SPENCER 74 & WIN­TER 65

Hull No. 100 from the renowned Carolina builder is a stun­ner

Marlin - - FRONT PAGE - BY SAM WHITE

Hand­craft­ing 100 custom sport-fish­ers is a mem­o­rable mile­stone, achieved by only a se­lect few in the boat­build­ing com­mu­nity. In fact, you can count them on one hand. Paul Spencer and his highly ta­lented team at Spencer Yachts in Wanch­ese, North Carolina, joined those rar­efied ranks with the launch of Cen­tu­rion, a gor­geous 74-footer that has once again raised the bar in terms of per­for­mance, crafts­man­ship and jaw-drop­ping good looks.

I headed to Port Aransas, Texas, along with Marlin free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher Scott Ker­ri­gan, where we met up with Spencer and Cen­tu­rion skip­per Capt. Pete Rae. At first glance, it’s clear this boat is a de­par­ture from sev­eral cur­rent trends, start­ing with her tran­som and toe rail. While many builders, in­clud­ing Spencer, of­fer ei­ther gen­uine teak or a faux-teak painted fin­ish on these sur­faces,

Cen­tu­rion sports carbon fiber. It is a unique touch that looks great, with the ad­di­tional ben­e­fits of be­ing highly durable and vir­tu­ally main­te­nance­free. It’s also im­pos­si­ble to over­look the boat’s stand­out hull color, a metal­lic blue-gray that shim­mers in the sun­light. It’s a custom Alexseal paint color ap­pro­pri­ately named Cen­tu­rion Blue, and it is strik­ing.

COCK­PIT AND HELM

Step­ping over the wide teak cov­er­ing boards and into the teak-topped deck, space abounds. The cock­pit is huge, even with the un­lim­it­ed­class Re­lease Marine Tril­lion Se­ries fight­ing chair oc­cu­py­ing cen­ter stage. While some will say a 74-footer is too large to fish com­pet­i­tively, it’s hard to beat the amount of square acreage avail­able for a team of an­glers and mates to work mul­ti­ple hookups or a sin­gle big fish. Be­cause the boat will likely re­main on the Texas coast for the near fu­ture, she will spend time not just chas­ing blue marlin in tour­na­ments but also tuna fish­ing for big yel­lowfins and even bot­tom­fish­ing or deep­drop­ping from time to time; switch­ing gears and species isn’t a prob­lem on this rig.

Head­ing up to the bridge, it’s clear that this area is one that has un­der­gone con­sid­er­able change over the years. Once the solo realm of the cap­tain, the bridge is now as much an area for the own­ers and crew to gather as any­where else on the boat. Years ago, the space for­ward of the con­sole would have held a small chest freezer; on Cen­tu­rion, there is a full lounge area with cav­ernous freezer stor­age be­low. Flank­ing the con­sole is ad­di­tional seat­ing, with func­tional (and very com­fort­able) bucket seats in the cor­ners. There is stor­age for eight rods in the hard­top, mak­ing them eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, yet se­cure and out of the way when not needed.

The cen­ter con­sole helm in­cludes a pair of Garmin mul­ti­func­tion units flank­ing a Sim­rad MFD in the cen­ter; a sec­ond Sim­rad unit is re­cessed in an over­head dis­play, with en­gine dis­plays on ei­ther side. This setup of­fers re­dun­dancy and flex­i­bil­ity, uti­liz­ing the ben­e­fits of each sys­tem to its fullest. A pair of Miya Epoch teaser reels also re­sides in the hard­top, along with re­mote speak­ers for the VHF ra­dios. On ei­ther side of the teak helm pod are con­trols for the Omni 360 search­light sonar, hy­draulic PipeWelders out­rig­gers and more. A PipeWelders tower tops the rig.

