June 08 2021
June 5, 2021
I am a professional yachtsman. It sounds odd to say. I don’t own a yacht, but from my first days out of school to this present day, I’ve done nothing but build, operate (as a 500 GT captain), and now manage yachts for the past 38 years. I’ve helped build large yacht management operations working for Fraser Yachts for 11 years, Hill Robinson for seven years, and now my own company, Reardon Yacht Consulting, for six years. I have managed Octopus, when, at her launch in 2003, at 414’ and 63 crew, she was the largest yacht in the world, and much smaller yachts, down to a 70’ sportfish. I live and breathe boats professionally and recreationally.
I’m just departing Outback, a 56’ Outback sport yacht, after helping my friend on a delivery from Fort Lauderdale to Georgetown, SC. I’m amazed at this little mighty might. She can cruise at 18 knots on a calm day, slower on rough days, and dances up the ICW with a very handy air draft of 21’ antenna up and 15’ antenna down.
Given my background and experience, when the weather reports said easterly winds, 10-15 knots, with 2-4’ seas, and some occasionally larger seas, I thought nothing of it. I left no room to argue casually running north in the ICW. Those “occasionally larger seas” ended up being more than occasional. One day, we headed in early as the conditions deteriorated. Another day just ended up being long in rougher conditions than expected.
These were not horrible conditions, and although my sea legs were required to spring back to life more quickly than I anticipated, Outback handled the conditions incredibly well. Her hull form, bred from pilot boats required to perform in much harsher conditions, performed surprisingly well. The teak table on the aft deck had a line secured around it and the chairs, and even with a few significant rolls in beam seas, the table did not move. I was so impressed. The boat easily outperformed her crew.
Outback is a relatively new yacht concept embodying the ideas of performance, form, simplicity-blended-with-technology, and great sightlines. She enjoys an open plan layout flowing from the bridge to the swim platform, which is a delight for those who enjoy an elegant outdoorsy lifestyle. This is a lovely boat built for adventure and taking in the beautiful vistas that are a delight if you are into this special brand of the yachting lifestyle.