Boats of Dis­tinc­tion

Palm Beach 45, Ever­glades 435cc

Yachts International - - Contents - BY AN­DREW PARKIN­SON

Ispend most of my days writ­ing about big boats, but I rel­ish get­ting my hands on some­thing a bit more in­ti­mate. Case in point: join­ing Palm Beach Mo­tor Yachts own­ers at Har­bour Is­land for their an­nual Ba­hamas Get­away, and wrap­ping my palms around the wheel of a Palm Beach 45. The mo­ment I put the boat in gear and be­gan carv­ing S-curves, I knew I was hold­ing the reigns of some­thing pretty cool.

As it turns out, that’s how a num­ber of Palm Beach own­ers feel, too. Many of those in the Ba­hamas had the means to own a su­pery­acht, but their pas­sion was to drive their own boat. They bring their fam­i­lies. They em­brace the thrill of go­ing be­yond the reef. They have new ex­pe­ri­ences in new places while mak­ing new friends.

They’re the kinds of yachts­men and women that Palm Beach has tried to please since open­ing its doors in 1995 in Aus­tralia. The builder has a line of yachts from 42 to 65 feet (12.8 to 19.8 me­ters), with a 70 in the works, many owned by the types of boat­ing en­thu­si­asts I met, ones who cast off lines and skip­per their yachts con­fi­dently across a choppy Gulf Stream to the Ba­hamas.

When I took the helm of the Palm Beach 45 On The Rocks, I felt like I was tak­ing the wheel of a Roll­sRoyce Wraith. Palm Beach boats are in­tended for off­shore cruis­ing, so I ex­pected her to be ro­bust, but her agility and re­spon­sive­ness sur­prised me.

She has a fine point of en­try and a keel that ex­tends about three-quar­ters aft. The narrow en­try shifts the cen­ter of grav­ity closer to the cen­ter of the yacht—a good place for pre­cise trim. Whether run­ning down sea, head-on or across seas, she tracked like a sports car, carv­ing through waves with smooth­ness and ease. And in rough seas, the shal­low draft (the wa­ter­line to the bot­tom of the keel is 12 inches, or 0.3 me­ters) helps ne­go­ti­ate waves after the fine en­try parts them for­ward

of the mid­sec­tion warp with 6 de­grees of dead­rise.

On board, it feels like some­one placed a cush­ion be­tween the hull and the wave crests.

“We had a coastal cruiser for about 14 years which we mostly used close to shore and for wa­ter­way cruis­ing,” the owner told me. “I first saw a Palm Beach at the An­napo­lis boat show and I was in­trigued, so we ar­ranged a sea trial in Fort Laud­erdale. The weather was nasty. I thought we’d have to turn around, but the owner of the boat was like, ‘ No prob­lem. Let’s go,’ so off we went. I was blown away at how well the boat han­dled in big seas. My pre­vi­ous boat wouldn’t have stood a chance in those con­di­tions. That was the de­cid­ing fac­tor.”

Palm Beach uses a mono­coque con­struc­tion process that bonds all bulk­heads and in­te­rior fur­ni­ture to the hull and deck as struc­tural com­po­nents. The hull has vinylester resins and a cross-linked, closed-cell foam core for dura­bil­ity. Rated CE Cat­e­gory A—the most strin­gent Re­cre­ational Craft Direc­tive cat­e­gory— Palm Beach boats are built for ex­tended voy­ages in winds higher than 40 knots and waves greater than 13 feet (4 me­ters).

Grace­ful lines give the Palm Beach 45 a time­less look, while con­tem­po­rary styling dom­i­nates the in­te­rior, which has clear sight­lines and a panoramic view. Ac­com­mo­da­tions are in a sin­gle- or dou­ble-state­room lay­out, dressed in Burmese teak with Ul­traleather up­hol­stered fur­ni­ture, stone coun­ter­tops, a frame­less glass-door shower and book-matched ve­neers. Also in­side are a gal­ley and power win­dows.

The owner of On The Rocks chose to cus­tom­ize his ride fur­ther.

“The guys at the yard started re­fer­ring to my boat as Bling as a re­sult of all the cus­tomiza­tions I wanted,” he said. “I could tell they loved the chal­lenge…get­ting to flex their full-cus­tom muscles.”

His change list in­cluded a Mount Gay rum tap in the salon.

“I had some con­cerns about how it was go­ing to look,” he said. “I thought it was a fun idea, but I didn’t want it to be an eye­sore. The way the guys blended it into the wood­work with the trim was amaz­ing.”

Other cus­tomiza­tions in­cluded wrap­around cock­pit seat­ing, over­head handrails, ex­tended teak trim, raised­panel cab­i­netry, high-gloss soles and helm, and more.

“I added 150 gal­lons to the fuel tanks to give us 450 gal­lons to­tal, which in­creased the range sig­nif­i­cantly,” the owner said. “Now I can run for 12 hours on one tank, and we can stay in the ocean pretty much the whole time.”

And run they do. The Palm Beach Mo­tor Yachts Ba­hamas Get­away marked the first time the owner of On The Rocks made the Gulf Stream cross­ing.

“My last boat wasn’t built for it, so we’re lov­ing our new­found abil­ity to go off­shore with the Palm Beach,” he said. “We had some pretty rough weather, but my big­gest con­cern is no longer the waves. The Ba­hamas are tricky with shal­lows and reefs. Just be­ing able to fo­cus on the nav­i­ga­tion and the guests in­stead of the weather made a huge dif­fer­ence in the en­joy­ment fac­tor. And we stayed off­shore most of the way back home to An­napo­lis. She’s been rock solid.”

No pun in­tended.

For more in­for­ma­tion: palm­beach­mo­to­ry­achts.com

The Palm Beach 45 On The Rocks poses proudly on lo­ca­tion in Eleuthera after the owner’s first Gulf Stream cross­ing.

clock­wise from above: the owner of the Palm beach 45 On The Rocks en­joys his time at the helm; an aerial view of the Palm beach 45 shows off her ma­jes­tic lines; two of the owner’s change or­ders in­cluded wrap­around cock­pit seat­ing and ex­tended teak...

top and above: The owner opted for a high-gloss teak through­out the salon and helm, with a matte fin­ish be­low in the state­rooms. Note the large win­dows, which al­low panoramic views, with power win­dows to port and star­board by the helm, and on the aft...

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