First, spend a couple of weeks out on the big blue fishing. When you get back in port, host a dinner party for 14 people and have it catered for by a professional chef. Welcome to the lifestyle enjoyed by the owner of Arabesque, an Endurance 750 Pilothouse presently based on the Gold Coast.
When it was launched at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show last year, the 750 presented as a very comfortable cruising craft. But, as is the case with all Endurance owners, the Arabesque has been custom-built to suit the lifestyle of the present owner, a dedicated fisho with a taste for luxury.
Hampton Yachts, which builds the Endurance range, is one of the first companies from Taiwan to start building in China. Jeff Chen, chairman of the company, has been building boats for the past 20 years, and his family has been building the Formosa line of yachts in Taiwan for 40 years.
Hampton Yachts worked with the Gold Coast City Marina team and the current owner to build a craft that is highly efficient across a range of speeds, and is comfortable on long ocean passages. The owner’s brief called for a vessel that had a cruise speed of 12-14 knots (22-26km/h), a top speed of around 17-18 knots (31-33km/h) and a long-cruising range at 9-10 knots (16-18km/h).
Hampton Yachts’ new hybrid hull is designed by Howard Apollonio, head of Apollonio Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The hull design has its roots in Apollonio’s development of the split-chine hulls he produced in 1977. In the split-chine design, the forward chine is divided into upper and lower parts to reduce bow wave, but still retain lift and spray control. The forward cross-sections resemble traditional round bottom hulls, and a combination of race boat and sail boat characteristics is incorporated for directional stability in following seas.
The Endurance hybrid hull advances the original design by allowing the lower chine to actually disappear in the forward third of the hull. Significantly, there are no running strakes, so the hull transforms from a displacement hull to a planing hull very smoothly. The configuration also eliminates water slap when anchored.
The hull of the 750 is based on the successful 680 hull, but the fishing cockpit and the moulded boarding platform have not been just hung off the back; the mould was cut in the middle and the extra length added there. The propellers are housed in integrated tunnels protected by a small keel, and the extended hull also creates space to mount full-beam fuel tanks amidships, which increases fuel capacity to 11,400lt and gives the boat a phenomenal cruising range.
As mentioned, the owner of this 750 is a fishing tragic and chasing the big stuff out on the reef is a passion, which means spending a few weeks at a time at sea. So, Hampton Yachts has added a cockpit on the stern specifically designed for fishing. It’s a world of its own, completely separate to the rest of the boat, with two 162lt plumbed bait tanks, nine rod holders and a serious bait preparation table. The area is so different from the rest of the boat, it’s almost like being on a separate craft.
This owner has the best of both worlds – a long-range luxury mother ship and a practical fishing platform. And if the going gets a bit tight for the big boat around the bombies on the reef, there is a Quintrex 470 Top Ender with a 70hp outboard to get in amongst them.
Just to show how serious the owner is about fishing, the boat carries a set of tackle that would be the envy of any fishing enthusiast. It includes a set of Penn reels from 430s to 480s and a heap of trolling, popper and jigging gear, all supplied by the Gold Coast’s fishing expert Doug Burt. Burt even sent along one of his employees, the redoubtable Raffie, to show everyone how to use the gear on the first big fishing trip.
As this vessel is destined to spend a lot of time offshore, there is plenty of sensible built-in redundancy. The hydraulic, freshwater and saltwater pump systems have been doubled up, as well as the navigation gear in the pilothouse. This has added significant cost to the vessel, but considering the remote environments in which it will be operating, the owner wants to be self-sufficient, and safe.
The teak floor starts at the regular cockpit, where guests can relax out of the way and watch the action. The cockpit features a standard table and lounge. There’s room for six to eight people around the table, which is nicely equipped with a drop-in insulated ice bucket in the middle.
Step inside and the quality of the workmanship presents itself immediately, with gentle one-piece curves in the burl-highlighted cherry wood panelling and furniture mouldings. The burlaccents are not overdone, and where they are separated by solid timber, such as the panelling on a door, all the grains match up. It’s a time-consuming process that reflects the more than 70,000 man-hours, commitment and craftsmanship that has gone into building this vessel.
The extra length in the middle of the boat has opened up the main saloon. It is a similar configuration to Hampton Yacht’s 680, only larger. Traditionally, the panelling in the saloon on a pilothouse tends to be dark, with an old English drawing room feel about it. The 750 retains the old-style timberwork, but with the extra room in the cabin superstructure there are now big picture windows each side, which open up the whole cabin.
