Bridging the gap

Text by Barry Thompson, images by Billy Black | VOLUME 29, ISSUE 5
Unmistakably Fleming, the all-new 58 offers everything expected from this long-range cruising specialist - and more. Barry Thompson went to Taiwan to check out the new model.
Unmistakably Fleming, the all-new 58 offers everything expected from this long-range cruising specialist - and more.

The idea for the Fleming 58 came about a few years ago as a boat to bridge the gap between the 55 and the 65. The step from one to the other is big, both physically and financially, so the need for something in between was apparent.

US-based Fleming has been unquestionably one of the world's most popular builders of long-range cruising motor yachts ever since the first Fleming 55 was launched in 1986 (number 236 is currently in build), and the classic lines of their craft have graced every corner of the cruising world.

Fleming went to Brisbane naval architects Norman Wright and Sons, who have special expertise in semi-displacement hull design. Working alongside Fleming's own inhouse design team, the Fleming 58 was developed, while tank testing on a 1/12 scale model was carried out in Tasmania at the Australian Maritime College to achieve the very best and most efficient hull design.

Unmistakable profile

The new Fleming 58 has the unmistakable Fleming profile and has already proven to be a winner, with seven boats sold before the first one was launched.

The big change over the 55 is that, while there is only one traditional Fleming layout available, the 58 is offered with a variety of options, including a full-beam master cabin.

Dimensionally the 58 is 46cm wider than the 55, 1.9m longer and has 15cm more freeboard. The extra beam also allows for two helm seats in the pilothouse and the added length means there is now room for a dayhead in the pilothouse. The higher freeboard provides for a full-height, walk-in engine room, with more space forward and outboard of the engines. Standard power is a pair of 500hp Cummins QSC 8.3 engines, although our 58 was running a pair of MAN R800s.

As a semi-displacement cruiser, outright speed is not as important as cruise speed. While the twin MANs will give the Fleming 58 a top speed of 22 knots (41km/h), I would pick most travel is going to be done around 8 to 10 knots (15-18.5km/h). At these speeds, the range with 5488lt of fuel is extensive.

Two layouts

Fleming offers the 58 with two basic accommodation layouts: the traditional style with a central passageway access from the saloon galley area; or a new full-beam master with access from the pilothouse. Our test boat had the new full-beam master option, boasting a curved and very generous staircase leading down into the accommodation areas, with the master aft, a VIP forward and port-side guest cabin.

First impression of the master is one of space and warmth. The large king-size berth in the centre is flanked by port and starboard side units, with an office/workstation and a vanity unit.

With long-distance cruising in mind, there is plenty of stowage, with generous lockers, drawers and cupboards throughout the cabin. There's even a large walk-in wardrobe with plenty of hanging space.

On the port side, the en suite is finished to the same exceptionally high standard, with the use of solid timber joinery, Italian marble (owner's choice) and a large shower stall behind stainless and glass doors.

The port cabin has twin single bunks, with a fixed lower and a slide-out upper berth, which can be folded away when not required. Storage is provided in a forward hanging locker and in this arrangement, the cabin shares the same en suite bathroom as the guest VIP.

Furnishings and fittings are elegant in the accommodation areas, as they are throughout the Fleming 58, with teak woodwork imparting the appropriate traditional seagoing look.

The forward VIP cabin can be arranged with a single island berth or, as in the case of our boat where the owner has two young children, with two very large singles. There's plenty of natural light from the big hatch set in the overhead atrium.

The guest head has a single door access from the companionway and is fitted out very much the same as the master.

Looks familiar

Compared to the Fleming 55, the layout of the pilothouse area looks very familiar, apart from the extra beam now allowing for two Stidd helm chairs and the addition of a dedicated dayhead. Sliding doors either side give easy access to the wide bulwarks and twin inward opening gates make boarding easy and safe.

The L-shaped port settee is certain to be favoured when underway and can be converted with an infill to make an extra berth, while an adjustable table can be configured to suit the moment.

The helm is dedicated to long-range cruising, with a myriad of up-to-date monitoring screens, controls and equipment necessary for serious offshore cruising.

The test craft was fitted with SeaCross, a Swedish navigation system that is extremely intuitive and easy to use. The entire system is operated through a trackball with three buttons. Our boat was running five SeaCross computers and five screens, two 19in and two 15in units in the pilothouse and another 15in screen in the flybridge.

A central monitoring and control system is linked to sensors throughout the boat, monitoring things like bilge levels, fire alarms, smoke detectors and hatch detectors.

Homely saloon

The saloon area is very much traditional Fleming, with a large, forward U-shaped galley and lounge, with high/low table to port, and with the entertainment centre with 40in TV, bar and cabinetry to starboard. There's a sense of space and a very welcoming feeling.

Galley facilities include an induction four-burner cook top, with full-size oven above waist height so it's very easy to use, convection microwave, plenty of storage and expansive stone surfaces for meal preparation. To starboard is a full-height pull-out pantry alongside a side-by-side fridge/freezer combo.

Interestingly, from the forward end of the galley to the aft bulkhead, the length is the same as the Fleming 55. The difference is there's 45cm more beam. With settees or loose chairs on either side, that extra space makes all the difference.

Spacious

The cockpit differs very little from the Fleming 55, apart from being significantly bigger, with wide access to the deep bulwarks, a central gate leading through to the boarding platform and built-in seats in the aft corners of the cockpit.

There's a port-side ladder, with a moulded storage locker beneath that leads to the flybridge, with aft deck engine controls on the opposite side and a fridge below. A power-operated hatch gives access to storage underneath, with engine room access forward in the sole.

Go to the foredeck and you'll find twin Maxwell RC12 windlasses and 45kg Ultra anchors, plus 92m of heavy-duty chain, so holding fast in an isolated bay in a severe blow isn't going to be a problem. There are also three large storage lockers, ideal for the deck cushions, fenders and extra warp.

Although the internal helm station in the pilothouse would probably be more favoured for passage making, the Fleming 58 has a second station in the flybridge that is ideal for coastal cruising or day boating. The helm ergonomics are great, so you can see everything without reflections on either of the two 15in screens.

Opposite is a great day lounge with central table, and a moulded cabinet aft for extras such as an isotherm fridge, gas barbecue and icemaker.

The aft deck is used for tender stowage, with launching via a davit crane, plus another set of engine controls facing aft.
The engineering and technical aspects of the Fleming 58 are exemplary, the layout and finish done to perfection and the performance totally suited to the design and character of the boat. Overall, the 58 is a perfect fit into the Fleming range and one that, I have no doubt, is destined for long-term success on the world cruising stage.

SPECIFICATIONS: FLEMING 58
LOA: 19.94m
Beam: 5.33m
Draft: 1.52m
Displacement (loaded): 48,000kg
Construction: GRP
Fuel capacity: 5488lt
Water capacity: 1211lt
Engines: Cummings QSC 8.3
Base price: US$2,485,000
For more information, contact: Fleming Yachts Australia, tel (02) 8920 1444, web: flemingyachts.com.au or in NZ, Fleming Yachts Ltd, tel (09) 280 1050, web: orakeimarina.co.nz.


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