In the Orient, generations have strict lines of demarcation. There are the young, who tend to be a little rough around the edges, and the adults, who have gained worldly experience. Then, there are the elders, who have not only experience, but wisdom, too.
The same is true of boatyards. The number of builders in the Far East with the wisdom and experience needed to produce yachts of world-challenging quality can be counted on one hand. Ocean Alexander's new 780 Motoryacht, the latest build from the quarter-century-old yard, proves the company is clearly among the elders.
The 780 may have been built in Taiwan, but she is the result of international collaboration with an American team of designers and stylists. Ed Monk Jr. penned the seaworthy hull; hydrodynamicist Ed Hagemann refined the lines to give her a 24-knot top speed; and structural naval architect Tim Nolan oversaw her rugged, rock-solid construction. Johnny Chueh of Ocean Alexander in Seattle set the tone for the layout and décor, which was carried out by Jon Pokela Designs.
The result is a thoroughly likable, luxuriously finished pilothouse motoryacht with a North American flavor. In keeping with the woodworking abilities of the yard, paneling and cabinetry on the main deck are high-gloss teak, while soles are teak and inlaid granite. Lower decks are finished in a figured anigre, with stained teak and camphor burl serving as accents throughout.
The interior paintwork is just as striking, with automotive-style, metallic red and bronze Du Pont finishes used innovatively and applied flawlessly.
The saloon is stylish, with a black-leather settee facing twin airline chairs over a half-round coffee table that conceals an ottoman. The teak has been stained a warm, reddish tone reminiscent of mahogany, while natural teak panels accent the doors on the credenzas. Suede wall coverings appear on some bulkheads.
Large windows surround the saloon, making their presence felt with abundant light and panoramic views. A forward game table can be used for intimate dining, and a 42-inch plasma TV, mounted above the burled bowfront buffet in the forward bulkhead, doubles as a rotating art display.
The country kitchen-style galley is striking, with bronze-lacquered cabinets and an inlaid granite-and-teak sole. Black-granite counters are trimmed in teak, bringing out the color of the dinette's buttery leather. Here, an underlit table glows at night. Aside from the stainless-steel GE appliances, gourmet chefs will particularly enjoy the Gaggenau gas stove.
In the absence of a formal dining area on the main deck, the afterdeck serves admirably, with a settee at the transom and a pair of cleverly designed cocktail tables that merge into a single dining table at the touch of a button. A big DCS barbecue is to starboard, and a wet bar is to port against the forward bulkhead.
The accommodations are unusual, with a full-beam master suite aft, a VIP stateroom forward and, in place of the usual guest cabin, a media room/office to port of the foyer. A 32-inch Fujitsu flat-panel plasma TV pops up from the built-in desk and is viewable from a comfy settee that converts to a double berth. For office use, a chair is concealed in the front portion of the computer desk, and to keep the area bright, the inner bulkhead opens to the foyer with translucent sliding shojis. There is an oversize head with a shower and hanging locker-handy for when the area serves as a guest room.
The master suite includes a bowfront bureau, flat-screen TV, shoji-covered ports and ribbon-grain anigre bulkheads with burl insets in the doors. The marbled his-and-her head is aft, with a large jacuzzi to port and an oversize shower to starboard. Interesting design elements of the suite include a rounded loveseat and similarly shaped vanity, which cleverly conceal the workings of the stabilizers.
The queen-size VIP is similarly finished, with intricate doors with burl inlays, shojis and a large head with shower.
The large pilothouse on the Ocean Alexander 86 proved such a success the company duplicated it on the 780. Twin electric Stidd helm chairs are behind a triple-screen burl dashboard, and large windows provide great lines of sight, including aft over the Hi-Lo dining table. The door to the afterdeck separates the day head from the wet bar by the dinette, and two additional doors open to the Portuguese bridge, where plug-ins handle MTU Blue Line remote engine controls.
Twin overhead hatches and opening aft windows provide ample natural ventilation. For strength, aluminum beams are used throughout the 780, including in the mullions of the pilothouse's 12mm tempered-glass windscreens. The afterdeck, with its remote-control 3,000-pound-capacity Steelhead crane, can handle large tenders. There is also direct access to the afterdeck, but the stairs are a bit steep and variably spaced.
The double captain's cabin, reached by stairs from the afterdeck or a watertight transom door, is aft and includes a private head with shower, while the lounge area has a second washer/dryer. The engineroom, with twin 1,500 hp MTU diesels, is well organized for access to all systems, including the 32kW and 20kW Northern Lights gensets and hydraulic power takeoffs for the ABT bowthruster, sternthruster and stabilizers.
Wide side decks, with bridge overhangs for protection from sun and rain, make line handling easy. Even better, the high bulwarks are topped by oversize, oval stainless-steel rails, providing a 42-inch height from cockpit to bow. The rails also surround the Portuguese bridge and boat deck.
Stainless-steel hawse pipes double as freeing ports along the deck, and the bollards are fitted inside so nothing intrudes on the side decks. Forward, twin gull-wing doors provide stowage for deck gear in the house, and an oversize striker plate protects the hull from the self-nesting CQR stainless-steel anchor.
When the 780 is under way, it's evident her design team spent time making the hull slippery, since we topped out at 24 knots with the MTUs. Even better, the extensive soundproofing I spotted in the engineroom, as well as the company's effort to isolate vibration and structure-borne noise, clearly paid off.
We had flat water for our test, but based on my previous experience with Monk-designed Ocean Alexander hulls, I'm certain the 780 will be a comfortable, seaworthy yacht offshore.
Built to high standards using the wisdom and experience of a well-regarded builder, the Ocean Alexander 780 Motoryacht has so many great features she should find ready acceptance in the North American market.
Contact: Ocean Alexander, (206) 344-8566; www.oceanalexander.com. For more information, contact: (866) 922-4877