By Eston Ellis
West Bay SonShip 64 Yachtfish: Sea Trial
West Bay SonShip 64 Yachtfish: Going fishing and cruising in style.
Caption: The new West Bay SonShip 64 Yachtfish offers all the comfortable cruising features of the popular West Bay SonShip 58 Pilothouse.
Customers kept asking for it, and West Bay SonShip finally gave it to them: a new motoryacht designed specifically for the 60 percent of boaters who also enjoy sportfishing.
The new West Bay SonShip 64 Yachtfish offers all the comfortable cruising features of the popular West Bay SonShip 58 Pilothouse, plus a huge 9-foot, 6-inch-long cockpit that is well suited for serious offshore angling. Standard cockpit features on the 64 include a large two-scoop recirculating bait tank built into the transom, large in-deck fishwells (refrigeration is optional), a cockpit sink and tackle storage drawers.
Like other West Bay SonShip yachts, the 64 is built at the company’s boat-building facility in Delta, British Columbia by an experienced team of veteran yacht craftspeople. The 64′s abundant wood joinerwork — a hallmark of West Bay yachts — is flawless. And the fit and finish of all surfaces — interior and exterior, whether out in the open or deep inside lockers and bilges — is excellent.
However, what you can’t see in the 64 Yachtfish is just as important as what you can see. West Bay is known for its high standards in yacht construction, and the new 64 takes advantage of cutting-edge materials and boat-building methods.
For example, the 64 Yachtfish utilizes strong 3.5-inch aluminum I-beam construction all through the superstructure, to provide added security when cruising in heavy weather and big seas.
The Vectorply hand-laid fiberglass hull is vacuum-bonded and constructed with the latest technology — including new fusion methods, urethane foam-cored fiberglass stringers, Core Cell on the bottom and 1-inch Divinycell on the hull sides — making it both stronger and lighter, for improved performance.
Reichhold Hydrex 100 vinylester resin is applied below the waterline, for advanced protection against osmosis. In addition, four watertight bulkheads provide optimum security.
Welcome to the Skylounge
We tested the 64 Yachtfish on an overcast winter day off Southern California’s Newport Harbor. Our test boat was provided by Bill Danzig, vice president of sales/Southwest region for SonShip Yacht Sales of California Inc., the West Bay dealer in Newport Beach.
Despite the gray day, we had flat seas and light winds. We ran the 64 from its enclosed skylounge (the boat is also available with an open flybridge), where we enjoyed an incredible 360-degree view in all-weather comfort.
Along with a Stidd helm seat, positioned before a nicely arranged console with an impressive array of optional electronics gear, the skylounge provides a raised settee and dinette table (aft, to starboard) and a wet bar (to port). An aft door leads to a large boat deck, equipped with a 1,500-pound-capacity Steelhead davit and a 12-foot Rendova inflatable dinghy.
Stainless steel steps lead from the boat deck to the cockpit; while inside cherry wood steps, forward, lead from the skylounge to the galley and saloon.
Our test boat’s helm was equipped with Kobelt electronic controls, a Wesmar hydraulic bow thruster and a Wesmar hydraulic stabilizer system — and a second control station was provided in the cockpit, making for convenient docking (and maximum control when serious fishing is taking place).
During our test, we reached a top speed of 25.7 knots, at 2,270 rpm, with the test boat’s 800 hp twin Caterpillar 3406E diesels. The boat cruised at 19 knots, at 1,900 rpm — however, many skippers will prefer a more fuel-efficient slow cruising speed of 9.5 knots, at which pace the 64 consumed about 1 gallon of fuel per mile.
We found that we had ample torque whenever we needed it — and we had all the speed we needed as we raced up the coast with bold assurance.
While we were running offshore, we carved wide turns and figure eights at speed. No matter what we did, the 64 banked solidly into turns, gave us a stable and rock-steady ride, and handled responsively. When we turned the wheel, the 64 turned — without “play” or hesitation.
Our test boat was equipped with Caterpillar electronic engine displays, which provided a wealth of easily readable data, updating our performance information seemingly every nanosecond.
Beyond the Skylounge
While it may be hard to leave the commanding skylounge, one of the nicest features of the 64 is belowdecks: the engine room, accessible via steps leading from the cockpit.
Here, you’ll find more than 6 feet of full standing headroom, ample space for access to key engine components and nicely labeled (and reachable) valves, filters and switches. We especially liked the fuel sight gauge (readable from just about any point in the engine room) and the workbench to starboard, adjacent to the entry steps.
