It all started on a first date, the time when conversation begins to reveal two people to one another. “My dream is to sell everything, get a yacht and go cruising,” Dan said. Sandy simply replied, “Me too.”
“So I asked her for a second date,” Dan says today, 11 years later, as the couple is fulfilling that dream aboard their Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht Sandana.
The duo spent more than three years looking at boats and builders before choosing Outer Reef because, as Dan says, “They were willing to make every change we wanted.”
Speaking of which, there’s a quirk to this tale. Most people who cruise the way this couple do are retirees — but not Dan, who continues his career in business development. “In this digital world,” he says, “I can work perfectly aboard our boat anywhere we’re cruising.” Grinning, he adds, “My desk in our master stateroom is bigger than the one I have at home.”
Dan and Sandy are not just planning to live aboard. They also have adventurous cruising plans: the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean, Central America, Alaska and, as Dan says, “Who knows?” Outer Reef was a good fit because it designs its boats for short-handed cruising, and each is built to European Union Category A, Ocean, capable of handling winds exceeding Beaufort Force 8 and seas bigger than 20 feet.
Additionally, the couple knew what layout they wanted: a fore-and-aft berth in the owners’ stateroom (as in, not athwartship), and berths rather than bunks in the smaller of two guest staterooms. (Ocean Reef plans to build on the latter concept; future 610s will allow the berths to slide together into a double.)
The layout requests created extra stowage under the stairs for suitcases and provisions, plus a walk-in lazarette with unfettered access to the yacht’s systems and stowage for dive tanks, cases of wine and more — all in keeping with the characteristics that drew the couple to Outer Reef in the first place.
The 610 is built with hand-laid fiberglass, PVC coring above the waterline, resin infusion and a vinylester barrier coat against osmosis. On the creature-comfort side, the Portuguese bridge has a settee for enjoying a sundowner on the hook.
Inside, I’d point to the galley as thoughtfully designed for cruising, with a center island that’s just right for leaning against with your steaming cup of morning coffee. Plus, two deep pantries and an LG fridge allow provisioning for longer voyages. There’s a pass-through to the pilothouse dinette, which also could make a good pilot berth when needed.
That’s not to say the 610 is chiefly utilitarian. Cabinets and drawers are grain-matched teak, and a thin holly inlay outlines the teak salon sole — each a nice dash of fine craftsmanship.
The 610’s styling continues belowdecks, along with its cruising-ready amenities. In the lower companionway is a hidden, stacked washer/dryer, and the owner’s stateroom is set up for living aboard with a walk-in closet and a bureau to port. That bureau has five 30-inch-deep drawers for her and five more for him. The VIP stateroom is forward, with an en suite head that the guest stateroom across the companionway shares.
Because this Outer Reef 610 is going to be used as a liveaboard vessel, the salon is not set up for dining (there are tables in the pilothouse, on the aft deck and on the bridge). Instead, a pair of swivel chairs in the salon face the built-in couch and the pop-up TV to port, creating an airy feel and a panoramic view through the windows.
The flybridge has a fiberglass hardtop that delineates the forward living area, which includes a centerline helm, Stidd pedestal chair, dinette and settee. Aft, the boat deck accommodates a 13-foot AB Nautilus DLX tender with a 60 hp Yamaha outboard. There’s also room for kayaks or water toys, and the outdoor galley with barbecue and fridge isn’t cramped. That hardtop, by the way, is strong enough to walk on, according to the builder. Access is via a fixed ladder.
Power for the 610 is from a pair of 500 hp John Deere 6090 diesels turning ZF transmissions. Sandana is also fitted with a Northern Lights 12 kW genset to back up the standard 16 kW unit. The electrical system includes a pair of 50-amp isolation transformers and a 2.5 kW inverter/charger, plus a 3 kW inverter/charger. These redundancies should bring peace of mind in faraway harbors.
The yacht also has 15.5 hp Side-Power electric bow and stern thrusters, and ABT-Trac 220 stabilizers with 6-square-foot fins for stability offshore. The engine room has stainless-steel, removable workbenches over each engine.
Sandana turns 34-inch props and tops out at about 13.5 knots with full tanks and 21 people aboard. Fuel economy is good across the rpm range: The yacht burns 20 gph at 1,800 rpm for 11 knots at 45 percent engine load. Those numbers should allow Sandana to cross oceans without shortening engine life.
At a good size for owner-operators, the Outer Reef 610 is superbly built and thoughtfully designed. For this particular 610, the home port painted on the stern should read “Everywhere.”