Caliber 47: Total Eclipse of the Butterflies
What, them worry? A Caliber 47LRC instilled so much confidence in a pair of neophytes that they headed straight out to sea.
Three things you should know about Eclipse, the Caliber 47 Long-Range Cruiser we test-sailed: First, she was picked out by an engineer, Scott Blovin, who knew nothing about boats but a lot about engineering. Second, she was bought at last year's Miami International Boat Show, and at show's end, she was bound east, across the Gulf Stream.
This day, months later on Chesapeake Bay, Scott's wife, Karen, played artfully with the bow thrusters to extricate Eclipse from the marina, and we set off in 18 to 25 knots apparent, beam-reaching at 7 to 8 knots over the ground under full main (on a Seldén in-mast furler), genoa, and staysail. When we buried the ports, we reefed the main and staysail by a third and the genoa by half, then jogged comfortably through 2-foot beam seas at 5.8 knots. We close-reached back to the barn, and when Eclipse began laboring, we killed the staysail, and the gentle ride returned with no loss of speed.
The wide decks with aggressive nonskid provide an efficient work platform. The lifelines lead forward to a true pulpit, with stainless-steel rails and twin anchor chocks. On-deck storage includes two forward and two aft lockers for large gear and a double anchor locker. All winches are two-speed and self-tailing, and they're powered by a single 18-volt Cinch Winch 1600 (cost: $1,000) instead of $25,000 worth of electric winches.
What first wowed engineer Scott was Caliber's tankage system, in which all tanks-each with a viewing port-are bonded to the hull below the waterline, strengthening the hull and creating a double bottom. This led the couple to Caliber's trademark collision bulkheads, impact-resistance zones, watertight rudder dam, and sea chest, allowing just a single hole to be drilled through the hull.
The deal was closed when they went below to a varnished teak interior that has a teak-and-holly sole. The dinette is to port, the table folding up onto the bulkhead; opposite are twin easy chairs with a table/cabinet between. Handrails and fiddles are where they should be. Many opening ports and hatches provide plenty of cross ventilation.
Just aft of the dinette is a nearly straight-line galley. In a seaway, crew can lean against the enclosure over the engine and the 6-kilowatt genset (there's 360-degree access to both). The nav station is to starboard, at the bottom of the companionway where it's accessible from the helm.
The aft stateroom-with access to the galley and, via the aft head with shower stall, the nav station-has a cedar-lined hanging locker, a bureau, and a full queen berth. Karen's joy is a walk-in closet to starboard. The cozy forward cabin has a full-double bunk to port, with bookshelves and cabinets above, and, to starboard, a hanging locker, with a fiddled shelf on top.
Oh, yes. The third thing you should know about Eclipse: She was such a joy to sail that Scott and Karen, abetted by this reviewer, took her across Chesapeake Bay, returning too late for the latter's next boat test. Who wouldn't incur the boss's wrath for a rollicking jaunt aboard a well-thought-out world cruiser?
Caliber 47LRC Specs
LOA: 48' 7" (14.81 m.)
LWL: 39' 6" (12.04 m.)
Beam: 13' 2" (4.01 m.)
Draft: 5' 2" (1.57 m.)
Sail Area: 1,014 sq. ft. (94.2 sq. m.)
Displacement: 33,000 lb. (14,969 kg.)
Water: 225 gal. (852 l.)
Fuel: 277 gal. (1,048 l.)
Engine: 75-hp. Yanmar
Designer: Michael McCreary
Sailaway Price: $382,950
Caliber Yachts Inc.
(727) 573-0627, www.caliberyacht.com