The bookcase on the bulkhead that separates the galley from the saloon has been replaced with a special suede-lined wine cabinet, with a shelf for all the spirits that belong on the top shelf. Across the way is another cabinet custom-made to store and display the Austrian Riedel crystal glasses. As any oenophile (connoisseur of wine) will tell you, the only glass to drink good wine from is a Riedel. Would you pour your Grange or 707 into anything else?
The top-class leather and fabric package for the soft furnishings was supplied by Pacific Trim and the interior design was done by Identity Marine Interiors, both located at Gold Coast City Marina. It’s not easy to design an interior package that’s both durable and practical on a boat, but the team has got it right. One fabric in particular is quite stunning. It’s called ‘Zimmer Rhode’; it’s breathable and looks like a raised hounds-tooth pattern.
A few stairs up is the pilothouse, along with the galley and a friendly dinette. In the back of the dinette, a few more stairs lead to the flybridge. Here again, the layout is the same as the 680, and it’s a layout that works.
The galley, complete with its granite floor and serving bench with breakfast bar, sits at the back of the pilothouse. Three stools are held in place in a seaway by inserting a leg of the stool in a cutout on the floor.
In keeping with the philosophy of ‘two of everything’, there are six Raymarine E140 Widescreens. To accommodate them, extra wings have been added to the sides of the centre console. Unless it was pointed out, it looks if as the extensions were part of the original layout. This is also the first boat in Australia to be equipped with the new Raymarine Hybridtouch screens.
The sleeping accommodation is down a curved companionway next to the helm station. It has the usual exquisite Hampton foyer, with a compass rose inlaid in the floor and a small panel for a picture or art piece. Overhead is another custom touch in the form of a hand-painted old-style map of Australia.
The master cabin is aft, with a full walk-around king-size bed. As you might expect, it’s big. And, in keeping with the quality found throughout the boat, the sheets and pillowcases are Italian.
Again, the quality of the workmanship down here stands out – all the grain matches in the timberwork, and it’s almost impossible to get a matchstick between the doors and their frames, because they fit so closely.
The bathroom features a shower that would not be out of place on a boat twice the size. It’s called a ‘wall spa’ and there’s no problem enjoying a long hot shower – the vessel has its own water maker, so there is no shortage of fresh water. The VIP guest cabin is up front, with a two-way marble-lined head shared with the twin cabin.
The hardtop flybridge is enclosed with Strataglass clears that are easily removed to open up the whole area. Quality is also on show up here. Instead of the usual plastic toggle fasteners to hold the clears along the breezeway, they are stainless steel. They cost a bomb, but if you are going to do things properly, you can’t skimp on the little things. The two Todd helm seats are imported from the US. There are three overhead hatches, a large dinette and, just in case it gets a little hot in the tropics, two dedicated 28000BTU air-conditioners.
The entertainment facilities have not been forgotten up here either. In some vessels, these are provided as an after-thought, but at the back of the bridge is a barbecue centre that would be equally at home on the patio of a luxury Gold Coast home.
It’s all Gaggenau appliances, complete with an electric barbecue grill, a steamer for the fish the owner plans to catch with all that fishing gear, a fridge, hot and cold water sink and a two-drawer freezer.
At 873hp each, the twin C-18 ACERT CATS may appear to be a little underpowered for a 75-footer, but the idea was to go for plenty of torque rather than top-end speed. Cruising along at 11 knots (20km/h) and 1170rpm, the CATS only use a total of 50lt per hour. Give the throttles a burst, and the hull rises out of the water and transitions from displacement to planing mode smoothly and sits nicely flat, without the need for the Bennett hydraulic trim tabs.
Wide open, the GPS was showing 20.7 knots (38km/h) at 2250rpm. It was nice to know the boat could show a good burst of speed, if needed. At 11 knots (20km/h) it was unbelievably quiet, recording only 62.9dBA on the flybridge and 65dBA in the main saloon, while at 20.7 knots (38km/h), the reading was 73dBA on the flybridge.
With the expertise of Dean Leigh-Smith and his Gold Coast City Marina team, and input from the owner – who knew exactly what he wanted and what he wanted it for – this Endurance 750 presents as a quality, practical and very usable cruising yacht.
SPECIFICATIONS: HAMPTON ENDURANCE 750 PILOTHOUSE
Fuel Capacity: 11,400lt
Water Capacity: 1893lt
Engines: Twin 873hp Caterpillar C-18 ACERT
Base price: $3.85m (incl GST)
As tested: $4.25m (incl GST)
Contact: Leigh-Smith Cruiser Sales, tel: (07) 5502 5866. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.lscruisersales.com.au