Guided Discovery: Humble Beginnings Aboard Our Outer Reef 63 LRMY (BLOG)

Join Les and Diane Shapiro, the newest additions to our stable of cruiser-bloggers, as they cruise aboard their Outer Reef 63 LRMY.
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Join Les and Diane Shapiro, the newest additions to our stable of cruiser-bloggers, as they cruise aboard their Outer Reef 63 LRMY.
Outer Reef 63 "Guided Discovery" running in Miami, FL

April 1, 2014: The Return From Trawlerfest: 

TrawlerFest-Lake Park ended on Saturday, March 1. We planned to depart on Sunday morning for our return to Ft. Lauderdale and Marina Bay to complete (or attempt to complete) the commissioning/outfitting process.

Late Saturday afternoon Mike introduced me to Craig Parkhurst from Wheelhouse Technologies, Outer Reef's supplier of maintenance management software. While not Greek, Craig came bearing gifts (well a gift) in the form of a brand new 64GB, 4G-enabled iPad Air with the following installed:

  • A 115 page Outer Reef Owners Manual customized for the 63 Motoryacht
  • Allof the owners manuals for the equipment installed on the 63
  • The Wheelhouse Technologies maintenance management application

Explanatory Sidenote - Wheelhouse Technologies: This program enables a boat owner (or Captain) to totally manage the maintenance of the boat. The program works on time and hours (engine, generator and tender) to alert the owner with regard to required and suggested maintenance. The program allows you to record maintenance performed including parts used, labor time, cost etc. It even allows you to upload scanned work orders and invoices associated with a maintenance or repair item. Another key feature is parts numbers for every system on the boat and the ability to order parts on line and have them shipped to your location. There's more but this is not a sales pitch for Wheelhouse. The software is fairly intuitive and I've already begun to use it.

Heading toward the New River we are passed by a 48 Sundancer, my previous boat.

Heading toward the New River we are passed by a 48 Sundancer, my previous boat.

Craig and I hit it off and I invited him to accompany me on the 55 mile run back to Marina Bay Marina. He was a welcome addition to my temporary crew. Craig's accompanying me allowed Diana and our dog, Kodi, to return to Marina Bay by car.

The trip back to Ft. Lauderdale was relatively easy and the wave heights (3 to 4) were less than forecasted (4 to 5s). Our route of travel took us down the ICW to Worth Inlet, out to the ocean and south down the coast to the Port Everglades Inlet and then north on the ICW to the New River. The trip took 6 hours and 15 minutes.

As we headed south from Worth Inlet, Billy Black, considered one of the best marine photographers in the world took photos of Guided Discovery while we were underway. We met Billy again when he did an evening photo shoot for Outer Reef.

Billy Black in his case boat snapping away.

Billy Black in his case boat snapping away.

The New River, the final leg of the journey, is always challenging but especially so on a lovely Sunday afternoon. A boat coming out of a launch almost hit us around Las Olas Blvd (he ultimately backed up into a piling - thunk!) and I learned some importance lessons about disengaging the synchronizer and stabilizers when navigating in tight waters.

Craig graciously helped me wash down the boat after we tied up. It took the two of us two hours (or do the math - four man hours) to clean up the boat after running in seas with spray. This was the first time I had washed the boat. It was a big job and together we did a first class job. Glad I had help.

Off to Palm Beach and PassageMaker Sea Trial

We were scheduled for our "installation" into the Palm Beach Boat Show on Sunday at 10:00 AM. Unfortunately, to cover the 55 miles from Marina Bay Marina to the show's location just south of the Flagler Memorial Bridge and arrive at 10:00 AM we would have had to leave at 3:00 AM.

So I decided to "stage" the boat on Saturday at a marina close to the show. We (actually Pam Rose) chose Palm Harbor Marina, which is located just 300 yards north of the show. On this trip Pam, my part-time assistant Captain, and Milt Baker, a PassageMaker contributor, and his lovely wife, Judy, accompanied me. We departed the Marina Bay Marina docks at 9:00 AM.

Billy Black.

Billy Black.

A little background. I started reading PassagMaker Magazine way back in the late 90s when Diana and I were considering early retirement and the purchase of a trawler (actually the Nordhavn 50 that we almost bought). PassageMaker is, in my opinion, the best boating magazine out there. Its articles are interesting and educational and totally focused on the cruising lifestyle.

PassageMaker had decided to do a feature article on our 63 and Milt was aboard to perform a PassageMaker Sea Trial. Judy came along for the ride and brought her charm and tasty sandwiches.

Why our boat? Our 63 Motoryacht (or LRMY - Long Range Motor Yacht) is the first one built for a U.S. owner. While Outer Reef has built other 63s, they have all been of the Cockpit Motoryacht version shown in the photo below.

The Outer Reef 63 CPMY.

The Outer Reef 63 CPMY.

Guided Discovery, the LRMY variation of the 63.

The LRMY variation of the 63.

What's the difference? While essentially the same boat, the LRMY has a longer salon, larger aft deck, longer boat deck and a massive lazarette.

There were clearly three highlights to this trip. The first was the run down the New River, which was my best and fortunately last outing on that busy piece of water. The second was the sea trial and the last was Palm Harbor Marina where we were one of the smaller boats.

After we headed north we performed the sea trial, which took two hours. It consisted of running the boat on reciprocal courses (to adjust for wind, seas and current) from 1,000 RPM to WOT at 2,539 RPM. We were in 3-foot seas during the test, which made getting GPS SOG (Speed Over Ground) readings difficult. The turbulence bounced the reading all over the place. Milt tracked SOG, fuel consumption and decibel readings at each RPM.

The Baker's Nordhavn, Bluewater.

The Baker's Nordhavn, Bluewater.

Milt's speed and fuel consumption data essentially mirrored Tania's sea trial results, which I published last October (Sea Trial in Taiwan). However, Milt then adjusted his numbers for a 10% fuel reserve. At 1,500 RPMs Milt found our speed to be 8.9 knots with fuel consumption at 9 gallons per hour (Note: Tania recorded 9 knots and 8 GPH at 1,500 RPM). This yielded a range of 1,100 miles. He also measured sound levels in the Pilothouse, Salon and Master Stateroom, which were 60, 63 and 63 respectively. Between 60 and 70 is considered a moderate sound level equivalent to conversational speech. These reading confirmed what we already knew: Guided Discovery is a very quiet boat underway.

I found Milt and Judy fascinating. Milt crossed the Atlantic Ocean in his Nordhavn 47 trawler and has logged over 35,000 miles. He is the founder of Bluewater Books. Not surprising his boat is named Bluewater and he serves as PassageMaker’s resident book reviewer.

Milt, Judy and myself standing on the swim platform of Guided Discovery.

Milt, Judy and myself standing on the swim platform of Guided Discovery.

Milt shared with me the final paragraph of his article, which I will now share with you. [Editor’s note: Look for Milt Baker’s Outer Reef Review in the upcoming October 2014 issue of PassageMaker Magazine.]

A month ago I knew little about Outer Reef yachts, but I come away from my sea trial experience very impressed in a good sort of way. What I like best, perhaps, is that Outer Reef Yachts places a high priority on keeping its customers happy—before, during and after the sale. Les says the word “no” is just not in their vocabulary. Price will surely rule out an Outer Reef for many PassageMaker readers, but for a cruising couple with the means and the desire to travel to far-off ports in a safe and elegant motoryacht, a boat like Les Shapiro’s could be just the ticket. An Outer Reef 630 LRMY would look right at home in most any yachting port in the world.—Milt Baker