Post 56 Convertible

A finely finished machine from a builder with a hearty reputation.

I will confess that I am a fan of Post Marine. The builder's convertibles are neither the fastest nor the most complex ride on the tournament trail, but in a sea awash with fiberglass, their stout, dependable construction and limited production make them distinct.

The formula has remained pretty much the same since Russell Post founded Post Marine in 1957, and even a novice could detect the bloodline of plank-on-frame construction in the new fiberglass Post 56 Convertible. Her superstructure lines are softer and more rakish than those of Post's earlier designs, but she is clearly a Post. Her sheer and stem have a traditional cut, and her chine barely ascends above her boot stripe forward. She is not sculpted from complicated, curvaceous tooling. She is an amalgam of simply developed surfaces that complement one another in the same tasteful fashion that has been winning Post fans for years.

Like all convertibles, the 56's deck arrangement is mostly defined by her mission profile. About 20 percent of Post's owners tournament fish, while the balance fish casually or cruise.

This boat's 12-foot, 8-inch-long molded fiberglass cockpit is clean and uncluttered. A transom door with a gate is standard. Removable fish/stowage boxes in the cockpit sole can be refrigerated, and a molded-in transom fishbox can be plumbed as a live well. An insulated drink box under the saloon step can be refrigerated, keeping thirsty anglers from traipsing through the saloon. The cockpit bulkhead console has a sink, tackle stowage, a top-loading freezer and engineroom access.

On the bridge, a pod-style helm station has a glass-covered instrument cluster with a stainless bezel and single-lever Glendinning controls. This $11,080 option is a must for serious fishermen. The console can accommodate three large displays and additional electronic paraphernalia in recessed mounting areas with hinged acrylic covers. A 12-volt source is provided on the bridge, but I would opt for the $810 electronics sub-panel.

Bench seating is forward on the bridge, and stowage beneath the console can be used for rods, cruising gear and a liferaft. There is additional rod stowage behind the backrest. If you intend to wander afar, opt for the top-loading freezer in place of the insulated stowage/ice box.

While the 56 has the assets serious fishermen require, nothing has been given up in the way of interior comfort. Gone are the days of the relatively simple, traditional blend of teak and soft goods. Modern cabinetwork and hardware is the current standard.

A high-gloss, processed teak veneer with hardwood teak trim is used throughout and, with upgraded soft goods, creates an upscale look. Interior fit and finish are excellent, and a turnkey décor package includes artwork, florals and accessories. Teak is the only finish available. The position of major bulkheads is non-negotiable, but Post will entertain ideas for custom arrangements.

The 56's layout is standard for this size convertible, with a saloon aft, an open galley and an adjacent dinette. The galley is finished with Corian countertops and outfitted with a cooktop and microwave/convection oven. Sub-Zero drawer-style under-counter refrigeration is a $9,410 option I would choose. I would also opt for the teak-and-holly sole.

Amidships, the master stateroom has a walkaround island berth and a private head with stall shower. A guest stateroom amidships has upper-and-lower berths. The forward stateroom has overlapping upper-and-lower berths, one oversize to accommodate two amorous adults, and private access to a second head with a stall shower. Cedar-lined hanging lockers are in each stateroom, and a combination washer/dryer is in a passageway cabinet.

The 56 is built at Post's 22-acre facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Her hull and superstructure are molded in female tooling using a combination of woven and stitched reinforcements. High-density, closed-cell foam coring stiffens the hull sides above the waterline, and decks and superstructure are cored with end-grain balsa. Vinylester resin in the first two layers of the hull laminate reduces the chance of blistering.

None of this is revolutionary, but Post enjoys a reputation for over-building its boats. I suspect the 56 will share in this legacy.

Fuel is split between a cockpit tank and a tank forward in the engineroom. A transfer pump can move fuel from tank to tank. An engine is dedicated to each, with the generator drawing from the after tank. I would suggest carrying a spare transfer pump.

Like most builders catering to knowledgeable boaters, Post has upgraded its mechanical presentation. The 56's well-lighted engineroom is detailed with Awlgrip, a $3,500 option most folks choose. Machinery and systems are neatly organized, and access to the engines and ancillary equipment is excellent.

I was pleased to see the air-conditioning condensing units supplied by two raw-water pumps with a valve arrangement allowing crossover should one fail. This sort of redundancy is, unfortunately, uncommon.

Air intake plenums are fitted with demisters, and electric fans improve air circulation and cooling. Main engine internal sea strainers are not fitted in favor of external strainers, and intakes are plumbed to serve as an emergency dewatering system.

A 20kW generator with a sound shield is standard. Shorepower is delivered via a Glendinning Cablemaster system, and a second leg with a conventional shore cord. A second Cablemaster system is an option I recommend for boats operating in warmer climes, as both 50-amp legs are required for heavy loads.

We caught up with the boat at HMY Yacht Sales in Dania Beach, and our sea trial was in rather nasty winter conditions off Ft. Lauderdale. Seas were running 5 feet offshore. The 56 bulldozed through the slop in the inlet, cascading spray onto the bridge.

Her hull form evolved from Post's 50-footer and shares the same beam. This is a new generation of Post design, but the form remains relatively uncomplicated, with moderate sections forward and a relatively flat 7-degree deadrise at the transom. Full-length chine flats border the lifting surface, and a shallow keel enhances tracking. Our test boat had power-assisted steering, a desirable option for a boat of this size and type.

In a beam sea, her 1,300 hp MANs delivered smooth acceleration and a maximum speed of 36.4 knots. Cruising at 2100 rpm, we hit 33.2 knots. The optional trolling valve allows for loitering at live-bait speed, and Post's data indicates a couple more knots could be added to the maximum speed under ideal conditions.

The 56 is a solid, well-built convertible with outfitting and finish more sophisticated than Post's traditional fare. A base price of $1,515,000 is listed, but our test boat-loaded with options including electronics, a fighting chair, Rupp outriggers and a half-tower with a fiberglass hardtop-was $1,732,110, a competitive price in the category.

At press time, five 56s had been sold, all to previous Post owners. Such loyalty to the brand says it all.

Contact: Post Marine Company, Inc., (609) 625-2434; fax (609) 625-2336; info@postyachts.com; www.postyachts.com.