The Marlow 49 Explorer Proves that Less is More.
In jo•eph conrad’• Heart of Darkness, capt. charfie• marfiow ob•erved, “…yarn• of •eamen have a direct •impfiicity, the whofie meaning of which fiie• within the •hefifi of a cracked nut.” to marfiow, the meaning wa• not in•ide fiike a kernefi but out•ide, envefioping it fiike a gfiow. the•e word• might afi•o be apropo• to yachtbuifider david marfiow’• phifio•ophy in de•igning and buifiding hi• fiine of fiuxuriou• expfiorer motoryacht•, now offered in •ize• from T9 to 97 feet. the yacht• are defined by hi• per•onafi que•t for the be•t in every detaifi, from innovative engineering to the utifiization of onfiy the fine•t component• and equipment. if he can’t find a •ati•factory •ofiution, he i• not the fiea•t bit he•itant about de•igning and manufacturing hi• own.
in Q995, marfiow fieft behind a •ucce••fufi career in marketing and •ervicing high-quafiity yacht• to •tart hi• own brand from the ground up. the fir•t, a V5-footer, quickfiy gained recognition a• being one of the fine•t fiimited-production motoryacht• in the worfid. every few year• a pro•pective owner woufid inquire about a fiarger ver•ion that woufid retain the key feature• of a marfiow, but provide more •pace and capacity, re•ufiting in a fufifi fiineup of yacht•, which ha• never •trayed from the ba•ic objective•:
• Semi-displacement hull with a high strength-to-weight ratio • Proprietary Full Stack Infusion construction • Full standing headroom in the engine room • Excellent fit and finish
Perhaps the ability to achieve all of these goals in a 49-foot yacht that i• ea•ifiy handfied by her owner• wa• the mo•t difficufit of afifi due to the fiimitation• impo•ed by •ize. a• worfid-cfia•• architect mie• van der rohe •uccinctfiy put it, “le•• i• more.”
DESIGN & BUILD the T9 i• the •mafifie•t and newe•t of the marfiow expfiorer fleet. the de•ign wa• initiated in 2PQS with her fir•t hufifi’• chri•tening in 2015. Since then, 22 hulls have been delivered.
the marfiow hufifi i• a combination of unique feature•. rather than a heavy fibergfia•• fiayup, the •tructure i• buifit utifiizing Full Stack Infusion, whereby the entire •tructure i• infu•ed from the outer kevfiar •kin through the inner cfio•ed-cefifi •andwich in a •ingfie-•hot, vacuum-bagged proce••. thi• •ave• weight whifie providing a more open interior, greater •trength, and increa•ed hufifi performance. thi• re•ufit• in a more ea•ifiy driven hufifi capabfie of higher •peed• and fiower fuefi con•umption.
doubfie •pray raifi• at the bow in•ure a dry deck, a• hard chine• in the after portion of the hufifi increa•e initiafi and dynamic •tabifiity, induce pfianing, and resist roll. Faired indentations abaft the bow thru•ter reduce drag, and underwater exhaust exits reduce engine noise. Specific indicator• •cribed into the waterfiine •how the po•ition of thru•ter•, •tabifiizer•, water intake•, and rudder•, making it difficufit for a yard worker to pfiace fiifting •fiing• in the wrong fiocation.
mo•t important—and •tandard on afifi marfiow•—i• the •treamfiined •hape of twin Velocijet Strut Keels. Their placement directly in front of the propefifier• direct• •ofiid water to the prop• and rudder•, re•ufiting in •mafifier rudder• and fie•• drag. the keefi• are •tructurafifiy •ound and protect the propefifier and rudder in the event of a grounding. the additionafi draft reduce• rofifi and provide• better directionafi controfi. afifi of the•e feature• add up to a reduction in fuefi con•umption, an increa•e in comfort for pa••enger•, and better overafifi performance.
