At the height of the Cold War, the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union became the logical extension of the growing arms race between the two competing international superpowers. Almost half a century later, a different space race is afoot. Though earthlier in nature, and more concerned with space as it relates to comfort aboard, boatbuilders like Midnight Express, HCB and Scout Boats have their sights set on building the largest center console possible. What once seemed like a preposterous notion—gigantic center consoles over 40 feet—is now on full display at boat shows.
With an emphasis on carbon fiber construction, bigger and bigger engines and a willing desire to boldly go where no one has gone before (in terms of LOA), compared to Midnight Express, the competition seems like a distant afterthought. A center console? The 60 is more like a rocket ship.
A 15-foot beam provides the 60 with multiple social spaces. That’s important, because, according to Midnight Express, with the pins down, the four Seven Marine 627 outboards that provide a total of 2,508 hp will push hull number one to a top speed of over 60 knots. And that’s just with the current engine options. The 60 can also accommodate six 400-hp Mercury Verado outboards—or twin 1,900-hp MAN diesels with surface drives that should clear 87 knots.
Belowdecks is where things really get interesting. Overnight accommodations are yacht-like: two equal-sized cabins, a full couch and galley. Taken together, they give new definition to the term “weekender.” It also provides the 60 with the current superlative “largest interior in a center console.”
When Midnight Express revealed plans for a 60-footer, they immediately had a backlog of prospective owners, many of whom were interested in upgrading from their 43 Open. Three and a half years later, hull number one was completed, in part because the 100 or so employees at the builder’s Miami facility couldn’t build fast enough to keep up with demand.
“We built it all in house,” said Glaser, “all the molds and everything. On my next project, I’m going to sub everything out and get it out quicker and should be able to punch them out faster.” According to Glaser, the current backlog for the 60 is eight to nine months, with hull number two in mold. At press time, there was talk of building hull number three entirely in carbon fiber.
Which says nothing of the elephant in the room. “I have a hull mold for a bigger [center console],” said Glaser, “but it’s not even on our radar right now. We have to see how the 60 does first.” —Simon Murray
Displ.: 36,000 lbs.
Fuel: 700 gal.
Water: 99 gal.
Standard Power: 4/627-hp Seven Marine outboards
Base Price: $1.6 million
Cruise Speed: 45 knots
Top Speed: 72 knots
Standard Horsepower: 2,508