Affinity 90

Is the Affinity 90 an all-purpose battlewagon? Or a luxurious cruising yacht? It may just depend on your mood.

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There is a misconception of the effectiveness of any large sportfisherman that's been rumbling around the underbelly of the world's docks ever since convertibles began creeping over the 70-foot mark. One such badly sourced concept is that a boat this size lacks the Jack-Be-Nimble quickness to properly fight a fish. Well, I'm here to tell you that our sea trial of the Affinity 90 proved these worries baseless. This battlewagon is a gorgeous and luxurious long-range sportfisherman created by the Affinity design team and built at the famous Cheoy Lee Shipyard, which is just about to launch hull number 5,000.

As you'd expect, a boat of this size takes seaworthiness and stability to higher levels. Noted naval architect Howard Apollonio designed a slippery hull with twin 2,400-horsepower MTU turbo diesels, coupled with Twin Disc MG5135A gearboxes turning massive six-blade, 44-inch props that push the Affinity 90 to a 35-knot top end. That's impressive for a 90-footer! And even in the four- to six-foot seas we encountered, we never turned on the Naiad stabilizers, thanks in part to her 23-foot beam. During our sea trial, hull number one, El Lobo, showed that she could land a fish both backing down and pivoting in conjunction with the bow thruster. Is she as nimble as a 40-footer? No, of course not. But the experienced captain won't have any issues maneuvering around the fish.

The owner of El Lobo had a single goal in mind: to create "the space of a 90-foot motoryacht with the fishability of a top-notch sportfisherman." To make this happen, the designers elongated the cabin, carrying it farther forward, and created an enclosed bridge that's larger than most comparable boat's salons.

Everything aboard the Affinity looks and feels larger than life, and the enclosed flying bridge is no exception. Equipped with both exterior and interior access, the bridge comes with its own day-head, wet bar, and a dinette/settee that seats six. Two Stidd helm chairs are abaft the extensively equipped helm. For those of us who carry paper charts, there is a proper chart area to starboard of the helm area.

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She also boasts a set of exterior, aft-facing controls for fighting fish and docking. Unlike so many fishing boats where you can see only a fraction of the cockpit, this control station, placed at the aftermost railing, affords the helmsman an unobstructed view of the entire battle zone. A straight settee with a table is positioned along the after bulkhead of the enclosed bridge.

The mezzanine overlooking the aft deck is bigger than most boats' cockpits. It seats several people on curved, cushioned settees and contains a slew of entertainment features, making it the perfect perch to hang out and watch baits when in fishing mode. You will also not find a more bodacious sound system on any yacht afloat! And a dayhead on the mezzanine helps prevent crew and guests from tracking grime from the cockpit into the salon. A staircase on either side allows the relaxing angler quick, unencumbered access to the action in the cockpit. A live well, bait cooler, grill, tuna tubes, fish-box with high velocity Eskimo ice machine, Murray Products fighting chair, and a large bait-prep station are all in the cockpit, along with additional controls.

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Stepping down into the engine compartment from the cockpit access, you'll find one unique feature: The crew's quarters come first, with a single berth and a head to starboard, while the captain's queen berth is in a separate cabin to port. Moving forward, there's a huge engine space with standing headroom, a raised catwalk between the engines, and open access to all systems. A Delta-T ventilation system equipped with demisters keeps salt air out of the engine compartment.Twin 2,500-gallon outboard fuel tanks rest on the vessel's center of gravity, so they self-level as you fill them-the attitude of the vessel never changes.

Above, El Lobo sports a main deck that's large enough to house a full dining-room table opposite the galley. Affinity incorporates mammoth hidden stowage areas throughout the entire vessel for the longrange angler. Considering the amount of interior room, I'm amazed that there's virtually no dead space. Yet every square inch is used efficiently. Affinity even hides aluminum honeycomb counters under a thin granite veneer, to save weight. A sweeping staircase leads to the flying bridge and skylounge, but is designed to avoid chopping up the salon space.

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Sleeping accommodations consist of one full-beam master stateroom amidships with hisand- hers heads and a shared Jacuzzi shower in between. Farther forward, three more guest cabins-two with queen berths, one with a full twin and a single in the forepeak-come with en suite heads. In fact, I counted an amazing eight heads on board.

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After spending some time on board, it's hard to figure out if you want to go cruising, or roam the world looking for the next bite. With the Affinity 90, it's nice to know you don't have to choose-do both in style and comfort.

Affinity Yachts, (561) 346-7929; **www.affinityyachts.com**