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Review: Cheoy Lee 68' Long Range Cruiser

Discussion in 'Cheoy Lee Yacht' started by YachtForums, May 23, 2009.

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  1. Cheoy Lee 68' Long Range Cruiser
    A Trawler Disguised As A Motoryacht

    by Judy Waldman​

    All too often, confluences of ideas get tangled and create an identity problem.
    Not so with Cheoy Lee's new Serenity 68', a Long Range Cruiser that looks like a motoryacht,
    but has magically bridged the gap between efficiency, function and style. Branded the 'Serenity'
    series, this new trawler-yacht is set to become a favorite new pick in the passage-making community. ​

    Combining traditional trawler qualities with modern motoryacht amenities, Cheoy Lee drawn on their rich history of building LRC hullforms and morphed this with a contemporary, stylish superstructure giving the overall appearance of a modern yacht. This isn't an old gal dressed in her Sunday best, but with a team of forty structural engineers working on improvements made possible by new technologies, the Serenity 68 is packed with innovative manufacturing processes.

    The characteristics defining the Serenity 68 as a trawler are evidenced by her full displacement hull. Traditional, round bilge hull shapes effectively soften roll moments, but like any bottom with some rocker, they have a tendency to squat under power. To negate this, Cheoy Lee has incorporated soft chines that taper into a mild flat area in the aft section of the hull. The result is a boat with less squat and more get-up-and-go. And go, she will. With a 3,000 nautical mile range, the new Serenity series has true, transoceanic capability.

    B.Y. Lo, the Vice President of Cheoy Lee, joined us aboard the Serenity 68 in preparation of a YF review. B.Y. is one of eight siblings and a co-owner of Cheoy Lee. A distinguished gentleman, he exudes humility as evidenced by his simple moniker: he is one of the owners of perhaps the oldest and most successful shipbuilding companies in the world.
  2. We didn’t have green water on our sea trial, but we put the Serenity 68 through some twists and turns, trying to stir up some action to get a better feel for her seakeeping abilities. Being on tight schedules, we only had an hour of easy cruising at 9 1/2 knots. Although the conditions weren't favorable for tossing china out of cabinets, we couldn’t find anything that would budge this displacer, even with the stabilizers turned off. She handled exceptionally well, even in hardturn-backdowns. With a 6-7 second roll period, which we never got to experience, it would take more than offshore Lauderdale to fully appreciate the gentle motion achieved in the kindly sea-keeping ability. Visibility from the pilothouse was excellent, while the 360 degree panoramic vistas from the flybridge were ideal. Smooth, comfortable, quiet, and gracefully gliding through the water, the word that kept coming to mind was Serenity.
  3. Although the Portuguese bridge is often considered a standard trademark for trawlers, the purpose is not just in discerning aesthetics, but also to deflect green water over the superstructure rather than pounding the pilothouse windows. The high bulwark also provides a walkway behind the foredeck giving a semi-sheltered area outside the pilothouse while underway. Below the surface, the solid fiberglass bottom and resin-infused hull enable durability and strength. A heavier lay-up than conventional cored hulls, it yields enhanced stability in a trawler application. The same Cheoy Lee workers that build their commercial vessels to Lloyds 100 A+ class, build the Serenity 68 to Germanischer Lloyd standards and CE classification A. The decks and superstructure are resin infused fiberglass laminates as well. The teak decks have knotless quartersawn teak planks glued to the seamless fiberglass. Without the need for wooden base and with lipped edges, the concern for leakage or seepage takes the worry out of enjoying the comfort and appeal of the traditional teak decks. The only teak requiring maintenance on this ship is the high gloss varnished caprails, an element that almost seems crucial in keeping with a class act classic trawler.
  4. The exterior styling was performed by the Australian firm of David Bentley Industrial Design, structural design by High Modulus Int., and M.G. Burvenich was the naval architect. Using the classic Cheoy Lee LRC lines for the hull, they accomplished a blending of the classic rounded stern, full displacement trawler with a stylishly contemporary superstructure. Strangely enough, the rounded corners of the eyebrow and sidedeck overhangs complement the contour of the canoe stern. The raked windows contribute to the sleek appearance of the superstructure. The rounded edges and gentle curvatures add to the motoryacht appeal. Handsome and graceful, traditional and modern, the compilation achieves the look for which they strived. The trawleresque styling gives the Serenity series a distinctive look that will make her easily recognized and appreciated.

