Ven­tur­ing to­wards the South Pole Tom Zy­dler

Passage Maker - - Contents -

Through­out my time work­ing with boats, peo­ple have asked me to as­sign a def­i­ni­tion to the word “yacht,” and I’ve al­ways strug­gled to find a one-siz­e­fits-all def­i­ni­tion. Is the de­mar­ca­tion line be­tween a yacht and a boat strictly mone­tary, or does a cer­tain qual­ity of in­te­rior fin­ish mat­ter? Per­haps a boat over 60 feet is a yacht; un­der, a boat. But we’ve all seen 60-foot­ers that couldn’t pos­si­bly qual­ify, and plenty un­der 60 that feel yacht-like. Re­gard­less of the line, most of­ten my re­sponse was, “you’ll know it when you see it.” And with the Outer Reef 580 Clas­sic mo­to­ry­acht, that line is a dis­tant mem­ory.

Outer Reef Yachts—from the re­cently re­leased Tri­dent se­ries to the Clas­sic line that ex­tends up­wards of 100 feet in length— main­tain the look, feel, per­for­mance, and fin­ish that com­bine to be un­equiv­o­cal in the cat­e­gory of lux­ury mo­to­ry­achts. The 580 is the small­est in the prod­uct of­fer­ing, but is packed with fea­tures that would ap­peal to the long-range cruis­ing en­thu­si­ast, or the live-aboard seek­ing lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tions.


At first glance, the Outer Reef 580 Mo­to­ry­acht is a workhorse, sport­ing styling cues from a tra­di­tional-yacht her­itage, in­clud­ing thick fash­ion plates, a Por­tuguese bridge, plenty of bow flare to keep the ride dry, and three out­door spa­ces rang­ing from the fly­bridge to the decks, fore and aft. The ship carries plenty of height to the top of the fly­bridge’s hard­top, so the de­sign­ers in­cluded a solid base of 17’ 2” of beam to give the net ef­fect a pro­por­tional bal­ance of vol­ume, both for the ex­te­rior aes­thet­ics and for in­te­rior roomi­ness. Other nice fin­ish­ing touches in­clude a re­duc­tion of ex­te­rior sur­face teak and molded-in hull plank­ing lines that re­in­force the clas­sic yacht ap­peal.


Due to the wide beam and lack of heavy ta­per at the bow, space on board mim­ics that of a much larger yacht. The nor­mally equipped 580 comes as a three-state­room pack­age, with the master set amid­ships in front of the en­gine room bulk­head. The master is a beam-to-beam af­fair, with the large berth run­ning athwartships on one side, and a master head run­ning fore-andaft, to star­board. Hang­ing lock­ers and am­ple drawer stor­age al­low the long-range cruis­ers plenty of space for keep­ing the wardrobe fresh, helped, of course, by the on­board washer/dryer stashed in the cor­ri­dor be­tween the VIP- and twin-berth, guest state­rooms.

On the main deck, the beam pro­vides enough room for a pro­tected stair­case to the fly­bridge, a size­able gal­ley with U-shape coun­ters on the same level as the helm, and full-size ap­pli­ances. The main sa­loon is three steps down from the raised pilothouse, and it­self fea­tures an L-shape set­tee, with a star­board op­tion for an ad­di­tional straight set­tee or a pair of bar­rel chairs.

As with all Outer Reefs, dis­cussing the on­board fin­ishes is less im­por­tant as dis­cussing the work­man­ship, as the com­pany is com­mit­ted to work­ing with own­ers to out­fit each yacht to own­ers’ tastes. I’ve never been on the same Outer Reef twice,

but the fit-and-fin­ish has nor­mally been top-notch, with pre­cise join­ery-work and com­fort­able de­sign er­gonomics.


At 93,000 pounds of dis­place­ment on her semi-dis­place­ment hull, the 580 isn’t a light­weight, and that trans­lates well to her sea-han­dling and solid feel un­der­foot. Big, sturdy, and sta­bi­lized with stan­dard ABT fins, she charges through small seas with ease, and han­dles larger ones with­out toss­ing her pas­sen­gers about un­nec­es­sar­ily. Her weight does im­pact fuel econ­omy, so there is a trade off that many will feel a com­pro­mise worth mak­ing while at sea. At 1,400 rpm, the 580 av­er­ages a steady 8.7 knots, ad­ding more than 2.5 knots when the throt­tles are bumped up to 2,000 rpm. At a pleas­ant cruise of 9.7 knots, pilothouse noise was min­i­mal—less than 75 dB(A). Max speed with the CAT C9 en­gines hit an av­er­age of 13.5 knots at over 2,500 rpm.

High bul­warks, the afore­men­tioned Por­tuguese bridge, heavy stain­less, and thought­fully placed hand holds con­trib­ute to the feel­ing of safe and se­cure pas­sage, and if that isn’t enough to pro­vide peace of mind, Outer Reef builds all their mod­els to a CE Ocean class A spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

There is no con­fus­ing the Outer Reef 580: this is a yacht, in its essence, de­signed and built to han­dle long-range cruis­ing du­ties with aplomb. Stay tuned for more from Outer Reef as the com­pany will soon in­tro­duce a 610 Clas­sic mo­to­ry­acht at this year’s New­port International Boat Show in New­port, Rhode Is­land. Among other en­hance­ments, the 61-footer will in­clude a molded-in swim plat­form which will in­crease per­for­mance.

n More at: out­er­reefy­

LOA: 57’ 5” BEAM: 17’ 2” DRAFT: 4’ 10” DISPL: 93,000 lbs. FUEL: 1,000 gals. WA­TER: 300 gals. SLOW CRUISE: 7.5 kn FAST CRUISE: 12 kn POWER: 2x CAT C9 ACERT @ 503 BHP

Top: Vis­i­bil­ity from the helm is only ob­structed slightly to aft-star­board; all other view­ing an­gles are clean, in­clud­ing the af­ter­deck. Mid­dle: Twin en­gines grace the 580’s clean and spa­cious en­gine room. Bot­tom: Rare in a yacht this size, the...

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