New Ocean Yachts 640 Sports Yacht - Footloose or Ocean Going

By David Lockwood - Editor - Trade A Boat

There's a gale warning for the Tasman Sea where we are about to venture in the New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht. The horizon has that green-around-the gills lumpy look that would otherwise send your scurrying for cover or the gunwale. White horses spill down the face of towering swells generated many hundreds of miles to the south as the wind blows some more. But no worries. Keith Hanson is at the helm. Surely you have heard of the intrepid Queenslander?

Hanson needs no introduction but what the heck. The antipathy of your fly-by-night boat pedlar, he has been a part of the Australian seascape since this boating writer was in floaties. In recent years, he and son Ryan staged numerous annual boat-owner rendezvous from the Gold Coast to Hamilton Island and south across the border to Yamba for his loyal customers.

My family tagged along on one of the latter trips and wouldn�t hesitate to entrust our faith in the footloose fix-it man again. This is something 79-year-old  mate Ian Reynolds has done in the last few years, too. The footloose pair took a Riviera 56 to Lord Howe Island, around Australia and then PNG last year. Hanson�s background driving race boats, partly the reason he�s a tad hard of hearing today, stands him in good stead when the going gets rough. Indeed, this sea trial was a case in point.

Today, Hanson is full steam ahead about his new passion � New Ocean Yachts. Built in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, from yard that contracts its skilled labour to many other big-band boating badges, New Ocean Yachts can be considered the builder�s boat.

Evidently, the New Ocean Yachts management team has impressive credentials, too. CEO Jason Kao is a naval architect (responsible for this terrific deep-vee hull) who has worked for Hargrave, Trader, Grand Alaskan and Marlow Explorer Yachts. President Zheng Chien-Hsin is said to have more than 25 years experience in fairing and mould making for New Ocean Yachts, Hargrave and Horizon. And so it goes in painting, varnishing mechanical, plumbing, joinery and laminating departments.

Construction is solid GRP for the running surfaces with foam-cored sides and decks. The hull is vacuum-bagged to the chines, with five bulkheads glassed in. Hanson says he researched the company for some time, was genuinely impressed by the depth of experience, workmanship and craftsmanship. The styling is just right for the Australian market, too.

Described as simple, clean, with good quality fittings, the interior of the this first New Ocean Yachts in Australia features gorgeous gloss walnut joinery (grain matched), light oak veneer floors and bone Ultraleather upholstery. Of course, there are joinery options � walnut, cherry or teak � so the finish is up to you. The value-for-money component shines as well, with the 640 Sport Yacht rearing to go at $2.5 million driveaway as tested.

The point is, whether you�re Hanson or Hsin, there�s no substitute for time on the water. The owners of the New Ocean Yachts 640 dubbed Y Knot (picture here) realise as much. Raymond �Bluey� David and wife Denice drove from Darwin in their Porsche to take delivery of their New Ocean 640 as it debuted at the Sydney International Boat Show.

�We reached that stage in life where want something comfortable in which we could go away for five days,� explains Denice, adding that the boat is �like a holiday house and a family boat� and that, back home where they go boating, �the fishing is so good� that they specified the New Ocean with that in mind, too. Another thing, says Denise: �I�ve lost too many friends in recent years.�

Built in Taiwan, the New Ocean Yachts is in many ways an Australian cruiser. You can see the pride that Hanson has in the boat when he takes you on the tour. He views everything with a critical eye and is especially pernickety or particular about the engineering. It really is impressive in there.

Hanson didn�t give a second thought about engines. After some 15,000 nautical (ocean) miles around Australia in the Riviera 56, he specified Caterpillar C18s 1015hp common rail diesel engines because they never missed a beat. Vee drives instead of shafts add to the boat�s volume, especially in the full (5.33m/17ft 6in) beam stateroom, as well as removing the need for a shaft alignment after shipping the boat from Taiwan.

All the modcons expected of today�s top European Sport Yachts are bundled on the New Ocean 640 as standard yet the boat here was special, with bow and (optional) stern thrusters and yacht controllers for easy docking; a tried-and-tested HRO watermaker aboard; 22.6kVa Onan generator; and, for Darwin, plenty of air-conditioning (cockpit awning to come); along with a gel battery bank among the upgrades.