    If ever there was one element that detracted from canoe-stern types, it's the lack of a swim platform and access to the transom. But, the Serenity delivers with practicality that carries forth; a fully integrated swim platform. Water level accessibility is safely and easily achieved by a gently curved staircase adding a graceful look to the oval transom. The aft deck becomes an enticing entry to what lies ahead.
  5. It’s interesting to note… although teak decks are particularly practical and enjoyable, they are only present in areas that are undercover on the Serenity series, thus prolonging the life of the wood by removing it from direct exposure to the elements. Smart! The covered flybridge not only provides warm weather helming, but is a premier entertainment and lounging area with generous seating around a teak table. A mini-galley is particularly well thought out and conveniently located to starboard. Moving aft, a stainless rail rounds the stern with removable sections for launching the island hopper via a Nautical Structures 1500 lb. davit. Access to the lower aft deck is down a staircase topped with a water-tight cover.
  6. The upper helm is completed with a full array of electronics and has common sense inventions like molded-in cup holders. These nifty, easy to clean drink holders are in other convenient locations as well. The open air station is equipped with Mathres MC-2000-2 electronic engine controls and a Teleflex/Hynautic steering system with stainless wheel. Remote controls are included for the anchor windlass and the ACR 100 quartz halogen searchlight. A Stidd helmsman's seat with a fixed-height pedestal is standard.
  7. The proud bow with sharp entry and minimal flare are striking. And just in case it strikes something, a magnificent one-piece stainless steel anchor plate that offers protection and “moustache” prevention. In addition to purpose, the stainless steel scuff-rails below the anchor plate become a decorative eyecatcher as it embellishes the hawse pipes, scuppers, and rubrails.
  8. The aft deck itself is artistically implemented. The built-in seating conforms to the elliptical shape of the transom. The curvature is space saving and allows for better visibility of the surroundings. The aft deck table becomes a focal point of enticement with its intricately inlaid compass rose outlined by a mother-of-pearl border. The aft deck is cozy, void of fittings, bollards and bulwarks. Just an inviting area for lounging or dining, formal or informal.
  9. With headroom of 6 ’9” and numerous panoramic windows, the salon enjoy a generous beam and is sure to become one of the entertaining hubs. The dining area consists of a large, pedestal-mounted table with an overhead lighting soffit that provides illumination without glare. Although most of the furniture is built in, as a true passagemaker should be, owners can opt for the “semi-custom” option and have un-secured furnishings. For hull #2 of the Serenity series, the interior was designed by Sylvia Bolton and finely executed by Cheoy Lee's craftsmen. Throughout the yacht, a warm ambience is achieved by varied uses of wood and fabric allowing for a brighter and more open feel where appropriate. The contemporary décor is accented with teak trim and other accoutrements bringing in the traditional nautical nuances. The uncluttered look is achieved by touches such as the hidden valances and the tasteful use of stainless steel, whether as trim for the teak handrail, door handles, or for wall sconces.
  10. The galley is conveniently adjoined with a pass-thru serving counter, while partitioned by a wall for visual separation from the salon. The word 'galley' often denotes a small, narrow cooking corridor, but Serenity's galley is wide while being compact, making it easy for two people to prepare meals without bumping bums. All of the appliances needed are present and accounted for, presented in a logical workspace. Most importantly, whoever is relegated to dish washing duties has a view of the harbor. Opposite the galley, one feature the long-range cruising crowd will surely appreciate, and is not commonly found on trawlers, is a day head. Works for guest onboard too, but is especially convenient for not having to go far from the helm while on watch.
