Boat Review: Davis 68

Buddy Davis sets a precedent with his new 68.

Buddy Davis has seen it all in the boat-building business. He's seen the mass production days of the mid-'80s, he's gone through bankruptcy in the recession of the early '90s, and he's done his time in a small-scale, one-off construction operation.

These days Davis is back to doing what he does best, offering fully customizable sport-fishers in a strictly limited line. While he built his reputation with his 47- and 61-footers, these days Davis limits his shop to big boats only: his proven 61, along with its big sister, the 68-footer.

The Davis 68 is similar to the benchmark 61 in many ways, most notably in its basic hull design that features a sharp entry, wide Carolina flare and a fairly flat aft for speed and efficiency. But the 68 is more than an extended version of the older hull, Davis says.
"I think the difference we have with this boat and what we had with the 61 is it's a lot better sea boat," Davis s

ays, "and that's saying something since the 61 was a great sea boat. The 68's center of gravity is farther aft than the 61, and that gives us a little better entry and a little more freeboard forward. And thanks to the extra bottom, the boat comes on plane at lower speeds."

At the Helm

Davis offers his 68-footers with either an open bridge or an enclosed pilot house. The Cinderella owner is the first customer to opt for the enclosed version, though increasing demand for the protected bridge has led better than half of Davis' upcoming projects to be built in the same fashion.
Owners choosing the open design receive a centerline pod helm with teak bubble control station and electronics housed in an electronically activated lift-up compartment. Single-lever controls, Glendenning engine synchronizer and loads of seating with storage underneath also highlight the open bridge.
The enclosed pilothouse, on the other hand, caters to owners who want a yacht-like helm. The Cinderella features a forward wheel and aft control station outside, with a large sofa, refrigerator, icemaker, television and a spiral staircase leading down below. The electronics suite is a bit unusual for Davis. It features a full DMT Nortek electronics and instrumentation package. The DMT panels, made in Sweden, allow for a fully interfaced electronics, safety and navigation package.

"Everything is interfaced into one panel," Davis says. "The boat has a single flat screen for its display, but we can pull up one, two or even three pieces of equipment on the screen. It's got all the readings for fuel, bilge, drinking water, waste water, fire control - and it's all electronic and interfaced to the DMT panels."
Whether you prefer the high-tech, comfy appointments of the enclosed pilothouse or classic lines of the open bridge, you're sure to enjoy the performance of this boat.

Power Up

Powered by a pair of 1,350-hp Caterpillars, hull No. 8 in the Davis 68 series is an honest 34-knot boat, even with the extra weight of the enclosed pilothouse the owner opted for. The 68-foot hull also allowed Davis to go from 1,500 gallons of fuel on the 61 all the way up to 1,800 gallons on the 68. "That really helped the range because we didn't decrease efficiency at all," Davis says. "As a matter of fact, we held our own and in some cases increased efficiency with the longer bottom."

Cruise speeds of 27 knots for the 68 burns anywhere between 78 to 85 gallons per hour, depending on load, at 1,950 to 2,000 rpm. At that speed you easily reach a range of more than 500 nautical miles. Of course, not too many skippers run that consistently that long, so dropping the speed down to displacement speeds gives the 68 a range of close to 1,000 miles.

Two 68s nearing completion at press time were equipped with the DDC-MTU 16V2000 engines, and Davis expected those boats to approach 41 or 42 knots with similar fuel consumption and range estimates.

On the Inside

As most of you would guess, a 68-footer is indeed larger than a 61-footer. Davis used those extra 7 feet to offer something his customers had been requesting for years, a four-stateroom/four-head arrangement that just wasn't possible on the 61. Davis also enlarged the salon considerably without sacrificing cockpit space.

All Davis interiors are custom-built to owner's specifications, and on the Cinderella, the owner included several personal touches of interest. A building contractor from the Caribbean, the owner included a few of his office-designing ideas into the Davis. The boat features hurricane glass by Dupont, which is a high-impact glass used in commercial office applications. He also used interior privacy glass (which becomes clear only when electricity is applied) in lieu of a typical window treatment.

Granite counters and flooring are used in all heads and the galley, which features under-counter refrigeration and custom-designed storage compartments. All wood accents are obeechi maple, furnished by Ultrawoods of Florida.

Down Below

The Davis 68's engine room is designed to achieve the transoceanic cruising the boat is capable of. Redundancy of systems can be found throughout, and all systems are easy to access on the go. Oversized 12-inch Delta T fans ventilate the compartment, and 4 inches of insulation overhead and 3 inches in the forward bulkhead keep the noise under control.

With a headroom of 5'11", an Awlgripped finish, quarter-turn sea valves on all through-hull fittings, a central sea chest with removable strainer, sight gauges for the fuel tanks and built-in oil storage and waste tanks, this compartment offers high levels of both convenience and safety. A 30 kw generator with sound shield is standard.

In the Pit

Like most large custom sport-fishers of this quality, the cockpit features the standard fare of equipment and accessories: refrigerated fish box in the transom, live well to starboard and bait center with freezer to port.
Notable additions to the Cinderella, however, include the Eskimo 600 slush machine that pumps ice directly into the stainless-steel fish box, and the 41-foot hydraulic outriggers from Pipewelders. The deck, coaming and covering boards are all finished in teak.

For more informatoin, contact:
Davis Boatworks
PO Box 780
Wanchese, NC 27981

252-473-1111

Specicfications

Length: 68'0"

Beam: 17'6"

Draft: 5'8"

Weight: 90,000 pounds

Fuel: 1,830 gallons

Water: 450 gallons

Power: DDC-MTU 2000

Base Price: N/A