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Review: McKinna Yachts 70' Pilothouse Motoryacht

Discussion in 'McKinna Yacht' started by YachtForums, Nov 9, 2013.

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  1. McKinna Yachts 70' Pilothouse Motoryacht
    All is Right in the World; The YachtFish has Returned!

    Review by Capt. Tom Serio and YF Publisher Carl Camper

    When reviewing a yacht, it’s not always about how the sum of the parts work together,
    but how those parts create an experience that captures an elusive element, similar to Apple's
    design language. McKinna Yachts has managed to blend all the right parts into a logical,
    synergistic example of one boat that does it all and does it well.

    It’s a testament to a builder when I'm asked to perform a sea trial and I am met with an enthusiastic “Yes”. Not all builders are willing to take up the gauntlet with YachtForums because we report our findings in full, free of the fluff found in other forms of medias. McKinna welcomed the opportunity to show why their 70' YachtFish was a boat that would would meet or exceed the criteria required to become one of YF's latest reviews. I go onboard a lot of yachts and there are only a handful of builders who 'get it right'. From the design table to the final sign-off, it’s a collaboration of people and components that become the final product. McKinna has brought together some of the best and brightest in the marine industry to create a product that results in a world-class stamp for this California builder.
  2. For the McKinna 70' Pilothouse review, I flew from Florida to San Diego, CA then took a 2-hour drive to Newport to catch up with Garret Martin, President and CEO of McKinna Yachts who just wrapped-up the Newport Boat Show. This wasn't my first time visiting McKinna, as I've reviewed previous offerings from them in the past, but it was the first time I've reviewed a YachtFish. If you spent any time on the water in the 70's and 80's, YachtFish boats or motoryachts with cockpits were everywhere. Today, not at all (except in the used market). This begs the question why? Why would such a good idea fall out of favor? The answer is easy. Product specialization and diversification. That might make a good business model to pitch shareholders, or worse... bankers for an extended credit line, but that doesn't favor the consumer. Well, the YachtFish is back and it's better then ever. Garret learned a lot from the past and it's all present and accounted for with the new McKinna 70' Pilothouse.
  3. Garret Martin insisted on being my point person. Unlike some builders who assign a media director or salesman who often have nothing more than spec-sheet knowledge, Martin is a hands-on builder who knows every reason and purpose behind his builds. Garret spent an entire afternoon going through the 70' yachtfish with me, then played captain for the sea trial allowing me to focus on the details that YF readers want. As a writer, I compare each yacht to similar offerings in the marketplace. As a captain, I place an emphasis on functionality and operational ease. And as a former mechanic, it’s about immediate access to important components, especially at critical times.
  4. Outward appearances are striking if not a bit unconventional. The swept back windshield counters the forward-leaning salon windows, akin to a charging Pamplona bull with head down but with wind-whipped hair blowing back. Hull lines are compliments of renowned naval architect Howard Apollonio and flow from the gentle bow flair and unbroken sheerline that is carried aft, then steps down to the cockpit. Hull sides are not compromised by large obtrusive windows but styled with smaller, accent viewing ports (although larger hull windows are an option). The cockpit layout was designed into the hull based on customer feedback. Not an easy task to say the least, but McKinna’s team retained the dimensions to fit with the overall size.
  5. McKinna blends an open layout with distinctly separate areas throughout the boat, on every deck level. The flybridge helm area has a unique stepped layer that is perfect for sitting cross-legged and facing fore or aft, creating an intimate environment for guests to interact with a cruising couple while perched upon matching captain chairs. Just aft, an L-shaped settee runs along the starboard side with a wash basin to port and additional seating. Above, the hardtop is supported by two fiberglass pillars and stainless stanchions providing full helm coverage.
  6. An exercise in ergonomics, the McKinna 70' has one of the best helms in the biz. Multi-function displays wrap around you in a cinematic experience, all positioned at eye level and canted upwards for standing operation. Notice the angle of the wheel, suitable for seated or standing operation as well. Even the throttles are mounted on a designated perch that reaches out to comfortably meet your hand. And below the station, not shown in this picture, a foot rest is molded into the deck. Finally, a helm done right! And this is only the beginning...
  7. No flybridge helm is complete without a wetbar and fridge. Although undercounter storage is limited, the counterspace is ample.
