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Reviewed: Ocean Alexander 35R

The OA 35R proves that size doesn't matter when you know how to work with volume.

Ocean Alexander 35R
Standard power for the 35R is twin 1,900 hp MAN V-12 diesels. Twin 2,600 hp MTUs are optional. Drone Genius

Not too long ago, the only way boatbuilders and designers knew how to convey the sense of space a yacht offered was by referring to the length overall. Even the most seasoned yacht owners judged the possibilities by the literal length. Similarly, yacht after yacht from competing brands offered essentially the same configurations, leaving little differences to distinguish one from the other.

Thankfully, perspectives on both sides of the buying equation started changing.

Naval architects and shipyards realized that their imagination needn’t remain confined by a tally of feet and inches. They began to get creative in how they approached the volume. In fact, they realized that they could push out volume, or gross tonnage, impressively within that physical envelope, opening up a world of possibilities without hurting performance.

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Similarly, yachtsmen began to learn that gross tonnage was more important than feet and inches in terms of the creature comforts they wanted.

Ocean Alexander 35R
Sole-to-ceiling glass and cut-down bulwarks provide unobstructed ocean views while dining. Forest Johnson

The 116-foot-9-inch Ocean Alexander 35R, whose gross tonnage is just shy of 300, is the latest model to demonstrate both points. Hull No. 1 was commissioned by a client before the shipyard could exhibit the yacht, and Hull No. 2 sold quickly during its debut at the most recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida. As of early December, Hull No. 7 was the first available build slot, with delivery anticipated in 2024. The series is attracting attention from loyal Ocean Alexander buyers and newcomers alike.

“R” in this series stands for “Revolution.” It’s an apt description because the series, which also includes the 88-foot 27R and 97-foot 30R, is different from anything else Ocean Alexander has built in its 40-plus years in business. Starting with the styling, which is decidedly modern and edgy, there’s a deliberate break from the builder’s more traditional look. It’s all the more notable that the appearances of both the traditional cruisers and the Revolution series come from yacht designer Evan K. Marshall.

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The Revolution series’ design serves practical purposes too. The 35R’s high, vertical bow, as part of the hull design from Arrabito Naval Architects, provides more room inside. Bulwark cutouts along the main deck benefit the dining area and salon, as well as the owner’s stateroom, all of which are framed with nearly sole-to-ceiling panes of glass. Add in sliding glass doors to each side along with the 35R’s 25-foot beam, and the sensation is akin to being aboard a yacht at least 15 feet larger.

Ocean Alexander 35R
The foredeck’s teak sole has an artisanal quality, and the lounge and sun pad provide a quiet escape. Forest Johnson

A similar sensation comes belowdecks. There, a short passageway to starboard leads beyond the beach club (more on that in a moment) to a head with a shower, as well as a separate gym with a sauna. Wellness areas like this one are the domain of mega-yachts upward of 150 feet length overall. Not only is it a singular feature, but it also fits without looking or feeling cramped. Even a dedicated head here is pretty uncommon for the 35R’s category. And nothing impinges upon practical space in the engine room farther forward.

Now, back to the beach club. It combines the exceptional with the practical. Marshall designed a T-shaped expanse of glass that stretches nearly the entire width of the overhead and comes partially down the forward bulkhead. It makes the cozy, air-conditioned space—outfitted on Hull No. 2 with a TV and bar to port and a settee opposite—look and feel airier. As appealing as this is, the glass holds an even bigger benefit for those seated on the main deck aft. When the 35R’s transom is open at anchor, moms and dads can take a quick glance through the glass to see their kids jumping off the swim platform or playing in the water without having to stand up and peer over the side of the yacht.

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By now, you might have the impression that glass plays a big role on board the 35R. It does, and in yet another way, it enhances the sense of space. The main-deck master stateroom has picture-window ports to each side, in keeping with the current philosophy that owners should feel a stronger emotional connection to the areas where they cruise. On this yacht, that philosophy extends into the en suite head, where a porthole sits high above the tub. Once again, big-yacht thinking makes the 35R a step above the expected.

Ocean Alexander 35R
The 35R’s vertical-bow design creates enough interior volume for this main-deck master stateroom. Forest Johnson

Of course, Ocean Alexander does stick with some tradition. The interior is semicustom, so owners may enjoy the look of the white-oak soles that are aboard Hull No. 2 and popular in current home design, or they may opt for something a little richer in tone. Owners can request that the shipyard’s cabinetry shop make furnishings too, or they can select items from any number of design houses. Ocean Alexander itself pursued this route for Hull No. 2, choosing bar stools and more from the Italian company Poltrona Frau. Keep in mind that some likely requests have been anticipated, such as pop-up LED lighting rimming the bow lounge for nighttime enjoyment.

While Ocean Alexander named the 35R for its length in meters, don’t be fooled by the number. The yacht’s expansive interior and alfresco areas quickly make anyone aboard forget the distance from bow to stern. And when the guests inquire as to how big the 35R is, owners can give them a quick education in how voluminous volume trumps literal length every time.  

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TV Star

Each year, NBC Sports spotlights the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida during a one-hour special, which includes handing out the Best in Show award. The 35R earned that top honor in 2021, beating other world debuts for a panel of judges who evaluated performance, design and technology. 

Ocean Alexander 35R
One of the “wow” features on board the Ocean Alexander 35R is the customizable beach club. Drone Genius

Paper Is Still Popular

Even in this digital world, paper is still practical to some people. One of them is Richard Allender, the director of US operations for Alexander Marine. Because of him, every Ocean Alexander that gets delivered stateside still has a drawer for paper charts at the helm.

Caring for Crew

Because the crew is crucial to the mega-yacht ownership experience, the 35R has several features that ease their ability to work. The main-deck foyer is lined with full-height glassware and dishware stowage, while a door hidden behind a guest stateroom’s art niche provides service access directly from the crew area.

Take the next step: oceanalexander.com

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