|Generator :||15.5KW Kohler|
|Holding Tank:||70 gallons|
|Price as Tested:||$893,000|
Timing is Everything!
Given the volatility of oil prices these days, the boating community must think in terms of fuel economy. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers are ready or willing to meet the economical priorities of their customers. That cant be said for Californian Yachts of Perris, California.
Lets face it, we cant sit around and wait for our empty politicians to stabilize the current swings in fuel prices. As expected, all they want to do is use the current crisis as a political football to further their agendas. The fact of the matter is crude oil is our most abundant natural resource and, like it or not, our powerboats will be dependent upon petroleum-based products for the foreseeable future. Its up to each one of us to make some tough choices if we want to continue our boating lifestyles. We either have to cut back on our number of boating days per year, slow down to a fuel sipping crawl or sell our boats.
The folks from Californian Yachts dont see any of the above-mentioned choices as options. Instead, they have taken matters into their own hands and have developed a sturdy, long range cruiser capable of nearly 20 knots with the fuel efficiency of a trawler. If Jule Marshall, owner of Navigator Yachts and Californian Yachts, were running for political office, he would get my vote!
Long known for their fuel efficient hulls, Californian Yachts went one step further by building the 55 LRC, their first long range, single-engine cruiser. How did Californian Yachts gain an unparalleled reputation for fuel-efficient hulls? First of all, all of their hulls are designed with a deep degree in the fore foot and prominent bow flare. Both of these design features increase fuel economy while providing a comfortable ride in quartering seas. In addition, all Californian and Navigator Yachts are built with a decreased V in the aft to achieve lower planing speeds, thus increasing fuel economy.
Californian Yachts are constructed to the same rigid standards as Navigator Yachts. Every Californian has a solid fiberglass bottom and a fully encapsulated stringer system. The end grain balsa coring employed by Californian in the foredeck, bridge and superstructure provide an incredible strength-to-weight ratio and exceptional sound-insulating properties. Californian even provides an epoxy barrier coat for lasting protection prior to bottom painting. It is these attentions to detail that have given Californian Yachts an unmatched reputation.
Californians new 55 LRC is striking to say the least. From her pronounced bow flare to her classic yet contemporary lines, the LRC is unique and fresh. I especially like the attractive, yet functional, Portuguese bridge. Given todays futuristic yacht designs, the Portuguese bridge has become almost extinct.
The Californians interior is nothing less than voluminous. Given the fact that the LRC has a wide walk around, I thought that the salon would be narrow and cramped. This is not the situation. The salon is designed to make use of every square inch of room giving the feeling of a much larger space. I have spent many hours in the salon of a friends 53-foot Navigator with no walk around. The interior of the new Californian feels just as spacious. Certainly, the Californians 15-foot beam makes a vast difference.
I found the Californians interior layout to be strangely familiar. After spending a few minutes exploring, it came to me: this layout is almost identical to most Navigator models. Simple, unencumbered and functional, why should Californian change the perfect layout just for the sake of change?
There is no doubt, however, that Californian is using much-improved materials in its new LRC. The cherrywood interior in the salon, galley and pilothouse is glossy and faultless. Californians production methods are obviously improved over previous models.
The galley is sizable and features black Corian countertops that contrast wonderfully with the high-gloss cherry paneling. The galley floor hatch provides access to a separate compartment that can be used to store myriad things. One could incorporate a large freezer or build shelves for additional storage of dry goods. Better yet, how about a small workshop for tools and equipment? Regardless, it is sure inspiring to see that the manufacturer took the time to incorporate a storage compartment of this size into the new LRC.
Since most people who purchase this LRC will be spending most of their time in the pilothouse, Californian wasted no effort when designing this space. The pilothouse features great visibility, a wing door on each side for good ventilation and easy access to the Portuguese bridge and foredeck.
As is standard on most Navigators over 50 feet, Californian provides a large master stateroom amidships, a forward guest stateroom with bunks and a V.I.P. stateroom on the bow. Although, if you dont have a need for the forward stateroom, Californian can build an office or the room could be used as a storage room for provisions. This is an example of Californians willingness to please their customers.
David Moore from Cruising Yachts explained to me that the Californian LRC was like nothing Ive ever tested. Truer words have never been spoken. The Californians performance exceeded my expectations and has me thinking that I wish I were in the market for a new boat.
Usually, my performance figures and the publicized performance figures vary greatly. This is due to the fact that most manufacturers fudge a little to give them the advantage. However, I was astonished to see that my statistics and Californians statistics were almost identical.
Our test boat had approximately 375 gallons of fuel and 150 gallons of water the day of our test. Naturally, our speed and fuel economy numbers are slightly better than if the LRC were fully provisioned.
1,000 RPM - 7 Knots - 1.9 GPH - 3,114 Mile Range
1,500 RPM - 9 Knots - 6.6 GPH - 1,214 Mile Range
1,800 RPM - 10.5 Knots - 10 GPH - 911 Mile Range
2,000 RPM - 12 Knots - 15 GPH - 650 Mile Range
2,500 WOT RPM - 19.8 Knots - 26 GPH - 600 Mile Range
In my opinion, the 575 HP Volvo is the perfect match for Californians new LRC. Unlike many long range cruisers, the Californian never felt sluggish or underpowered. In addition, the LRC was extremely quiet, devoid of stinky diesel fumes and well balanced.
I realize that many of us are a little intimidated by yachts of this size that sport a single engine. Thats why Californian includes a 155-ton bow thruster as standard equipment. Add the optional stern thruster and maneuvering in tight quarters is a snap.
Californians new 55 LRC is the right boat introduced at the right time. The LRC offers excellent fuel economy and a comfortable ride with the ability to outrun less than perfect weather.
Also impressive is the Californians price tag. Based upon how our test boat was equipped, I would have guessed a price tag of at least $200k higher than the as tested price. Im certain that Californians new 55 LRC will be a very popular yacht in the near future.
For more information, please contact Cruising Yachts Inc. of Alameda at 510/521-5544.