Clipper’s new Hudson Bay 50 is a traditional sedan cruiser with an ageless exterior combined with a modern interior. Barry Thompson spent a morning mooching around the Gold Coast’s Broadwater in this classic new addition to the growing Clipper fleet.
Clipper Motor Yachts was started 25 years ago by Australian Darren Berry who had a vision to build classic and timeless trawler style motor yachts. Clippers today continue that same classic, ageless style incorporating semi-planing hulls to allow for cruising speeds between 10 and 18 knots. With the exciting new Hudson Bay 50, Clipper has come out with somewhat of a departure from its existing range, with a style that still combines the characteristics of a Clipper but with a more modern approach.
“We are truly excited about this new range,” said Clipper Motor Yachts Australia managing director Brett Thurley. “The company has spent a great deal of time and energy to ensure they combine the classic lines for which Clippers are renowned with the relaxed lifestyle aspects of a sedan cruiser.
“Many companies have produced a sedan style of motor yacht focused on a ‘day boat’ layout, rendering the boat very one-dimensional,” said Thurley. “We have combined a layout and features that will focus on families getting away and staying on board while offering a comprehensive range of contemporary features.”
The new Hudson Bay 50 is designed around a single-level family sport yacht layout and entertaining area stretching from the swim platform and aft cockpit through to the galley, saloon and dinette. From the minute I first stepped aboard the Hudson Bay 50 I had a feeling of space and relaxation. It’s a boat that brings together a layout and features that focus on family boating and offers everything you need – and more – for extended cruising.
“We believe this new sedan range will offer local families the perfect blend of indoor and outdoor living and accommodation for weekends away or longer cruising,” said Thurley. “It combines gorgeous exterior styling that exudes class and timeless elegance with Clipper’s blue water cruising credibility.
The Clipper Hudson Bay is a boat with a number of hidden talents and none more so than around the transom area. In the centre of the extended boarding platform is a special hydraulic swim platform that Clipper calls the Hydra Swim. At $39,000 it is an expensive option – but what an option. It’s a multi-functional unit that provides not only the stowage and launching facilities for the Clipper RIB tender, but also serves as a diving board as well as an in-the-water swim platform. The large platform developed from superyachts includes an innovative new centre section that arcs on hydraulic arms, first lifting it to reveal three foldaway steps to create a diving platform up to a metre off the water. Continuing the arc submerges the platform for swimming or to launch a tender or jet ski.
There’s a handheld hot/cold freshwater shower handy to rinse off and a drop down ladder makes getting back aboard a breeze. Stainless steel transom doors provide a feeling of security between the cockpit and open platform, something that owners with small children will appreciate. The cockpit is designed for entertaining and with that in mind Clipper offers a very generous seating arrangement.
Across the centre aft is a transom lounge with storage under, with an L-shaped settee forward. Another innovative feature is the port side teak dining table that is ideal for two people, but when it folds out there’s seating for up to eight.
To starboard is the wet bar with a ULine fridge and icemaker, plus a lava rock barbecue/teppanyaki grill, set in a Caesarstone bench top surface. An interesting feature is the auto cut-off switch should you drop the lid on the BBQ while it is still on.
The cockpit – except for the transom lounge – is well shaded by a long hardtop overhang. An optional European awning is designed to shade the lounge and even the swim platform while at anchor.
A large hatch in the cockpit sole provides access to a massive lazarette for storage and to service the boat’s steering equipment. Wide walk-around side decks lead to the forward deck and anchor locker. Fuel, water and waste pipes are concealed in small hatches along the side decks.
A second cockpit deck hatch forward and below the saloon door offers access to the engine room. A timber-tread ladder leads into the engine room with its wide walkway between the engines. The generator is aft, with fuel filter and drain easily to hand while the main engine fuel filters are on the forward bulkhead. The engine room includes an automatic fire suppression system.
Heavy-duty stainless steel framed glass sliding doors divide off the interior and exterior areas with a hopper window adding to the open plan design. The saloon is flooded with natural light thanks to high profile windows and an overhead sliding optional Webasto glass panelled sunroof. Huge windows all round present a relaxed and peaceful interior. The clean, modern design and comfortable furnishings are enhanced with the richness of teak timbers in a practical and functional layout.
