The plastic covers had just been removed from the soft, flawless leather hides. The warm, burl walnut dash glistened. The new car smell hit me like a wall of scent as I opened the solid, tank-like door. Gripping the leather-and-wood trimmed wheel, I drove the new Jaguar XJ-8 north on U.S. 1 from Vero Beach, Florida, on a balmy winter evening, the stereo system humming and the climate set to my preference. Scents, textures and gadgets combined to form a sumptuous environment, defining luxury.
That was years ago. During a recent test of the Sealine T47, the same sensory overload proved this boat just as luxurious, just as spirited. Twin 480 hp Volvo TAMD74P EDC diesels purred and thrust her to a top speed of 31 knots at 2650 rpm. She laughed at the stacked 3- to 5-foot seas churning in Long Island Sound. At maximum rpm, we recorded a very respectable 79 decibels on the bridge. With 20 degrees on the trim tabs, she allowed only a mist of salt water to hit the decks.
It's easy to lay out electronics on the flying bridge. The console incorporates three burl wood veneer panels and accommodates radar, chart plotter, autopilot, VHF, stereo controls, depth gauge and a few other gadgets. The centerline helm seat manually moves forward and aft, and rotates 90 degrees toward the outboard side to create a full circle of seating. This arrangement works great when entertaining dockside, but it's less convenient while under way. With three people on the bridge, the third person must sit awkwardly on the starboard fore and aft seat, or on the two seats abaft on the sunpad. When we encountered a few bigger seas, I grabbed for a handrail from the forward seating area, but none was within reach.
The teak deck on the flying bridge wraps down the molded FRP steps to the cockpit. If you want to keep children on the bridge or rain out of the cockpit, the stairway can be sealed off by a pocket sliding door that stows under the sunpad area. Abaft the sunpad, the winged mast carries a SeaTel, radar and aerials. A six-person Switlik liferaft stows snugly under the mast.
Docking from the flying bridge should be no problem. Looking down through the opening to the afterdeck, your eyes are directed aft through the transom gate, affording a good view of the massive swim platform.
To shake off the day's chill, we ducked below to the lower station. I'm a big fan of lower stations and have used them in the cold, heat and rain. During a recent trip from the Keys aboard another motoryacht, however, I found myself constantly walking on deck to look at a blind spot aft, to port. Not so on the T47. Visibility is excellent. The bubble-like saloon doors abaft provide an unobstructed view over the transom, and the raised platform for the double helm seats affords a good line of sight through the side windows. More important, the line of sight over the bow is good because of the T47's good riding characteristics. The seats are comfortable, and the gauges are convenient. As with the rest of the interior, leather and wood wrap the helm.
Abaft the lower station, the saloon oozes luxury. A bolstered U-shape leather settee to starboard surrounds a cherry table that folds out for dining. Cherry cabinetry is finished with nine coats of varnish to provide a mirror-like glow. The finishing method, Capt. Scott Jennings noted, is the same proprietary process used by Yamaha Pianos.
Two levels of windows in the main saloon let guests see out whether sitting or standing. The saloon's port side is primarily dedicated to entertaining. A full-height entertainment center incorporates a home theater system with surround sound, VCR and TV. Our test boat had an optional flat-screen TV. The elliptical bar is like a piece of perfectly placed sculpture, enhanced by a backlit glass rack and a raised marble counter. I could sense the soothing atmosphere the T47 takes on at night, with extensive indirect lighting, jazz in the background and a chilled bottle of bubbly on the bar.
The galley one step down to port resembles a fine piece of furniture. Except for the exposed cooktop and faucet, it's hard to identify this space as a galley. Two Sub-Zero under-counter refrigerator drawers are installed flush. A third refrigerator by Coolmatic is installed under the counter. In the past, Coolmatic's service in the States was non-existent. Today, it is a full service network through cooperation with Adler/Barbour, Inc. Stowage is plentiful for galleyware and food, and the opening Bomar hatch above the deep double sink provides ventilation.
Stepping forward, I discovered the boat's most confusing area. Which of the two staterooms is the master? Both the forward and mid-cabin offer space and appointments that make designating the VIP a tossup. The only noticeable difference is the mid-cabin's en suite head, which qualifies the stateroom as the master. The walkaround berth is pushed outboard to afford space for stowage, a hanging locker and a vanity. A flat-screen TV, a full-length mirror, a separate air-conditioning control, two opening ports and soft fabrics ensure the same level of luxury as in the main saloon. The en suite head includes a large shower stall, a marble counter, a Grohe faucet and an electric MSD.
The guest head to port features similar amenities and doubles as a day head while cruising. The forward stateroom is full of natural light and air thanks to two opening ports and an overhead hatch. A flat-screen TV, indirect lighting, two hanging lockers and a walkaround berth create a suite-like VIP worthy of any megayacht.
If you need an extra stateroom for kids or crew, there is a cozy crew cabin below the afterdeck. Access is via a ladder under the aft stern seat. The MSD, washer/dryer and berth are tight by U.S. standards but provide a nice option in a pinch.
Engineroom access is forward from the commodious lazarette. Service points are accessible, and there is additional access from the saloon for more extensive service.
The afterdeck is where you would find me on a warm evening. The entire space can be sealed off from the elements by the retracting enclosure within minutes (a Sealine trademark). The standard teak deck chairs stow neatly in the overhead, and a wet bar with grill, refrigerator and L-shape settee create the stage for one heck of a gathering.
At about $765,000 fully equipped, the Sealine T47 is priced where it should be when compared to similarly equipped boats. That this luxurious motoryacht is also a great sea boat only sweetens the pot.
Contact: Global Yachts International, (305) 371-2628; fax (305) 371-4420; www.globalyachts.com.
The majority of Sealine T47s imported to the United States by Global Yachts in Miami are equipped with twin 450 hp Cummins 6CTA8.3 diesels. The in-line, six-cylinder 450 Cummins is turbocharged and aftercooled with easily accessed service points. Our test boat had Volvo TAMD74Ps with Volvo's Electronic Diesel Control System that electronically controls such items as operating temperature and air pressure. Both packages are well matched to the Sealine, though I recommend reviewing service centers in your cruising grounds to see which engines might be best for you. -G.S.