A class of its own

Kevan Wolfe | VOLUME 26, ISSUE 2
The exterior of the New Ocean 640 blends majesty and aggression in equal measure.
The New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht brings big-boat technology to a vessel under 21m – and creates a whole new category of ocean cruiser in the process.

The New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht wasn’t hard to spot in the marina at Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast. Compared with its neighbours, it had a distinctive presence.

The New Ocean 640 was introduced to the Australian and New Zealand markets by Gold Coast marine industry identity Keith Hanson, who has been involved in boats for as long as he can remember. It’s been more than 60 years since Hanson first played with a plastic duck in the bath, and over that time he has forged a reputation as one of Australia’s leading blue-water specialists.

Taiwan-based New Ocean Yachts has a reputation for building super yachts of 80ft and above; the 640 is the first of a new range of smaller sports yachts that will benefit from the technology the company has developed in its bigger vessels.

Hanson has taken the proven hull design of the New Ocean 800 and incorporated his experience and the expertise of the yard to produce a sports yacht that is not only state-of-the-art, but unique. Today, the New Ocean 640 sits in the Australian and New Zealand markets with virtually no competition.

“We recognised the need for a sports yacht like this, and we researched the market for a long time before we decided on New Ocean Yachts,” said Hanson.

CHANCE ENCOUNTER

The sale of the first 640, which made its debut at the Sydney International Boat Show, came almost by chance. Hanson was in the middle of a circumnavigation of Australia with his longtime mate, Ian Reynolds, a crusty old sea dog. Previously, the pair had cruised to Lord Howe Island and Papua New Guinea together.

Hanson and Reynolds had just completed a trip up the east coast and across the top to Darwin in Reynolds’ 56ft Riviera and had just tucked themselves into a pen at Cullen Bay Marina.

The pen was owned by Darwin developer Ray David, who at the time was between boats. David was looking for another boat, and he and his wife Denise had some specific requirements, the least of which was that it had to fit in their pen at Cullen Bay and it had to be powered by Caterpillar engines. As they explained to Hanson and Reynolds, they had yet to find a production boat in Australia that met their requirements.

Hanson and Reynolds got to talking with the Davids. Before long, Hanson offered to fly them to the upcoming Hong Kong Boat Show for a chance to see the two New Ocean vessels on display there.

Almost immediately, the Davids were sold on the New Ocean 640 concept; it was just what they were looking for, especially as they were able to have a lot of input into the layout and décor of the interior.

CLEVER RE-SIZE

The Taiwanese yard has used some very clever tooling to produce a 19.48m (64ft) hull from the larger 24m (80ft) mould. The bow and stern are the same, with some of the length taken out of the middle of the boat to scale it down.

The process is so simple that it’s a wonder that other production manufacturers don’t use the same method instead of building a new mould for each size of boat they produce.

The hull is quite conventional, and is designed on long-standing principles that work, with a deep-V entry and big 300mm-wide chines that run to a fairly flat 14-degree aft section. The solid hull bottom is vacuum-bagged and vinyl ester resin is used on the first two outer layers. There are no tunnels and no underwater exhausts.

The interior of the main cabin and the sleeping accommodation is modern and elegant, with the cabinetry finished in walnut with oak flooring. The white leather lounges and headliner are tinted with a hint of grey to give the furnishings a subdued effect rather than the normal stark white. It complements the décor, which, like much of the interior fit-out, was the result of Denise David’s input.

The craftsmanship that has gone into the finish is superb and many hours have obviously gone into matching the grains and finishing the barely-perceptible joins in the timber.

The main cabin is very light and airy, with panoramic views from the large windows. The pillars in the windscreen and on the side windows are larger than usual, and while they give the boat a solid feel, they don’t impede the view.

Another highlight is the big open foyer leading to the sleeping accommodation, which lets a lot of light into the cabins. It’s a big-volume boat.

SUPERYACHT INFLUENCE

The 640 comes standard with 1015hp Caterpillar C18 diesels, housed in an engine room accessed by a door in the transom. Despite the intrusion of the tender garage into the space, there is still plenty of room to walk around. There is more than a hint of superyacht technology in the fit-out, such as the brackets with in-built shock absorbers that secure the exhausts – something not normally seen in a 60-footer. Some serious game rods with Penn reels are mounted in brackets in here, as well.

The garage houses a Devil Cat fibreglass tender, which is launched over the hydraulic swim platform at the stern. A rubber tender is not an option in the Top End; it would be a little scary if one of those big, toothy lizards decided to have a chomp on one while people were in it.

The hull design is very efficient and the boat had a pleasant gait at a cruising speed of around 16 knots (29.6km/h) in a half-metre sea with the tabs set to about half bow down. At this speed, the C18s were using 200lt total fuel per hour. In full song at 2350rpm, the 640 ran at an impressive 27 knots (50km/h), but the fuel usage virtually doubled. Idling along sedately at 1100rpm, the boat ran at a relaxing 10.4 knots (19km/h) with just 60lt per hour total fuel usage. Not bad for a boat that weighs in at around 40 tonnes.

Hanson says he is over the moon with the New Ocean 640. Boating has always been a passion with him, and in this boat, he has been able to put together something special – something he has wanted to do for many years but, until now, has not had the chance.

There is no doubt that in its size and price range, the New Ocean 640 is a leading contender on the Australian and New Zealand markets, from either locally-built or imported vessels. It sits in a class of its own – a real piece of art.

It may have taken Hanson some 60 years, but he has only just begun with the first New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht. “Wait until you see the 65 Enclosed Flybridge version,” he said.

As something of a footnote, there are not many vessels I have tested or driven over the past 20 years or so that I would choose for my own use. The New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht may just be the one.

SPECIFICATIONS: NEW OCEAN 640 SPORT YACHT

Length overall: 20.85m (including swim platform and tender lift)

Length of hull: 19.48m

Beam: 5.33m

Max draft: 1.68m

Sleeping capacity: 6-8 people

Fuel capacity: 5800lt (approximately)

Water capacity: 800lt (approximately)

Holding tank capacity: 380lt

Generator: 22.5kW Onan

Base price with

C18 diesels: $2,305,800

Price as tested: $2,500,000

For more information, contact Keith Hanson at New Ocean Yachts Australia, tel 0418 767 681, or visit: www.newoceanmarine.com.au.


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