  8. Aft of the flybridge lounge area is tender and toy storage. When it's not occupied by auxiliary means of transportation, fill it in with lounge chairs and expand the guest list. Hefting the heavies is a 1600lbs Brower davit, which is overkill for the blow-up bathtub boat pictured.
  9. The business end of most boats has generally become a place for some fishy phrase conjured up over fruity drinks spiked with umbrellas. The 70' McKinna kicks motoryacht booty with a purpose; a real cockpit where men can threaten a pelagic dinner and deliver it. The new 70' isn't the only McKinna offered with a cockpit, but owner feedback has led them to design this one a bit smaller while retaining all the same functions as their larger offerings. High gunwales, integrated storage compartments, a built in live-well, transom door, wet bar, speakers and teak table make this a cockpit built for business.
  10. One flight up from the business end, the main aft deck is covered by the extended flybridge, which serves double duty as a marlin lookout post. McKinna placed a food prep/grill station on the starboard side so the fish never see a freezer. They go from swimming to simmering in minutes. A closer examination of the main aft deck reveals a teak table, molded-in cup holders and eyelets with integrated cleats. Everything has multiple functions on a McKinna; a well thought-out boat.
  11. A closer look shows a robust, split top grille with side burners for veggies. If you're dockside, access on/off is easy thanks to side boarding gates integrated into the bulwarks. Although the McKinna 70' is utilitarian in nature; a boat that was built to be used, we would prefer to see a fiberglass sole where grills are located. If the boat's a rockin', then somethin' is spillin'!
  12. When Mother Nature calls, McKinna answers. Minimalistic in design but effective nonetheless, the dayhead is located outside to minimize wear & tear on the interior. Smart!
  13. The utilitarian nature of the outside decks comes to a screaching halt as the grandeur of the McKinna 70 salon hits you like with a high-gloss wood interior, designed by J.C. Espinosa. Space utilization is balanced between storage and living aspects, with access throughout the main deck unencumbered by furnishings that are large or numerous. Low bulkheads and the absence of support columns and walls maintain the open feel for stem to stern visibility.
  14. The salon as well as the entire interior is made of African Cherry with Maple Burl accents. A circular inlay tray ceiling carries the eye to the center of the salon while adding lighting and depth to a potential boring canvas. Maybe Michelangelo could have done a better job. Angular cabinetry softens the flow of lines while helping direct traffic from the aft deck to the fore, also creating a distinct social area. Low-back barrel chairs don’t hamper the visibility of the TV from the sofa.
  15. Up two steps from the salon is the raised pilothouse deck. Likely to be where many will congregate, daily life as well as the panoramic view will draw you in. To starboard is an L-shaped dinette, just aft of the helm. For an owner/operator, it eliminates the isolation of having family/guests seated too far from the big chair. And with low bulkheads, the view forward, to the side and aft is unimpeded. Take advantage of the teak table to lay out the paper charts (remember those) or a nice lunch spread.
  16. The aforementioned lunch or full dinner can be prepped in the port side galley. U-shaped with U-Line fridge/freezer drawers, 4-burner Kenyon electric cooktop, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, GE microwave, and top loading Waeco fridge/freezer, it’s designed into the mainstream of the yacht and centralized to feed the masses both fore and aft. Galley counters are topped with lightweight aluminum-backed honeycomb stone, with ample space for creating, plating and cleaning. Interesting is the tiered counter that can be used for staging dishes or as an easy drop point for serving.
  17. A pantograph door is located starboard of the helm and opens forward for fresh air flow. Like most things McKinna, it's a solid, well engineered piece of equipment.
  18. Have you seen those silly, minimalistic helms on trendy boats that are no wider then a last-class seat on an International flight? Not here. McKinna gives you a real lower station with ample helm space for even analogue equipment!
  19. The instrument panel on the McKinna 70 is orderly because ample room is provided. It's even got a glove box! The dash size works for multiple chart/radar/sounder displays as well as the CAT engine monitors (I like one display per engine, reduces switch fumbling to change) and ZF throttle controls. Breakers are located under the Burl wood wheel and additional electronics can be mounted in the overhead liner.
  20. I’ve found that with many builders, the AC/DC breaker panel is close to the helm or buried with an unfortunate “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. McKinna placed their panels in a conspicuous place; the stairwell wall. Recessed into “window boxes” that conform to the curve of the wall with side-closing tambour doors to keep nosy noses out while offering stand-up access.
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