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Longreef 60 SX Review and Video – What is boating to you?

by John Curnow, Editor, 26 Jun 2019 01:06 PDT
Elegant lines of the Longreef 60 SX are great stationery and underway © John Curnow

Is it about being designed to be easy to operate, and maintain over time? Do you know why you would make it solid, and also offer an almost art deco feel with rounded forms and dark, matt walnut timber trims? Given that this was an era that lent itself very much towards entertainment, would you describe yourself as such? Are you an outdoors kind of person, who likes to have air in their hair, and the space to just kick back?

Answered yes to most of that? Well this is a brand, and a boat that you need to investigate. And if you have particular requirements, then being pretty much totally customisable inside its basic form, should leave you with exactly what you need to have hours upon hours of the best kind of boating you can not only hope for, but achieve.

Absorbing her from the outside.

Approaching the Longreef 60 SX you find a traditional hull form, with a very much Italian inspired kind of superstructure. There are long, swooping lines ranging from the foredeck, and then these all taper down to form the buttresses that support the expansive flying bridge and targa bar/radar arch. Overall, it is a very stylish achievement for your $2.3M, with the aft deck having twin access to the huge hydraulic swim platform.

The walk around decks feature bulwark that is a bit like Goldilocks, and is just high enough. In addition to that, the ‘fence’ of well-made railing extends all the way aft, so you feel very safe when moving forward for manoeuvres or to enjoy the for’ard sun lounge that has self-draining drink and bottle holders moulded into the coaming, so that as the ice melts it does not flood over you.

Some stairs on boats have a huge rake to them, or the plates are only good for about half of your foot, or worse still, both flaws. Not so here, which is great, because without doubt the Longreef is all about her expansive flying bridge with a table able to sit all for the last supper, a good helm position off to port and up for’ard, and then a lounge just to the right of the driver that enforces relaxation for all who come that far. Many may stop at the BBQ and wetbar that is immediately behind the helmer, however. Pity. It is a great spot, and it is from there that I shot the video of the flyover by the fighters that forms part of the video about this vessel.

There is a fully laid deck in teak, and this kind of sets up the theme for the boat, with real timber adorning everything. Tables are solid, not laminate, and there is matt walnut used throughout the interior spaces, with genuine solid oak floor planks used in the main saloon. It is things like this that have contributed significantly to her 32 metric tonne mass, but they add so much in terms of texture, feel and presence that it is easy to see why you specify them as standard fitment.

Just on that point, if you were chasing speed, then removing these sorts of things would be the easiest way to shed some kilos and move that bit quicker, but more on all of that a little later.

Taking it all in.

The split or slit windows that give her a modern and stylish feel do not allow as much light into the after section of the main saloon as do traditional pilothouse style glass. A lot of this is overcome by just how much the for’ard section generates, and also the bi-fold doors that open up the entire aft bulkhead and combine the aft deck with the galley and saloon.

I love the lit crockery cabinet in the strip galley which can easily serve both the huge table on the aft deck and the more formal one inside and immediately opposite. Those well over six feet will end up a little like Gulliver on the main deck level, but this is not the case when you head to the lower deck, which is great.

To get there you step up once to the lounge and lower helm station. As you go down the companionway steps you pass the really old school and quite large toggle switchboard with huge markings for ship and shore power. If ever there was an aide-mémoire as to what kind of boat you were on, then this would be it.

Once arrived below, there is a TV lounge to port, which has Pullman style bunks to take you to eight guests. This snug or kids lounge can be built as a normal cabin if you so choose. Immediately opposite is the twin cabin which can also be converted to a Queen for your guests. The VIP Stateroom is for’ard in the Vee, and the head is to port. There are two additional crew bunks with a full head in the stern, which you could use as a kid’s hideaway if you are an owner/driver.

The Master Stateroom is amidships and runs athwartships, with its head running down the length of the companionway that comes back around from that switchboard we love so much. In the accommodations, I particularly liked the ability to use 12V fans for real air rather than relying solely on the ship’s AC. With the ports open, these quiet little fans send a gentle flow through, and of course it also means you won’t have to run the smelly in some of the best anchorages, which is exactly where you’ll find yourself.

So how does she go?

This 60 SX was the first Longreef that arrived after Andy Young and Mark Johnston’s vision for a new brand of yacht. She was specified with a pair of 550hp Cummins running in straight drive format with the main tanks for’ard of them, with access from either the inspection port in the aft deck or the much larger works opening in exactly the same area. She’ll happily trundle along at 6-8 knots in no wash zones, and at 6 knots she’ll consume just 15-18 litres per hour combined.

