Ocean 40: Run out of the guns.
IT SEEMS LIKE HALF THE TIME l GO OUT ON a boat l spill a drink. This is easy enough to do on boats of any size, but if you throw a shaky salon table into the equation, you're almost guaranteed your pina colada will end up underfoot. And if you happen to be on an Ocean Yacht, where the style, decor and comfort belowdecks are impressive, you'll feel as if you just dropped your drink on the plush carpet of your mother- in-law's new beach-front luxury condominium. That's why I was glad to find a rock-solid table in the salon of Ocean's new 40' Super Sport, which was every bit as luxurious and tasteful as l had expected. Sure, this is an offshore fishboat, but it's not for anglers who want to rough it. The 40 Super Sport is for the angler who wants to ride in style when he's not hauling in a sailfish.
l sat down in the salon to catch a breather after hooking up my test gear in the engine room, and confidently rested a cold Coke on the table. Then I scanned the surroundings: A 19" TV, stereo and CD player to starboard. A microwave to port. A refrigerator and icemaker dead ahead. And an L-shaped settee large enough for a couple's double snooze across the salon. There was a water-tank gauge under the sink, and an instant hot over it and, to cap it all off, a grand total of 15 halogen lights in the overhead for bright but soft lighting. With all this stuff under the flying bridge, the 40' Super Sport's salon would be easy to mistake for a luxury condo.
Do the forward staterooms live up to the salon? You bet, though to get to them you'll have to navigate a stairway with no handholds. Although every inch of living space looks good down there, a few things could be improved for longevity. For example, the plastic strap securing the shower stall door in the head - metal hooks or latches would last longer - and the pressboard door between the head and main stateroom. Teak, which the other cabin doors are made of, would hold up better in the long run.
Once I entered the main stateroom, my nitpicky attitude melted away. After all, how important is a 50-cent strap in a $315,000 boat? While I'd usually complain about the lack of natural lighting - there aren't any portholes at all in the stateroom - in this case the high 7' overhead, full double berth, soft colors and multiple soft lights made the cabin seem cozy and private, yet still spacious. Did Ocean sacrifice stowage space to get that airy feel? Nope - there's a 4' tall by 3' wide by 2' deep cedar-lined hanging locker and enough cabinets and drawers to stow Imelda Marcos' shoe collection. The optional sofabed ($500) doesn't eat up much room, and becomes a space-saver in the long run; it has built-in rod stowage for several rigs. Walk through the attached head and into the shower stall and you'll still have 6'4" headroom and enough elbow room to pirouette. Mirrors are strategically placed throughout the boat (even on the overhead in the head; etched-in Playboy bunny logo not included) to add to the spacious feeling.
Want to relax after battling a billfish? No problem in the 40 SS. Top speed: 35.1 mph.
The forward guest stateroom is slightly less roomy. There's a bunk-berth to starboard (6'4" by 4' on the lower berth and 6' by 2'8" on the upper) and another cedar-lined hanging locker to port that is slightly smaller than the main stateroom locker. Although the two rooms connect via the head, there's plenty of privacy - enough for the kids to make a mess up forward while you blissfully snooze. Not to worry. The central vacuum system and zip-off mattress covers are designed to make interior clean-ups a breeze.
A comfortable, stylish cabin is nice, but once you step into the cockpit and get down to business, creature comforts become irrelevant: It's time to catch fish. The Ocean's gaping 80-sq.-ft. cockpit could swallow up a giant bluefin tuna. With the 14'2" beam, there's room to troll a massive eight-rig spread that could be pushed to nine if you're gutsy, drift a half-dozen lines over the side or have a bottom-fishing party for 10 sea bass lovers. They won't even have to squeeze in elbow-to-elbow. The cockpit also has the standard goodies we chumslingers like: an insulated icebox, tackle locker and saltwater washdown. But where's the livewell? Somehow Ocean forgot to include it as a standard on the 40 SS. Instead it's an $825 option. Granted, this is a pittance compared to the boat's $315,000 price tag, but that makes the lack of livewell no less annoying.
To find out how the Ocean would stand up to seas, we left Hyannis Yacht Sales in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and entered Nantucket Sound with a 2' chop. Maneuvering was normal for a 40' fishboat. Sometimes boats that are light for their size, like the 27,500-lb. Ocean 40 SS, require lots of steering to stay on course in rough water. Not so with this boat. Let go of the wheel and she tracks straight and true. At speed, turns are long and slow, as with most inboards, but consistent and predictable.
What stood out the most while running the 40 SS was the relationsllip between speed and comfort: Speed goes up but the comfort level does not go down correspondingly. Sit in the cabin while you're cruising at 30 mph and you still feel like you're in the lap of luxury. Even in 2' seas I wouldn't have hesitated to rest my pina colada on that salon table.
At that speed we were burning just over 30 gph. I'd expect most boats this size to burn another 10 gph. In fact, according to previous BOATlNG Boat Tests, with slightly more power, the 31,000-lb. Hatteras 39 Convertible burns 47.6 gph at 31.5 mph, and Egg Harbor's 36,300-lb. 42' Golden Egg burns 42.2 gph at 30.8 mph. So Ocean's Slim-Fast approach proves an asset when it comes to fuel consumption and speed. You'll beat most of the other big boats to the canyons and burn less fuel doing it. The downside? You'll feel more vibrations when the hull slams a whitecap than you would in a heavier boat.
Since the 40 SS is sold only with twin 407-hp Caterpillar 3126 diesels, you can count on experiencing performance very similar to our test results, which show that Ocean has made a good choice of power to match the boat. Access to the iron is through a door in the cockpit, a feature usually found only on larger boats, so you won't have to open deck hatches to check out the powerplants.
What about the stand-and-deliver (read: no haggling) price? I like the idea of offering this boat at one price. These days there are so many varieties of boats and pricing policies that it's almost impossible to intelligently compare boats. Unless, of course, you read BOATING and let us do the homework for you. If you're checking out the 40 SS, compare it to the Luhrs Tournament 380. Slightly longer (40'10" LOA) and 2,500 lbs. heavier, the Luhrs costs $327,000. It's also rigged fishier, with three large insulated fishboxes in the cockpit sole, a livewell and rocket launchers. A half-tower is also standard on the Luhrs. Putting a hard-top ($7,225), livewell and refrigerated cockpit fishbox ($3,325) on the Ocean brings its cost to $326,375, so fishing features included on the Luhrs will even up the ante for most hard-core anglers. But if the family wants maximum luxury, it will be tough to beat the Super Sport.