There was also an optional submersible swim platform with 600kg lift capacity for totting a jetski, a garage in which to carry the 325 Williams jet tender, and a big Australian-sized cockpit topped with heavy-duty stainless steel deck fittings and hinges wherever you look. The lift-out rails tracing the swim platform (optional) will assist with fishing, while the attention to detail in the welds and teak flooring is a factory hallmark.

An arena of Aqualuma underwater lights and LEDs on deck add to the ambience after dark, while the pop-up transom shower with concealed designer rose and tapware is a nice touch. Up front, along the walkaround decks with semi-bulwarks and plenty of handy rails, is some impressive anchoring gear � 50kg stainless-steel plough and 100m of matching chain. The recessed sunpad adds to the pull.

Engine access is a highlight, via a waterproof aft ship�s door, with Pirelli rubber flooring underfoot, and full headroom above. The AC/DC system is all coded and labelled, ditto all seacocks, with big-boat strainers featuring glass inspection bowls, and Racor fuel filters with backups for each engine. There were Victron 12 and 24V chargers (including for the generator battery) and a 3000W inverter � the charger system is a model for other boatbuilders � big Seafire FM-200 fire-fighting system, and AC/DC-powered engine venting.

Access to all sides of the generator and main Cat engines is unfettered, there�s even a workshop area with sink as you walk in, while the batteries are carried down low in the keel. We also noted six Ultrasonic anti-algae transducers on the boat and we like the fact that the condensing water for the boat�s air-con units drains directly overboard. In short, the engineroom and engineering are to Hanson�s high standards, that is, in keeping with an around-Australia boat.

Back up top, the cockpit can cater for eight around the teak high-gloss table and chairs, with al fresco lunches cooked on the Aussie-made stainless-steel barbecue. The icemaker and fridge are handy, LED lights (LED nav. lights as well) also light-up the boat�s name, while speakers for the Bose entertainment system will keep the party going.

A three-way saloon door brings the outdoors indoors whereupon the aft galley is ready to please. Amenities range from built-in Fisher and Paykel fridge and dishwasher to Miele all-in-one convection microwave oven. Three stools pull-up to the generous solid counters, with thick bevelled edge and concealed sink, thereby creating a breakfast or cocktail bar.

A chain drive delivers the pop-up television from a cupboard to starboard, its flat screen facing facing a generous portside L-shaped lounge for eight around a brace of rubber-footed coffee tables. Views extend in all directions, with a built-in wetbar nearby. The separate internal dinette for six is opposite the helm station and set behind the windscreen for views.

�Everyone�s connected,� says Denice, �in fact it�s the most connected boat I have been aboard.� Italian Cantaloupe lighting helps set the mood but, perhaps, the only thing missing was a sunroof� I�m betting it�s an option.

The helm has twin high-backed chairs so you can cruise in comfort with your partner or navigator. There were Caterpillar engine panels and electronic shifts, twin thrusters controllers, Bennett trim tabs, and a Garmin electronics package among other things, such as a full lighting and plumbing plan.

We�ll get to the drive, suffice to say, the vision were fantastic over the bow and, once underway, it�s easy to forget you�re commanding a 60-footer, that you�re cruising at 20-something knots. And the motion is uncannily smooth, even in a gale.

There�s a good deal of volume in the 640 hull and it�s hard to argue with the three cabin and three-bathroom layout. Although there is scope to create a fourth cabin from the utility space to starboard, which otherwise housed a separate washer and dryer and pull-out pantry for stores, that�s pushing things. Underfloor access reveals even more scope for storage as well as useful 380lt blackwater tank.

The boat�s third cabin to port has side-by-side adult-length single berths, its own TV and opening portlights for natural ventilation, as well as an ensuite with shower; VIP guests get the bow with island berth, full-length mirror, portlights and hatch, plus big en suite with solid vanity top, shower and Vacuflush head; and then there is the stateroom.

Running full-beam, owners are treated to great views out the albeit fixed panorama windows from their queen island bed flanked by a vanity to port and breakfast table and chairs opposite. The aforesaid utility room can be used for making hot toast and coffee without needing to head to the galley up top, while the double cedar-lined hanging locker swings the robes, and the en suite back aft features his and her sinks and a truly huge shower.

