V-2000 diesel engines; 32 kw Northern Lights generators; Maxwell 4500 hydraulic windlass; 2,500 pound capacity davit.
Vacuum-bagged sandwich construction with carbon fiber reinforcement; aluminum I beams and H beams used for structural support; high-density Klegecell foam/AL 600 sandwich construction above waterline; reinforced collision bulkhead; hull utilizes Monk/Hagemann tunnel (prop pocket) system and underwater exhaust.
For More Information
Alexander Marine Co. Ltd.
West Coast Dealers
Ocean Alexander Marine Yacht Sales Inc.
Orange Coast Yachts
Newport Beach, Calif.