Dickey Boats, LRC 58 may have a military look on the outside, but once you pass through the raw alloy exterior, you are presented with a warm, beachy style interior that invites you to go cruise. It’s also a boat that is full of surprises.
Barry Thompson went to Napier to check it out before the owner headed off on his world cruise.
It’s no secret that I like go fast boats. In fact the faster, the better. However, there are times when I too feel the need to slow down and enjoy the journey, rather than making it a mission to be first into an anchorage or back to the launching ramp. Recently I got the opportunity to really slow down and not only did I enjoy the journey – albeit way too short – I came away with a whole new perspective on what makes an ideal cruising boat.
Napier alloy boat builders, Dickey Boats, have built an enviable reputation for large trailer boats and cruisers, so it may seem as somewhat of a surprise to learn they also build long range full displacement passage makers. The LRC 58 is the first in their new displacement cruiser range, of which two are in the water and a third is soon to start construction in their new Napier factory. Already this extreme design has established a truly international clientele, with owners from New Zealand, UK and Sweden.
Broadsword’s owner was initially looking for an alloy sailboat, until, while searching for designs, he came across the LRC 58. “It seemed to me to be a sensible and very practical long range cruising motor yacht, with simple systems, long range capabilities and was something that I could maintain myself,” he adds.
While he never dreamed he was going to build a boat in New Zealand, after discussions with the design and builders, he was hooked. While Broadsword was built in 12 months, the design itself has been more than ten years in the planning by designer Dennis Harjamaa.
“To me this is the ultimate cruising powerboat and I am certainly looking forward to heading offshore. My first passage will be as part of the Island Cruising Assoc fleet to Fiji in May this year and then I will carry onto Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Marquesas, through the Panama Canal and onto the Caribbean. Long term I plan six months on the Caribbean and six months in the Med”, says the owner. The LRC 58 is essentially designed for those looking for a serious, no-nonsense, simple and highly efficient cruising power boat. Not only does the LRC 58 cover all those requirements, but it also adds a whole lot more. When building the LRC 58, Jason Dickey was conscious of not making the boat more complicated than it need be. With this in mind, the LRC 58 is extremely practical, simple and very friendly.
Of particular interest to me was that this 18m, 16000 kg boat is only powered by a 90hp, four cylinder Beta diesel. But don’t be fooled, this little engine provides every bit of power the LRC 58 needs.
At 2500 rpm, the maximum for this 3769 cc engine, the LRC 58 glides along at 11 knots and uses a miserly 1.56 lpnm. Best cruise is between 7 knots to 9.5 knots and then the fuel usage really drops. On our short trial run off Napier, we sat on 9.5 knots for most of the journey and recorded 1.0 lpnm. Working on the fact we had the long range extra fuel tanks added, (4500 litres in total), Broadsword has a range of over 4000 nm, at 9.5-10.0 knots. That’s just about enough to get you to Tahiti.
However if you are happy to cruise at around 7 knots, an ideal speed to drag some lures on the way to Fiji, the range extends to around 7000 nm @ 0.53 lpnm. At 8.1 knots the fuel rate increases marginally to 0.67 lpnm. One of the key elements in achieving efficiency is the controllable pitch propeller. Broadsword runs a West Mekan controllable pitch propeller (CPP), which allows you to adjust the pitch while underway.
There is a manually operated hydraulic pump at the helm for changing the pitch. With an exhaust gas temperature gauge, this allows the engine to be loaded up to optimum operating temperature regardless of the conditions thus extracting the maximum mileage from every litre of fuel. Set inside a tunnel, the shaft is at a low 2.5 deg angle.
If you were looking for a boat with a bit more speed, then 300hp will lift that to around 18 knots. Twin engines are also available.
The LRC 58 is a full displacement hull with flat aft sections, a substantial keel, extremely fine forward entry, with hard chines aft that taper seamlessly towards the bow. With no hard chines forward there is no chine slap and not being round bilge, the hull is extremely stable both underway and at rest. The vertical bow shape is designed to go through the waves, rather than over them, something that is a feature of this style of long range cruiser.
The designer of the LRC 58, Dennis Harjamaa, of Artnautica Yacht says, “The hull is very sleek with maximum waterline length and an interior volume that has been kept relatively small compared to the overall length. Most trawler type boats in this length category are much heavier, beamier and higher, have much more internal volume, weight, and therefore cost. A low displacement to length ratio is crucial for effortless cruising speeds and low fuel consumption”. When I ran the boat in a long but reasonably steep swell off Napier, my impressions were of a very stiff and extremely stable boat.
A huge feature of the LRC 58s is its self-righting ability. Locking off the cockpit from the saloon is a Seamac watertight alloy door and with this and all roof and deck hatches shut (all superstructure windows are fixed and none opening) the LRC 58 is not only self-righting but unsinkable. There is no point at any rotation where the vessel is stable apart from upright. Not sure I have found this feature before in a pleasure boat of any size.
