Light changes everything. From my first glance at the saloon and lower helm station of the T60, I knew that Sealine's naval architect, designers and engineers embraced this concept completely. Combined with large side windows and a three-section glass-and-stainless opening bulkhead aft, the new T60 offers sweeping views of the waters on all sides to family and friends relaxing or entertaining in the saloon. You expect this kind of outside/inside transparency from much larger yachts.
I settled into the comfortable embrace of the leather captain's chair at the lower helm to take in the layout and the view. Again, I was impressed by the sight lines available for boat operation. In less than optimum weather, both open water navigation and low-speed maneuvering should not be a challenge. Natural light bathed the controls and instruments at the helm, flooding down from two opening skylights set into the deckhouse brow. Every switch and screen was crisply illuminated, and even on the sun-drenched waters of the English Channel off the coast of Jersey, glare was not a problem.
Sealine, at the behest of its chairman, Gerard Wainwright, had invited me and a number of marine journalists and dealers to preview the new T60 in waters known for 40-foot tidal ranges and somewhat less than hospitable weather. His timing and meteorological connections couldn't have been better, however, because we enjoyed two days of near-perfect conditions to evaluate the company's latest luxury motor yacht. Fortunately, Sealine also provided two of their other yachts, an F43/5 motor yacht and an S48 sport cruiser, that not only made photographing and observing the T60 from a close distance possible, they also generated substantially sloppy wakes for our ride evaluation.
And what a ride it was. Moving the Twin Disc electronic controls forward produced an instantaneous yet smooth surge of power from the twin 800-hp Caterpillar 3406E diesels. We achieved a cruising speed of 25 knots in 18 seconds and a top speed of 30 knots in 28 seconds, according to figures compiled by David Marsh, technical editor for Motor Boat & Yachting, one of Yachting's sister publications produced by IPC in England.
Deep-V sections forward parted the low waves of St. Brelade's Bay and the confused array of taller wakes from the other yachts with equal aplomb. Finger-tip changes of the wheel driving the power steering netted quick minor course corrections to otherwise steady tracking. The modest sections aft combined with wide chines gave lift for faster planing as well as good roll-dampening when the helm was put hard over. The T60 banked comfortably into turns, carving precise circles at cruising speed that inspired handling confidence. The yacht had a sportboat's handling feel, but the ride was never uncomfortable. At the dock, confidence continued with a bow and an optional stern thruster that allowed the T60 to be pivoted precisely in place or slid gently sideways with good control into tight docking spaces.
Once we were back at the dock, access to the deck proved easy. A starboard watertight door allowed quick access fore and aft from the lower helm, while teak-tred stairs led to the cockpit from the flying bridge.
The curved stainless-and-glass cabin entrance includes two sliding panels which open wide to connect the galley and dinette area to the cockpit-another smart design stroke that helps bring natural light and ventilation to the yacht's interior. The touch of a switch engages the Sealine Extendable Cockpit System and lengthens the cockpit, so that more room is available for al fresco dining and entertaining. The galley is very close at hand, but beautifully executed in pear wood veneer cabinetry, Kirkstone granite countertops and a wide array of stainless steel appliances. Wenge hardwood floors add a bold, dark touch of luxury.
Deep pile carpet and soft leather seating are soothing elements of the raised saloon seating area just abaft the lower helm station. Outdoor visibility for guests is outstanding from this area.
Another benefit of the overhead skylights mentioned earlier is increased illumination of the portside stairs descending to the lower deck accommodations. Leather upholstered panels visibly connect the stairs with the helm while providing cushioning against bulkhead contacts in open water. At the bottom of the stairs, you'll find a combination washer/dryer in the small hallway that connects the amidships master stateroom, the starboard guest cabin and the forward VIP guest cabin-all with en suite heads with granite countertops.
The full-width master stateroom is beautifully decorated with custom fabrics and finely fitted furniture inlaid with ebony and Madrona burl. The vanity has a stitched leather top and multiple drawers beneath, all overlooked by custom blinds that rotate and raise to reveal the outside waters through forward-canted portlights. The cabin is very private and quiet, due in great part to the soundproofing technology Sealine employs to isolate the accommodations from the engineroom and the saloon.
Fun to drive, lit wonderfully and built to Sealine's exacting specifications, the new T60 earns its place as the flagship of this well-known English builder's fleet.
Contact: Global Yachts, (305) 371-2628. www.globalyachts.com.