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Review: Alaskan 80' Raised Pilothouse

Discussion in 'Alaskan Yacht' started by YachtForums, Sep 23, 2005.

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  1. Alaskan 80' Pilothouse

    by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy

    A yacht named for our “Last Frontier” demands to be sturdy yet rakish, a husky, bold statement depicting a bold land; a ship Jack London or Edna Ferber would be proud to own. This broad-shouldered Pilothouse model stands pat at the challenge; here is a yacht for the cruising adventurer who treasures the fine taste of sea-going luxury as well.

    Alaskan’s Pilothouse 80 is an up to the minute trawler-yacht which caters to the dream of every voyager – sea-keeping capability and convenience that will take him anywhere in the world. It also carries a long tradition of excellence along with its brawny good looks, even though the company sports a less than 10-year history.

    “Alaskan” is a name well remembered in the yachting community for what seems like eons. Grand Alaskan was an excellent line of wooden yachts, on a par with the venerable Grand Banks woodies built in Hong Kong. In the early 1970s, however, that entire concept was effectively blown away by then-new fiberglass technology.
  2. Today’s Alaskans are even more stylish, comfortable, and seaworthy, built of fiberglass in Taiwan. In addition they sport luxurious staterooms and full-beam master suites, plus state-of-the-art engineering and technology in every quarter. Faster, high-tech fiberglass, these ocean-goers boast the same superior levels of rugged style and performance as their namesakes. The company, opened in 1997 by Oviatt Marine as the “Grand Alaskan,” premiered its first prototype as a 60’ raised pilothouse trawler-yacht. Its salty styling, enriched and defined, was inspired by those Arthur DeFever-designed Grand Alaskan woodies produced by American Marine from 1963 to 1974. (Both companies – not affiliated – sought to avoid marketing confusion, so Oviatt dropped the term Grand and American Marine – Grand Banks – agreed not to use Alaskan.) Potential pitfall skirted, the company prospered.
  3. So what about customer response to this new venture? For one, Ernie Pomsel, owner of Alaskan Courtesan: “She handles well in heavy seas, from Canada to the Bahamas, and in gale force winds. Beautiful lines on the boat; interior woodwork is fantastic. OMI customized her to my satisfaction.” Another, Dave Jacoby, owner of La Vida, excerpts of his log from Skagway, Alaska: “From Alaska’s Icy Strait into Glacier Bay – Try to imagine everything to see with temperatures 50s to 70s. Into Auke Bay under windy conditions with peaks nearing 50 mph and seas up to six feet. That was the inside route! Later, outside, orcas and humpback whales all around us. Next, the Grand Pacific Glacier.” One more – Owner Bill Partatore: “Each Alaskan reflects its owner’s personality. I’ve owned a dozen yachts. It’s the easiest boat to maneuver I’ve ever had.”
  4. The modern Alaskan line presents its traditionally-styled yachts from 56’ to 85’ plus new designs up to 100’ now on the drawing board. Forward thinking management has fostered hull forms as semi-displacement hulls; some with larger engines capable of planing speeds – a developing trend in the field. All designs and molds are owned exclusively by Oviatt Marine.