Like all boats Dickey Boats build, the layout is entirely customised to suit each client. There is hardly two Dickey boats the same and this has already happened with the LRC 58. While boat #1 was more of a prototype, boat #2, Broadsword and the as yet to me named third LRC58 differ considerably inside. While the outside is somewhat bland and functional in appearance, the same can not be said for the interior. Here, there is an inviting ambiance with warming shades and with the fabric paneling, tan coloured stitched leather and fully lined bulkheads and mullions, you see no raw aluminium inside.
There’s a warm beachie feeling that is portrayed right throughout the boat. I especially liked the interior hood lining which is PVC paneling that is spray painted to a high gloss finish and then hand-brushed to present an old world painted timber look. It’s the small detail like this that makes the difference. The only timber in the boat is the dining table and some areas forward, where a varnished washed Oak has been used to accent the light mood of the interior.
Broadsword is divided into three main interior compartments and a vast aft deck cockpit area. Forward is the master cabin with a queen size berth, with storage drawers and a half hanging locker to port, with extra storage under the berth. The cabin shares the only bathroom on board, which has a large shower stall with glass doors, raised bowl vanity and Jabsco head. There is a hand held shower on the transom to clean off when you come back from a swim.
While Broadsword only has one dedicated cabin, the lower saloon does provide a second double berth on the starboard lounger and a single opposite. This entire space will be changed to include a second cabin on the next LRC58. Again it’s your choice how you want the arrangement.
In the next LRC 58, the owners have opted for a separate day head in the cockpit, as well as sacrificing some cockpit length for a longer main saloon, but have compromised by having the transom moved further aft to the full length of the hull and having a much shorter swim platform. With vertical glass windows surrounding the entire saloon and wheelhouse, visibility is almost 360 deg from the helm, galley or lounge. To starboard are the fixed dining table and L-shape settee (the next LRC58 will have a larger U shape arrangement) and helm.
The extremely comfortable pair of fully adjustable Marine Tech/MTI leather helm seats are ideal when your passage making. The tan leather finished helm is owner’s choice and in Broadsword this includes a pair of Raymarine 16” MFD screens. With cruising in mind, there is also AIS and satphone comms, along with the regular systems such as VHF, auto anchor, Fusion sound system, C-Zone, plus engine and variable pitch propeller controls and instruments.
The entire port side of the saloon is taken up with the galley, with a custom made stainless steel bench surface, with the usual galley requirements below, such as gimbaled Force 10 stove, deep storage draws and lockers.
Broadside has an especially large cockpit, which serves a number of functions. Not only is it perfectly set up with loose chairs and tables for entertaining guests, but it’s also somewhere for the custom Dickie alloy tender to be secured during passage making. A bifold drop down rear door in the transom provides easy access to the cockpit from the full-width boarding platform. Underfloor there are two exceptionally large storage compartments, plus there’s plenty of lockers under the wide side decks. To port forward is a large fridge/freezer and access through to the side deck. Overhead is an alloy pipe frame with a soft canopy, with the aft section designed for quick removal should you require more sun in this very inviting space. I could just see myself with a Corona in hand, watching the sun setting on some enchanted Fiji island. Hey, we can all dream!!
Forward on the starboard side of the cockpit is the huge access to the engine room. However, first, you have to pass through a small workshop, which comes complete with work bench, vice and tool storage. There’s also a slide-out Waeco freezer and a compact washing machine.
First impression when you enter the engine room, is ‘where’s the engine’. The nonelectronic Beta is so small, the generator seems bigger. Being an 18m boat of 16 tonnes I would have expected the diesel engine to dominate the space. Not so! The size of the engine is what one would expect to see as an auxiliary in a sailboat this size. The bright red four cylinder, naturally aspirated, Beta 90 engine looks a little lost in the centre of this large space.
The engine is flanked by all necessary Racor fuel polishing and straining systems, Mastervolt invertor, main switching panel and C-Zone. Everything is close at hand and easy to get at when required.
The engine room is lined with 70mm lead lined Pyrotech sound proving and when underway, Broadsword is extremely quite. At the wheelhouse and lounge areas, we recorded around 71-73dB at 9 knots.
There are six, 75 watts, 24 volts slimline Sunware solar panels on the roof, which in good sunlight provide about 38 amps of charge, enough to keep your batteries maintain when not in use.
Get Home Sails
Aft is the multifunctional tower, which not only carries all the communication and navigation aerials, there’s a neat seat built-in for spotting fish or coral reefs ahead and the entire structure folds down to drop your air-height for low bridge access. Handy if the owner plans to go into the French canals.
Swinging off the base of the tower there are two booms, which serve a number of purposes. They can be used as lifting booms, as mounts for flopper stoppers, but probably most importantly booms for the get-home sails, should you need a secondary method of propulsion.
Four side cleats, router cut from 32mm plate are welded onto the main frame, allows you to lift the LRC 58 using a bridle and crane. A comfort if you ever have to get the boat out of the water somewhere in the Pacific where there is no travel lift available
More To Come
The Dickey LRC 58 is unquestionably a superb cruising boat and one that is going to attract a lot of attention as it explores the world. There will bigger and smaller models available in the future from Dickey Boats, but while following a similar design theme will be all new from the keel to the tower. However, one thing that will not change is the attention to detail and high quality of finish that Dickey Boats put into every boat, no matter what the size. In that respect, Broadsword is faultless.