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Flybridge recommendation

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Journeyman, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    I have been boating for 40 years+ and recently piloted my 37 foot express cruiser from Massachusetts to southern Florida. (It was a fantastic 12 day trip!!) I am interested in something a bit larger that my wife and I could live on and travel to the Keys, Bahamas, back up north, etc and am looking in the 45-52 foot range. I want to move away from an express style so we can have more living space above the water line, but also want to maintain speed so am not interested in a trawler. I believe a late model used Flybridge is the best choice for me. I’ve looked at sea ray, Sabre, absolute, azimut, prestige, princess, Monte Carlo, etc. and have read a lot of negative comments on forums like this. I believe that the Sea Ray 51 Fly would be a good choice, but have read so many negative comments about the Zeus system that I am not interested in that.

    I would love to see your thoughts and recommendations on what the best overall choice (brand, propulsion, etc) would be for the needs I’ve described above. Thank you so much.
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    "late model" has a different meaning to different people. Model year range and price range would help.
  3. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    Thanks RER,
    Model year range - 2014 to present
    Price range - $750k to $950k
  4. KoffeeCruising

    KoffeeCruising New Member

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    Great sweet spot. My 54 Flybridge MY is either the biggest small boat or the smallest big boat that one person or couple can operate, but also have guests. We live on the Flybridge with its grill, fridge, ice maker, table/eating area. I only drive from inside when it’s raining.

    I thought I wanted a trawler until I learned I could go trawler speeds at good fuel burn - but also go 20+kts to cross Gulf Stream or take a day out of the trip from S Fla to Key West when I choo$e to $pend for $peed.

    I have a 2007 Pama- nobody has heard of them- but I’m Hull 11, it has Volvo D-9’s and great layout/bones. I’ve upgraded electronics, rebuilt the davit / and converted an office into a bunkroom - and it has been great over these last 2 years which has includes 78 days travel And close to 300 hours. It’s sort of like the Hyundai Genesis: very high fit and finish, but it’s not a Mercedes or BMW. Cast a wide net, but lots of good boats like this in SFla

    Look for great engine room access, check to see all the hoses are labeled, wiring and electrical panel are accessible and sensible... and get a buyers agent and a great surveyor. I decided to stay away from pods, and I spent $$ installing a Yacht Controller to help me dock—It’s a marriage saver. It has 4.5” draft so good for Bahamas.

    good luck in your search and PM me if you have specific questions.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Without a doubt a Sunseeker 52' or 55' Manhattan, given your criteria.
  6. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I would prefer to make that run in a Sunseeker Manhattan over anything listed in the first post ...the Sabre would be my only choice from that list ...and maybe Princess if I had to pick another.

    I would not want to be outside in rough weather on a Monte Carlo or Prestige. They are all sizzle and no steak IMO. They would not be on my list for extended cruising.
  7. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    Thank you for the information. I’ve seen pros and cons on pods, Volvo IPS and mostly cons on Zeus. RER - why did you stay away from pods and Capt J, what is your view. Thanks again for you time!
  8. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    As we know, on boats pretty much everything is a compromise. Do you prefer Cummins over Volvo? Do you prefer to pulled, or to be pushed? I hear more negative feedback about Zeus. I see more Volvo/IPS coming into the market.

    That said I'm not a fan of either. Pods may be the pleasure boat propulsion system of the future but I had a Cummins tech tell me he wouldn't have them on his boat. Maybe in another 1o years he said.

    I think most people want them for the joystick docking and for that they are willing to pay a significant amount. And I suspect even if you factor in the performance and fuel efficiency claims it's not worth the cost to most boaters. But then some people might think you could say that about the whole boat.

    Personally I would stick with conventional shaft drive. I'm a big fan of the K.I.S.S. principle.
  9. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Having and loving my SF, the only downside is that the ladder is an inconvenience for entertaining. Maybe look for something that has stairs like a 45 Silverton. We also had a removeable (10 minutes) sunshade made for the cockpit which has really opened up our use of the cockpit in the blazing sun or heavy rains
  10. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'll give you my pod view. I'd avoid Zeus because I don't like the ownership situation and lack confidence in them building a future. I see Zeus losing market share. I also don't see anything forward looking as while Volvo went up in size, Zeus remained constricted.

