I first heard of Intrepid while serving as a design consultant at Broward Marine in the 1980s. Back then it seemed that every new Broward motoryacht owner ordered a new Intrepid. The boats were customized to suit each owner's interests and served as beloved second boats towed astern. As this generation of yachtsmen advanced, so did Intrepid, building bigger and more sophisticated boats. This memory crossed my mind when I spotted the robust stainless steel tow eye on the stem of the 430 Sport Yacht, Intrepid's latest launch.
As was the case with the first models, the 430's soft, shapely lines and innovative layout set her apart from other similar boats. She is Intrepid's vision of what comes after a large center console and what a sport yacht should be. Whether serving as a weekender, a watersports platform, or a megayacht tender, she delivers performance with style. Like her larger sister, the 475 Sport Yacht, she is a response to customers that liked the smaller 390 but wanted private sleeping accommodations separated from the main cabin. The 430 hits the mark, achieving a unique blend of indoor and outdoor space in a smaller, more efficient package. While she has a foot less beam and is four and a half feet shorter than the 475, her arrangement seems competitive.
The 430 is trim enough to be towed behind a megayacht and used for water play, yet she is large enough for a couple to spend a week aboard cruising the Bahamas. Our test boat would serve well in both roles as she was equipped for towing and was fitted with optional air-conditioning and a generator. The 7 kW diesel unit was tucked amidships beneath the cockpit lounge and plumbed to a dedicated 25-gallon fuel tank. Incidentally, when I stepped aboard, both the Yamaha four-strokes and the generator were purring along so quietly, I took no notice of them.
The 430 offers many of the design features that Intrepid has pioneered as well as a few new tricks. The slick drop-down switch panel at the helm, the fuel-fill tap hidden discreetly beneath a door in the coaming and the hull-side water access door were expected. The hull-side windows are similar in style to the 475's. The airinduction system in the foredeck that feeds the breeze to the helm area was something new, as was the electrically actuated seat/sunpad. These creative touches keep Intrepid customers coming back for more. Owners also have a say in their boat's design. For example a molded arch usually supports the 430's hardtop but our test boat's owner requested more traditional anodized aluminum pipework. Her engines were color-coordinated with the hull-a custom touch Intrepid owners favor.
I found the same attention to detail in the 430's interior. Intricately tooled interior liners form the foundation for the modular high-gloss cherry cabinetwork. The clean and tidy result is accented with quality soft goods and hardware. The galley area has a Corian countertop with a stainless steel sink, a microwave, and drawer-style refrigeration. A nice touch is the self-securing European drawer system with stainless steel drawer trays. A settee opposite the galley converts to a bunk, and a built-in seat and platform berth are forward. The owner's cabin is amidships, tucked beneath the helm. The head has a separate stall shower. The lighted hanging locker is a nice touch, however the carpet lining seems off key. I would prefer to see cedar instead.
Performance has always been a part of Intrepid's appeal and the builder has mastered the art of tuning stepped hulls to pleasurecraft applications. Steps are employed to induce lift and reduce drag. Proper ventilation is essential to avoid suction and the 430's notched chine is effective. Step placement is critical to a boat's balance and trim and the 430's seems ideal. She climbs to plane at just 15 knots with no significant bow rise and at speed she is not overly stiff longitudinally. A touch of tab engaged her fine forward sections with the chop in the Gulf of Mexico. Her power-assist steering is silky smooth and her synchronized dual-lever controls are a brilliant solution to a triple-engine setup. And is she fun to drive! I collected our numbers in the calm waters of the ICW and noted a maximum speed of 49.7 knots. The Yamaha electronics indicated a fuel burn of 38.2 gph cruising at 32.8 knots while turning 4000 rpm.
After my sea trial, I took a tour of Intrepid's production facility in Largo, Florida. Much had changed since my last visit several years ago. New computer-controlled routers have been added and were busy cutting the prelaminated cored panels that form the closely spaced network of stringers, bulkheads, and web frames supporting the 430's hull. The same sort of technology was being used to cut reinforcements and interior and exterior finish materials. The most significant update was in the lamination shop where parts-including the 430's deck and liners-are now being resin-infused instead of hand-laminated. This method creates a consistent resinto- glass ratio that optimizes a laminate's strength and eliminates unnecessary weight. Hulls are still laminated by hand with solid bottoms and foam coring in the topsides. The ones I inspected in the mold were expertly crafted. All major parts, including the hull, cockpit, and deck, are molded in white gelcoat. Optional colors are offered in linear urethane paint. While Intrepid's physical facility has grown over the years, it remains a simple collection of steel buildings. It is the innovative spirit within that drives the company. During my visit, Intrepid's 300 employees were working a six-day week building about 170 boats a year.
Intrepid owners have high expectations and the builder always seems to deliver. Many good customers often preorder their new Intrepids sight unseen. Six 430's were ordered before the first hull was out of the mold. I am quite certain these folks realized a new Intrepid was a good bet and I know they won't be disappointed.
Intrepid Powerboats, (954) 922-7544; www.intrepidboats.com