With the generator running, I couldn�t determine even a murmur in the stateroom � the gennie has a gas/water splitter �  which augurs well if you are running the air-con 24/7 in tropical climes. The TV and Bose will otherwise keep you entertained. At which point, we�re really struggling to find fault, even with the silicon wipes and out-of-sight finishes. Time to tackle the gale.

After retrieving the anchor, Hanson flashed a Cheshire grin and took the reins. Despite many sea miles under his feet, he clearly still thrills to the drive. That there is a gale warning only adds to the fun. Using trim tabs to great effect, he does everything you would want of a skipper: button the bow down into the messy headsea, and then let the boat run free when we surf back home.

Predicably, Hanson�s boats are made for going places, even in Sport Yacht guise (there�s a flybridge variant of the 640 that we should see at the 2011 Sanctuary Cove Boat Show). As tested here, the 640 Sport Yacht carries 5800lt of fuel, far in excess of many European marques, for a range of up to 870nm at 10-11kts, or about half that at 20-21kts, says Hanson.

At one point, we lost the sunpad off the bow while doing our top speed into the wind. There was probably 60 knots apparent, so it was entirely our fault for not tucking the cushion away. But in all other aspects the ride was just amazing � not one thump, no great lash of spray, the deep-vee hull performed like a real thoroughbred. And we don�t make such comments lightly.

There might be more efficient 60-footers out there but we reckon a good many of them won�t keep up when the going gets rough. With a touch of trim tab, hole shot was brisk for a top speed of 26.6kts as recorded. So the boat isn�t that fast, though perhaps more of a 28kt boat in normal conditions.

It felt truly unstoppable at 1950rpm and 20.5kts for 178lt/hr and 2100rpm and 23.5kts for 337lt/hr. Such were the rough seas, these fuel figures were probably overstated. But come hell or high water, this is definitely a boat for going places as well as assuaging today�s comfort-driven cruising types.

To say we were impressed with the New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht is an understatement. Last we say of Hanson and the owners Raymond �Bluey� David and wife Denice were their backs as they bid Sydney farewell and made for Darwin with the wind up their tale. As testimony to the New Ocean Yachts yard and Hanson�s exacting standards, this boat was one of the most difficult to fault that we�ve been aboard in many years. Truly convincing, up to the most critical inspection, and good value, too.

Great seaworthiness and performance
Relatively frugal, quiet and agreeable cruising
A lot of luxury boat for your buck
Big inventory with all boxes ticked as standard
Excellent engineering and mouldings
Aussie-sized outdoor living areas
Level walkaround decks, aft galley, big saloon lounges and views
Big accommodation plan with three (optional four) cabins and three heads
Great backing from around-Australia boater Keith Hanson

Hard to fault from keel to cap, engineering to finish
No opening windows in stateroom
No sunroof on test boat
Modest top speed compared with the competition
Previous incarnation as a Shoreline X64 (tested October 2008) has stolen some of New Ocean 640�s thunder

Price as tested: $2,516,576 million loaded with Caterpillar C18s
Options fitted: Garmin electronics package, Oceanview Apollo II night vision camera, KVH satellite communications, hydraulic tender lift 600kg, painted hull top sides, HRO watermaker, upgraded air-con to 122btu, sternthruster, autopilot, Karcher gurney, LED name board, rear swim platform rails, Aqualuma underwater lights, premium bathware and galley-ware packages and more.
Priced from: $2,305,800 million with Caterpillar C18s
Material: Fibreglass with composite vacuum-bagged foam-cored hull sides and deck
Type: Deep-vee planning hull
Length overall: 20.85m
Hull Length: 19.48m
Beam: 5.33m
Draft: 1.68m (inc. props)
Deadrise: n/a
Weight: 34,000kg (half load)
Berths: 6 + 2
Fuel: 5800lt
Water: 800lt
Make/model: Caterpillar C18
Type: Inline six-cylinder diesel engine w/ common rail injection, turbocharging and aftercooling
Rated HP: 1015 at 2350rpm (each)
Displacement: 18.1lt (each)
Weight: 1905kg (each)
Gearboxes: Vee-drives
Props: Four-blade bronze