IN­TE­RIOR

Spencer’s boats are well known for their high-qual­ity in­te­ri­ors, and Cen­tu­rion leads the way in this re­spect. Vis­i­tors en­ter through a J.R. Beers elec­tric sa­lon door — these doors have quickly be­come an in­dus­try fa­vorite for their near-bul­let­proof re­li­a­bil­ity. Swathed in sat­in­fin­ished Amer­i­can wal­nut, the sa­lon is sim­ply in­cred­i­ble. To port is a U-shaped

lounge for en­ter­tain­ing, with a hid­den tele­vi­sion ris­ing from the lower cab­i­netry on the star­board side. Head­ing for­ward, the gal­ley is to port and a dinette op­po­site. Stor­age spa­ces large and small abound through­out the boat. It seems that nearly ev­ery set­tee has a small cubby nearby, with USB ports for charg­ing phones and other elec­tron­ics. The coun­ter­tops are nat­u­ral stone, cored for weight re­duc­tion.

Head­ing down the com­pan­ion­way, the crew’s quar­ters and day head are on the star­board side, while a guest VIP is to port, com­plete with flip-down tele­vi­sion in the over­head as well as en­suite head. Mov­ing for­ward, there is a beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted tackle locker with light­ing and glass-front door, plus a laun­dry room, not just a washer-and-dryer stack. A sec­ond set of bunks is to port, and the mas­ter is for­ward. The en­trance is gen­tly curved and per­fectly matches a curved LED tele­vi­sion in the wall.

The doors all fea­ture beau­ti­ful highly burled wal­nut ve­neer that is hand-se­lected.

“I en­joy the process of go­ing through the wood for our boats,” Spencer says.

“We may look at 600 sheets of ve­neer to find the 10 we might use for a state­room like this.” That kind of at­ten­tion to de­tail is the mark of a truly custom builder.

CON­STRUC­TION AND PER­FOR­MANCE

Cen­tu­rion is the third 74-footer Spencer has pro­duced, with two more cur­rently in pro­duc­tion; build time on the boat was ap­prox­i­mately 36 months. The hull is en­tirely con­structed of com­pos­ite Divinycell and built on a jig — Spencer says he hasn’t built a wooden boat in his last 25 builds, pre­fer­ring the strength-to-weight ra­tio and dura­bil­ity of the mod­ern composites. The boat’s decks and bulk­heads uti­lize carbon fiber, and the hull, house and com­po­nents go through a post-cure process. The re­sult is a hull that’s ap­prox­i­mately 7,500 pounds lighter than a com­pa­ra­ble wooden boat.

Belowdecks, the en­gine room gleams in snow-white Awl­grip and chrome. A pair of M9 Sea­keep­ers pro­vides sta­bil­ity, while twin Onan 36 kW gen­er­a­tors of­fer plenty of juice when away from the dock.

By any mea­sure, Cen­tu­rion is a heavy­weight: 95,000 pounds, with 2,700 gal­lons of fuel draw­ing from in­te­gral tanks and feed­ing a pair of MTU Se­ries 2000 M96L en­gines pro­duc­ing 2,600 hp each. As we put her through a sea trial off Port Aransas amid a con­fused 4-foot swell and wind chop, she han­dled like a high-end sports car, eas­ily carv­ing turns with­out tak­ing a drop of spray on the en­clo­sure. Cen­tu­rion hit a top speed of 44 knots; eas­ing back the throt­tles pro­duces a cruis­ing speed of 35 to 38 knots, burn­ing around 140 gal­lons per hour. And while the boat has a range in ex­cess of 1,100 miles at 10 knots, she can put well over 700 miles in the wake at 20 knots, mak­ing those pas­sages to dis­tant des­ti­na­tions much faster.

As we ad­mired the hand­i­work of the Spencer Yachts team, Paul Spencer re­marked that Cen­tu­rion was a clean, el­e­gant, wellex­e­cuted boat, as well as the cul­mi­na­tion of his decades of ex­pe­ri­ence. Con­grat­u­la­tions on Hull No. 100.

CHECK OUT AN EX­TENDED PHOTO GALLERY OF CEN­TU­RION AT MAR­LIN­MAG.COM/ S P E N C E R - 7 4 - B OAT- R E V I E W .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.