Boat Review: Ocean 48 SS Express

Yet another quiet success for Ocean Yachts.

October 12, 2001

Ocean Yachts goes about its job quietly, turning out beautiful boats that sell well without a lot of fanfare. And with good reason. Naval architect Dave Martin has mastered the complex concepts of advanced planing hull design that he uses to make the “Next Generation” Ocean Yachts perform exceptionally well. The Leek family has been fishing offshore (and building boats to do it) since before the Revolutionary War. And interior designers combine their tasteful flair with the Leeks’ uncanny ability to eke every last square inch of usable space out of a boat’s interior to make each model of Ocean a favorite among wives and sweethearts.
Ocean’s new 48 express is yet another of the company’s quiet successes.

We had the opportunity to fish the new 48 equipped with optional twin CAT 3196s with electronic controls pushing out 660 hp each. (Standard power is a twin Detroit 6V-92TA package at 625 hp each.) All indications say this package will be very fuel-efficient. Nineteen-hundred rpm gives 27 knots for a quite reasonable cruising speed, and she maxed out at 2,335 rpm giving a 32.5-knot top speed. One thousand rpm means 11.5 knots. In fact, this hull is efficient enough to get up on plane and run at 18 knots on just one engine turning 2,000 rpm.
Certainly the 48 Express’ speed is acceptable for today’s market. But where she really stood out was in cruising performance. With a north wind blowing at 10 to 15 knots against the Gulf Stream coming from the south, seas were 6-foot ocean swells topped off by a 1- to 2-foot chop. By all rights, we should have been taking spray on the windshield with every wave. But at speed, this may be the driest express boat I’ve ever run. Spray, on every point of sea, blew out and down. At slow trolling speed, the spray occasionally blows up onto the windscreen with the wind just off the bow.
The 48 Express drifts beam to the wind and seas with a comfortable roll moment, while down-sea it tracked straight as an arrow at every speed with no lugging up the backs of waves. Whether fishing or docking, you’ll find that this express spins and turns beautifully. In fact, docking with either low or normal idle is excellent with inch-by-inch control and fluid reactions from the Mathers MicroCommander electronic gear/throttle controls.

The 48 Express provides a spacious cabin amidships beneath the helm deck with double berths to both port and starboard.
The salon seems shorter than on many comparably sized boats due to the aft cabin and the galley-down arrangement. Two steps down take you to a complete galley where a half-height refrigerator, microwave/convection oven and all the other luxury appliances live. A half-height freezer flanks the stairwell.
A single full head with more than adequate headroom serves the master stateroom forward as well as the guest stateroom and salon. The owner’s accommodation consists of a centerline double berth with drawers beneath and cabinetry lining both bulkheads. Though this all may sound ordinary and plain, the fabrics, treatments and lighting Ocean uses elevates each interior to the sublime.


Ocean uses woven fiberglass, Divinycell coring in the topsides, decks and bulkheads, blister-resistant vinylester resin, and tough-as-nails isopthalic gel coat. Rather than gluing many individual pieces together, Ocean utilizes a two-piece modular construction method that makes its boats strong enough to offer a five-year hull warranty.


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