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Spirata 68 Sport Yacht

A new look from a name known for traditional trawlers.

October 4, 2007

For years, Oviatt Marine has built its reputation by developing and importing traditional semi-displacement trawlers, such as its Grand Alaskan series. The new Spirata 68 Sport Yacht is a 180-degree turn from those designs as Oviatt takes aim at a younger audience. This fast sport cruiser is designed to compete on an equal footing with the best of the Italian and British imports.

The Spirata 68 is a thoughtful amalgam of Americanized systems, quality construction and sleek styling. Each Spirata is tailored for the owner, and our test boat, Bingo, was a perfect example of the builder’s flexibility.

Big and bright, Bingo’s saloon is the first clue that she seems much larger than 68 feet. The Sylvia Bolton interior reflects the owner’s choice of a white-on-white décor, with automotive pearl-white lacquer paint from Audi on the more than 3,000 separate pieces used to create the interior. The engineering is so precise, not a single fastener is visible.

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While the interior can be seen in the photos, it is in the details where the Spirata is truly impressive. Naval architect Brian Holland brought an aeronautical engineering background and decades of yachting experience to bear on common issues, and his solutions are innovative and workable.

Most builders simply truncate the stern, for example, but Holland devoted considerable thought to this area. Look closely and you’ll see a reverse spoiler that wraps around the cockpit. The intention is to eliminate the station wagon effect that sucks diesel fumes into the cockpit when the yacht is under way. On our sea trial, I spent time in the cockpit at all speeds, and there wasn’t the faintest scent of exhaust.

Holland also extended the swim platform to the hull side, making it easier to board from floating docks. The dinghy garage can handle the standard 14-foot Rendova RIB yet still permits an optional flush-mounted hot tub in the cockpit above. Another nice touch is seen in the doors from the pilothouse to the foredeck. Holland created an entire panel on each side of the house that glides open electrically yet, when closed, makes it appear there are no doors on either side. Very slick.

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Spirata designed the 68 for an owner/skipper, and a couple can handle her easily. The American bow and stern thrusters have progressive controls so they can be used not just to shoehorn into small spaces, but to hold the yacht against a dock while the skipper and mate secure the docklines.

Triple gill windows on each side of the hull add to the rakish exterior styling and give the full-beam master suite a view and airiness usually found only on megayachts. The design provides full cross-flow ventilation to the space.

Careful thought was also given to the engineroom, since Bingo’s owner wanted to enjoy quiet nights at anchor without sacrificing the civilized amenities powered by electricity. With 20 storage batteries and a pair of Trace 4,000-watt inverters, there’s no question the all-electric galley or any of the 10 flat-screen TVs (including a 50-inch pop-up in the saloon) will have power. To keep the bank of batteries charged, each engine drives an oversize alternator that provides 240 amps even at idling speeds. Backing up the DC side are a pair of 20kW and 8kW Northern Lights gensets.

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In spite of the twin battery banks and dual gensets, the engineroom is sized for good access. On Bingo, a cockpit hatch leads directly to the engineroom. If an owner is willing to forgo the flush-mounted cockpit hot tub, Spirata can fit a utility room with washer/dryer, freezer and workbench to port.

While the 68’s styling may be a change for Oviatt, the construction uses well-proven technology. The hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline, with foam-core topsides and deck, and a foam-filled hat section stringer grid in the hull. Carbon-fiber I-beams are under the saloon sole to give the Spirata a solid feel, and similar beams are used to cantilever the upper deck over the cockpit without requiring external supports. The anchor locker is designed to serve as a crash bulkhead forward.

Accommodations are spacious, with a full-beam master suite, a VIP stateroom forward and a third cabin for guests or, in the case of Bingo, an office/kids’ room with twin Pullmans and a computer desk. Once again, the details tell the story, with touches such as curved doors on the his-and-her head that stow flush when open.

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The on-deck galley is notable not just for the standard granite counters, but for the heated granite sole. The master and guest heads also have heated granite soles.

As you’d expect on a yacht designed in the Northwest, the pilothouse is an all-weather area for guests to congregate and provides a full view fore and aft. Even the stairs to the flying bridge have Lucite steps and an open design to keep a clear line of sight. A settee/dining area is to port, twin Stidd pedestal chairs are at the helm and a compact day head is tucked to port.

The bridge is arranged for serious entertaining, with a spa abaft the twin Stidd helm chairs and a large DCS barbecue to port. Bingo has incredible night lighting, from rope-lighted tables on the glass flying bridge to hidden lights in the cockpit. The pearlescent/white/mirrored décor on Bingo may not be to every taste, but again, the builder is flexible.

Under way, our test 68 handled like a much smaller boat. I spun the wheel, and the Sea Star system provided immediate response, cranking the yacht into a banked and comfortable turn. With twin thrusters, close-quarters handling was exceptional. We topped out at 21.6 knots. The propellers were still being tested, and an earlier set with more pitch provided nearly 23 knots, which is surprisingly good since Bingo carries a considerable amount of weight and décor, including solid granite rather than cored veneers. Regardless of the 68’s final top speed, owners should expect a comfortable cruise in the 20-knot range.

The standard equipment list is lengthy and includes Naiad stabilizers. The base price of $1,795,000 also includes allowances for the owner’s choice of décor, appliances and carpet.

A beautifully designed and executed yacht, the Spirata 68 lives up to her mission admirably, offering high quality and stylish lines to anyone considering a sport yacht.

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