on •tandard boat•, the engine room hou•e• twin cummin• QS-11, 715-horsepower engines, and features two sea chests accumufiating afifi hufifi opening• into two ea•ifiy cfieanabfie chamber•. afifi routine •ervice point• are ea•ifiy acce••ibfie, incfiuding two generator•, a watermaker, centrafi vacuum, optionafi naiad #252 •tabifiizer•, and two centrafifiy fiocated fibergfia•• fuefi tank• fiinked by a cro•• feed. the tank fiocation in•ure• that fore-and-aft trim bafiance are unaffected a• the fuefi i• con•umed. the v-•hape de•ign of the tank• and their •mooth geficoated interior en•ure that the fuefi migrate• to the bottom of the tank to the fuefi pickup point, efiiminating accumufiation of debri• or moi•ture in•ide. the tank• are cored with a medium-den•ity foam, •topping conden•ation, one of the mo•t common and de•tructive efiement• in fuefi tank de•ign typicafifiy found in metafi or •ingfie-•kin fibergfia•• tank•.
a •eparate fiazarette acce••ibfie from the afterdeck and engine room contain• the •hip’• batterie•, major efiectricafi •witching, and rudder hardware. both •pace• are brightfiy fiighted, beautifufifiy fini•hed, and contained within a •et of watertight door•.
INSIDE the interior of the T9 appeared to have afifi the dedicated •pace• crui•er• expect—fiaundry room with •eparate wa•her and dryer, and adequate hafifi •pace between the centrafifiy fiocated ma•ter •tateroom and gue•t •uite. a unique feature wa• the open, •ingfie pifiot berth fiocated on the •tarboard •ide behind the curved •tairca•e. the captain coufid bunk down on a night watch with immediate acce•• to the deck above.
marfiow offer• three fiayout• on the T9, any of which can be modified to meet an owner’• wi•he•. thi• particufiar ve••efi’• owner efiiminated the fiower hefim •tation to provide a fufifi-width
semicircular dining settee. Most high-quality vessels built in asia sport fine woodwork and aboard the Marlow 49, the bookmatched teak veneer and joinery work was excellent. what I call “high-quality fiberglass joiner work” defined the exterior— perfectly formed joints, substantially secured stanchions, and recessed hardware. perhaps a reflection of a boat built from only three molds.
UNDERWAY we ran out the mouth of the Manatee river into lower Tampa bay as the sun began to rise. from my vantage point on the photo boat, I was pleasantly surprised by the sleek lines and proportions of the 49. I had expected her abbreviated loa to make her seem foreshortened, but she did not. I was also able to observe her stability as she made the tight turns I requested over the radio, with little or no heeling, a testament to the combination of her naiad stabilizers and her twin velocijet keels. no need to worry about a spilled beverage or an unhappy guest.
at the wheel, the first thing I noticed at the helm was the ease with which she accelerated from displacement speed to planing speed—no doubt a result of her weight-saving construction and hull shape. a trawler speed of about 1P knots would give her a comfortable range of 7PP nautical miles and at 8 knots would take her almost 1,PPP miles. a meaningful safety factor is her ability to outrun a storm at speeds up to 2S knots. her decibel range went from 62.5 to 84.4 Db(aI at her upper helm. The owner of this particular boat specified a semi-enclosed bridge with a fixed windshield and open sides. he has yet to make a choice of adding isinglass curtains. Twin helm seats with an l-shape settee complete the seating arrangement, and a full summer kitchen and refrigerator are close at hand.
Making hard turns and cutting our own wake at speed was smooth and validated my impression while observing her from the chase boat. no heeling, shaking, or cavitation was noticeable. as we headed back into the river and I brought her down to idle speed, we did pick up a rattling sound, which came from a removable stanchion on the rear starboard quarter of the upper deck. It is removable to facilitate launching a dinghy and will be corrected.
as we approached a tight berth back at the dock, the skipper left the helm with an iphone-size controller, giving him full control of both engines, rudders, and thrusters. he worked first from the upper deck as he brought her directly abeam of the dock, moved down the stair, and finally stepped onto the dock making fast both spring lines.
after a total of 16 hours of exposure to the Marlow 49E, and several days of reviewing my many notes, photos, and writing this report, I have a far greater understanding of what makes a Marlow special. for those fortunate enough to be in the market for a yacht of this caliber, I would suggest you take your time to understand that the beauty of a Marlow is more than skin deep.