Step on board the new 25.45 metre superyacht OA26R with Cecile Gauert as she explores the second model from the Ocean Alexander Revolution series...
Back a few months now, before social distancing, I am one of 25 people seeking shade and the tropical-strength air conditioning inside the upper saloon of a new yacht. All these bodies inside the pilothouse-cum-lounge of a new 25.45-metre boat make a good case for what the builder is telling the small crowd in front of him. “The first criteria we had in the design effort was how do we get more volume in the boat,” says Richard Allender, director of US Operations for Alexander Marine, importer of Taiwanese Ocean Alexander yachts.
The 26R (launched as the 84R a few months ago, before the numbering system was changed from feet to metres) is the second model in a series that Ocean Alexander has labelled Revolution. The first was the 28R, which was launched in 2018 as the 90R, and the next one will be a 35R, currently under construction for an American couple and due out in 2021.
No revolution happens in slow motion and Ocean Alexander is launching new products at a quick pace, working closely with American-born, London-based designer Evan K Marshall. The designer says people are shopping for features they want, so the yard and Marshall are working diligently to anticipate their requests.
The 26R shares many similarities with the 28R: a vertical bow, generous windows and a detailed interior with loose furniture by the likes of Holly Hunt. It even has a beach club, which is hard to include on this length. It is mostly outdoors, but the crew area, which is accessible from the transom, could also be used as a cabana. A small interior counter space holds towels, handy to dry off after a swim or a freshwater rinse from the rain shower built into the transom door. The generously sized swim platform, when it isn’t used to carry the tender, can comfortably accommodate a couple of lounge chairs and a small coffee table.
The 26R is still very generous in terms of interior space with a beam of 6.29 metres. The practical side passages on the main deck have handrails that fit nicely in the palm of the hand at a height that feels safe. “Safety is built into the Ocean Alexander DNA,” says Sally Doleski, Ocean Alexander’s vice-president of marketing, referring to the builder’s long association with passage-making boats that cruise the rough waters along the Pacific Coast of the US. The upper deck, however, is full beam and the builder did away with the Portuguese bridge they had on their previous 26-metre yacht, to increase the interior space.
The total acreage (inside and out) is 204 square metres, roughly equivalent to a very nice-sized apartment in Manhattan – which comes to mind since the vibe echoes that of a modern New York loft: white stone, glass, stainless steel, plus mahogany and oak veneers in a nice mix of high gloss and satin.
Marshall has opted for materials that are readily available, consistent in look and high-end in appearance. They include stone finishes from Cambria for some of the floors and countertops, and Alpi for the veneers. It’s real wood but abundant, fast growing and finished to look consistent. “It is realistic to various species of woods,” he says – and more sustainable and cost effective than rare, slow-growing exotic woods.
The star feature of the first 26R is the main deck’s open plan. From the aft deck or the sliding glass doors opening into the saloon, the sightline flows all the way through to the bow, visible through a wraparound windshield. The trick is that all furniture, some of it with bevelled sides, has been given a low profile, and stairs leading to the pilothouse are see-through – though they’re safe to ascend thanks to a stainless-steel railing.
“While aesthetically we are moving toward a more contemporary feel, we know it’s a boat that goes into the ocean, where there is going to be [bad] weather, so we still want it to be safe. In the galley we have sea locks; we have latches for everything. Those details are really prevalent throughout the yacht,” Doleski says.
Where a helm station might normally be, there is a comfortable lounge area with a television, one of two on this deck, which is a great solution for a family – parents aft and kids forward, or vice versa. The galley is fully deserving of the name, neatly tucked lengthways along the port side but well-equipped with hob, microwave, full-size double-door refrigerator, sink, dishwasher and even a rubbish compactor. A dining table for eight mirrors the galley on the opposite side.
“One of the most successful models over the years was the previous 85, which had a very traditional layout,” Marshall says. “We wanted to keep the layout with the cabins on the lower deck but change the whole lifestyle to make a more open-plan boat, also building on the success of the (21.8-metre) 70E,” he says, referencing one of Ocean Alexander’s best-selling models, which is built in Florida and aimed at owner-operators.
Central stairs lead to the lower-deck cabins. The full-beam master cabin enjoys a prime location with plenty of natural light and an en suite with a shower clad in frosted glass that is shared between his and her side of the space, with the usual sink, dressing table and lighted mirror. Two large wardrobes, a dressing table with light-up mirror and a love seat (which could be easily swapped out for a chest of drawers) complete the suite. The shape of the bow allows a clever layout that angles the bed so there is room to stand in the cabin. It claims its VIP status with a queen bed, nice-size wardrobe, small sofa by Casamance, automated blinds and an en suite with shower and Grohe taps. Two cabins with twin beds round up the accommodation, comfortable for up to eight people.
“We managed to squeeze a lot of volume on the boat,” Marshall says. “And I love that open plan on the main deck; if the owner ever wants to get away from the galley, there is that other space (the upper saloon) to go to. But we anticipated that maybe Europeans will want the galley to be separated, so we do have another layout where the galley is all the way forward and, because people are now more enamoured of an on-deck master even in this size of boat, we are drawing a layout to accommodate that as well.”
On hull No 1, the design strikes a balance between the straight-out modern look favoured by many European builders (and buyers) and the more conservative American style of the traditional Ocean Alexander line, which still has a strong following. “We are a happy medium,” Doleski says. How does that translate into the interior decor?
“We use a bit more satin,” Marshall says, “but we keep the traditional buyers in mind. We have a client who says, ‘that flimsy chair won’t hold my butt’,” he says with a laugh. Should anyone wish for a more minimalist interior and daintier furniture, however, he has the design package ready to go.
But here the sofas by Pollack and Holly Hunt are generously sized and all corners are nicely rounded from the lower to the upper deck, where the upper saloon-cum-pilothouse occupies the lion’s share of the space. There is room aft for an open-air bar with built-in grill, sink and refrigerator and an optional spa pool with sunpads plus some loose seating from Paola Lenti. Inside the glass doors, the ambiance is more reminiscent of a penthouse with low sofas, parquet flooring from Ted Todd, a 50-inch television screen, low cabinets and storage hidden behind bulkheads.
The pilothouse set-up is comfortable with three upholstered seats facing a nice, clean array by Garmin with crisp displays. The boat, which can be manoeuvred with a joystick, is powered by two 1,900hp MAN engines (an upgrade from the standard 1,650hp V12 MANs) and has reached a top speed of just under 27 knots. There will be the option to build the 26R with an open bridge as well. On the port side is a desk and chair, handy to display a chart or keep up with paperwork.
Back on the main deck, nicely protected side decks lead safely to a forward outdoor lounge area with sunpads and a table. A bimini stretched between poles can shade the entire area during daytime and there is room to set up a portable projector for a cinematic experience en plein air. Forward further still, and safely away from toes and fingers, are dual windlasses for the two anchors.
Last but not least, the crew has dual access to its night quarters, which consist of two cabins and a small mess with hob, microwave and fridge. The engine room is uncluttered with easy access to systems.
Chuck Cashman, vice-president at MarineMax, Ocean Alexander’s dealer, sums up this yacht in a few words: “It is about volume, but it is modern and carries that OA traditional DNA of quality; everything you touch is going to feel great. For a boat that is $7.5 million, that is not easy.” What is easy, is to visualise a great day away from a hot, overcrowded dock, just about anywhere on board this yacht.
This feature is taken from the August 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.SHOP NOW