The large U-shaped galley is aft to port, allowing for easy serving through to the cockpit alfresco dining area. The galley has a convection microwave oven, a four-burner electric cooktop and opposite a large fridge and freezer and the bench tops are all Caesarstone, with dual sinks. Storage is available above in lockers and below bench in drawers and cupboards. Afromosia, a hard wearing floor covering, is used on the sole.
Opposite is a fore/aft lounger with storage under and a wall mounted swivel flat screen TV. Surround sound is provided by Bose, air conditioning by Marine Air and the mood setting LED lighting by Cantalupi.
The helm is an integration of systems and aesthetics – its raised stitch leather display pod and carbon fibre finish adding a touch of class. Central is a single Simrad 12” NSS screen, with all controls and switches easily at hand. If the pod is not to your liking then you can have it lowered or even revert back to a traditional flat helm. In the end, it’s your choice.
The full leather Voyager helm seat, complete with foot rest, is a speciality of Melbourne based Marine Tech, with adjustable seating positions to suit whoever is behind the soft leather sports wheel. Alongside, the optional pantograph door provides quick and convenient access to the wide side deck. The raised saloon lounge features a large built-in U-shaped Ultraleather trimmed settee with seating for eight around a high/low Afromosia table. Drop the table and you have another large double berth. The mix of classic with the contemporary works well.
The Hudson Bay 50 is available in either a two- or three-cabin layout, which changes not only the accommodation layout but also the helm position. With the three-cabin option, such as on boat #1, the helm is to starboard, with a wide central companionway. However with the two cabin arrangement the helm is moved across to the centre, the companionway is across to starboard and the amidships cabin is huge.
Personally I prefer the three-cabin two-bathroom layout. There are two main cabins with queen size berths, either of which could be classified as the master stateroom. The big difference is that the forward cabin has private access to the ensuite, so that’s more likely the one an owner would choose. Both cabins are well endowed with lockers and storage areas. The amidships cabin has triple vertical side ports providing an interesting view of the outside world, whereas the forward cabin has just a couple of upper ports and a deck hatch. Air conditioning is standard throughout the accommodation and living areas.
The second guest cabin has upper and lower fore/aft single berths, plenty of storage options and as does the cabin opposite, the benefit of the three vertical port windows.
While the three cabins share the two ensuites, in the two-cabin layout each cabin has its own private ensuite. Here you’ll find raised ceramic bowls, Caesarstone vanities, travertine marble tiled floors and walk-in shower cubicles of a generous size, with frosted glass doors and teak drainage grates. After all, this is a cruising boat and accommodation is an important criterion, especially if you’re a family boater. As through the rest of the boat, the flooring is all teak and the panelling matt finished Afromosia. Carpets are an option.
After cruising sedately from Runaway Bay Marina in mirror smooth water, it was time for a taste of the confused water off Surfers Paradise. The water was sloppy and uncomfortable at the Spit entrance, but the Hudson Bay ran through it effortlessly. Once outside and running in a 1m breaking swell the boat felt solid and predictable. The hull design shares many features of the proven Cordova range. It’s not a light boat at 19 tonnes, which is always a bonus in rougher seas. With the tachos showing around 2500rpm and the GPS indicating around 18 knots, the Hudson Bay lapped up the messy sea state as we cruised back through the seaway in the steep following sea. Back in The Broadwater we dropped that back to 1780rpm @ 12 knots, dodging sandbars.
The beauty of the solid keel semi displacement hull design is it is equally as happy at 8 knots as it is at 25 knots. If you cruise at around 7.5 knots @ 1000rpm, you’ll cover almost 500NM with an economical burn rate of 26L/h total for the two engines. Up that to 1200rpm @ 9 knots and the engines still only consume 15.5L/h, so it’s very economical boating. The maximum speed we achieved on the calm waters of The Broadwater was 24.8 knots @ 3080rpm, with full fuel and water tanks and three people aboard.
Power for boat #1 was provided by a pair of 600hp Cummins QSB engines, through ZF gearboxes and conventional shafts. However, the standard power is a pair of Yanmar LY3/480hp engines.
The blue-water hull is constructed in solid hand-laid fibreglass and has vinylester resin below the waterline and cored fibreglass above. Deck and hardtop are infusion moulded with a honeycomb core to maintain strength while reducing weight.
If the Hudson Bay 50 is what you are looking for in your next boat, but would like something bigger, then there’s a 54ft version coming soon.