Issue: October/November 2005
There weren’t many at the 2005 Sydney International Boat Show, but if you looked hard enough, you would have found a handful of displacement cruisers among the sea of flybridge and sport cruisers. Anyone with an eye for quality vessels would have spotted the Integrity 496 Coastal Express Cruiser, which was towering over her neighbours in the Cockle Bay Marina.
It’s amazing what the Integrity 496 manages to cram into her 49ft waterline length. She boasts a multi-level layout with two huge staterooms, a full size U-shaped galley, massive saloon and a luxurious settee in the wheelhouse. And with a layout like this, the captain will always have company at the wheel.
The Integrity 496 Coastal Express Cruiser breaks from convention by having a walkway only down the starboard side. The saloon wall extends fully to the portside, which boosts her interior volume considerably.
She also breaks from convention by only running a single engine, which is highly unusual on a vessel of this size. But the single screw is not a bad option for a displacement cruiser, particularly when it has a bow thruster, because a single engine means a smaller initial purchase price and lower running cost. There is still the risk of breakdown on long passages, but this is highly unlikely given today’s modern engine technology and if she’s maintained properly.
New owners, Pip and husband Barry, sold a twin-engine Grand Banks cruiser to move up to the 496, so for this pair their purchasing decision was based on experience, not money.
Noel Nicholson from Integrity Motor Yachts Australia says that the owners wanted a single-engine vessel supported by a good communications package for economical, long-range cruising. If you’re concerned about a single engine set-up there are several twin engines Integrity models available.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Out on the water this craft feels more like a little ship than a 49-foot cruiser, partly because the high wheelhouse offers a commanding forward view. Engine noise is low throughout the vessel, making her a pleasant and less tiring vessel during long cruises. With her fuel tanks capable of holding 3500lt, the Integrity 496 has a cruising range of around 1500 nautical miles. Or from Sydney to the Whitsunday Islands with a bit of cruising thrown in when you get there.
Large open areas have been left in the boat’s engine room, so hydraulic stabilisers can be fitted at a later date. We didn’t miss them during this sea trial because the sea conditions were calm.
At 1850rpm the 535hp Cummins QSM11 diesel produced a fast cruise speed of 11 knots and after a quick spurt we settle back at a relaxed cruise speed of 9.5 knots at 1500rpm. But if you ever have to hightail it and outrun the pirates up north, she can top 13 knots and maintain that speed for a couple of hours.
This Integrity 496’s multi-level layout features a large forward island double bed, which is set high to conform with the shape of the bow, with the head to port and shower to starboard.
The larger owner’s stateroom is amidships and has separate stair access from the saloon. All the cabins are air-conditioned.
This cabin has an apartment-sized bathroom with a screened-off and tiled sit/stand shower compartment, Corion bench tops, VacuFlush toilet and portholes provide natural light. There’s plenty of drawers and cupboard in the head and a concealed washer/dryer.
Access to the engine room is through a solid door in the owner’s stateroom.
Having only one engine makes this engine room seem quite large. It features good lighting and there are grab rails around the engine, an engineer’s workbench (with drawers) and alternate access from the saloon. The engine room also features a white lining, so any unforseen leaks are easily spotted.
The Integrity 496’s wood veneer and cloth-covered living areas are open, bright and well designed. And don’t forget the saloon is a tad wider than the norm, because this boat only has a walkway down one side of the cabin.
The large U-shaped galley faces aft and looks into the rest of the saloon, a setup ideal for entertaining. It features teak cupboards, down-lights over the Corion bench tops, a stainless steel sink, electric cooker, matching fridge/freezer and a stainless steel microwave.
The air-conditioned saloon has a flat screen TV and an audio system to keep passengers and crew entertained, but technology doesn’t dominate this area.
The saloon retains traditional nautical overtones. Pip Guthrie opted for additional cabinets and seating across from the settee, so this area boasts enough seating for a small crowd.
She may be big inside, but the outdoor living areas haven’t been compromised. The teak-laid aft cockpit is large enough for al fresco dining and is linked seamlessly with the saloon. Plus, to aid the skipper when docking, this cockpit has a portside door, separate docking controls, communications with the bridge and solid stainless steel deckware.
There is more usable outside deck space on the Integrity’s top deck, which you get to through the pilothouse. This area has a small helm station (with all controls) and vast open spaces forward and aft of the wheel. I even climbed up on the pilothouse roof. You can walk on the roof because it’s built to take the weight and features a nonslip finish. For one brief moment I felt like that guy in the Titanic, umm, you know, Leo De Caprichosa. Or was that a pizza?
The main helm station will make any captain proud. A single seat resides over a wooden wheel and while the instrumentation is unassuming, it’s still comprehensive, featuring a chartplotter/ sounder, trip log, radios, bow thruster toggle, autopilot, a large compass and all the electrical switches. There is also a navigator’s table and large, comfy settee on the portside of the helm, to lay out and look at conventional charts.
Built in Southern China, the Integrity 496 is a displacement cruiser that offers a tremendous amount of living area finished with a good blend of both traditional and contemporary styling.
As tested, this boat costs around $920,000, or $960,000 once the stabilisers are fitted. But the base model, without airconditioning, bow thruster and custom fit-out, will set you back around $870,000.
But you can also get the Integrity 466 model, which is a boat with the same interior, but less deck space, that has a starting price of $750,000.
SPEAKING OF INTEGRITY
The Shenzhen Jianghua Marine & Engineering Company was founded in 1981 and was the first to manufacture motoryachts, passenger ferries and speedboats in China. Now, after more than 24 years, the company is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fibreglass commercial boats and luxury motoryachts in China.
Shenzhen Jianghua Marine builds serious boats using advanced technologies, skillful workers and strict quality control. The company enjoys a good reputation in the yachting world and has won the respect of many international customers.
In the past 20 years the company has built more than 500 yachts for customers all over the world. Most were exported to the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. The company builds a range of motoryachts from 30 to 80 feet.
The Integrity 496 was powered by a single QSM11 Cummins 535hp diesel. A twin-screw version is an option. Access to the dual fuel-filters is through the owner’s cabin. Another big plus is that the engine doesn’t have to be stopped for a filter service.
During this test the boat’s 3500lt fuel tanks were full. The following results were taken from the vessel’s GPS. 9.7 knots @ 1500 rpm, 10.4 knots @ 1700 rpm, 11 knots @ 1850 rpm, 11.7 knots @ 2000 rpm, 12.7 knots @ 2300 rpm.
DISPLACEMENT: 19.97 tonne
RANGE: 1500nm (approx)
+ Huge saloon. Owner’s stateroom
– Nothing to report
Words by Andrew Richhardson