Boat Review: Liberty 45 Convertible

If you're lucky enough to see this new 45 convertible, you'll beg to get aboard - this boat's looks tickle the eye with a blend of Carolina curves and Florida sleekness.

06br_librty

06br_librty

You probably haven't seen many Liberty yachts in its 30-year existence. The most likely reason why? Its foundation relies on customization to the buyer's specs rather than large-scale production. This limits the Liberty yard to building only two to four hulls a year. If you're lucky enough to see its new 45 convertible, you'll beg to get aboard - this boat's looks tickle the eye with a blend of Carolina curves and Florida sleekness.

Performance
Liberty Yachts owner and designer Joe Corvelli attended the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (perhaps the finest in the world) to get an edge up before stretching Liberty's 42-foot hull to the 45. The growth spurt resulted in greatly improved performance.

Cruising through Miami's Government Cut into a choppy Atlantic, the aggressive deep-V parted oncoming swells with a gentle lift and fall. Throttling up the twin 900 hp common-rail MANs pushed us out to the front of the fleet, hitting 37 knots at the pins. Pulling back to 1,800 rpm, a more economical 30-knot cruise burned 45 gph.

Throwing the boat in reverse proved the nimble control and instantaneous response afforded by Twin Disc's quick-shift technology. Without a doubt, this boat exists to chase billfish.

The engine-box design allows the flybridge to rest several feet lower than most convertibles this size without reducing cabin headroom. The result? A much lower center of gravity and less bobbing and rolling than the majority of deep-V convertibles this size.

Flybridge
Sitting at the helm provided full 360-degree visibility, and thanks to a pair of well-padded Stidd helm chairs, comfort isn't even an afterthought. The traditional helm design provides ample room for electronics behind a clear-glass sliding panel. Bench seating across the port walk-through and in front of the helm lets guests join the captain. The seating hides storage space for light tackle or optional bait freezers. The low-profile bridge design creates a unique situation by preventing isolation of the captain from his guests in the cockpit. Holding a conversation from the bridge to the cockpit didn't require shouting, and short-handed crews will relish the ability to quickly scramble down the bridge to help out in the cockpit.

Cockpit
My first thoughts stepping off the bridge focused on how much room the 9- by 12-foot cockpit behind the engine boxes provides. Even with a full-size fighting chair mounted in the center of the cockpit, there was still plenty of room for an angler, wire man and gaff man to scuffle along the gunwales. The engine boxes, however, proved the true highlight. Removable cushions and throw pillows turned these elevated sitting areas into mezzanine seating that rivals some found on larger boats. Sitting back against the cabin bulkhead, the large overhang provided great protection from both sun and rain.

Hate cramping yourself into a hot engine room for a simple repair? The engine boxes swing open toward the stern, providing complete access without the sweltering heat. A deck hatch between the engines provides easy access to all of the necessary filters, the oil-change system and through-hulls bunched together on the twin sea chests.

Interior
Stepping into the salon reveals an abundance of teak-veneer cabinetry and flooring, lightweight-granite countertops and Whisper Wall cloth ceilings. Situated immediately to starboard, an oversize head and full shower allow an angler to keep his eyes peeled on the trolling spread while making a necessary pit stop. Back in the salon, a galley with pullout Sub-Zero freezers to port faces a roomy dinette and an oversize straight settee to starboard.

Liberty conceals dual compartments with room for rods, reels and storage bins beneath the base and back cushions.

You actually step down into the forward cabin, where Liberty provides a double berth with more tackle storage underneath, a cedar-lined hanging locker big enough to fit three grown men inside, and a small vanity to starboard. Simple and roomy, this elegant layout minimizes that claustrophobic feel that accompanies many vessels trying to squeeze too much into a midsize sport-fisherman. The result? The Liberty 45 proves itself as a serious contender for comfortable fishing and traveling and is sure to grab the attention of discerning buyers looking for an easily maintained and classy boat.

LOA...... 45'
BEAM...... 15'8"
DRAFT...... 3'8"
WEIGHT...... 28,000 pounds (dry)
FUEL...... 500 gallons
WATER...... 125 gallons
POWER...... T 715 hp Cummins QSM11 diesels
BASE PRICE...... $1,295,000

Liberty Yachts / Riviera Beach, Florida / 561-842-2261 / www.libertyyachts.com