Stairs from the pilothouse lead down to a foyer with a hidden washer/dryer, and the master stateroom spans the full beam aft with a centerline queen-size berth. A wraparound bureau with builtin vanity solves the stowage problems with a combination of drawers and lockers, while two hanging lockers add flexibility. The en suite head is to starboard, with a comfortably large shower and Raritan electric head.
The forward cabin features an unusual layout with a V-berth below a pair of upper berths. Some might prefer the standard double berth, but this layout provides more sleeping space for fishermen or kids, and a filler cushion can turn it into a large berth for a couple. There is a private head with shower, opposite the third cabin with two bunks.
Stairs from the pilothouse lead through another watertight door to the flying bridge, where I liked the choice of the two Pompanette helm chairs because they have traditional ladder-back styling. These are both comfortable and a pleasant change from the usual "dental" chairs.
What I found most interesting, however, was the custom laced soft-top over a beautifully executed steel frame. Like the chairs, there's something retro about the look, and it works beautifully. The skipper gets a full set of navigation and communication electronics that match the lower helm.
Ergonomically, the L-shaped settee is very comfortable with good back support, and a console aft holds a sink and barbecue grill. The boat deck easily accommodates a 12-foot Caribe tender, launched by a UMT davit with a 1,000-pound capacity.
Something I particularly liked (and which you don't find on sportfishers) were the comfortably wide side decks with high bulwarks for security all the way from the cockpit to the Portuguese bridge. The foredeck is rimmed by double stainless steel rails, twin rode lockers flank the Muir horizontal windlass with both wildcat and warping head, and the massive bow plank has staggered rollers for dual anchoring systems.
Our test boat had an upgraded pair of 715-horsepower Cummins QSM-11 diesels, with the electrical supply from a Northern Lights 16 kW genset. The first thing that struck me in the engineroom was the massive stainless steel engine beds atop the longitudinal stringers. Headroom is stooping, but access is good to the normal service points, although the outside of the engines is restricted by the fiberglass saddle tanks. The fuel manifold system is straightforward, and sight gauges give an accurate reading.
For our sea trial, we had perfectly bad conditions: perfect for a test, bad for general boating. Seas were running 4 to 6 feet in the Gulf Stream, wind was 20 knots plus from the south, and the inlet waters resembled a washing machine froth. But the Symbol 60 Yachtfish was unfazed by everything we threw at her. Without the stabilizers, she was comfortable and, in a beam sea with the Wesmars flippering, she was rock solid. There is a long keel that makes her track straight down seas, and I thought you could set the throttles for 10 knots and go forever (if your forever is about 400 nautical miles away). We topped out at 19.5 knots but, at 10.5 knots and 1500 rpm, we were burning just 15.8 gallons per hour, giving her a comfortable 400-nautical-mile range with better than 10-percent reserves. Certainly not an expedition yacht, but not bad for a comfortable family motoryacht with sportfishing tendencies.
For construction, Symbol uses closedcell coring above the waterline and solid fiberglass below, and there are three layers of vinylester resin below the waterline for blister protection.
Here's the bottom line: I liked the Symbol 60 Yachtfish a lot. Like those luxe pickups, she does a lot of things well, and she does them at a price fit for this economy. Take a closer look.
Symbol Yachts, (954) 805-7555, www.symbolyachts.com