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 email Brent

 The Best Cruising Yacht in the World?

 Everything has to be qualified, best for whom? For what purpose, etc... If the typical is a couple with an emphasis on safety, speed and comfort.. and desiring the confidense to take the vessel anywhere, at any time... then this boat fills the bill. The closest boat I can think of to the class of this one are the Amels. The late Mr Amel did a fantastic job refining and redesigning all those years afloat, and the company keeps his tradition alive but Brent Martz has all that passion and cruising experience and an engineering background too. He doesn't just know what is good, he knows how to make it happen and executes the solution with his own hands and he is a perfectionist. I do not know of another situation like this.

If money were no object, this is the boat you would likely pick and the dosh left in the account would just be a bonus. Anything in this class is usually many thousands more. And if money IS an object, you can build your own in Brent's place, taking advantage of the tooling and knowledge at your finger tips and still saving a lot by doing the parts that you can do.

 The man behind the boats..

So what happens when you have a problem with your imported boat.. they send out the builder to have a look for you?? Yeah Right!!!

 The MoonGlade crew with their boat in the background.

 That curved door is foam core and weights near nothing but very strong. Details, details, details.. make a great boat.

  Driving through heavy rains at 0630 on the way to Moreton Bay to do a boat review and wondering if this is a good idea. For one, the aforementioned weather is bound to “cloud” judgement (sorry) as it's hard to enjoy the sail sitting in a whiteout in Moreton Bay with shoals all around and the possibility of a cyclonic blast of wind from any direction that has become a near normal part of life in the Great Southeast. Moreton Bay's waters stand right up when this happens and can turn a Sunday sail into a survival contest. All part of cruising but not what you would want to be the focus of the review.

But then that begs the question, what is the correct focus for the review of a cruising boat? It's not about one single act or activity. A good cruising boat must be judged on an assortment of criteria that is beyond the scope of a day sail in the bay. With some cruising experience a boaty can anticipate from a limited exposure to a particular boat, the likelihood of its performance or the absence of traits that are particularly annoying but there are answers that will remain in the field of speculation.

A racing boat has a limited mission, to go like hell and then fall to pieces 50 feet past the finish boat. If it does that it is successful. It can be a miserable wet hateful thing to endure but if it's really fast…. much is forgiven. Perhaps why most advise against converting a race boat to cruising. But with a race boat you can go for a day sail and derive a useful swag of information relative to the boats suitability, if you have conditions that allow.

So driving through the rain I am thinking of all this and how to do it and make sense. It's come to my attention that thousands of people read my drivel and may actually act on the information I provide (I know, scary thought!). So how to do this without compromising the integrity of the rag? F**k it, take a punt, wish for luck and trust your instincts Bob.

I met Brent in the car park at Raby Bay. Quick smart, we load my gear on the waiting boat and Brent apologises as we go that he has a brief mission to interrupt our sail as one of his boats has a problem and he wants to anchor up next to them at Peel Island to dive on their swing keel to investigate a failed hoisting line. Hmmm, this could be good!

The 46 footer backs out of the berth easily and we glide quietly out the channel. Clear of obstructions the sails come up. The main is an in-boom furler with full battens. This allows for a good shape in the sail. The old in-mast furlers really sacrificed in that department but this one looks good. She is a cutter rig with both headies on furlers. Main halyard and furling lines come back to the cockpit through jammers and then to a powerful electric winch with a phallic looking hand control located under the port side of the hard dodger. The genny sheets come back to massive Arco's… and it needs them, and the inner to a smaller set. The main sheet is worked to a winch on the port side combing.

The boat takes off in the light (10knot?) breeze without delay. Nine tons of boat doesn't take long to accelerate to speed.

With the breeze filling in she heels a bit but not what I would call a tender boat at all. Eight knots SOG shows on the GPS with surprisingly little wind (12-13 kts) and I think it's honest, little if any tide to tweak the numbers. She went through tacks without fuss or stress.

We anchored up next to “Moonglade” and Dave came over in their dinghy to pick us and the diving gear up. Brent found the problem and came up with the frayed end of a double braid rope. It took some fart-arsing around to insert the new line through the inspection plate on the mast. There seemed to be an obstruction of some kind in the tube that feeds it to the board. My speculation was a bit of sea life that had worked it's way up the tube but it'll wait till their next scheduled slipping to find out.

All in all, I was impressed by the fact I was invited to the scene of the crime. A lot of people in this business would have taken pains to keep me away from a situation like this but as it worked out I got lucky! Besides being a witness to how problems are addressed by the designer/builder, I now had the answer to the question of how to judge the boat! Ask the people that own one. Dave and Jan were pleased to answer any question I had and here is their story;
First the name, “MoonGlade refers to moonlight that follows you wherever you go. (Tell me cruisers aren't romantics!) She was launched exactly 5 ½ years from the day and they moved aboard at launch.

They do the seasonal migration every year sometimes as far as Lizard Island and this year hanging about the Whitsunday's due to the light season and clear anchorages.

They did the deal with Brent where they participated in the build. Dave was the “go-fetch-it” from day one. Brent explained later that much of the work is routine and that he likes to leave that to the owners, he steps in where the special skills he has are at most value and benefit to the owners. Brent feels strongly that the owner builder is a high quality craftsman. Some low wage labourer might hide a mistake or suspect item where the owners will be concerned for the quality of every bit. Their build took 21 months.

“What are the things that you like best about your boat?” Dave explained, “she is easy to sail and comfortable”. Other mentions include the power winches and shoal draft, Jan and Dave were both very pleased to be able to sneak into very skinny water. They mentioned the cutter rig as well, that it is good to always have the right head sail ready to go. She is powered by a Yanmar 56hp and they get 9 knots out of the motor. On sailing performance they were delighted. They claimed that “Moonglade” handles so sweet they had once sailed to windward for over an hour without touching the wheel, no pilot, just balance.

When they cruise they load her down. 1000 litres water and half that in fuel. Jan laughs, “we come home when we run out of the 7 cases of wine”! That's a lot of wine by now as they have 22,000 miles on the log and just getting going.

I had to ask.. “Come on, there must be something to complain about?” Nope, Jan assured me, “Bob, it's a great boat.”

Dave and Jan had previously owned a Nantucket 33 and Roberts 28 amoung other small power boats.
With duty now well and truly out of the way, we pulled the pick and went sailing. Because of a shortage of room, I have little to add to “Moonglade’s” report except to say that the finish of the boats are top gear. All the pieces are from moulds. Clean gelcoat finish is interspersed with teak. Fitout is generous in space, no cramped corners, and to a quality I've seen in boats like Nordhaven. Panels and doors are made of foam core with veneer. Strong and light. Except for ballast, weight is no virtue. You want it to weight more? Load more wine!

She is a world class boat and she is an Australian!

For more.. see http://www.martzcruising.talkspot.com/