If there’s one thing I enjoy more than testing a new Scarborough boat, it’s fishing one, so the drive to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to meet owner Mike Standing was filled with anticipation. Waterman is everything you expect from a Scarborough and more, and the next day was perfect for getting to know her.
Before we left the dock at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, another guest, Ricky Scarborough Jr., showed up to spend the day with us. We had relatively calm seas at the start of our run to Norfolk Canyon, but the radar showed some nasty squalls ahead. We dodged the storm clouds until we finally broke through into the sun. We fished a single dredge, a pair of squid-chain teasers and four dink ballyhoo. The morning was slow as the seas built, but you never would have known it the way the boat handled with just a little help from the Seakeeper gyro. In the afternoon, Standing found some clean blue water and quickly ran over a pair of white marlin that showed on the Garmin chirp sonar. “I just marked two — get ready,” he yelled from the bridge. A minute later, we were fastened to a doubleheader. Standing is an experienced captain and former waterman turned restaurateur, if the name of the boat hadn’t given that away. He knew just how to use the boat to its best advantage as he followed the two acrobatic billfish.
On the way back, the winds picked up and the seas built around some massive storm clouds on the leading edge of Hurricane Hermine. The ride was fast and soft, though, even if we did have some moments of apprehension when lightning sparked around us during the run through nasty thunderheads.
Waterman is a head-turner, with a proud bow that slopes gracefully to the rear of the house before converging with the teak cockpit covering boards. A hard feature line runs at cockpit height forward to slightly short of the bow; a second one about a foot above the waterline extends forward from the transom to right below the engine-room vents. Together, they accent the boat’s beautiful curves. The foredeck and house are bright white, with a teak toe rail at deck height and a teak cabin trim rail that sets off the flybridge from the house. The hardtop is sized perfectly to blend with the overall rake of the boat, and the covering boards and sole are teak. The hull is a custom color Alexseal mixed for Standing and his wife, Mariah, which matches nicely with the faux-teak transom and the Waterman name in bold gold-leaf lettering. She’s one classy lady.
The large cockpit is a study in minimalism, a place where serious fishermen go about their business, with space enhanced by the mezzanine deck bowed forward and the transom bowed aft. The large stainless-steel-lined transom box is insulated and plumbed to double as a kill box or livewell. The deeply recessed toe kicks are welcome when fighting fish. There are no deck hatches in the cockpit. Scarborough explained that it keeps the lazarette and bilge area clean and dry while providing more room below. If you want in-deck fish boxes, he can do that too. The mezzanine couch is done in a dark tan color, with food and bait freezers under the cushions. A large drink box is to port, with a large bait box between that and the engine-room access door, in addition to a massive icebox to starboard fed by a 1,000-pound Dometic ice maker. The cabinet tucked behind the bridge ladder is home to an electric grill; the hot andouille sausage sandwiches we had for lunch attested to its effectiveness.
The engine room is home to a pair of MAN’s latest 1,550 hp diesels and two Northern Lights 21 kW generators. Three large horizontal doors form the forward bulkhead and lift to reveal the dual Headhunter pumps, a hot water heater and tank, ice maker and a center toolbox. The Seakeeper 9 stabilizer unit is forward of the toolbox in its own compartment, and a Spot Zero system is found along the port side. Raw water for the engines and other systems is drawn through a pair of sea chests just forward of the engines. It’s a little short on headroom but certainly not hard to work in.
Enter the salon and you’re struck by the rich teak and granite, complemented by sand-colored upholstery and set off by an ultra-suede headliner, without a switch plate or electric socket in sight — all are cleverly hidden in drawers. The Cristallo granite on the countertops and backsplash looks like polished marble. There are two settees: one running up the starboard-side to the dinette, the other L-shaped along the aft bulkhead and up the port side. The bases lift to reveal large, well-organized storage space for tackle and gear. Two swivel stools and seating for four are ideal for dinner or drinks. The galley is well-equipped with a microwave/convection oven, four U-Line refrigerator/freezer drawers and loads of storage. Standing had a custom serving area for making drinks that included glass holders and a sink/ice bucket that is beautiful and functional, which we found out on the ride back from fishing.
The living arrangements include three staterooms and two and a half baths, all in teak and granite. The stairs offer storage beneath, and the double-bunk room is on the starboard-side, followed by a day-head off the companionway that features a washer and dryer hidden behind cabinet doors. The guest stateroom with full head is to port; the master, also with a private head, is in the bow, with the bed offset at an unusual angle to make the most of the available room. The master stateroom includes a walk-in hanging closet, three sets of clothes drawers in the bed base, large cabinets on either side of the headboard and nightstands with more drawers. A desk is opposite the bed with a large mirror above, but there isn’t a television in sight until you flip the remote and realize that the mirror is the TV. The head features another vanity and a walk-in shower with molded-in seat.
The bridge is nicely sized and laid out with a command console situated port to center, with three Garmin 8617 multifunction displays interfaced into a glass-helm arrangement. A fourth Garmin unit is mounted in the overhead forward of the electric teaser reel compartment. Waterman had recently been fitted with the latest electronics from Garmin, including their hot new GMR 2526 xHD2 6-foot
25 kW open-array radar.
Captain and guest sit on Release Marine helm chairs with seating on the forward side of the console and to starboard. Seven of us were comfortable there for a good portion of the ride back to the dock.
Our day fishing offshore gave me the opportunity to see how Waterman performed where she’s meant to be: offshore, and she’s a champ. The hull rode nicely in a variety of sea conditions, with the angle of attack automatically controlled by the ingenious Humphree Interceptor trim tab system. Instead of using planing surfaces like conventional tabs, these units employ blades that are deployed vertically, creating lift. The system incorporates a gyro and computer that automatically adjusts the running angle of the hull and maintains an even keel to preset parameters, or they can be manually adjusted from the helm. They also retract automatically when the boat stops or is put into reverse. Combined with the Seakeeper, the boat was a joy throughout the day. She’s fast, boasting an impressive 40-knot top-end, and the big MAN engines are extremely quiet and economical, burning a miserly 70 gph at 26.5 knots and 107 gph at a fast 33-knot cruise. In talking with Scarborough during the day, it was obvious he was proud of the boat’s performance and seakeeping abilities. I didn’t have to ask Standing his opinion — it was written all over his face while he was running her. The 63 Scarborough Waterman performs every bit as well as she looks, and she is definitely a looker.