Sitting with Bob and Maureen Bush in the saloon of Turangalila, surrounded by teak cabinetry and plush, comfortable furniture, it was evident the new owners of the first Marlow Explorer 75E were more than delighted with their new yacht. “Building a yacht is time-consuming but fun,” Bob said. “There are so many details to consider, and that can be frustrating to some owners, but the end result is very personal, very satisfying.”
Bob and Maureen previously built a 70-footer and loved most everything about the layout, especially the master stateroom, but finally decided after 12 years that it was time to move on. Turangalila is Hull No. 1 of the new Marlow Explorer 75E series (the E designates a European stern with twin stairways connecting the aft deck with the swim platform), with an optional enclosed bridge for maximum cruising comfort in tropical locations, and a spacious crew’s quarters aft of the engine room. Generally speaking, the layout below is three en suite staterooms—amidships master, forward VIP and portside guest, with a laundry room opposite that has a raised berth.
“What I learned from visiting exhibits at boat shows, and we looked at over 20 different yacht builders, is that some builders are more responsive, more owner-focused than others, particularly when it comes to special requests,” Bob said. “We asked David [Marlow] to replicate the master stateroom from our previous yacht, which he was able to do. We also asked him to put two sofas in the saloon, with a TV on a lift in the corner, which he did—and even added a desk we hadn’t considered. The bar stools ... were custom-fabricated based on a picture we clipped out of a magazine.”
“Several years ago, Bob and Maureen expressed an interest in buying a Marlow Explorer 78E, a model we built for almost 14 years, but they couldn’t find one with the features they wanted—including oil bath shaft drive systems and carbon fiber stringers—and the layout they were looking for,” said David Marlow, the company’s CEO. “Subsequently, they asked us to build them a 78E, but we convinced them to wait for the launch of a new design, the 75E, which would incorporate our latest findings from empirical testing and development projects.”
Marlow’s goals for the new 75E were lofty. They included creating more room in a smaller yacht, and using high-tech building materials—carbon fiber and DuPont Kevlar—and advanced techniques to gain more strength while reducing weight wherever possible. “Our aim was to add more usable volume while taking a container-load of performance-robbing wood out of the structure,” Marlow said. “I hoped that, if we could get this new, smaller yacht to run in the high-20-knot range with a pair of 1,800-hp CAT C-32 diesels, we’d gain about a knot in wide-open-throttle speed over the 78E, with real loads like 3,000 gallons of fuel, 600 pounds of liquid and an owner’s gear. We were pleasantly surprised when, on initial factory sea trials the yacht topped out over 30 knots.”
During owner sea trials in Florida, with 2,200 gallons of fuel, gear, groceries and 700 pounds of water (a loaded boat, in other words), the boat turned in 31-plus knots. Speed was enhanced with a tweaked tunnel shape and a reduced shaft angle—the latter made possible by exhaustive testing of multiple prop diameters with varying pitches and blade overlaps to minimize slip and drag and mitigate tip-clearance vibration problems.
One of the key design elements was the placement of the large fuel tank, a trademark feature developed by Marlow Marine. It was positioned to use virtually every drop of fuel and to maintain constant side-to-side trim of the yacht across a wide span of fuel levels. Proper placement of the tank is of the utmost importance; it must be at the precise center of gravity to mitigate the leverage that 3,450 gallons of diesel can have on the pitching movement. It’s just part of the process of balancing heavy equipment—including engines, generators and tanks for other fluids—that David Marlow and his team of engineers and naval architects understand very well.
“Underway, the ride is remarkable,” Bob said. “We recently left Ocean Reef Club and caught the Gulf Stream, running 10 knots with the Naiad stabilizers engaged. The boat tracked beautifully and the ride was smoother than any we experienced on our last yacht. I ran it at wide open throttle for a short time, and the handling didn’t change. This boat is made to cruise comfortably and quietly in open water across a wide range of speeds. With the fuel tankage and the efficiency of the CAT engines, and a range of over 3,000 nautical miles, we now can go to Bermuda or down to the Caribbean chain for the first time. Friends of ours took their yacht to the Med by way of Bermuda, the Azores and Gibraltar. That’s on our bucket list.”
Turangalila has all the features Bob and Maureen need for safe passagemaking, starting with a high, well-flared bow, room for a significant windlass and two large anchors to cover a wide range of bottom conditions, a well-drained foredeck that’s not too large for fast runoff, and a stout Portuguese bridge to take the brunt of boarding seas. Wide, teak-planked side decks are protected by high teak-capped bulwarks and stout stainless steel handrails. Side decks are sheltered by deck overhangs, which also extend to the transom and cover the aft deck.
The hull has a full-length keel, significant chines to keep spray down and add lift when cruising at higher speeds, and Marlow’s patented Velocijet Strut Keels that eliminate drag and protect the running gear. The hull is a carefully engineered Corecell foam sandwich laminated with a proprietary resin-infusion process. Stringers, floors and bulkheads are also sandwich construction, which increases strength and reduces weight.
Construction material like carbon fiber, advanced epoxy composites and substantial ring frames enabled Marlow Yachts to achieve many things on the new 75E. That includes a bright and open configuration on the main deck. “The galley was relocated to the same level as the lower helm so that passengers have a superior connection with the helmsman,” Marlow said. “I personally have never had a problem with eliminating the wall isolating the bridge, which was once a structural necessity in boats. I find there are advantages when people stay in touch with the helmsman, even as the party migrates from the aft deck or the saloon to the galley at mealtimes. Some distance cruisers might worry about light sources affecting their night vision, but a helmsman can always turn off all the unused lights when under way. And we can always rig a hideaway tambour door if a customer specifies the same.”
Bob and Maureen opted for a country kitchen in lieu of a lower helm, with seating for eight that offers spectacular views forward and on both sides. Turangalila has a massive Sub-Zero upright fridge with drawer freezers, a Franke double sink with Grohe fixtures, a Kenyon electric cooktop and granite countertops with honeycomb reinforcement.
The new construction engineering also introduces more volume to the engine room. I stand 6’ 3” tall, and I had no trouble touring this compartment in which routine service will be a must when the boat is under way on long hauls. More important, access to vital systems is outstanding. Features worth noting include a sea-chest water intake system with two inspection and clean-out ports, a common drainage system for all discharges, resin hard-coated exhaust risers to help mitigate sound and heat over long distances, and dual Racor fuel/water separators with gauges. I really liked the custom Lexan sound-shield panels on the gensets and the oil change system for the engines and generators (yes, you can specify two, although a single 27.5-kW Onan is standard).
“We chose the name Turangalila with great care,” Bob said. “It’s a blend of two separate Sanskrit words. Turanga means time which flows, movement or rhythm, and lila means a kind of cosmic love. To us, it means ever-flowing love and motion.
“We chose our builder with the same care,” he added. “Marlow’s years of experience and commitment to seaworthiness, efficiency and luxury have made this distance-cruising dream possible for us.”
Temperature: 83° Fahrenheit; humidity: 84%; seas: 2-3’; load: 4 persons, 700 lbs. gear, 2,277 gal. fuel, 100 gal. water. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/onboard Garmin GPS. GPH estimates taken via CAT engine displays. Range is based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the enclosed upper helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.
92,193 lb. (dry)
2/715-hp Cummins QSM11
2/1,800-hp CAT C-32 ACERT (tested)
Available upon request