The Johnson 70's interior options are aimed at experienced yachtsmen...

The Johnson 70 will soon become the middle child in the Johnson Yachts family, bigger than the similarly styled 58-footer and smaller than the 87-foot motoryacht scheduled for delivery in September 2002. Until then, however, the 70 will continue to serve as a flagship that has undergone many interior refinements during the past two years.

Alain Cousineau founded Johnson Yachts in September 1999 and set about revamping the 70-foot Bill Dixon design according to customer feedback. Cousineau's goal was to tailor each boat to the needs of yachtsmen wanting more interior space, not to change the layout that he said sets the 70 apart in the marketplace.

"We're the only ones that offer an aft-cabin layout on a 70-foot Euro-style boat," Cousineau said from his Ft. Lauderdale office. "Most Euro-style vessels have the master cabin amidships. Our clients really like the separation of the cabins with our aft master."

Although separating the aft cabin from the guest accommodations has been common practice on many large motoryachts, today's newer launches tend to put the engine room behind the accommodations. In this respect, the 70 is indeed distinct. Marketplace concerns aside, the master stateroom on our test boat was more than comfortable. The berth was an oversized California king that did not even come close to crowding the room, the head had a tub and shower, and two large stern hatches provided natural lighting along with port and starboard stainless portholes.

Johnson Yachts has worked hard during the past few years to improve each owner's choices in the 70's interior. Most of the company's customers are experienced owner-operators, Cousineau said, people who know what they want and expect a yacht to fit their needs perfectly.

Johnson 70 Motoryacht Interior

"We did a lot of custom changes to build to customer specs," he said. "We started using leathers instead of vinyls. We started using marble and granites. You can make custom changes in leathers, woods, finish, fabrics."

Our test boat's saloon had a subtle gracefulness, with warm, rich cherry tones that created the feeling of a sunken den. An eclectic combination of traditional and moderate contemporary furnishings made the space interesting and friendly, more reminiscent of a Belvedere home in Memphis than a European-style yacht cruising south Florida.

The Johnson 70's exterior also has a subtle gracefulness. Moored at the Bimini Boat Yard in Ft. Lauderdale, she presented herself quietly for a yacht with a 58 1/2-foot waterline and 19-foot beam. Her port and starboard profiles scream European, and the optional flying bridge hardtop is an interesting, functional addition. A relatively low freeboard, less than 6 feet from the waterline to the rub rail amidships, promotes her subtlety of size.

Big-boat features stand out when viewing the boat from the stern. Generous port and starboard stairs from the partially covered afterdeck to the swim platform would fit well on a 100-footer. The platform is nearly 5 feet long and stretches the entire beam of the stern, with an optional Gaggenau gas barbecue grill built into a fiberglass cabinet and mounted centerline against the transom. Standard port- and starboard-side Glendinning Cable Masters are mounted into the respective bottom steps.

The master stateroom is abaft the engineroom, instead of grouped with the other staterooms. The location offers privacy and a full-beam layout.

The forward portion of the afterdeck is covered, and there is a deep-seated horseshoe seating area aft, in the sun. The covered area is large enough for six to sit and eat with room to spare.

Entrances to the side decks are flush and wide, creating an ease of maneuvering likely to appeal to the owner-operators Johnson is targeting with this model. The stair to the bridge is one of the easiest I've ever negotiated. l walked up with no need to reach our for a rail.

Johnson 70 Motoryacht Specifications

"You can walk 360 degrees around the exterior of the boat without having to step up or down," Cousineau said.

An optional power-assist sliding door leads to the saloon, two steps below the afterdeck. The galley is forward and up two steps to starboard, between the saloon and lower helm station. An optional starboard-side door is available. The galley has standard granite countertops, a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, a dishwasher, a trash compactor, an electric cooktop, an exhaust fan and Lazy Susan stowage. Positive latches on the cabinet doors are an interesting, old-fashioned touch that works.

The lower helm is user friendly, with DC breakers/switches for all nav systems near the seated captain's right elbow.

"We have plans to build a boat without the lower station," said Capt. Steve Arnold, of Johnson Yachts. "Most of our clients operate the boat from the bridge."

Customer feedback aside, eliminating the lower station "would be a mistake for any boat not confined to inland waters. Visibility aft is touchy, but close maneuvers can be done from the bridge or remotes on the afterdeck. Lower helms make long, straight runs much more appealing and comfortable, especially with such an efficiently designed station so close to the galley.

Joinery in the Johnson 70's saloon is a good example of the craftsmanship coming out of Taiwan yards today. The galley, lower helm and dinette are forward.

A U-shape dinette is to port. Between it and the helm is a straight stair that leads to a landing and three forward cabins. The VIP has a queen-size berth and a private head with stall shower. Starboard side aft and down two steps from the landing is another cabin with private head. This was the captain's quarters on our test boat, with a single berth, a washer, a dryer and an executive workstation. The engine room is accessed via a winding stair in the saloon's portside after corner. The engine room is tight for a 70-footer. Headroom is a touch better than 6 feet. Walking between the 1,150 hp MTUs was tight, but overall the engine room was neatly laid out with accessible routine maintenance items.

A forward lazarette is beneath the bow deck and under a sunpad. The space could be finished as crew's quarters.

As nice as the the interior is, the Johnson 70's outdoor features should receive plenty of attention. The covered afterdeck has a U-shape settee and dining area. There is additional seating abaft the flying bridge helm, as well as space to stow a tender and water toys.

I can't judge seakeeping ability, as conditions were flat during our trials. The boat performed effectively, with a cruising speed of 23 to 24 knots at 2100 rpm. Johnson offers 1,400 hp Caterpillars as an option for added speed.

In tight turns, the 70 stayed on a good edge without falling off drastically. The boat was quiet at all rpm ranges, in the cabin and on the bridge. Noise in and of itself can be fatiguing to cruisers, and Johnson has made it a non-issue on this yacht.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW JOHNSON YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Yachting Magazine, November 2001 and is written by Capt. Steven W. Creel. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://yachtingmagazine.com/subscribe-to-yachting-magazine

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