When I get an opportunity to write a boat review on a new yacht, I usually have a few hours to run the boat around and get a feel for the performance, and then tour the boat dockside. When Silver Seas called and inquired if I could bring their brand new Marquis 630 Sport Yacht from Southern California to San Francisco for the San Francisco Boat Show, it was the perfect opportunity to spend three days onboard in a wide range of conditions. Not only would I have time to get a feel for the "livability" of the vessel, but I could also experience her performance as an owner would making a coastal voyage in a range of sea conditions.
My co-captain and I arrived at the vessel berthed in Huntington Beach and prepared to get underway on this rare gloomy, rainy day in Southern California. We are on a tight schedule and desire to arrive in Santa Barbara before sunset delaying the interior tour until the evening so we devote our time to familiarizing ourselves with the propulsion system and other machinery.
As the boat was shoehorned next to other multimillion-dollar yachts, I lightly fingered the joystick to the left and our 40 tons of motoryacht slid sideways away from the dock with just two feet of clearance on the bow and less than 10 to the yacht astern us. A little twist of the joystick clockwise got the stern moving left and spun the 630 on her axis as we prepared to turn 180 degrees in the 80-foot wide fairway.
Now lined up in the center of the fairway, I shifted the transmissions into dead slow ahead and we were underway with hardly any fuss. Could I have maneuvered a similar yacht in these close quarters with a traditional propulsion system? Absolutely. Would it have been as easy? Absolutely not.
Pod drives eliminate most of the drama of close-quarter maneuvering and from the bridge visibility of our 63-foot yacht is outstanding as I can see all four corners from the weather helm, which is set to the port side and has space for displays up to 16 inches on either side of the wheel. The double-wide, fully adjustable helm seat is large enough for two comfortably to sit or stand.
To starboard there is seating for two passengers looking forward, U-shaped seating with room for six in the conversation pit just aft and a full wet bar across and to port.
Further aft we have another entertainment area with U-shaped seating for six to starboard surrounding a teak inlay dining table.
The entire bridge is covered by a color-matched hardtop with massive supports at the aft corners and nothing blocking the views. If that is not enough sun and air, at the push of a button the massive electric moonroof opens to allow even more sun. Today we are planning to operate from up here so even with the light rain we are protected.
Typical of the waters south of Santa Barbara, we find 2- to 3-foot choppy seas, a 4-foot-long ocean swell, and light winds once outside the breakwater. At 1440 we are passing the oil production platform Esther, just 2 miles west of Huntington Harbor. Wanting to make Santa Barbara before sunset, we power up the big Volvo’s to 80 percent and we are quickly cruising at 25 knots.
Just four hours later, at 1834, we are secured at the Santa Barbara transient dock just as the sun was setting having covered 98 miles in just under four hours. This sport yacht was right at home flying across the choppy waters of the San Pedro and Santa Barbara channels providing a stable and comfortable ride.
While underway we generally do engine room checks every three to four hours and on some boats it can be a bit challenging crawling around an engine room while the boat is pitching and rolling. Not on this yacht. Engine room access is either through a large hatch in the cockpit sole or through the transom hatch that accesses the crew quarters.
The crew quarters are nestled between the D12 engines with the single berths on either side of the passageway, enclosed head to starboard and a shower to port. Removable panels on either side of the passageway provide access to the engines and pod drives.
Fluid checks and routine maintenances are easy as there is room to enter the space through these panels to access the outside of the engines. This is a well thought out engine room and easy to make underway checks.
Just aft of the crew quarters and directly below the cockpit hatch is the Kohler 23 KW generator installed over the top of the fuel tanks and right at eye level. Fluid checks and maintenances are performed while standing in a normal position. There are four AGM 8D batteries on each side of the generator and a slew of high-end chargers, inverters, transformers, and switches, all easily accessible and all well marked for easy identification.
Our first night aboard we have plenty of time to tour around all the interior spaces. You enter the saloon from the expansive teak-covered cockpit via a large sliding door and into the striking open floor plan.
L-shaped seating starboard and a settee to port provide comfortable seating for seven. Aft and in the port side is the large flat screen TV on a beefy hinge. You pull back the flat screen to expose the electrical panel, which is a clever solution to the constant question of where to locate the electrical panel.
Just forward of the saloon and on the same level is the centerline helm with room for two large navigation displays, a full suite of electronics and controls, highlighted by the white leather-wrapped stainless steel wheel. To starboard we have L-seating for four next to the skipper and to port is the companionway to the galley down.
The cozy and efficient galley is set at the bottom of three steps and with the expansive overhead windows is bright and airy. Working in the galley is within easy conversation to the helm. The galley has a large food preparation area next to a three-burner electric cooktop, and a Cuisinart® convection/microwave at eye level. Large storage cabinets both above and below the stainless steel double sink provide adequate galley storage.
Below the cooktop is the Fisher DishDrawer™ dishwasher and forward is the large stainless steel refrigerator/freezer. Forward and down two steps takes us into the sleeping quarters with three staterooms and three heads.
Up in the forepeak is the VIP stateroom with a raised centerline queen, storage lockers both port and starboard, and a private head abaft and to port.
Just aft and to starboard is the day head and guest stateroom with twin berths.
Going aft and down a step is the full beam midship master stateroom. The pillow-top California King is set centerline with a seating area to port and a vanity set to starboard. The large almond-shapped windows provide views outside from anywhere in the cabin.
Just behind the berth to starboard is a large walk-in closet and to port is entry into the master head. The marble sole, tiled shower with teak grate, and solid surface countertop make a stunning and very elegant space for the owners.
