Throughout my time working with boats, people have asked me to assign a definition to the word “yacht,” and I’ve always struggled to find a one-size-fits-all definition. Is the demarcation line between a yacht and a boat strictly monetary, or does a certain quality of interior finish matter? Perhaps a boat over 60 feet is a yacht; under, a boat. But we’ve all seen 60-footers that couldn’t possibly qualify, and plenty under 60 that feel yacht-like. Regardless of the line, most often my response was, “you’ll know it when you see it.” And with the Outer Reef 580 Classic motoryacht, that line is a distant memory.
Outer Reef Yachts—from the recently released Trident series to the Classic line that extends upwards of 100 feet in length—maintain the look, feel, performance, and finish that combine to be unequivocal in the category of luxury motoryachts. The 580 is the smallest in the product offering, but is packed with features that would appeal to the long-range cruising enthusiast, or the live-aboard seeking luxury accommodations.
At first glance, the Outer Reef 580 Motoryacht is a workhorse, sporting styling cues from a traditional-yacht heritage, including thick fashion plates, a Portuguese bridge, plenty of bow flare to keep the ride dry, and three outdoor spaces ranging from the flybridge to the decks, fore and aft. The ship carries plenty of height to the top of the flybridge’s hardtop, so the designers included a solid base of 17’ 2” of beam to give the net effect a proportional balance of volume, both for the exterior aesthetics and for interior roominess. Other nice finishing touches include a reduction of exterior surface teak and molded-in hull planking lines that reinforce the classic yacht appeal.
Due to the wide beam and lack of heavy taper at the bow, space on board mimics that of a much larger yacht. The normally equipped 580 comes as a three-stateroom package, with the master set amidships in front of the engine room bulkhead. The master is a beam-to-beam affair, with the large berth running athwartships on one side, and a master head running fore-and-aft, to starboard. Hanging lockers and ample drawer storage allow the long-range cruisers plenty of space for keeping the wardrobe fresh, helped, of course, by the onboard washer/dryer stashed in the corridor between the VIP- and twin-berth, guest staterooms.
On the main deck, the beam provides enough room for a protected staircase to the flybridge, a sizeable galley with U-shape counters on the same level as the helm, and full-size appliances. The main saloon is three steps down from the raised pilothouse, and itself features an L-shape settee, with a starboard option for an additional straight settee or a pair of barrel chairs.
As with all Outer Reefs, discussing the onboard finishes is less important as discussing the workmanship, as the company is committed to working with owners to outfit each yacht to owners’ tastes. I’ve never been on the same Outer Reef twice, but the fit-and-finish has normally been top-notch, with precise joinery-work and comfortable design ergonomics.
At 93,000 pounds of displacement on her semi-displacement hull, the 580 isn’t a lightweight, and that translates well to her sea-handling and solid feel underfoot. Big, sturdy, and stabilized with standard ABT fins, she charges through small seas with ease, and handles larger ones without tossing her passengers about unnecessarily. Her weight does impact fuel economy, so there is a trade off that many will feel a compromise worth making while at sea. At 1,400 rpm, the 580 averages a steady 8.7 knots, adding more than 2.5 knots when the throttles are bumped up to 2,000 rpm. At a pleasant cruise of 9.7 knots, pilothouse noise was minimal—less than 75 dB(A). Max speed with the CAT C9 engines hit an average of 13.5 knots at over 2,500 rpm.
High bulwarks, the aforementioned Portuguese bridge, heavy stainless, and thoughtfully placed hand holds contribute to the feeling of safe and secure passage, and if that isn’t enough to provide peace of mind, Outer Reef builds all their models to a CE Ocean class A specification.
There is no confusing the Outer Reef 580: this is a yacht, in its essence, designed and built to handle long-range cruising duties with aplomb. Stay tuned for more from Outer Reef as the company will soon introduce a 610 Classic motoryacht at this year’s Newport International Boat Show in Newport, Rhode Island. Among other enhancements, the 61-footer will include a molded-in swim platform which will increase performance.