Sealine may not be the most common brand plying American waters, but the 30-year-old English company has gained a solid foothold in the States, and its future seems bright. Sealine's 14-acre facility in Kidderminster, England, produces about 300 boats a year from 23 to 51 feet LOA.
In June 2001, marine industry giant Brunswick Corporation added Sealine to its venerable fleet. Sealine certainly extends Brunswick's international reach, but it's clear to me after testing the new F42/5 Flybridge Motor Yacht there is more to the purchase: innovation.
Since Donald Campbell paired a jet engine with a boat and set a world speed record in 1957, the English have demonstrated a passion for thinking outside the box in nautical terms. Consider Sealine's approach to length overall on the F42/5. In a competitive market, yacht designers view a boat's envelope, particularly its length and beam, as limiting factors. Some trifle with model names, rounding up to the nearest foot, and others combine words such as "full" or "wide" with "beam" to enhance proportion.
Instead of wandering this worn path, Sealine came up with the Extending Cockpit System. Push a button, and the F42/5's teak-covered afterdeck grows. The settee slides aft on tracks, adding almost 3 feet to the afterdeck and extending the swim platform over the water.
Imagine checking in at the dock office with a 42-footer and having cocktails on a 45-footer. Should the weather be inclement, simply open the overhead boot and deploy the enclosure folded neatly within. It's a brilliant sort of reverse convertible top.
More common afterdeck assets on the F42/5 include molded-in accommodations for a refrigerator or an ice maker, and a sink or an electric barbecue. The designer intended the cocktail table to be stowed in the afterdeck's overhead compartment, but our test boat had PFDs in this spot and the table in the lazarette. This makes more sense, as both are more easily accessed. The swim platform is designed to carry a 101/2-foot inflatable tender, and owners have the option of installing a combination davit/passerelle.
A molded-in stairway leads to the teak-sole flying bridge, which has a helm station, a seating area and a sunning platform. Here, too, Sealine's innovative nature is clear.
The helm station's modular design makes it adaptable to a variety of electronics. The low radar arch is a familiar concession to styling that Europeans seem fond of, but I recommend the raised scanner platform that is offered. It reduces the chances of cooking a guest and improves radar performance, which is dependent on line of sight.
When it's time to entertain, the helm bench seat swings aft, backrests on the sunpad flip up and a portable table can be fitted. A molded-in cabinet can accommodate a refrigerator or an ice maker.
Our test boat's standard interior was finished with high-gloss cherry veneer and accented with leather and high-quality hardware. A U-shape sofa is available with internal stowage or as a convertible berth. I would opt for the additional stowage, as beer and peanuts are often more useful than guests. An adjustable table has a folding top and can be used for cocktails or dining. A club chair with an ottoman can be drawn tableside, and a built-in entertainment center houses a stereo system and a flat-screen TV.
The galley is a step down, finished with a teak-and-holly sole and outfitted with a stainless-steel sink, a microwave convection oven and dual-voltage refrigeration. Overhead bin-style stowage and cleverly designed pullout cabinets enhance access. Fitted glassware and bottle stowage keep things in place. In-sole stowage is fitted with a fiberglass liner and is suited for cruising stores.
A raised interior helm station with deep, automotive-style seating should provide a comfortable perch in inclement weather. Sight lines from this position are excellent.
Below, a portion of the mid-stateroom tucks beneath the helm. The cabin has two single berths that can be joined to make a double. The stateroom can also function as an office and is equipped with a small vanity/desk. The head/shower is accessible from the stateroom and the passageway, which makes it useful as a day head.
The master is forward, with a queen berth and a private head with separate stall shower.
The F42/5 has a solid fiberglass hull bottom supported by a closely spaced network of longitudinal and transverse fiberglass stiffeners. Combinations of stitched and woven reinforcements are used with polyester resin. Balsa-coring stiffens the hull sides, decks and superstructure, and molded fiberglass liners define the interior.
Poking about in the bilges, I noted the tidy fiberglass work and systems I have come to expect from English boatbuilders.
A 13.5kW generator in a sound shield is aft in the lazarette, and main engine service points are accessible from a hatch in the cockpit and one in the saloon. Access is tight because of the low overhead and the aluminum fuel tanks, which are positioned outboard of the engines. Additional hatches in the saloon sole can be lifted if necessary.
Our test boat had a pair of Cummins' new 480C-Es, the 480 hp, electronic version of the venerable six-cylinder 450C. I am a fan of the latter, and while I'm an analog kind of guy, I know electronics are the future. The 480C-Es' performance in the F42/5 is hard to beat.
She rises quickly to a plane without a cloud of smoke and loafs along easily at 2200 rpm, making 24.8 knots. The Cummins electronics indicated a fuel burn of 28 gallons per hour. At 2400 rpm, speed was 27.9 knots with a fuel burn of 35 gallons per hour. She topped out at 31.5 knots.
The F42/5 delivers impressive performance in part because Sealine's designers were not greedy in terms of her interior envelope. The 13-foot, 10-inch beam is pleasingly trim for her length, and her 16-degree deadrise is appropriate for her service.
She responds smartly to input from the helm at speed, and while seas were mild during our sea trial, my sense is that she would deliver a dry, comfortable ride in more challenging conditions. Her bow thruster, while not necessary for a boat of this size and powering, is handy dockside.
Base price with the Cummins 480C-Es, air conditioning, a generator and a strong list of standard features is $479,194, which is competitive compared with other boats in this class.
Global Yachts International, Sealine's exclusive North American importer, has delivered hundreds of Sealine boats during the past seven years. I expect continued success in light of Brunswick's ownership and boats such as the F42/5 Flybridge Motor Yacht.
Contact: Global Yachts International, (305) 371-2628; fax (305) 371-4420; www.globalyachts.com.