Ocean 50 SS

Ocean's 50 SS is now the builder's one to beat.

Ocean Yachts' 50 Super Sport has some very big shoes to fill. The sportfisherman replaces Ocean's extremely popular flagship 48 Super Sport, a boat noted for packing in a lot of comfort and performance at a reasonable price.

"The 48 has been one of Ocean's most popular models, and we are well-known for that boat. It is an excellent family boat that worked and was affordable", said Doug Finney, vice president of sales and marketing at Ocean Yachts. "But it was due for a facelift."

The slightly larger sibling offers the same benefits of the 48, but with an updated bridge design and new hull. She proved to be a stable stage that fishermen will immediately appreciate, and has a stylish interior that upholds the strong reputation the builder has developed among the cruising sector.

Part of the facelift started from the bottom. Ocean felt they struck gold with the solid ride of David Martin's hull on the 57 Super Sport ("Getting Ahead, September 2003) and wanted to spread the wealth throughout the line.

Under way, the new 50 SS feels solid and her acre of foredeck gives her the feel of a larger than 50 LOA yacht. As in the 57, the builder achieves performance without overburdening the design with excess horsepower. Twin 825 hp MTU Series 60 engines lift her effortlessly from the hole and to top speed in about 18 seconds. Engine options up to 1,015 hp each are available.

Her steering is responsive and smooth, though I hardly needed to correct her stance at 26 knots in the 4-foot following sea. Backing down into the sea-simulating a fish-fighting experience-the 50 SS proved to be nimble and dry. Going into a head sea was impressive. Although the seas were stacked and steep, we were able to make a comfortable way at 19 knots. Only in a head sea did the occasional spray find its way to the EZ2CY enclosure. I pegged a 28.4 knot cruising speed at 2050 rpm while burning 60 gph of fuel.

The 50 SS also benefits from a redesign of her fuel tank placement, eliminating saddle tanks by placing one tank forward and one aft. As a result, the engines look lost in the abundant engineroom space. There is 29 inches between the engine stringers and 12 inches of clearance between the top of the engines and the overhead. The 11.5kW Onan generator tucks away nicely in the after end of the engineroom. And the entire area is finished with Awlgrip, making cleaning up a little easier.

Crewmembers will like the 50 Super Sport. Going to the bow is a cinch thanks to a small step that assists crew up to the side deck, and grab rails along the house are where they need to be. The forward bow pulpit is placed so it does not extend beyond the rub rail.

Up top, the flying bridge also benefits from the update and offers good lines of sight, a ladder that is easy to climb and stowage for rods and gear. Our test boat had the optional cooler box, certainly a good choice. The helm has pullouts and pull-downs for the 12-volt panel, electronics, radios and teaser reels. You will run out of electronics before you run out of room.

The business end of the Ocean features a 123-square-foot cockpit (including lockers) that will embrace a large fighting chair. Multiple coolers complement the two in-sole fish boxes. Gunwales are 30 inches off the deck, allowing for easy retrieval of a fish. The step to the saloon has an insulated stowage compartment for easy drink access. Molded into the bulkhead that separates the cockpit from the saloon are a freezer, drawer-style stowage, a bait center with sink, and the door to the engineroom. Side doors hide stowage compartments on either side of the cockpit for lines, gaffs or brushes and the like. A simple but valuable touch is a removable tray that sits inside and atop the freezer, allowing for quick access to bait. A large livewell is molded into the transom.

But to relegate the 50 Super Sport strictly to fish would be sinful. Ocean again has deciphered the code and has accommodations that are somewhat surprising for a 50-footer designed to raise fish. The saloon, for example, has an L-shape settee, a four-person dinette with elbowroom and a galley with stowage for long-range provisioning. The joinery has a soft satin finish with distinctive inlays, highlighted with high-gloss trim. The open feeling is accentuated by 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom. Amtico covers the sole in the galley and dinette area. Overhead on our test boat was the optional and handsome Ostrich Oats headliner and a grab rail for a safe hold.

The galley does not short change the chef on counter space or stowage. Fiddles in the cabinets help secure dishes and dry goods. Within the galley sole is a hinged hatch leading to a large compartment that houses the water heater and Cruisair air conditioning units but still has plenty of room for bulk stowage.

Down five steps you'll find three-staterooms and two heads. A washer and dryer are stacked to starboard behind a door in the companionway. Opening a hatch in the companionway sole reveals a peek into the guts of the 50 SS. The plumbing fittings are sturdy and uniformly double clamped, her wire runs are neat and bulkhead protrusions sealed.

The master cabin sports an athwartships berth that utilizes the maximum area the cabin will allow without being restrictive. All doorways are positioned to avoid overlap and banging into one another. The en suite head is reasonably sized, though the swing on the shower door is a bit tight. With the wind blowing at the dock, the only sound that resonated through the hull was a gentle lapping of the sea and not a keep-you-up slap.

There are two guest cabins. The forward has an island berth and is nicely finished with radius edges, some well-placed high-gloss trim and attractive side panels. Upper and lower berths are an option for this cabin. The second cabin has side-by-side berths, and each will fit an adult just fine.

After spending the day with the folks of Staten Island Boat Sales on their 50 SS, I walked away a fan. But one of the most impressive traits was the value Ocean packs into each of its hulls.

"The Ocean buyer is one that looks for good quality and appreciates value", said Finney. To that end, Ocean uses modular construction and out-sourcing. Finney attributes these systems with keeping Ocean's costs in line.

"This method allows us to incorporate modular construction techniques into a big boat built in a production environment. At Ocean we can use fewer people, control costs and turn inventory more quickly", he said.

It also doesn't hurt to have a hull design that works well with smaller engine packages and still achieves 30 knots with the range needed for today's fishing and cruising enthusiasts. Ocean Yachts continues to deliver yachts with extensive standard equipment, comfortable interiors and capable handling. The 50 Super Sport is all that and perhaps a bit more.

Contact: Ocean Yachts Inc.; (609) 965-4616; www.oceanyachtsinc.com. For more information, contact: (866) 922-4877