The seas were modest the day of our test, the wind blowing from the northeast. As Capt. Angel Merentes powered up Bonny Read, it gently rose onto plane — never deviating from a level stance, the MTUs pumping out the power with no vibrations and very little sound reaching the inner sanctum of the enclosed bridge. Acceleration was swift as the vessel’s speed rose steadily with the revolutions per minute. Within seconds, the boat pushed along at an easy cruise of 27.5 knots at 2,000 rpm burning 141 gallons per hour, a very respectable performance for a boat of this size and displacement. At that speed, the vessel has a cruising range of better than 900 miles.
Pushing the throttles to the stops provided a top speed of over 35 knots at 2,450 rpm with the big diesels still quiet and vibration free. With the seas running a scant 1 to 3 feet, the water might as well have been dead calm, the ride was so smooth. Merentes heaped praise on the vessel’s rough-water performance, having operated it for several months, including in some far rougher passages. After our test, he was scheduled to run the boat to the Pacific coast of Panama, where it would fish for marlin before heading north to Costa Rica.
We moved up to the skybridge, which serves as the captain’s perch while fishing. The owner is a dyed-in-the-wool marlin fisherman, so the boat has to perform while fishing as well as be a comfortable home away from home. At trolling speed, it leaves a clean wake, great for fishing baits and getting those close bites off the transom. When I yelled, “Marlin azul,” Merentes threw her into reverse and started backing down. With boats of this displacement, transitioning from trolling speed to reverse isn’t instantaneous, but it was respectable.
Pushing harder in reverse, it showed a tendency for the transom to dig in. This was probably accentuated by the low freeboard of the cockpit, but I’ve been aboard boats far smaller that buried the transom and flooded the cockpit under similar circumstances. Merentes ran it through a series of lateral moves to show its ability to track a fleeing billfish and close in for the end game. For a luxury yacht, the boat performed admirably.