    Now to Volvo. I would never select IPS if there were two otherwise equal choices. However, I would not say no to a boat just because it had IPS.

    The problem is that I never saw the problem to be solved. I'm fine with shafts. I'm fine docking. Besides now you can get joystick systems for conventional drives. As to the efficiency and performance, it's overstated as it's not the high improvement on most boats. You hear numbers like 35% and you see numbers like 10-15%. Offset that with higher maintenance costs and you haven't gained much. Also, note that the IPS advantages are not through the entire performance and power spectrum and at various speeds there is no advantage.

    Now, that said, some day I'll probably own a boat with IPS as that will be the only way the boat I'm dying to own comes. I'll be ok, just not excited about it.

    We did a careful comparison before buying our Sunseeker Manhattan 65 a few years ago. We chose MAN 1200's over Man 1000's and over IPS. However, the Manhattan wasn't originally designed for IPS. It didn't take advantage of the potential of space savings. It had more draft with the pods. There are other boats out there designed from bottom up for IPS and carefully matched and developed. There IPS is far more likely to demonstrate advantages.
  11. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    Thank you Beau.
  12. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    Olderboater,
    I feel similar to you with respect to the pod systems though having a skyhook while waiting for bridges would be pretty nice.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You can get skyhook features, Dynamic Positioning, without pods.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I disagree with Olderboater on this one a bit, he doesn't have a lot of first hand experience with pods. I've put thousands and thousands of miles on pod boats without any issues. You cannot get dynamic positioning on yachts that don't have pods that will last more than a few minutes. Thrusters (on production yachts anyways) aren't designed to be run for an hour on end to keep dynamic positioning. The fuel economy savings are there, I've seen any where from 25-40% on a twin engine installation over shafts...…..best being a 40' Cabo express 33 knots @ 45 gph, with 600hp zues Versus 32 knots @ 62 gph with 800 mans......There are many other benefits to pods, no smoke/fumes, very little vibration, more range, better turning, especially at slow speeds, and more interior room. Are they more maintenance, a little, it depends on how they're maintained...….If you prop speed your traditional running gear......you still have to change cutlass bearings sometimes......If you're using the boat, then the fuel savings easily pay for the maintenance. I like the pods in a twin engine installation. More than 2 pods, would be a hard NO from me, you lose the fuel savings and have 3 of everything to maintain.....

    In the beginning I preferred Zues, still prefer it, except would not recommend someone purchase it. Zues seemed to have everything more integrated than Volvo. Better electronics display, more information, the joystick was more precise, could go from helm to joystick without pressing and holding a access button, the joystick doubled as being able to shift the autopilot a degree at a time, etc. I preferred the Cummins engine over Volvo. Herein lies the problem...….Zues was/is CMD (Cummins Mercruiser Diesel) and a partnership between Cummins/Mercruiser/and ZF. Cummins supplied the engines, zf the gear and upper pod, mercruiser the electronics and lower unit. Seemed like everyone punted or want to punt the football when it came to warranty issues. Also, does not seem like any of them are interested in keeping the program going, which is the only reason I'd go Volvo over zues.

    Volvo IPS, everything is in house when it comes to a warranty issue and they have upped the size/hp of the pods and bridged the gap when it comes to precision. In a lot of boats where they can use 2 pods, the pod option makes a lot of sense over shafts...….
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    How did we get stuck on pods? Isn't the OP asking for general advice on SF?
  16. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Because the OP asked for opinions on pods in post #7.
  17. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Sure, but that's a subset of questions, see #1 Just saying...I guess others will chime in on vessel and accommodation insights
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    NO, the OP asked about pods in post #7. And, he's asking about advice on a flybridge MOTORYACHT.
  19. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    He says a "used flybridge" Anyway I think he is looking for more general info on flybridge vessels than just propulsion. No need to reply, I'm standing down.
  20. Journeyman

    Journeyman New Member

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    Thanks guys. Yes, I am more interested in a Flybridge MY, not an SF.