Bayliner Marine's new 5288 motoryacht offers a solid ride at a reasonable price.
In the past five years, a number of production yacht builders have lost interest in what once had been an active motoryacht market between 50'-60'. It seems that yachtsmen, facing the prospect of spending $1 million or more, were reluctant to part with their old rides. Enter Bayliner, the company that earned the title of "largest boat builder in the world" by mastering volume production.
While Bayliner has built larger yachts, including a 68' motoryacht in 1970s, its new 5288 Raised Pilot House Motoryacht is the first of series of less stodgy designs that are intended to inspire those looking for more for their money. Pricing information is not yet pinned down, however, the new Bayliner promises to be a good value. To learn more, I visited Bayliner's Arlington, Wash., manufacturing facility and sea trialed hull No.1.
Bayliner's Arlington facility serves as its product development center. It is here that all Bayliners are designed and prototyped. Arlington is also the center of Bayliner's large-yacht production (33'-57'). The 5288's female tooling is molded from plugs cut from foam with a computer controlled five-axis router. This sophisticated tool, while expensive, streamlines the tooling process and yields extremely accurate results. The 5288's hull and superstructure are finished with gelcoat backed up with a layer of chopped glass and combinations of stitched and woven reinforcements. Foam coring is used in the hull bottom and sides and is vacuum-bagged in place. The hull is supported by a network of fiberglass encapsulated wood stringers and plywood transverse frames and bulkheads. This substructure is bonded to the hull with fiberglass.
The modularly built interior demonstrates high quality fit and finish. Large side windows in the saloon let in plenty of light for a bright and airy look. Side doors at the helm station provide on deck access and facilitate docking, as does the full-length sliding door aft. Top speed with the twin MAN 2866 in-line six-cylinder diesels was 24.5 knots.
The 5288's machinery space has plenty of room to move about and is accessible from the cockpit. Hull No. one had a pair of 600 hp MANs fitted with ZF gears. The conventional shaft-line included hearty 3" stainless-steel shafting, cast bronze struts, and four-blade Nakashima propellers. Engines are supported by welded aluminum channels that are bolted to the stringers. An underwater exhaust system is molded onto the hull with an idle bypass exiting the transom. The low sound levels we recorded during our test validate the design.
Fuel is carried in aluminum saddle tanks outboard of the engines. While the Coast Guard approved fuel hose and clamps are perfectly acceptable. I would have preferred flame resistant steel reinforced hose with threaded fittings. I would also have preferred smooth walled bilge de-watering hose as the corrugated hose used reduces flow significantly. In Bayliner's defense, this low cost solution has become common throughout the industry. The 5288's wiring is packed in conduit and appeared well secured. Bayliner follows American Boat & Yacht Council wire coding guidelines. The 5288 appears well engineered and solidly built. Bayliner sees it that way and a five-year transferable warranty is standard.
The spectacular Pacific Northwest spring weather provided near calm conditions for our sea trial. However, I did spend enough time aboard the 5288 to gain a feel for her performance. Her hull is a hard chine modified-V with a moderate entry and a 12 degree deadrise at the transom. A chine ledge and strakes are effective at controlling spray. The in-line six-cylinder MANs seem a good match for the 5288's hull and she accelerates evenly with no apparent smoke. We recorded a 21 knot cruise at 2000 rpm and a top speed of 24.5 knots. I did note a slight drive-line vibration, however, that should be cured with a bit of propeller tuning. The 5288 is responsive to the helm and has an excellent turning radius at speed. The MANs have plenty of muscle to twist her about dockside. A bow thruster is offered as an option and is a worthwhile consideration for an owner/operator.
Like many production builders, Bayliner employs a modular process for the construction of its interiors. A computer-controlled router cuts components which are assembled on the shop floor and installed into the boat. This system provides a consistent result and the fit and finish of hull number one's teak interior was excellent.
The 5288's arrangement includes a deckhouse with an L-shaped seating area and an entertainment center. There is access from the aft deck. The galley is amidships and a helm station with a lounge/dinette area are forward. Doors (port and starboard) provide easy access from the helm station on the side decks. There is also convenient interior access to the flying bridge which is laid out with a helm station and lounge area. There is a space aft for a tender and a 1,000 lb. capacity davit is standard. Belowdeck accommodations include a full-beam master stateroom with a vanity and sink. A private head has a tub. Two guest cabins share a head with a shower.
It seems that Bayliner has ratcheted up its quality to compete in the Euro-styled motoryacht market. From a product engineering standpoint this is a safer bet than the inverse of reducing quality to compete in price. Bayliner's production volume and size also create a certain economy of scale in everything from material costs to engineering and production process. If you subscribe to the 1990s doctrine that good value makes good sense, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the 5288.