By Powerboat Test Team
Bluewater 6000: Sea Trial
Bluewater 6000: From the one-time houseboat builder goes high-class.
Three generations of solid Midwestern American boat building savvy went into the sleek, fast and elegant Bluewater 6000,and it shows throughout.
How many other luxuriously appointed 60-foot coastal cruising yachts could you pull up to a sandy beach and step off the bow without worrying about endangering the shafts and props? Probably none.
That’s mainly due to Bluewater’s exclusive hull design that shelters the recessed shafts and props within semi-conical tunnels. The Kevlar-reinforced keel touches first, thus protecting your running gear — and marine life. It also has a 30-inch draft aft.
Bluewater’s 5200 Cockpit through 7000 Custom series of boats enjoys favor up and down the East Coast’s inland waterways and coastal cruising grounds, but because they’re fairly new on the West Coast, we were anxious to test the 6000 Custom in our own waters.
Our test boat in San Diego had just been purchased at a boat show two days earlier. On board were Allan Hagen, vice president of Bluewater Yachts, and Capt. Dick Jaeckel, who were getting ready to deliver the 6000 Custom to its new owners up the coast.
While approaching a Bluewater 6000 at the dock, the first three things you notice are its elegantly extended clipper-type bow, its low center of gravity and the sleek design lines that accentuate the main deck.
Indeed, all the enclosed living space — from the three staterooms and galley to the main saloon and inside helm station — is found on this main deck, reminding one of Bluewater Yachts’ start as a houseboat builder (there is no lower deck).
Considering the Baby Boomer distaste for ladders, this one-deck design will suit many boaters. Not all of us have the knees for climbing a bunch of stairs 20 times a day just to get from the galley to the bridge or from the staterooms to the saloon.
Instead of vertical ladders leading from the aft cockpit and walk-arounds to the upper deck, the Bluewater 6000 has three roomy (about 2.5-foot wide), molded-in stairwells — five or six lighted steps within guardrails with plenty of handholds. Nobody’s going to risk his or her life going up or down here.
The massive upper deck of our test boat was covered by a full hardtop and had an extended sun bed, and the upper helm station was wrapped in vented windshields and zippered vinyl windows. These three options almost double the boat’s practical living area, but the upper deck — which could easily seat 20 adults — is technically not enclosed.
Every square foot of exterior deck space is secured within either high combings or beefy guardrails. Bluewater’s 1.25-inch stainless steel stanchions and top guardrails are above standard in the industry, but instead of open space or nylon lines below that, they have two rows of quarter-inch-thick stainless steel rods that give added security for frisky adults, children or pets.
The welded stanchion bases are bedded and through-bolted through the decks and steel backing plates with machine screws, so they can’t someday turn mushy on you, and they can be maintained efficiently.
Gates in the guardrails give access to the boat’s exterior port side walkway and aft cockpit from the dock, and because these entrances are at the main deck level, dock stairs are not required. However, for parties, you can enter over the extended bow pulpit with the bow ladder and gate option — great for cruising with the grandkids aboard.
Instead of a swim step aft, the Bluewater 6000 has a bigger platform that lifts hydraulically to launch, retrieve and carry the dinghy; it has imbedded tracks and chocks for securing it.
The Bluewater 6000′s interior is equally well laid out as a family-friendly cruiser. From the large main saloon’s port entrance, the inside helm station is on your immediate right, and the VIP stateroom with an en suite head is forward of that. The main saloon is large and bright. The L-shaped galley opens just aft of the main saloon, and the washer-dryer combo is hidden below the snack bar. Opposite the galley is the dining area, which has many arrangement options.
Aft of here, a hallway leads past the guest stateroom to starboard, ending at the master stateroom that spreads athwartships and includes an en suite head with another bathtub. For sleeping on the hook, this location has the least amount of motion. The master stateroom opens onto the covered aft cockpit (about 50 square feet) by way of a dark-tinted sliding glass door — like having a patio at sea.
There’s also lots of washable leather, sturdy Berber carpet and fine cabinetry in cherry or European maple.
The upper deck is huge, with sealed cushion seating for 25 adults and a 42-inch adjustable table, a wet bar, a refrigerator, a Jenn-Air grill, plenty of storage cabinetry including fender wells, two stairwells leading forward and one leading aft. The upper helm station seats two, has 360-degree visibility and is intelligently designed to keep too many guests from getting in the way of the controls.
Light ?em Off
Checking fluids before lighting off, you’ll find the 480 hp (E) Cummins Turbo diesels are located in separate compartments, the starboard engine is just below the guest stateroom berthing and the port engine is behind the woodwork aft of the galley. Both engines are slightly below the main deck level.
Bluewater chose this split engine compartment configuration in order to devote maximum space to creature comforts. It’s similar to the older Cheoy Lee 83-footer, Hatteras 58 and Grand Banks 50, to name a few. The split configuration also spreads the props as far apart as possible to achieve maximum steering maneuverability.
When you need to check fluids, it may take you back to your sailboat days, because you actually unbolt special panels in the woodwork to access the lighted engine compartments.
Once they’re open, everything required for routine maintenance is pretty much within reach. The automatic oil changer and dripless shaft seals are a good idea. Dual Racor filtering systems are standard, and there’s 480 gallons of diesel in one tank running down the keel line.
The 13.5 kw Onan generator is under the center of the main saloon, so you don’t have to move the sofa to get to it. The 10 hp bow thruster makes everyone a champion parker. Bluewater lines all engine spaces with thick soundproofing to prevent running noise from disturbing sleepers. At cruising speed (2,100 to 2,200 rpm) and higher, we could still converse normally in the main saloon and galley.