    Alaskan’s 80’ Raised Pilothouse is its largest entry to date, and when introduced it quickly won a coterie of fans and followers. Masculine, rugged, this fine yacht readily manifests its heritage – an appealing show of muscular biceps as well as business acumen. It is definitely a cruising yachtsman’s vessel, with plenty of thought given to performance in all sea conditions. Yet it is designed and furnished with good taste and decorated with stylish aplomb. As though it has just made landfall out of Edna Ferber’s excellent Alaskan novel Ice Palace, its fine silhouette is respected and welcomed in the most impressive yacht basins.
  5. Above it all, the flybridge offers not only twin helm chairs, but a full set of electronic controls and gauges. Aft of the driver’s seat is ample space for relaxed horizon viewing or snacking, shaded by the hardtop. The topside lounge includes a refrigerator-icemaker combination, as well as Corian hi-lo tables.
  6. On the flybridge aft deck, the wide expanse to the rear is an ideal sun platform, but also houses the 15’ Nouvurania 460 outboard dinghy/tender and Nautical Structures Euro 2,200-lb., 14’ boom, launching davit.
  7. The covered aft deck offers copious room for relaxation or partying. A built-in granite table on gliding pedestals is sturdy enough to host a full dinner for six. Easy chair seating and a built-in couch, as well as a stainless steel sink, add convenience. The whole is shaded by its hardtop. Built-in stairs lead upward to the flybridge.
  8. To the rear of the aft deck, a generous transom door opens for stairs down to the swim platform. All decks are non-skid, white on white. The broad swim platform at the stern is guarded by removable stainless steel stanchions, promoting safe transit and docking operations.
  9. Looking forward from the aft deck, major space is devoted to the well-appointed salon. The salon flaunts its masculine orientation with satin finish cherry-wood cabinetry and slender glass doors – enclosing glassware – resembling an English club-room writing-desk/secretary. Centered is the 42” flat screen TV. At right is a woven rattan casual chair, while forward, three steps up, can be seen the entrance to the galley and wheelhouse. Unseen, but highly appreciated, is the central vacuum system.
  10. Boasting lush, coffee-colored decorator fabrics with overstuffed leather furnishings and chairs with woven rattan accents. The headliner here and throughout is soft ecru vinyl, softening the expanse to provide a headroom vista which seems visually even higher. The oversize, overstuffed leather couch invites comfortable lounging, in addition to the large, brown leather matching lounge chair. A massive, carved, central mahogany coffee table and matching end tables mesh easily into the décor plan, while two SeaGrass occasional chairs provide casual seating. Full windows on each side add to the visual expanse.
  11. Rattan casual chairs flank another imposing, carved mahogany table. Beam-width design for the salon allows for a spacious conversation area with casualness and camaraderie, without the feeling of being in each other’s pockets.
  12. The galley/bar is outfitted with a U-line beverage cooler – a 20-lb. capacity icemaker, no less – and glass storage, handy to the forward helm station as well as dining areas. Beyond that, the galley will please the most demanding cruising chef. Wall surfaces and bulkheads are glistening cherry veneer, while countertops feature black granite. Cabinets are cherry-wood with a hand-rubbed satin finish. A full complement of chef’s ware includes the Kitchen-Aid Series glass top electric cooktop, microwave-convection oven, refrigerator/freezer with indoor ice and water, plus a double stainless steel sink. A garbage disposal takes care of those few morsels Fido turns up his nose at, and the cat (of course) ignores.
  13. Black granite accents the robust quality of the design, contrasting with the stainless steel sink and just-so alignment of cabinetry and storage areas. The layout, though spacious, accounts for every inch of room, molding it into the most advantageous arrangement. Space so well used seems, in effect, to double its effectiveness.
  14. Immediately abaft the bridge, a 42”flat screen TV with surround sound descends from the overhead. There is also a full-size ultra-marine blue fabric settee, poised for service behind a highly finished cherry-wood table, adjustable for dining or map reading
  15. The nerve center of operations, the pilothouse, forward, offers 180 degree visibility from its twin Stidd helm chairs – low back X2 500-200-2X2 Admiral series –on pedestals with X2 footrests. Upholstered in white or black Ultra-leather, the chairs face a triple set of coordinated 15” display panels including all navigational, electronic and alarm information along with the sculpted wood destroyer-style wheel.
  16. The AC20 Autopilot computer plus an integrated bow-thruster interface allows the captain total control in all maneuvers. One 15” screen features a Simrad Black box 72-mile radar as well as Chart/Echo/Radar GPS. Connecting him directly to all locations ship-wide is a built-in intercom. Overhead, the Khalenburg T-1 triple air horn is switched through the helm as well.
  17. Inside on the lower deck, the full-beam master suite is of course the most indulgent room on the yacht. Adding fine art to decorate the cherry-wood walls, and a curved, light-embellished headboard to the king-size berth sets off the artistic fireworks. Architecturally planned bed tables and stowage drawers make this the throne room.
  18. Alaskan 80 features commodious sleeping and private arrangements, the most luxurious of which, naturally, is its master suite. Like the foyer of a successful man’s home, the master’s entryway seating is a prelude to the richness inside. Fine decorator fabrics adorn its understated couch arrangement, while the satin-finished cherry-wood wall-covering theme and geometrically designed windows include drawer/stowage patterns in the same mode.
  19. Cedar-lined double, large hanging lockers as well as walk-in closets manage all-season costumes. A 42” EFA flat panel TV provides nighttime entertainment. Adjoining is the well designed and decorated master head/shower.
  20. This shot of the VIP stateroom, forward, shows the striking cherry-wood and mahogany burl used as wall and furniture covering. The VIP presents a raised queen size island berth, with copious storage underneath, plus its own ensuite head/shower and a 20” Panasonic flat panel TV.
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