Extra-thick insulation makes sure that — when it comes to noise — what happens in the engine room stays in the engine room. While we were running the boat, a trip belowdecks into the aft master stateroom was a remarkably quiet experience.
Another notable feature of the 64 Yachtfish is its forward galley and dinette/lounge area, located just below the skylounge. On many boats, this spot would be devoted to a pilot station, with a compact galley and dinette shoehorned into whatever space was left over.
Thanks to the nicely equipped skylounge, this area can be devoted to a surprisingly large galley (with a full-size refrigerator freezer and a full-size range and oven) AND a roomy U-shaped seating area with a large dining table. From this table, guests can enjoy an impressive wrap-around forward and side view, and a peek-a-boo view aft.
At the recent San Diego Boat Show, boaters who came aboard the 64 had a lot of good things to say about this layout, according to Shanelle Brown, of SonShip Yacht Sales of California.
“Women were telling us, ‘I love the fact that there’s space to do what I need to do in the galley while we’re under way’ — and, at the same time, men were telling us, ‘I like not having everybody behind me cooking when I’m at the helm.’”
A starboard side door leads from the dinette/lounge area to wide walk-around sidedecks, protected by beefy stainless steel rails. Forward, steps lead belowdecks to the 64′s three staterooms.
The aft master stateroom is remarkably spacious, taking advantage of the boat’s full beam. It offers a walk-around queen-size berth, abundant storage drawers and compartments, a vanity, two hanging lockers and a third locker that conceals a stacked washer and dryer pair.
The stateroom’s large en suite head includes a VacuFlush toilet, a sink set in a granite counter and a separate shower enclosure with a glass door.
Immediately forward, a smaller portside guest stateroom offers bunk-style berths and a hanging locker. A guest head is opposite, with a VacuFlush toilet, a granite-topped vanity and sing, and a separate stall shower.
Forward, the largest guest stateroom offers a walk-around queen-size berth with stowage underneath, surprisingly roomy storage cabinets, a hanging locker and a pair of overhead hatches.
Abaft the dinette/lounge area and galley, a few steps down, the 64 offers a roomy saloon. This comfortable area has large side windows, a big U-shaped settee and table, an entertainment center with a 37-inch plasma-screen television that rises from a wood cabinet and a nicely laid-out electrical panel.
The large aft door leading to the cockpit contains sliding hideaway screens — an especially practical feature during hot summer cruises (or hot winter cruises in Mexico).
There’s a lot to like on this boat, for anglers and cruisers alike. Whether you plan to do a lot of fishing and need a large angler-ready cockpit, or you plan to do a lot of entertaining and can use some extra “al fresco space,” the West Bay SonShip 64 Yachtfisher offers a wealth of pleasing possibilities.
West Bay SonShip 64 Specifications
|Fuel capacity||1000 gallons|
|Water capacity||260 gallons|
|Base price with 700-hp MTU/DDC Series 60 diesels engines||$1,459,000|
|Price as tested with twin 800-hp Caterpillar 3406E diesel engines||$1,970,000|
|Top speed||25.7 knots|
|Gallons per hour at 9.5-knot cruising speed||10|
|Gallons per hour at 19-knot cruising speed||42|
|Range at 9.5 knots||1092 miles|
Cruisair reverse-cycle air conditioning/heating (four zones); cedar-lined hanging lockers; Steelhead 1,500-pound capacity davit; cockpit bait tank; VacuFlush heads; Grohe faucets; U-Line ice-maker in saloon; Halogen lights; stacked washer/dryer; full-size GE refrigerator/freezer; dishwasher; microwave oven; range; rope lighting in staterooms; Yacht-O-Matic AC electrical source switching system; 20 kw Northern Lights auxiliary generator; hydraulics system dual pump off transmission drives for windlass, davit and bow thruster.
37-inch plasma television; additional 12 kw or 20 kw Northern lights auxiliary generator; Wesmar 12 hp hydraulic stern thruster; Wesmar hydraulic stabilizer system; swing-out cockpit controls; enclosed command bridge.
Vectorply infused fiberglass hull with 1-inch Core Cell on the bottom, 1-inch Divinycell on the hull sides; vacuum-bonded; urethane foam-cored fiberglass stringers; Reichhold Hydrex 100 vinylester resin applied below the waterline, for advanced protection against osmosis; four watertight bulkheads; 3.5-inch aluminum I-beam construction all through the superstructure.
For More Information
West Bay SonShip Yachts Ltd.