Yacht Forum Review
Moloka’i Strait 75' "Hercules"
... Ticket to Everywhere!
by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy
She’s the yacht coveted by adventurers; daring, with just the right touches of luxury. Built to venture far and near, across the bay or across the ocean, the Galapagos or Ketchikan, Baja, Rio, Borneo or Timbuktu, whatever suits you. Wherever farthest and fabled dreams may lie, the serious voyager is at home on this rugged, expedition-style cruiser. From Moloka’i Strait, the name is Hercules.
The Moloka’i Strait expedition design was influenced by the fishing trawlers of Romsdahl Norwegian renown. I met with Eric at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, where he stresses the building specs in a quick rundown, which underline her sturdiness: “Hulls are double-bottom, marine-grade A-36 steel with 5 watertight compartments; a 6000-series aluminum deckhouse; LOA 75’- LWL 60’- beam 23’4” - draft 7’- with 315,000 lbs. displacement. She’s heftier by a long shot over any 75-foot glass motoryacht, which might weigh less than half of the Molokai. The majority of this weight is kept very low for ultimate stability." Her cruise range extends to 5,500 miles at 7 or 8 knots. This range, coupled with a true, blue-water engineered hull, place this expedition on coordinates rarely traveled by boats of this size.
Check out her considerable strengths for offshore performance: One of the few yachts under 100' with a bulbous bow and freighter-like hull, capable of coaxing crests into rollers. In beam seas, her rounded bilge hull-form is never brittle, the way hard chined hulls tend to be. Instead, a round-bilge hull results in a gentle rolling without hull snap; as with some planing and semi-planing motoryacht configurations. Up high above the water line, the elevation of the flybridge is on par with much larger yachts, providing the skipper with a scouting view of the horizon. When the weather turns wicked, you can rise above the spray in a full wrap around Portuguese bridge, or take ultimate refuge inside wheelhouse.
At the bow, a 240-lb. CQR anchor, heavy 300’ 5/8” chain and rugged ground tackle stand at the ready; with tug-size stainless steel bollards and cleats, and 1-1/4” docking lines. A section of the bow holds an 18’ RIB runabout, plus a smaller one to starboard, with a 2500 lb. launching crane. The forepeak houses twin anchor lockers plus the 16” diameter Naiad bow thruster.
Although a bimini top option is available, an open fly configuration was chosen for Hercules. The flybridge helm features twin helm chairs and a stainless steel destroyer wheel. Abaft the flybridge helm is a comfortable settee plus an area large enough for several sun-pads, and the soaring communications mast. It boasts long and short-phase radar, along with double sat-nav domes. A stainless steel ladder leads down to the pilothouse, where a Portuguese walkway circles the pilothouse and main helm inside, with door entries port and starboard.
Heavily finished, satin teak is featured in decks, with raised teak paneling on wall coverings and cabinetry in the handsomely laid out, but strictly business, primary inside helm. Two Stidd leather helm chairs belly up to the console facing five large windows. Half a dozen screens relay all instrumentation and operations data instantly to the captain. One screen on the far right shows a complete rear-view mirror-style video of the starboard side, bow to stern – very handy on docking. On each beam passageway, full bow and stern thruster stations, outside, permit critical direction movements for docking.
Also in the pilothouse, a broad upholstered settee provides seating for eight, with a lacquered teak triangular table. Aft of the settee is a built-in pilot berth, very useful on overnight crossings. Shown in the photo foreground is a sink with stainless steel fixtures, built-in to the banisters which lead down padded stairs to the main deck. A dumb-waiter for service from the galley is built into joinery between the settee and ship’s office at the port aft corner of the pilothouse.
Down the angled flight of stairs, to the main deck, is the galley. Light cabinetry sports a mosaic of orange/black-colored granite countertops, making the galley not only utilitarian... but spectacular. All-electric, it is nevertheless a study in strength. Its four burner stove/oven continues her strapping, virile theme, with cast iron grilles rather than the slick, flat burners now popular with so many products. Refrigerator/freezer and dishwasher also look as though carved from steel. Sink and fixtures, SS, are ultra-modern design. A three-seat, raised counter snack bar is handy for leisurely breakfasts or snacks
Separating the galley and salon is the dining room. Fully carpeted, it presents a heavy, round dining table to accommodate four. A wrap-around buffet separates the salon and holds plentiful dinner service as well as cutlery and storage. Decorative cabinet doors cover utility spaces forward. Headroom is generous throughout the vessel, even in the walk-around engine room, at 6’10” to a remarkable 7’6” between decks.
Astern, the main saloon is cozy, deeply carpeted, with a hospitable leather couch and two easy chairs, plus an oval glass-topped coffee table. At the centerline forward is another unusual touch; a fireplace which exhausts into a funnel. A 32” TV covers that space, and adds Bose sound, CD, DVD in the entertainment center.
Masculine describes the master stateroom. Well appointed and finished with soft lacquered teak, dominated by a king-size berth, it echoes rustic undertones. Surrounded by convenient cabinets, entertainment center, and a large vanity mirror, the room is set amidship. The master suite is full-beam wide, cloistered, with watertight doors. The pedestal bed is raised to hip-high with massive storage beneath, in teak drawers. A ceiling-high secretary/clothes armoire’ with drawer arrangement provides plenty of storage.
To starboard in the master suite is the head/shower, Jacuzzi tub, marked with double ceramic sinks set in alabaster countertop, with full mirrors. The shower walls are stone-textured tile. Sealed portholes located at water level of the yacht allow light, plus a startling, waterline view of the ocean, about chest high to the viewer, as it rushes past underway.
To starboard and forward of the master suite, the VIP stateroom offers a queen-size berth, nicely finished in teak trim and fully carpeted. It includes an ensuite head.
To port is an additional guest stateroom with twin beds and ample storage in dressers and beneath the berths. An abbreviated annex to this room can be transformed as a gym/workout room.
Five main watertight compartments make up the Molokai's hull, each sealed off through spin-lock doors. Yep, that little door step lets you know you're on a real ship.
The crew mess on the ship is located at the fore peak. A difficult area, at best, to utilize for anything more than a v-berth. Molokai came up with a solution that results in spacious, comfortable living quarters for a captain and two crew members. The kitchen is adequate, although occupants at the dining table can not sit across from each other. Getting on deck quickly and reducing interior wear is a 7-step stainless crew ladder that leads directly up to the foredeck.
Captain’s stateroom, immediately aft, sports a double berth and hanging locker. The crew share a head/shower.
Pacific Coast Marine watertight doors protect the most energetic area on the ship, the engine room. Entrance is through the Dutch door from the main saloon corridor. With full headroom 6’7” there’s also full walk-around span. The engines have dry exhaust routed up through the funnel which also exhausts the salon fireplace. A work bench against the forward bulkhead has ample area for inside tasks. A second watertight door allows exit to the aft lazarette. Moloka’i Strait 75 is propelled by twin Cummins 6CTA8.3 in-line 6-cyinder marine diesel engines, turning 2500 rpm, with 36” propellers. Bow and stern thrusters are 50-hp diesels.
An outstanding expedition yacht as well as a spacious and comfortable liveaboard, the Molokai Strait 75' will satisfy the most adventurous dreams of the roamer, vagabond or swashbuckler who wants to sea the world in safety and style.