Whether they carry crew or not, all three yachts have luxuriously fitted crew cabins with entry through a watertight door from the transom platform. Each has a mini galley and lounge with TV, private cabin with double berth and enclosed head with shower. Harvey Wilson notes that the crew area is popular with guests, since it has its own entrance, galley and privacy. “I’d guess that about half our guests prefer the crew cabin to the VIP cabin forward,” he says.
When it came to power, there were three different opinions on the best choice. HeartBeat is powered by the standard 705-horsepower Caterpillar C12s, the owners of Illusion IV upped the ante with 1,015-horsepower Cat C18s, and Ruff Seas tops the fleet with 1,550-horsepower C32s. This gave the yachts top speeds ranging from 14.4 knots to more than 24 knots and was a reflection of how the owners use their yachts.
For Ruff Seas, with the most powerful engines, Wilson said, “We can always go at a displacement 10 knots when we want, but having that horsepower allows us speed when we need it. We recently had a 250-mile passage with a front approaching. At 20 knots, it took us seven hours, while 10 knots would have taken us 14 hours in bad weather. We can spend six weeks in the Bahamas with fuel left over from our 3,500 gallons, but we still have a fast cruise at 75 percent engine load of 20 knots.”
HeartBeat is in no hurry and usually cruises at 10 knots or less, while Illusion IV has a top speed of 17 knots and a cruise of 13 knots. Harvey Wilson of Ruff Seas noted, “This is a very good hull that allows faster than displacement speeds without devouring fuel.”
Stabilizers were another interesting choice. Illusion IV and Ruff Seas both have conventional Trac stabilizers, while HeartBeat’s owner opted for the TracStar at-rest version for use at anchor as well as under way. As it turns out, Grip says he really hasn’t used them for a couple of reasons. First, he likes to anchor out silently without the generator or the noise of the hydraulic pump and fins at work, and second, the Outer Reef 80 is one of those yachts that seems to be stable even in a bumpy anchorage. Wilson concurs, saying that the yacht is remarkably comfortable at anchor.
Which brings us to ancillary electrical systems. All three yachts have dual 25 kW Northern Lights generators, but beyond this specification, they vary. Because the owner of HeartBeat prefers no noise at anchor, he installed an oversize bank of batteries and an inverter that will easily power all of the electrical systems (except air conditioning and cooktops) for 24 hours. Ruff Seas also anchors out, but the owner says that the generators are so well shielded and muffled that they can barely be heard even on the after deck, and there’s consequently no problem using them at night.
In addition, HeartBeat has an ASEA Power Systems multivolt shore-power converter because the dock power in the Caribbean tends to vary widely.
When it comes to anchoring, there are yet more personal choices. Illusion IV has warping winches for planned Mediterranean cruises, and her owner opted for twin anchor systems, with one carrying a Rocna anchor and the other a CQR. HeartBeat, used to anchoring in Europe, likes to hang from a single hook with lots of chain available. This yacht also has warping winches aft, not for Med-mooring but with 300 feet of chain on each. In conditions where he wants to control the lay of the anchored yacht, such as facing into swells rather than into the wind, he drops both anchors well apart and then settles in between the two, using a line to link the after anchor to the stern. He doesn’t feel the need for a warping winch for handling the stern anchor, saying that bow and stern thrusters can move the yacht in any direction needed.
Each of the owners left the flybridge alone, with only minor changes in electronics and such amenities as refrigerators and barbecue grills.
So there you have our three Outer Reef 80s. Casual or formal, faster or slower, more cabins or fewer...it’s fascinating to see how each reflects the owner’s needs and desires so perfectly. Some want speed; some want to anchor out in silence; others cruise short-handed, while some fill the yacht with family and friends.
Like gourmet chefs, the builders of the Outer Reef 80 delight in adding or subtracting from their recipe to satisfy the tastes of every owner.
Outer Reef Yachts, 954-767-8305; www.outerreefyachts.com