Mikelson yachts resemble nothing an East Coast fisherman would recognize as typical. And that’s a good thing since Mikelson has always offered amazingly innovative features and abilities – the West Coast boys just get to see them first.
Azipod propulsion lets even the most novice helmsman, with only minutes of instruction, drive a boat like a grizzled professional captain. This 43-footer sports a pair of 480 hp Cummins MerCruiser Zeus drives that let you maneuver the vessel with a joystick, enabling you to join a rarefied group of sport-fishing pioneers using this technology.
The Tom Fexas design team (www.tomfexas.com) placed the fuel tanks along centerline in the bilge to provide the lowest center of gravity. The more fuel you carry, the more stable the boat reacts in a beam sea. The 43 exhibited a very modest roll moment with extremely gentle transitions when loaded with 600 gallons of fuel.
Even with that weight, the Mikelson leaned into a wheel-hard-over turn and reversed course in a scant two boat lengths. We hit a top speed of 25 knots turning 3,260 rpm, burning 50 gph total. Interestingly, the burn rate remains pretty static, using 0.6 to 0.8 mpg no matter the rpm. Mikelson claims a 28-knot top speed with light loads. Either way, Zeus provides about a 25 percent overall improvement in fuel efficiency over conventional propulsion.
Pod drives make maneuvering fun again. Backing down at 6 knots, the 43 tracked straight as an arrow with complete control. And though we took a modest amount of water into the cockpit through the transom door when reversing, as soon as I put the gears into forward, the water disappeared instantly. Trolling speed provided a 1.8 mpg fuel burn, with slightly more subsurface turbulence on centerline. But you’ll have no problem finding clear water for your lures.
Bottomfishermen: Imagine never needing to anchor to bottomfish again! With Zeus’s dynamic positioning feature called Skyhook, you can simply park your boat where you want it and press a button. You will stay put on that heading no matter the wind or current.
Zeus drives do not need separate exhaust manifolds and pipes, so you gain loads of room below the cockpit deck. On this 43 you can use that space to store bigger fish boxes, ice machines and the like. Another good design element finds the day head accessible right from the cockpit; crew needn’t track anything through the salon to use the head below. This day head doubles as handy, washable, lockable rod storage. And finally, the cockpit has as much or little livewell capacity as you wish. But true to West Coast fishing style, Mikelson always accommodates livewells on the bow too.
An unusual layout here finds a centerline helm forward as well as a full station by the aft rail for fishing purposes. I also love the stairway to the flybridge instead of a ladder; it’s a vastly more secure access path.
On top of the flybridge, you can opt for straight seating or an upper control station – sort of an acrophobe’s tuna tower – accessed via a ladder that is inside the flybridge rail.
Mikelson locates the galley aft (a calmer riding point) to port with an opening window to the cockpit. Those Californians love their drive-throughs! Each Mikelson gets a completely custom interior – the buyer dictates whatever they want. This particular hull sported a cherry interior, granite counters veneered over aluminum honeycomb, all the expected appliances and a mammoth pantry where the engine room used to be. Every cabin features terrific ambient light that showcases the incredibly fine joinerwork throughout. – Dean Travis Clarke
MAX POWER……T 600 hp Cummins diesels
PRICE……$839,000 (base boat)**
Mikelson Yachts / San Diego, California / 619-222-5007 / www.mikelsonyachts.com