Having been completely through the yacht the feel one gets is elegance. From the large windows and high-gloss walnut cabinetry to the inviting three stateroom, three-head layout, it seems that the architects at Marquis have thought of everything. Having operated every light, pushed every button and activated every system, it was time to get some rest as we would be up early to fuel and get underway for day two.
We moved to the fuel dock before sunrise so we would be the first in line to fuel. After attending to a few mechanical chores, and taking on 750 gallons, we are underway at 0905 and intending Morro Bay just 110 miles north, before sunset. But, we have to make it around Point Conception in the late morning with forecasted winds building to 20 knots in the afternoon and seas increasing throughout the day. These should be good test conditions for our sport yacht.
From Santa Barbara to just a few miles east of Pt. Conception we find typical waters with a light chop and long swell allowing us to make 24 knots while dodging fish boats and crab pots.
Around Point Arguello we find ourselves slowing to a pedestrian, but economical, 12.5 knots. In 6- to 8- foot seas, 20-knot winds, and 2- to 3-foot wind chop, the lower helm is a very comfortable place to drive. We find the visibility very good with the large three section forward windows as we give the wipers a good workout keeping our view clear.
The hull design of the 630 seems to just ignore the wind chop and we just ease over the moderate westerly swell. Even in these conditions food preparation in the galley down is easy and conversations with the captain at normal levels possible. Marquis has done a splendid job with both sound and ride control.
Arriving Morro Bay at 1730, we had averaged nearly 13 knots in a wide variety of sea conditions. After we are secure at the Morro Bay Yacht Club docks, we find the exterior LED courtesy lights and blue underwater lights that we had somehow missed the night before.
Since this yacht is for sale, we figured that we would be as conspicuous as possible, and it worked as we had a steady stream of folks coming by for a look at our pretty sport yacht. We find the extra large cockpit and hydraulic swim step are a great place to greet guests and mingle.
Day three brought us more good sea conditions as we made our way to our last overnight at Pillar Point Marina in Half Moon Bay. We are underway from the yacht club dock at 0635 and at 0700 we are past the Morro Bay safe water buoy and making 19.5 knots in a 4- to 6-foot sea, 10-knot winds, and 2- to 3-foot wind chop; nearly ideal conditions for a high-speed ocean voyage.
Our straight-line route into Half Moon Bay takes us approximately 18 miles offshore when crossing Monterey Bay and we fly past an Oakland-bound MSC container ship making a paltry 15 knots. We arrive at the Pillar Point fuel dock at 1600 and take on 401 gallons of red number 2 to top up the tanks.
We have covered 269 miles since our last fill in Santa Barbara and calculate an average fuel economy of better than 0.5 miles per gallon while running at speeds up to 25 knots. This is very impressive fuel economy for our sport yacht and a tribute to the designers at Marquis and the engineers that developed the Volvo IPS system.
The next day we are scheduled to meet the camera crew in the vicinity of Point Bonita at 0900 so getting underway at 0700 will allow us to run a leisurely 18 knots up the coast and have plenty of light to avoid the crab pots as we transit the fishing grounds.
Point Bonita is just 2.5 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge and as we made our approach the morning of Day 4 the camera boat, a new Cruisers Cantius 45, is there to greet us and take a few photos. Rob Newman, Rex Lee, Kenn Wright and Sean Schlesinger of Silver Seas Yachts along with Ty Mellott of Bay & Delta Yachtsman are all onboard the Cantius 45.
Usually I would run the test boat around the camera boat at high speed, slow speed, make fast and slow circles while Ty takes photos, but Rob had a different idea and brought along a full video crew with a drone to get videos from every angle while we put the 630 through the paces. To make things interesting, the morning ebb was running around 2.5 knots providing a good 4- to 5-foot chop providing some great action footage for the video crew. The edited few minutes of video is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1do0B3Ie26o
High-speed hard over turns, wide open throttle passes, and pirouettes in place, it was just another day at the office while the crew took lots of photos and videos.
In Bonita Cove I was having so much fun heading east for a half mile, turning, and heading west to pass close astern the Cantius that I did not notice the USCG 87-footer coming out to see what we were up to. Fortunately, as we made several more high-speed passes, turns, and circles around the camera boat, the Coasties must have determined that I was not harassing them. Perhaps seeing the drone make circles around us as we sped along at 20 knots tipped them off that we were together and just some guys having fun with boats.
Silver Seas Yachts opened their Sausalito office in the summer of 2012 with veteran boat personnel and have been selling boats to happy customers ever since. The company started in San Diego and also has offices in Newport Beach and Phoenix, Arizona.
To arrange for your own Marquis Yachts experience, contact Silver Seas Yachts, 400 Harbor Way, Suite E, in Sausalito, 415/367 4022. If Marquis doesn’t offer quite the boat you are looking for, Silver Seas is also the new boat dealer for Carver, Cruisers Yachts, Tiara, Destination Yachts and Four Winns.
The 630 Sport Yacht is powered by the largest of the IPS drives, the Volvo IPS1200, that produces 900 HP at 2300 RPM.
Sport yacht performance is provided by Volvo IPS Pod drives. Entertaining is made simple with the integrated lower helm, galley, saloon, cockpit and swim deck with no restrictive bulkheads. The large flybridge is the perfect location with unobstructed 360-degree views for commanding the vessel and entertaining.
*Performance data taken in choppy seas, full fuel, full water and with a strong current. Data is the average of runs into and down current.
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