There’s no disputing it: The 78 Classic is an oceangoing rig.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the safety features. The polished deck hardware including 22, 14-inch stainless steel cleats, 12 hawse pipes, 100 yards of stainless steel railing, a pair of stern windlasses and twin anchor windlasses clearly show the 78 was built by people who have faced strong seas. Walking anywhere on deck, you are never more than an arm’s length away from something solid and secure.
Open the salon doors and be ready to be impressed by book-matched teak joinery. Five steps up on centerline is the all-weather pilothouse, outfitted with a Stidd helm seat and a Furuno arm rest autopilot control, an L-shaped teak settee to port and a day head to starboard. A raised dash accommodates navigation and communication electronics—with more instrumentation in the eyebrow. Boning color touchscreen instrumentation monitors the corral below (twin MAN 1,550-hp diesels), as well as fluid levels, myriad ship and hydraulic systems and security status via closed circuit cameras throughout the yacht. Drawers and shelving provide convenient storage for charts, manuals and other gear.
A staircase to starboard leads below to a lobby area and the lower accommodations of three staterooms, each with a large, en suite head. Aboard our test boat, there was access to the full-beam master from the salon. Two crew cabins and a head and shower are aft, abaft the engine room with a private entrance from the port side deck.
Consider the performance. During our test run on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, we were able to cruise at a top end of about 23 knots. This was thanks in part to the bulbous bow, which cuts down on resistance, and the added waterline length beneath the swim step, which provides more lift astern. At 2100 rpm, those MANs turned in a solid 20-knot cruise. On the open bridge, safely ensconced behind the windscreen, I recorded 75 dB(A). The loudest racket was the water sliding past the hull.
The hull is solid fiberglass reinforced with an interlocking frame and stringer system. Additional reinforcement is implanted in critical areas including the stem, the chines, the stabilizers, the keel and in forward sections ahead of the yacht’s collision bulkhead. A stainless steel shoe protects the full-length keel, and where the keel joins the hull, its top is sealed. This will isolate any trauma from the hull in the event of a collision. The Sea Torque shaft system utilizes a thrust assembly that transfers power from the propeller to the hull so soft mounts can be used while minimizing vibration.
Impressive is an apt word to describe the 78 Classic, since it comes passionately equipped thanks to Tony Fleming and his team of master builders. From its destroyer steering wheels to the active fin stabilizers, it’s hard not to sense this masterful approach when you’re offshore, a lone boat in a massive sea. —Peter Frederiksen
Displ.: 197,800 lbs.
Fuel: 3,000 gal.
Water: 440 gal.
Power: 2/1,550-hp MAN V12 1550 CRM
Cruise Speed: 12 knots
Top Speed: 23 knots
Cruising Range: 784 miles