Offshore's solidly built 58 Pilothouse isn't just another pretty boat...
When you come right down to it, if you're buying a pleasure boat, you're really buying a hull. The rest is just icing on the cake.
Without a solidly built and seaworthy hull, it won't matter how luxurious the interior may be, how tawny the teak is or how powerful the engines are. So, before you start going ga-ga over the interior, it's wise to take a moment to study the hull and learn a bit about its background.
In the case of the Offshore 58 Pilothouse, the hull's lineage is as flawless as that of a Kentucky Derby winner. Bill Crealock, a fine, often unsung naval architect, has created a hull that is truly all-purpose.
Capable of planing speeds for getting places quickly, but equally at home at displacement speeds for conserving fuel on long voyages, this particular hull is shared by Offshore's 52 to 62 foot designs. While most larger pleasure boats with hard chines utilize some version of a warped plane hullform - where the " V" is greater at the bow than at the stem - the Offshore 58 is notable for a very deep forefoot that eliminates pounding in head seas.
A long, shallow keel gives the boat directional stability, as well as serving to partially protect rudders and props from accidental grounding. Though moderate, the beam is carried nearly vertically from the deck to the waterline, unlike supposedly "wider" yachts that achieve a greater beam by flaring the hull above the waterline - adding nothing to the form stability.
A QUIET PERFORMER
Our test boat was provided by Offshore Yachts in Newport Beach, California. Underway, during our sea trial - on a warm, sunny day off Newport Harbor - the Offshore 58 was a delight.
A considerable amount of effort (and an equally large amount of insulation) has been expended to make this a very quiet yacht. With vibration damping engine mounts, there is little indication that the engines or generator are even running-although Offshore has thoughtfully provided two viewing ports through the swim platform, so you can check the water flow from the exhausts.
The 58's deep forefoot knifes cleanly through the water and a spray chine throws the water away from the hull to keep the decks dry. The hard chines and flat sections of the hull provide considerable form stability, and this is a comfortable boat even in beam seas.
Its long keel helps the boat track straight in confused swells, and the 58's Hynautic steering - with three stations in the standard package - is light and responsive.
The very first 58 Pilothouse left for a long cruise to Canada within a few days of its launching. Since most vessels require a bit of time to sort out various "bugs," that's a tribute to the quality of the Offshore's construction. It's also an indication of the seaworthiness of this boat's hull, which arrives ready to tackle even very difficult coastal passages.
AN INSIDE LOOK
Both galley-up and galley- down versions of the 58 are available, although there is considerable flexibility in the layout to be customized for each owner.
The galley-up arrangement, with the galley at the aft end of the pilothouse, is preferred by most liveaboards, since it maximizes the saloon area as a living room and provides space for a dining table.
The roomy pilothouse is open to the main salon. The lack of bulkheads between these areas and the 58's many large windows make for a spacious, airy interior. Belowdecks, the full-width master stateroom comes with a king-size berth, built in bureaus, hanging lockers and an entertainment center.
The galley-down layout, however, is preferred by cruisers, since there is a spacious settee in the pilothouse for guests while underway.
With both layouts, the pilothouse is open to the saloon, which not only provides a good view aft from the helm, but also a much more open interior unhampered by bulkheads.
The saloon can be furnished by the buyer, or fitted with a built-in settee and cabinets. Either way, the large windows provide excellent views, even from a seated position.
While most buyers choose warm, teak-trimmed interiors, Offshore also offers whitewashed ash, for a brighter, less traditional look.
The pilothouse has doors port and starboard onto the weather decks, as well as a ladder to the bridge. More than ample room is provided for electronics, as well as a chart area.
Down a curved stairwell to starboard from the saloon, the master stateroom spans the full width of the boat under the pilothouse. With a king-size berth, built-in bureaus, spacious hanging lockers and an entertainment center, it's suitable for liveaboards, as well as weekenders.
The private head compartment has a large shower stall. A washer and dryer are hidden at the base of the stairwell.
Another stairwell from the pilothouse leads to a small hall and two forward guest cabins.
To port, a guest or crew cabin features upper and lower bunks, a vanity and surprisingly usable stowage. The forward cabin is really a VIP stateroom, with a queen-size island berth (or a spacious V-berth). Both cabins share a head with shower stall.
Those aboard can reach the flying bridge from either the pilothouse or the aft cockpit. It is divided into a helm/ lounge area and boat deck.
The forward helm has twin chairs, a wrap-around settee with cocktail tables and an optional wet bar and refrigerator cabinet.
Aft, a standard 1,500 pound Marquip electric davit can easily handle a large tender. Chocks for the tender are removable, so that the boat deck can become a sun deck or entertainment area, while the boat is anchored.
The fully covered side decks provide two significant features, in addition to ease of movement around the perimeter of the 58 when anchoring or mooring. First, the bridge deck extends the full width of the boat, making it truly spacious. Second, the bridge overhangs serve to shade the salon and pilothouse from the sun, which can be a distinct blessing in hot climates.
A pair of standard 550 hp 6V-92TA Detroit Diesels provides peppy performance for the Offshore 58 Pilothouse, but MAN 680 hp and 600 hp diesels are available options for those who want even more speed.
An 8 kw Northern Lights auxiliary generator is standard equipment, and space is available to add a second genset in the large engine room.
All of the systems feature seamanlike installations, with the plumbing color coded and the wiring in tidy looms that lead to twin master panels in the pilothouse.
Three aluminum fuel tanks - two saddle tanks outboard of the engines and one amidships tank - carry a total of 1,000 gallons of fuel. In stainless steel tanks in the lazarette, there's tankage for 400 gallons of fresh water.
Offshore Yachts has spent more than a quarter of a century refining the details of its various designs, and that thoughtfulness is clearly evident. The underside of all the deck hatches are fully finished, for example, and so is the molded overhead of the side decks, giving a smooth and polished appearance.
Window frames are fiberglass rather than aluminum, for minimal maintenance (there is no exterior aluminum at all); and hull doors (port, starboard and transom) make boarding easy in any docking situation.
The standard equipment list goes on for pages, including many items that are usually optional - including a Nilsson electric anchor windlass, three Sub-Zero refrigerators, VacuFlush heads, and much more.
Considering the level of quality and construction, the seaworthiness and the luxurious appointments, it's no surprise that most Offshore buyers are experienced boat owners.
One of those owners, after hearing that I'd just tested the 58, made this telling comment: "I know I'm young enough to own several more yachts in my lifetime - but I like my Offshore so much that I also know it's going to be my last."
With the 58's well-appointed interior, exceptional performance and a hull that's built to handle whatever the sea can dish out, it's easy to understand why .
This review/article originally appeared in SEA Magazine, October 1994 and was written by Chris Caswell. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: http://www.seamagazine.com/subscription-services/
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