Salthouse 68

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Salthouse 68

Author : Barry Thompson

Easy Choice

SummerSalt is the second of four Salthouse 68’s sold by Salthouse Marine, with the third now in the water and the fourth in early stages of production. While the first three have all gone to Perth based owners, hull #4 is destined for a Kiwi client. 

With the builder’s ability to offer semi customised boats, no two are ever the same, although the differences may vary from only minor alterations through to major layout changes, especially in the cockpit area. It was this capability to get a boat personalised, which attracted the Perth based owners Kyle and Terri Surman to the Salthouse 68.

After attending the Sydney Boat Show 2008 with an open mind, but having already been on a Salthouse 65, the Surmans knew that the dimensions suited their requirements, particularly the alfresco and large cockpit.

“Salthouse Marine’s commitment to take on board customisation and the external finish of the 65 on show (4-5 years old), which was as good as new, together with their standard foredeck being able to handle our yet to be designed 650kg tender and sun bed, made our decision an easy one” says Kyle.

After further discussions with Salthouse Marine when back in Perth, they agreed to proceed with a customised 68. The major external alterations they included were the sports transom, to remove the bowsprit and include a twin anchor arrangement. “This has worked out really well and in my opinion we have gained what we wanted and at the same time reducing the boat’s overall length to suit our pen and mooring requirements”.

With future longer voyages up to the north of Western Australia planned, the request for an increased fuel capacity was included in the build, with the final outcome being 8,200L. Other customisations included the duplication of all of the major systems, being electronics, twin gensets with auto start allowing the Surmans to leave the boat unattended for extended periods of time in marinas or on a mooring. They also duplicated water pumps and refrigeration systems including custom eutectic refrigeration and it was also agreed during the build to have completely independent forward and aft heads, creating a substantial black tank capacity.

“I think having gone through this process from visiting the factory three times during the build to handover of the final product, which has clearly exceeded our expectations in quality and finish and then having the opportunity to use the boat in New Zealand, means that it has been a privilege to deal with the professional team at Salthouse Marine” added Kyle.

Cruising Nature

SummerSalt has been designed to function more for family cruising than dedicated sport fishing and the layout reflects that. It is always natural for a design to progress and with SummerSalt, designer Bob Salthouse has maintained the smooth, flowing external lines, while continually updating and improving many facets of the boat, both inside and out.

The first Salthouse 68, The Club was not only finished with a completely different timber, it also had the retrousse transom, whereas SummerSalt has a swim transom and is 1.5m shorter.

The designation Salthouse 68 refers principally to the model number, so depending on the customisation and transom option or anchor arrangement, the length overall can vary by as much as 2m from the standard 22.2m. Salthouse Marine utilises the same hull/ deck moulds for the 65 and the 68, so the Salthouse 68 is in effect just a slightly longer version of the 65.

SummerSalt is a three-cabin, two-head model with a galley aft, enclosed flybridge and large cockpit that includes an alfresco dining area. In every sense SummerSalt is a typical Salthouse design and not only does it carry the name with high aplomb, the finish and fit-out is world class.

When you first walk aboard you can’t help but be impressed. Right from the one-piece curved stairwell handrail and high gloss cherry timber to the often-unseen engineering systems, everything is faultless. Salthouse Marine has once again produced a remarkably well-balanced vessel in every respect.

Setting the mood, the saloon is enriched with high gloss cherry timber and soft cream leather furnishings, plus the night time LED lighting provides a relaxed ambience. There is the usual large flat screen TV and excellent surround sound to listen to DVDs or simply catch up on the latest news through the Intel system.

The main saloon area is divided between an exceptionally generous galley aft and an equally large dining and entertaining area forward. With no forward windscreen, all the available area has been used up for storage space.

The well-equipped galley has twin convection microwave/ovens and an F&P dish drawer beneath the Corian bench top, plus ample storage lockers and drawers. Opposite is a full household-size fridge/freezer combo finished with matching timber veneer facings and an easily accessible switch and control panel locker.

