Classic Motor Yachts 47 Review

Issue: June 2003

What’s in a name ?? Plenty, if the name has the word Classic in it. It is a word that conjures up images of old world charm, the smell of leather and polished wood. Of graciousness and style, while making the statement that you’ve made it. There comes a time in all powerboater’s lives when the need for speed gives way to a more leisurely and slower lifestyle. While we still appreciate curves and stylish lines ‘ no more needs to be explained there ‘ a strong chassis and comfortable feel also becomes important. At the same time a strong desire for life’s little luxuries normally accompanies this slowing of pace. But a slowing of pace doesn’t mean any lessening of strength, especially when we are talking about the Classic Motor Yachts Australia’s Classic 47.

During Modern Boating’s latest test the twin 230hp Yanmar diesels purring away in the bowels of this luxury cruiser ‘ loaded with 3000lt of fuel and 1500lt of freshwater ‘ had the power to propel this 9 tonne vessel to 20 knots at 3300rpm. Of course, that was at wide-open throttle. Cruising at 2800rpm the Classic 47 slinked along effortlessly at 16 knots, which is more like the speed most boats travel at offshore, but more on that later. Walking down the marina towards the Classic 47 and looking at her closely for the first time, there was something vaguely familiar about the hull. Was it was a bit reminiscent of the old PT boat hulls’ And no, that’s not a bad thing, for as far as sea keeping abilities go, it’s a great thing, when you consider the way those hulls tore through the Pacific during WWII.

Classic 47’s hull features an extremely sharp entry that carves through swells and waves effortlessly. Downwards pressure from two large strakes above massive chines on either side of the hull, combine to channel water down and around the hull, unlike a heavily flared bow that throws water up and away from the boat. Which, under the right conditions, can be blown back inboard. But the only way you’ll wet the rear cockpit of the 47 is to hit it with a hose.

Although Classic 47’s bow has an extremely sharp entry it is also wide with only a slight flare, which increases the interior space in the forward stateroom room. There is only a slight deadrise in the hull and it flattens out quickly towards the stern. But the shafts are in skegs, which act as mini keels that aid tracking and allow the boat to be beached without prop damage. It’s a classic approach for a classic boat and it works well.

Out on the water, as hard as we tried in the swells rolling into Broken Bay we couldn’t get the hull to show any tendencies to broach in a following sea. That sharp bow and twin skegs kept the boat tracking on an even keel. You can probably tell by this write up so far that the Modern Boating team were quite impressed by this boat, but we did discover one slight glitch ‘ slow speed manoeuvring and the time it took for the rudders to react to the helm. This was partly caused because the rudders are slightly offset, so the shafts can be removed for maintenance, but it was also the rudders themselves. They need to be lengthened by another 150mm to give them a greater surface area. But no sooner had I mentioned this to Classic Motoryacht’s Steven Anderson than he said that new rudders had already been manufactured and were due to be fitted within days.

Test carried out on prototypes, recently trialled on the 47, showed that a larger rudder surface area was all that was needed to eliminated the problem completely. Admittedly on the day of the test the sea were fairly calm, but punching head-on into the metre swells out from Broken Bay did little to slow the 47s forward momentum. At rest the boat’s relatively flat bottom and huge chines made the hull extremely stable. So anyone who might be prone to some degree of seasickness when a vessel stops to anchor is going to love the 47. Being a fishermen, I love flybridge cruisers, but I have to concede that when it come to comfortable cruising, the Classic 47’s low profile makes a lot of sense. Obviously it takes more power to push a flybridge cruiser because of their height, than it does to propel this flat-roofed boat like the 47.

Then some will say that they like to be out in the open air when underway, and I agree, but what happens when the weather turns bad, or your sunburn gets the better of you. It’s handy to be able to enjoy the comforts of the lower helm station. As far as fresh air goes, with seven opening window down each side of the main saloon and two across the saloon’s rear bulkhead, plus the double rear doors, if you opened them all up at once you would have a veritable cyclone blowing through the saloon. A quick tour around the boat had the team sprouting the virtues of this boat. We were extremely impressed by the standard of workmanship and joinery that has gone into this boat’s construction. Out in the aft cockpit there is a beautiful hand-laid teak deck complimented by double wooden saloon doors with stained glass panels.

Neatly slotted into the teak laid-deck are three hatches that access a huge under deck storage area. Hot and cold deck shower, wide transom door leading to the teak swim platform, a large cockpit fridge to starboard, sink unit to port, there were even to two deckchairs and a coffee table so the owners can watch the sun go down in comfort. The walkways leading around the sides of the main saloon are wide, but you have to watch that you don’t bang your head on the overhanging roof when you climb the steps onto the foredeck. The saloon roof is strong enough to walk on, so the mast that carries the mounts for aerials, radar and GPS antennas can be easily worked on if necessary.

The foredeck is flat, non-slip and is surrounded by a thigh high bowrail, so accessing the Maxwell windlass, with its extra station switch and chain counter, is a secure affair. But don’t fall into the cavernous anchor locker, because you’ll have to call for a ladder to get out. Entering the main saloon is akin to entering the foyer of a five-star hotel. Clipout carpets protect the polish teak floors and Brazilian Mahogany and American Oak with a French polished finish surrounds you. There’s a quality leather lounge to starboard and a fully featured U-shaped galley to port. Above the wooden chart table and entertainment unit is a flat plasma TV.

A raised dinette is opposite the helm station that features: Furuno 18′ Radome, seven colour GD-1 Display/ Plotter, ETR 6/10 Network sounder, GP-310 GPS receiver, auto pilot, PG-100 heading sensor and complete engine instrumentation. and. One aspect of the helm station set-up the team found a little disconcerting was that when you stand at the wheel one of the wooden strut of the windscreen frame cuts your vision. It’s not really a problem, but it takes a bit of getting used to. The owner’s stateroom is spacious and features a hanging locker to starboard and a smaller hanging locker and dressing table to port. You enter the guest bedroom via a sliding door. There’s a double bed, hanging locker and a small dressing table.

Both cabins maintain the same ambience of the main saloon. For a boat of this size the bathroom is extremely roomy and features a full size shower, shower seat, vanity and sink unit and an electric toilet. Nothing has been left to chance on the Classic 47 and everything has been stylishly finished, right down to the stainless steel hand rail with its teak capping surrounding the aft cockpit and leading to the foredeck. The Classic 47 offers elegance, comfort and as it says in the brochure, ‘the charm of the golden age of cruising’.

However, she still gives optimum performance and cruising speeds, while providing the reliability of the today’s latest technology. So how much will it cost you to park this exquisite cruiser in the marina’ Around $738,000, which is excellent value for money for a 47 footer of this class.

Words and Photos by Ian Macrae