When a company builds its reputation on innovation, continuous improvement becomes more and more difficult with each new hull. Paul Spencer and his team of skilled craftsmen never seem to take a step back or rest on their laurels, and this new 66 proved no exception.
The first thing I discovered was that even when cruising at almost wide-open throttle, moving the throttles to the limit will still push you backward. From a dead stop it took only five seconds to get up on plane and a mere eight seconds to hit 20 knots. It cruises at 30 to 33 knots – amazingly, Spencer refers to this as “moderate” – in a decent sea without sacrificing comfort or safety. Trolling at a dead/live-bait speed of 3.2 knots generates a perfectly clear wake. At an 8½-knot lure speed, you see considerable subsurface prop wash but only modest surface foam.
Once you’ve raised fish and hooked one, you’ll find that the 66 backs down at 7 knots with total control, juking and jiving with the best of them.
Spencer’s designs allow for lots of trim-tab adjustment: He likes being able to drop the bow, engaging the sharp entry for heavy head seas, and yet be able to lift it for running down-sea when you want greater buoyancy forward.
You’ll find the pump room against the forward bulkhead and plenty of space outboard of the power plants for maintenance issues.
As with any good engine compartment, all the surfaces sport a beautiful glossy finish, making maintenance (and troubleshooting) easier.
Aft, a huge walk-through to the lazarette allows amazingly easy access to steering quadrants, valves, pumps, etc.
I found the interior of this hull to be considerably more ornate than many other Spencers, with particularly beautiful cabinetry boasting beveled panels and a flawless finish.
I am not usually a fan of any type of window covering except curtains, but Spencer has done an excellent job with the roll-up window shades in the salon, with the shades and control strings hidden behind valances and vertical posts. Also hidden in the valances is warm, indirect lighting.
I like the masculine C-shaped leather settee to port. In fact, the owner has done a remarkable job with the interior decor – some of the most tasteful I’ve seen without the assistance of a professional interior decorator.
As with most sport-fishing vessels, the dinette won’t really function for family-style dining; it might seat four comfortably. But at least the diners will have a great view of the beautiful granite counters and handsome, well-appointed galley with its four-burner cooktop, drawers that all slide out for easy access and under-counter refrigerator/freezers.
At the foot of the companionway stairs, a fore-and-aft single to starboard combines with an athwartship twin for a double cabin. Just forward, there’s a teak-and-holly day head and shower. Opposite you find the master with its double berth and a private head with shower. Another cabin with over/under singles lies forward to starboard.
The forepeak houses an unusual layout with a single lower berth and a higher twin, both oblique, as well as another private head. When asked what Paul Spencer likes most about his 66, he replied, “It’s just large enough to accommodate a four-stateroom layout yet fishes like a smaller boat. It maneuvers on fish like a 40-footer. You can’t really fit four staterooms into a boat any smaller than this.”
I discovered one of my favorite features in the companionway: A rod locker to starboard amidships stores an inordinate number of rods and reels and uses striking artistic LED lighting to showcase your tackle. But the boatbuilder’s art also shines on the 66 with the addition of beautiful crown molding throughout – a lovely touch.
I’ve never seen four Miya Epoch electric teaser reels mounted in the overhead compartment before. The lines from the forward two exit the hardtop directly over the helmsman’s head so he can assist on the tease while using the aft channel through the hardtop as usual to handle the dredges. As you’d expect, this space features loads of storage, a large deep freeze across the front of the console (forming the seatback for the settee) and drink boxes galore.
Longtime readers know my feelings about towers. But PipeWelders has done an exceptional job making the access for this one safer and easier. I commend them. And the tower itself sports a very unusual molded console and no wheel – just a joystick and complete set of remote displays and controls.
The companion seats on this hull will move slightly forward on subsequent builds to afford slightly roomier passage for guests moving forward.
The transom features an innovative, removable tuna-tube system. You can use the box to mount tuna tubes and still use it as a baitwell at the same time. Or take the tubes out and use the entire space as a livewell. It even triples as an insulated fish box if you so desire.
You’ll find considerable storage in under-gunwale cabinets, topped by a teak cap rail around the cockpit’s perimeter. The corners boast mammoth scuppers that don’t let water gather at all.
The obligatory mezzanine hides Spencer’s custom stainless-steel freezer/refrigerators, which he makes himself because they provide more internal storage volume than commercially available models.
The owner plans to keep this boat on the west coast of Panama, not far north of the equator. Spencer designed a unique air-conditioning system that blows cool air onto the backs of the guests seated on the mezzanine as well as dumps cold air on them from above. Spencer figures the system should lower the temperature on the mezzanine by about 15 degrees on even the hottest days.
Design and Construction
Spencer constructed the 66 as a solid, cold-molded hull, with Core-Cell composite sandwiched into the laminate from the deck up.
Once again, Paul Spencer found a way to make an already excellent effort so much better.
GENERATOR……T 27.5 kW Caterpillars
POWER……T 1,825 hp Caterpillars C32 ACERTs
Spencer Custom Yachts / Wanchese, North Carolina / 252-473-6567 / www.spenceryachtsinc.com