The sense of connection between the galley and the alfresco dining area has been heightened thanks to the enlarged drop-down rear window. There is a nifty drop-in Corian servery counter that fits over the void left by the recessed window.

Situated forward on the port side, the dinette has the capability to seat eight comfortably for an evening meal, with a multi purpose table that can be set at either dining or coffee table height. Plus, if you have a few more guests to cater for, then it can also be transformed into another double berth.

To starboard is a settee that can also double as an extra berth. Aft is the very necessary entertainment centre, with a drinks and glass cabinet. There is also separate wine storage in racks under the main loungers.

Three-Cabin Layout

While there is provision made elsewhere on the boat for overnight guests, the three cabins, two-ensuite layout of SummerSalt is more than adequate on most occasions. With the ability to customise the layout, this is another area that tends to be given special ‘owner attention’.

In the case of SummerSalt the layout has remained very much the same as previous Salthouse 65s and the previous 68, although the master queen bed is athwartships as opposed to fore and aft. The rear bulkhead includes a generous full size wardrobe and vanity unit, with ample drawers and lockers. The bed base can be raised by an electric actuator to access the copious storage area beneath.

The Corian vanity counter in the ensuite is highlighted with a raised glass bowl, cherry timber accents, heated towel rail and a sizeable shower stall with multiple shower heads.

The smaller of the two guest cabins is fitted out with upper and lower single berths, a large hanging locker and overhead hatches for extra light and ventilation. As in all cabins, air conditioning keeps the room at the desired temperature.

The forward VIP suite shares the same bathroom as the other guest cabin and mirrors the fit-out of the owners’ ensuite. Central is an island berth with good access either side and plenty of built-in storage lockers and shelves throughout. There are no side ports but there are opening overhead hatches. The LED lights not only set the mood in the evening but they can also be adjusted to provide handy night lights.


The flybridge is very much to the standard Salthouse 68 layout with a large L-shaped settee that converts to a Queen size berth to port and an ottoman that also doubles as a table. Opposite is a wet bar with storage under and the internal staircase that leads to the saloon below.

SummerSalt features a full width forward helm with carbon fibre inlay, (owners’ choice) as opposed to the conventional burl timber and runs a trio of 15” Raymarine G Series screens. Twin fully electric Besenzoni chairs provide the comfort stations for the skipper and a guest, with an additional double seat on the starboard side.

A new development on SummerSalt is that the rear electric drop-down window has now been extended to almost full width and the upper deck door opens outwards. The harshness of the rear bulkhead has been transformed and there is a smooth blend between the internal and external areas upstairs. Once out on the aft deck your guests have the comfort of a full width lounger and there is also a strategically placed docking station to help the skipper when manoeuvring into and out of the berth. This includes auto switches for twin AutoCleats fixed into the port side coamings, which gives the skipper complete control of mooring line release from the helm at the touch of a button. (See Sidebar)


Larger Alfresco

For me, the signature Salthouse alfresco area in the forward raised cockpit is the piece-de-resistance on SummerSalt. I love the way the whole internal and external areas blend so smoothly together. The rear bulkhead window is now even bigger and when you’re done with entertaining or dining around the U-shaped settee, the table drops down to make yet another temporary berth. There is even an overhead air conditioning duct so cool air can fall on you when required.

Opposite and hidden behind closed doors is the laundry with separate washer and dryer units and aft of that the day head complete with Corian vanity top and raised glass bowl. The aft area of the cockpit is certainly dedicated for fun and fishing. There is a built-in Gaggnenau hot plate and BBQ, live bait tank/rubbish compactor, twin door U-tec refrigeration, plenty of storage options and a super wide full width transom platform with separate single door access. Stainless steel rails drop in for extra safety when at rest.

There is also a port side docking winch and large storage lockers in the lazarette beneath the teak cockpit sole. A twin fill Ocean Pro dive compressor also allows for fully sealed engine and cockpit  hatches with the benefits of additional security and being absolutely  watertight.