It was a typical calm but cloudy summer morning in San Diego when this test was performed. The Bluewater 6000 carried all its furniture and appliances and four adults. We had half a tank of fuel (240 gallons) and half a tank of water (100 gallons). It was outfitted with all possible windage, except a dinghy.
By the time we’d gone through the boat, set out from America’s Cup Harbor and reached the measured mile off Harbor Island at the north end of San Diego Bay, the tide was running a little better than half high and rising.
We ran the measured mile twice at each critical rpm — once up current and once down current — then averaged them each time to cancel out the current’s effect.
If you’re not familiar with Harbor Island’s measured mile markers, they are two sets of orange triangles conveniently imbedded in the shoreline; one is located just south of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and the other is just north of Reuben’s Restaurant. Each set is like a small range marker system, but you run parallel to the very regular shoreline. The mile starts when the two orange triangle tips are lined up above and below each other.
First you get up to and steady out on your desired speed and get lined up on your course parallel with the shore. The instant the helm comes abeam the first set of markers, you start the stopwatch timer for that leg of the speed trial.
Harbor Island’s measured mile runs right along San Diego Bay’s main ship channel, so there’s usually plenty of ship wakes slamming into you from all directions and plenty of small-boat traffic to dodge. At the other end of the measured mile, click off the stopwatch as you line up with the other set of triangles. GPS can make the figures accurate to 10 decimals or more, but it’s not as satisfying as using a tachometer, a calculator and a stopwatch.
A high-speed run at the end of each course gave us a good look at how the Bluewater 6000′s low center of gravity improves upon normal maneuverability, as well as the comfort factor of everyone walking around the upper deck or lounging in chairs down in the main saloon.
At 1,840 rpm, we achieved an average of 13.4 knots; at 2,100 rpm, we achieved an average of 19.2 knots; and at 2,440 rpm, we achieved an average of 20.3 knots.
This model’s best fuel consumption is at about 2,000 rpm. You’d have a cruising range of about 375 miles while running at about 18.5 knots and be burning about 24.6 gallons per hour. However, that depends on how the boat’s loaded and what the sea conditions are.
Bluewater Yachts’ 6000 Custom is built well by Americans — three generations of the Klapmeier family of boat builders and their 3,000 employees in Mora, Minnesota.
Professional captains will appreciate the upper helm station. Pacific Northwest boaters will like the fact that Kevlar reinforces the high bow, the forward third of the boat, the entire keel and the protected running gear. For cruising Mexico, you can sleep six adults in three well-appointed staterooms, two adults on the pullout settee and two more (fresh-air buffs) on the upper deck sunpad. The staterooms and saloon have ample tinted windows, including at least one on each side that opens and is screened for natural ventilation, sans bugs.
For entertaining, the Bluewater 6000 is a dreamboat. You can seat two dozen on the upper deck alone, and within reach of the galley (with lots of Corian and full-sized name-brand appliances) are the dining saloon and separate snack bar.
As standards, Bluewater includes the transom lift, dual Racor filtration, 48K Btu air conditioning, leather furniture, a sundeck hardtop, a hot and cold shower/washdown in the aft cockpit, a shore power cord reel, a deck grate at the starboard entrance, plenty of upper deck seating, a table, as well as a few more goodies.
Important options are the automatic oil change system and the electric bed lift to access the port engine more easily.
Bluewater 6000 Specifications
|Fuel capacity||480 gallons|
|Water capacity||200 gallons|
|Base price with twin 480 E Cummins diesels||$1,045,274|
|Price of boat as tested||$1,141,217|
|Top speed||27 mph|
|Miles per gallon at 25-mph cruising speed||1.24|
|Range at 25-mph cruising speed||309 miles|
Air conditioning; bow thruster; carpet; drapes and dual light blinds; dual Racor fuel filters; electronic and navigation package; electronic shift/throttle controls; fender storage, including fenders; Fireboy automatic system (engines and generator); 13.5 kw diesel generator; hardtop; flybridge w/express windshield; helm station; upper and lower intercom; four-station inverter system; paint bottom; railings; refrigerator; Microbake oven; stove; rudder indicator; dual station seating; upper deck w/ table; shaft spurs and dripless shaft seals; shore cord power reel; spotlight; dual station stereo; flybridge AM/FM/CD player w/ speakers; strainers on water pickup (twin engine and generator); transom lift; trim tabs; 13-inch televisions in aft and bow staterooms; 20-inch televison and VCR or DVD player in main saloon; hot and cold washdown at transom; wet bar on flybridge w/ built-in ice-maker, sink, food preparation surface, storage and fiberglass doors.
Anchor package (anchor, windlass and 200-foot chain); two electric bed lifts; built-in top-side electric grill center; carpeting upgrade; central vacuum; customized interior; cruise package (six docking/fender lines w/ six life jackets and life ring); dishwasher; deluxe electric and navigation upgrade package; electronic shift/throttle remote; four-sided enclosure; furniture d?cor; icemaker within refrigerator; oil changer; flybridge refrigerator; satellite dish w/ two receivers; stainless steel anchor upgrade; 13-inch flat-screen television bow and aft; 42-inch plasma television w/ electric lift in saloon; washdown system at bow; washer/dryer combo; windshield wrap and cushion covers; Y-valve and macerator.
Hand-laid fiberglass hull utilizing Kevlar technology. Hand-laid fiberglass one-piece cabin. Kevlar-reinforced keel.
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