Sealine’s timing is uncanny: It’s the 200th anniversary of our 1812 war with Britain and the British are invading again, this time with a fleet of Sealine yachts. But why hold grudges? These new boats are a welcome sight heading to our shores.
Although it’s been some time since this boatbuilder has navigated the U.S. market, renewed investment and a new designer and sales force have breathed fresh life into its line of high-quality vessels.
Sealine has been building yachts at its Midlands-based design and development center for 40 years. Bill Griffiths, Sealine managing director, said this area of England is known for its boatbuilders, and their skill and pride are especially evident in the joinery work. The interior of the C48 I tested is finished with a high-gloss and satin-mix mahogany. This wood’s super-rich tone contrasts well with the Kirby Design oyster white settee in the main salon. Sealine does offer other options, such as walnut and smoked oak. The C48’s exterior features teak laminate decking, which makes for low maintenance and good traction. The exterior settee material is a durable, all-weather, heather beige Sunbrella.
Unfortunately, the normally idyllic Fort Lauderdale, Florida, weather took a turn toward dreadful the moment I stepped aboard for our sea trial, but the tight docking arrangement and strong winds at the Hilton Marina quickly proved the worth of my test boat’s IPS600 pod drives. Volvo Penta and Sealine spent seven years perfecting the vessel’s V-shape form to accommodate this power configuration. With the simple application of a finger or two to the joystick, Sealine’s Capt. Richard Corbett effortlessly slid and spun the 48 out of the harbor.
Pod drives also reduce vibration throughout the boat, which results in a relatively quiet ride, especially when you add in a healthy measure of sound-attenuation technology. While my test boat idled past the 17th Street Causeway, I measured a respectable 71 A-weighted decibels at the helm. This was despite the howling wind and rain outside.
We poked the bow of our C48 out past the Port Everglades breakwater in blinding horizontal rain and winds gusting to 30 knots with the throttles pinned. At maximum rpm (3,100), the GPS showed 22.3 knots and I recorded a decibel reading of 87, but it must be emphasized that these were also extreme test conditions. On a good-weather day, this should be a 28- to 30-knot boat at wide-open throttle (3,500 rpm), and Sealine’s own tests reflect this fact.
Although we had to hold on tight, one thing was clear: This vessel’s deep-V hull form (18.5 degrees at the transom) and fine entry let her easily handle rough weather. The design and seakeeping abilities of the C48 reflect the area in which Sealine’s factory sea trials take place, the Solent — an unforgiving patch of water due to the steady flow of low-pressure systems sweeping across the North Atlantic.
After numerous speed runs up and down the Port Everglades Channel, it was time for me to have a turn at the helm in the calmer waters of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). As anyone who has piloted a pod-drive boat knows, the benefits of IPS over a conventional shaft installation are immediately obvious. Its 360 degrees of total control gives confidence to the greenest of yachtsmen.
The C48 simplifies it further, with a second control station for docking located on the port side aft. Corbett says that even seasoned boat handlers who experience the IPS system are amazed at how effortless it makes docking. Sealine also offers its Sealine Sea School, a complete learning platform for owners and families to develop their skills with IPS and gain a more thorough knowledge of their yachts.
As for the C48’s interior, it doesn’t conjure up images of sipping a hot rum while reading Melville, which is not to say she isn’t cozy — she is. But you may be more at home with a dry martini and the latest edition of The Economist on this boat.
In the salon, the first thing you’ll notice is the brightness and unmatched 360-degree sight lines throughout, helm included. A sunroof with blind, combined with numerous windows, creates a flood of light to make the space feel airy and inviting. The split-level arrangement in the salon hosts two C-shape seating areas, which are great spots for after-dinner conversation. An elevated helm is appointed with custom seats fabricated by Sealine. The leather coachwork is impeccable and is comparable to what you find in a Rolls-Royce or Bentley.
An electronically controlled sliding roof in the salon’s overhead allows light in when it’s closed, and fresh air in when it’s open. Thanks to the awful weather conditions, I was able to experience only briefly the roof in the open position, but my decibel readings showed the noise level was lower with the roof opened rather than closed.
Down below, there is a navigation area with lounge to starboard. This space can also be configured as a private cabin, making for a total of three enclosed staterooms. Our test version was open and came equipped with two pocket curtains on the off chance you’d spontaneously need a third cabin. The nav desk folds up and out of the way, giving the galley’s boss plenty of room to relax while keeping an eye on operations. The galley is practical, with a three-burner electric stove and a nifty drawer-style microwave below. A built-in sliding utensil drawer adds to the smart configuration, and there is enough stowage for extended voyaging.
There are two heads on board (important for comfortable cruising with guests) with some nice extra features, such as a hand-held shower and a rain shower fixture.
The master cabin, located aft, has full headroom for half of its length, as well as full-length windows, each combined with an opening port, which helps to keep the cabin bright and the air flowing. This same effect is found in the forward cabin, thanks to the opening skylight and two large opening ports.
A new philosophy clearly is afoot at Sealine, one that centers on ease and comfort. It starts with the Volvo Penta IPS system and extends throughout the C48’s interior appointments. Add her ability as a true no-canvas, turnkey, all-weather boat and it’s clear that this British invasion is one to celebrate.
Displ.: 33,000 lb.
Fuel: 396 gal.
Water: 133 gal.
Deadrise: 18.5 degrees
Engines (tested): 2 x 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS600 diesels
Base Price: $1,226,109
Price (as tested): $1,419,308
Test Conditions: Two-way average speeds were measured by GPS off Southampton, England, by the builder, with a short chop, a 13-knot wind, a 1/2 load of fuel, no water and three persons on board. Fuel consumption data was provided by Sealine. Sound levels were measured at the helm.
Sealine Yachts America, 954-534-7949; sealine.com