Long Range Cruiser

SummerSalt is powered by twin MTU8V 2000 Series 1200hp engines, the same engine package as The Club. However, the following two Salthouse 68s have the larger MTU10V 2000 Series 1500hp, with other engine options from Caterpillar or triple Volvo Penta IPS900s also available.

During sea trials SummerSalt recorded 32 knots with the tender still on the fore deck, which exceeded the Surmans’ expectations. “We have an incredibly economical boat that offers in excess of a 3000 nautical mile range at 8 knots, giving the best of both worlds”, said Kyle.

At 1500 rpm, SummerSalt returns a speed of 14.4 knots, burning 117L/h for both engines and a range of over 900NM. At 2200 rpm and a speed of 23.5 knots, the range is still a reasonable 500-plusNM for a total fuel burn of 343L/h.

During the sea trial the Surmans had the opportunity of crossing the Hauraki Gulf for about 3 hours into 54-knot winds, at about 14 knots in a 2-3m swell, which is about the best water leak test you could put a new boat through and SummerSalt came through with no leaks with the exception of only two small cockpit lights, which were fixed and replaced immediately upon their return to Auckland.

To complement the above experience, after a comprehensive handover process and sea trial period the new owners took the opportunity to cruise around the Hauraki Gulf and north to Whangaroa and the Poor Knights.

“Our family lived onboard with different friends and relatives coming and going over approximately 10 weeks, which is a great shake down for any new boat and we did it without any problems”, said Kyle.

He adds, “The total experience of building a boat with Salthouse Marine and the opportunity to cruise around New Zealand has meant that Terri has already agreed that we can do it all again in 10 years’ time or less, but this time cruising for longer!


Summersalt is fitted with a couple of AutoCleats, which the owner says makes his docking that much easier.

Imagine being able to release your boat’s mooring lines at the press of a button. No more turning your guests into crew, complete control at the push of a button. The AutoCleat will release any line configuration – loop, figure 8, or slip knot, or practically anything – with ease.

The AutoCleat is the only mooring cleat that allows you to release your mooring lines, regardless of how the line is secured to the cleat and also retracts flush into deck.

The AutoCleat provides a strong, secure mooring point while berthed, then at the push of a button, retracts flush to the deck when not required. Your valuable surfaces become safe and uncluttered. No more stubbed toes, snagged fishing lines or halyards.

Cast from a high strength, corrosion resistant stainless steel, the horns of the AutoCleat give exceptionally high side load carrying capacity. The remaining components are manufactured from marine grade materials and composites. The AutoCleat comes complete with a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects!

The AutoCleat has been designed to enable simple installation for the marine fitter or home handyman. Installation takes just a few minutes with some simple tools. Only two low amperage wires are needed to power it up.

Due to the unique design of the crossing ‘horns’ the AutoCleat secures the mooring line above the deck not on the deck and thus reducing line wear on the boat! The AutoCleat comes standard with a Power Failure Override (PFO) button located in the deck plate. This allows the unit to be operated in the event of boat electrical power failure.

The AutoCleat gives the skipper complete control of mooring line release from the helm at the touch of a button.


  • Design Name: Salthouse 68
  • Boat Name:  Summer Salt
  • Year Launched: 2009
  • Designer: Bob Salthouse
  • Interior Designer:   In-house / Owner
  • Builder: Salthouse Marine
  • Classification: Lloyds
  • LOA:   20.7m
  • Beam: 5.60m
  • Draft: 1.50m
  • Displacement: 40.5 tonnes
  • Max Speed:  31.5 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 23.0 knots
  • Construction: GRP/Balsa core
  • Fuel Cap: 8250 litres
  • Water Cap: 1000 litres
  • Blackwater Cap: 950 litres
  • Engines Make: 2 x MTU2000 8VM93s @ 1200hp
  • Gearboxes:   Twin Disc

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