  11. A pocket door separates the day head and galley from the pilothouse, a necessity often lacking for night passages. Unlike some helms under an industrial influence, Serenity's pilothouse maintains the same feel of warmth found throughout the rest of the yacht. The teak and holly sole, real leather settee and textured weave wallpaper all blend to create character. A commodious chart area flanks the helm, to starboard, with flexible position reading lights. Looking up, frameless glued-in windows provide excellent visibility.
  12. Cheoy Lee’s technicians and artisans also combined their talents in other areas of construction. The bulkheads and interior doors, as well as the built-in furniture, are all manufactured on-site using a foam cored resin infused process. But that's not all... the soles themselves are foam cored and resin-infused too! The look simulates solid teak but offers substantial sound dampening, greatly reduced weight over real wood and none of the humidity issues often associated. In this image, access to additional staterooms are down a set of stairs on the port side of the pilothouse.
  13. Functionality and simplicity combine in the extensive array of featured electronics in the pilothouse. The KEP screens have a UV resistant powder coating making them reader-easy in multiple lighting situations. The displays allow for convenient screen switching and splitting from the various interfaced navigation units. Top-shelf electronics include KVH M7, KVH Tracphone, Furuno Nav-Net 1944 NT 64nm Radar/Plotter, Furuno GPS/Plotter, Furuno WAAS/GPS, Furuno Weather station, Simrad AP26 Autopilot Pelco camera system, and ICOM M604. Many of the electronics are repeated or remote on the flybridge.
  14. Weather tight, Panographic doors, not usually found on a vessel of this size, exude a feeling of rock-solid security, beckoning big waves and shunning the elements. Located to port and starboard, they grant fast access to the side decks or bow, reducing traffic in the interior living areas. The panographic doors, including the engine room doors, are Cheoy Lee manufactured. The benefits of not outsourcing these components is significant, saving money and controlling quality.
  15. The curved staircase from the salon to the lower accommodations is remarkable. The theme of carpet inlay with teak is carried even on the steps which have inlaid LED 24 volt lights which come on automatically should there be a power failure. There is also rope lighting for the handrail.
  16. Arriving at the lower foyer, guests are greeted at the base of the stairs with beautiful and intricate wood inlay of a nautilus seashell, a shape that emulates the curvature in the staircase and a reminder of all things nautical. It quickly becomes the focal point in the teak and holly sole. A testament to the artisans at Cheoy Lee.
  17. The full beam master stateroom is understatedly dramatic. The size alone belies the size of a 68’ yacht. The king size centerline bed and a luxury yacht-like settee to port, cedar lined closets and generous stowage are all there, but in a spacious and “old world classic” ambience that sets this abode apart. Sound levels were pleasantly appropriate while underway, in large part due to the honeycombed and fiberglass sound deadening construction of the bulkhead. A large walk-in cedar closet conceals the engine room door entry while providing for generous wardrobe space.
  18. The ensuite master head cleverly uses a highly-polished, stainless sheet for the ceiling. This simulated mirror gives depth and dimension, while reflecting indirect light. The concept adds a sense of spaciousness to the facilities. Trendy, raised-style sinks provide a raised edge to help keep toiletries from finding the floor when the going gets rough.
  19. Furthest aft is the VIP stateroom with 6’ 8” headroom. One could easily settle into this stateroom mistaking it for the master. The same elegant and warm milieu and amenities are continued. Although slightly smaller than the master, it is still larger and more comfortable than many master staterooms on other similar sized yachts.
  20. If you look closely at this pictures, the outboard walls are fiberglass panels that simulate tongue and groove or lapstrake planking and add superbly to the nautical decor. The large, stainless steel screened portholes are beefy. The fine cabinetry with just the right amount of inset carpet, teak trim and wall fabrics, all contribute to the feeling of nautical elegance that permeates the yacht.
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