Author : David Toyer
Seen and certainly admired at the recent Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, the Ocean Alexander 64 Pilothouse is a good example of how the yard and owner can work together to produce a vessel that both parties are happy with, even if they are over 2000 miles apart.
Sometimes I make the strangest of associations. For example, while strolling through the latest Ocean Alexander, opening and closing various doors, drawers and hatches and looking to see what they held inside, I was thinking just how smooth and efficient all the hardware, handles and locks were in their operation, and it was then that I thought of the association between door hardware and the roots of Alexander Marine.
You see, Alex Chueh was a very successful door hardware manufacturer in Taipei, and he lent money to a good friend to establish a boat yard in Taiwan. When that boat yard struggled and the friend was unable to repay the loan, Chueh was offered the boat yard as settlement. And that was the start of Ocean Alexander.
Chueh was a perfectionist with his door hardware business, and applied the same quality control when he took over the boat business. It has been that continuous dedication to quality and product improvement that has enabled Ocean Alexander to achieve the status it has in the international boating market today.
While Ocean Alexander considers itself a custom boat builder and does not mass produce any model, it does have a range of standard hull and deck moulds along with plans, basic models and interior concepts which buyers use as a basis to work up and customise their own order.
The 64 pilothouse was the basis for the latest Ocean Alexander to arrive in Australia. Built for a Perth businessman, based in Sydney, the boat attracted a lot of interest when displayed for the first time prior to its delivery, at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show.
Stretching the 64 plan, and with subtle layout changes in the main saloon level, aft deck and flybridge, the boat was more than 12 months in planning and construction and involved a number of trips to the Taiwan factory by the owner. This direct involvement between buyer and the factory made the customisation process so much easier in the long run, particularly as there were continual changes as everything started to take shape. On board the boat for the first time at Sanctuary Cove, the owner praised the cooperation and assistance of the factory with nothing being too difficult for them, with both small and large changes being implemented without a fuss, and everything coming together almost perfectly.
Though the boat will be based in Sydney, it was designed for extended cruising including the north Queensland coast and barrier Reef, and may well include trips back to the home town of Perth – the long way around, via the top of Australia.
With twin 826hp MTU S60 series diesels, a cruise range of approximately 400 nautical miles is possible, so a trip such as this is not beyond the boat’s capabilities even given some of the more remote ports along the less inhabited regions of the north, north western and western Australia coast of Australia.
For such long range cruising, this Ocean Alexander pilothouse is fitted out with the best of equipment, first class facilities and the most comfortable accommodation and entertaining areas.
Sleeping accommodation is all below deck, with two queen berth staterooms, a twin single berth guests’ cabin and two bathrooms, all occupying almost half of the boat’s length. The midships owners’ stateroom has an incredible amount of storage space, with hanging lockers (his and hers) each side of the cabin, a dressing and make-up bureau that takes up about two-thirds of the length of the cabin, and an ensuite that is generous in its planning and storage facilities and includes an enclosed shower cubicle.
The second stateroom is positioned in the bow, and while not as spacious nor well equipped with storage facilities as the main cabin, is nonetheless a very comfortable cabin. This cabin shares the second bathroom with the rest of the boat, and there is a washing machine and clothes dryer stored neatly away in the corner of the companionway at the base of the curved stairs leading up to the saloon.
Each cabin has a separate air conditioning system; all timber linings and joinery being high gloss lacquered Afromosia (teak); Ultraleather upholstered linings on the headboards; and individual DVD/CD systems to each cabin, with a 22” HDTV and surround sound system in the owners’ stateroom and 20” LCD in the forward cabin.
The main saloon is spread over two almost equal sized levels of the main deck. The “upper” pilothouse level (two steps above the rest of the saloon) accommodates the lower (main) helm station, the dinette table and U-shaped lounge and an extremely well equipped galley. Watertight doors are located alongside the helm station and just aft of the dinette, opening out onto the side deck walkways.
From this pilothouse level an open tread timber and polished stainless steel stair provides internal access direct to the flybridge, while off to the starboard side of the helm station, the main stairs lead down to the accommodation cabins below.
The aft “lower” saloon is a very roomy and well equipped relaxation and entertainment area. There is no shortage of Ultraleather upholstered loose and fixed lounge settees, and a round dining table has seating for four, but extends to an oval table to comfortably accommodate eight for on-board dinner parties.
In the aft port side quarter there is the now mandatory electric pop-up 40” LCD TV plus DVD/CD player and surround sound system. This is just about the ideal location for the screen as it can be seen from every seat in the saloon, as well as from the galley (there is a large servery-style opening in the aft bulkhead of the galley) and from the pilothouse dinette seats, though you may need to peer through the open stair up to the flybridge.
The rear cockpit with the extended flybridge deck providing shelter to around 40% of the cockpit, has been customised with an aft facing L-shaped lounge and dinette table built against the saloon bulkhead, and facing the transom storage module and barbeque.
Moulded steps each side of this transom module lead down to the boarding platform which like the rest of the exterior deck areas is lined with teak.
The flybridge level has dual access – the normal aft ladder from the rear deck and the internal stair from the pilothouse level. The internal stair is by far the more comfortable and easier means of access, and with an oversized L-shaped sliding hatch to the face and top of the stair, the opening is large enough that you don’t have to watch your head when going up or down.
The flybridge deck is still enormous even with a 3m RIB and Steel Head SM 2000R davit in place over the rear awning. The helm station looks a bit basic when compared to the lower station, but there still are all the electronics and controls there that are necessary. Offset to the starboard side are a set of separate docking controls as well as a portable docking handset. A second set of docking controls is also set into the superstructure moulding on the port side of the aft deck.
The two Stidd helm chairs are state-of-the-art, with height and backrest adjustment, while aft of this is a highly lacquered dinette table with L-shaped lounge. Like the table on the aft deck, this table is almost too good to be left outside, but covers will make the job of keeping these like new at least a little easier.
An extended hardtop provides all the shelter that is needed to this upper deck, making it a very viable outdoor entertaining area, with the wet bar and storage console against the port side plus the almost direct access down to the main galley via the internal stairs.
With a starting price of $A2.5 million, you can expect that the Ocean Alexander 64 pilothouse will have just about everything, but there are numerous option packages that can easily take the price over the 2.8 million mark. For example, the engines can be upgraded from to twin 1000hp CAT C-18s for the top speed to go past the 24 knot mark (22 with the MTUs); the engine room security and protection can be upgraded; the lighting and generator (including adding spectacular underwater lights which are all the rage right now) can be upgraded, hydraulic stabilisers can be added and the bow and stern thrusters can be upgraded, or you can simply add to the entertainment and lifestyle package by adding more seats, classier and larger or even more appliances.
The end result is a very impressive looking boat and the halo lighting to the OA emblem each side and the boat name on the transom are nice finishing touches.
- Builder: Alexander Marine Co. Taiwan
- Designer: Ed Monk & Alexander Marine
- Interior Designer: Alexander Marine & Pokela Design
- Year Launched : 2007
- LOA: 21.23m
- LWL: 16.88m
- Beam: 5.33m
- Draft: 1.22m
- Displacement: 34,200 kg
- Max Speed: 23 knots
- Cruise Speed: 19 knots
- Fuel: 5,677 litres
- Water: 1,134 litres
- Holding tank: 378 litres
- Construction: GRP / AL600 core
- Engines: Twin MTU series 60 @ 825HP
- Base Price: A$2,450,000