When Florida yacht broker Robert Bell flew to Turkey to inspect a 130-foot custom motoryacht being built for a client at the R.B. Dereli yard, he had no intention of becoming the worldwide distributor for a new 40-footer.
But Bell received a ride in a prototype commuter yacht. Built by Dereli to megayacht standards and with surprising performance, the prototype intrigued Bell, and the result is the DayTripper 40.
Designed by the Dereli staff in conjunction with Ed Fry, whose background includes high-performance boats for Navy SEAL teams as well as large yachts, the DayTripper is a thoroughly likable and thoughtfully engineered entry into the popular "lobster yacht market.
High Modulus, a leader in composite technology, did the structural engineering for the DayTripper, and Dereli builds it from a brew of epoxy resin, E-glass, carbon fiber, and hybrid Kevlar over a Divinycell foam core-all of which reduce weight without sacrificing strength or stiffness.
Each DayTripper is hand-built, from bare hull through the last coat of varnish. Meeting American Bureau of Shipping standards and using systems that are easily maintained in America, the result is a luxurious, dependable and stylish weekender.
The sweet sheerline, proud bow and graceful tumblehome make this a particularly lovely yacht, and the interior, with its flawless joinery, Ralph Lauren fabrics and comfortable layout, is no less stylish.
Unlike some yachts of this genre, the DayTripper has a wide teak-planked afterdeck that can be a spacious sunpad or simply access to the teak swim platform. Either way, it moves the usual transom bench seat forward so guests have wind and spray protection behind the cabin. A very neat arrangement.
A soft enclosure seals the pilothouse for all-season use, but it can easily be removed for fresh air. The L-shape settee with teak table is to port, but the layout is flexible and can be arranged to suit an owner's needs. The helm provides a great line of sight, and its leather Opacmare electric pedestal seat seems to adjust in every direction. Mathers shifters are standard, and the dashboard holds a comprehensive Furuno and Simrad electronics package, which includes GPS, 48-mile radar, chart plotter and autopilot.
That brings up an important point about the DayTripper 40: just about everything is standard. When I asked Bell to point out the options on our well-equipped test boat, he looked around, grinned and said, "There are none.
Step below, and you enter a comfortable cabin seemingly carved from a single block of teak. Except for the white-finished overhead planked Herreshoff-style (surprise-it's composite!) and the holly-stripped sole, there is nothing but warm satin-finished teak. The wet-head (port side) has room for a household-size ceramic Raritan electric MSD, which is set up for use with either fresh or salt water. A two-couple dinette is to starboard, opposite a compact galley with two-burner cooktop, under-counter fridge and built-in microwave.
Forward, the V-berth becomes a spacious double. Twin hanging lockers and a Lewmar hatch in the overhead complete the cabin. While the cabin house seems low from the outside, the rising sheer gives the DayTripper 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom throughout the living areas.
Theoretically, five adults may sleep aboard the 40 by converting the dinette and the cockpit table, but who wants to? This boat is perfect for a Friday afternoon escape, a weekend cruise, or a run to a cove for a swim. Take a crowd of friends out for the day, but send them packing and settle in by yourselves at night.
The solid construction and luxurious finish are two attractions of the DayTripper 40, but the propulsion system-a pair of Yanmar 350 hp diesels coupled to Hamilton waterjets-is just as intriguing, allowing the DayTripper to venture without worry into shallow water.
Because Fry designed the hull specifically for waterjets, it takes full advantage of this propulsion. A descendant of the Fry-designed Navy jet boats, it has nacelles that provide a dense stream of water from the jets and help reduce skidding in turns. Forward, the deadrise is 44 degrees, warping to 20 degrees amidships at the forward end of the planing surface, so the ride is soft even in short and steep seas.
Under way, the DayTripper 40 is pure fun. Throttle response is instantaneous and, though our test runs were slowed by a slightly fouled bottom, we still topped out at 34 knots. With a clean bottom, the DayTripper should run 36-37 knots without effort, according to the builder.
Jets take a bit of learning when it comes to maneuvering, but the DayTripper is delivered with a standard Maxpower 10-inch bowthruster to simplify handling. A joystick steering control is optional, but the predictable and fast response from the wood-rimmed wheel should satisfy most owners.
Placing the engines aft makes service easy, since the entire afterdeck hinges upward on hydraulic lifts to fully expose the systems. A quick look around shows a seamanlike attention to securing the wiring and plumbing and providing good access to service points. A Northern Lights 5kW genset is tucked into a sound shield, and is virtually silent when running.
The seven-page list of standard equipment includes a generator, dual-zone air conditioning (cabin and pilothouse), bow thruster, full electronics, granite counters, Awlgrip finish, Muir anchor windlass, and yet the base price remains less than $500,000.
It may have been propinquity that put Robert Bell aboard that commuter yacht in Turkey, but it's just plain good news for the rest of us.
Contact: Alliance Marine Inc., (954) 941-5000, www.ayacht.net.