Her fast cruise mode is at 18 knots, where it steps out to a respectable around 160-180lph in normal conditions. At WOT you’ll make 21-22 knots depending on load and conditions and it will be more like 200-240lph depending on load. Speaking of which, she has 2000l of fuel on board, 600 of water that the watermaker can just keep topping up, 300 in grey and 400l in black stowage.

What that all means is that you have an effective range of say 200nm in quick mode and about 570 in slow mode. Our vessel had a crew cabin accessed off the swim platform and in through a transom-mounted port. If you choose to go up in power, which can mean a pair of 750s, 850s or even 1150s, then this cabin goes to allow for the extra cast iron. Yes you will easily be a mid 30s flyer at that point, but I think you would also want to look at doubling your bunkering capacity.

Interestingly, the next 60 is a Sport Yacht version, and five tonnes lighter as a direct result. So, with that segue now built, let’s hear what the founder has to say about the boats, the brand, and the future.

Continuation of the line…

Andy Young, the CEO of Longreef Yachts commented, “The 50 will be with us soon, just after the Sydney Show. She is an SX too, so that means flying bridge, and a bit of a flyer too. The 50 after that will be a Sport Yacht (single level), and delivered in 2020. We also have a 90 in build right now. She is going into Survey, with full AMSA sign off, and she will be here in the second half of 2020. Indeed, it looks like we have another one soon to commence, as well.”

“We have a super-custom 70 that is in the preliminary stages of design, as her owner came to us and wanted the three heads to be of the same size as the three cabins. This was very important to him and was not really possible in the 60, so it made sense to go to 70 feet to achieve his wishes.”

Also very interestingly, the existing boat, the 60 SX, is very much being used by her owner who remains in raptures with the vessel. In nine months of life she has already racked up over 500 hours on the mains, and that was when we tested it. She has since gone back up North, so there will be even more on the clock now. Of course, this is exactly what boats are for. They do not do well just sitting in pens.

“We brought her down to the Sanctuary Cove show in 5-6m swells, which she handled with no problem”, said Young. No doubt all legacy of her strong, hand laid, vinylester form from a female mould which, like a lot of things on this boat, can best be described as ‘old school’.

“We have a Marine Surveyor, Gavin Clarke from Slipstream, who is AMSA approved, and he goes with me to the factory in China each time to ensure all the stages are signed off. Even though this one was not built to survey, we still follow NSCV, the new AMSA regulations, and the electrical compliance certification anyway. All Longreefs are built to Australian standards.”

So does that mean that the eyes are on other locations? “We are dealing with the Australian market first, where clients are looking for a strong boat designed for proper cruising, but yes, it will suit other markets like the USA. First it is all about meeting local demand, and all my suppliers are local too. For instance, the davits are not Italian or Taiwanese, but done by John from Australian Davits and Cranes, who does all our hydraulic actuators.”

Interesting point here, for all the key components actually get shipped in! This includes doors, fridges, ovens and so on.

“We will get a firm grip here in Australia first with our 40, 50, 60, and 90. The idea is get people into the brand and then offer them an upscale solution. The 40 is important as a stepping stone, and you could argue it has been a weakness in the general market over the last couple of years, with at least one manufacturer coming back into the sphere as they realise that is important to not be out of reach.”

What does it all mean, then?

So it does not take much to see the Longreef brand ethos materialising here. “We’re about strong quality build, and old school analogue, as opposed to a totally electronic scenario. I have had 100 boats in syndication over the last 12 years, and one thing that sticks out massively is that, although technology is changing for the digital age and improving, in terms of boats it almost needs to go back to basics. Things like LCD screens are not actually designed for massive hitting and vibration that waves, engines and so on generate all the time. Vibrations can damage displays easily, and you don’t want it to fail out at sea, 200nm from anyone.”

“The problems become harder to find, so our boats have come back to normal. It is all straight forward, don’t need a degree to start it or drive it. We have switches, not menus, and it is about being easy. You want to get on board, get out, relax and enjoy your boat. You don’t want to stress about where this or that is, or have to bring the 10-year-old along to master it all for you.”

"Phones deal with most of the tech now. Take the example where your car’s navigation is not used as much as the phone. Same sort of thing here. It is pointless putting all this tech in for $300-400k more money and then not use it. We have cruise control, Dockmate, Garmin GPS, radar, all the basics you need to navigate up and down the coast, and that is it.”

Longreefs are built by the largest domestic boat builder in China. They also make commercial craft, and so going out to 140 feet is nothing for them. In fact, some of these large vessels are off to the USA right now. What it all says is that all around the world there are different outlooks on a lot of things, and one needs to get one’s head around that fact. Even if it happens here one way, it could well be different overseas, and most likely is. For that reason alone, I am very thankful for my time on the Longreef. You will be too. Start your first cruise here...

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