Handcrafting 100 custom sport-fishers is a memorable milestone, achieved by only a select few in the boatbuilding community. In fact, you can count them on one hand. Paul Spencer and his highly talented team at Spencer Yachts in Wanchese, North Carolina, joined those rarefied ranks with the launch of Centurion, a gorgeous 74-footer that has once again raised the bar in terms of performance, craftsmanship and jaw-dropping good looks.
I headed to Port Aransas, Texas, along with Marlin freelance photographer Scott Kerrigan, where we met up with Spencer and Centurion skipper Capt. Pete Rae. At first glance, it’s clear this boat is a departure from several current trends, starting with her transom and toe rail. While many builders, including Spencer, offer either genuine teak or a faux-teak painted finish on these surfaces, Centurion sports carbon fiber. It is a unique touch that looks great, with the additional benefits of being highly durable and virtually maintenance-free. It’s also impossible to overlook the boat’s standout hull color, a metallic blue-gray that shimmers in the sunlight. It’s a custom Alexseal paint color appropriately named Centurion Blue, and it is striking.
See our first look at Centurion here.
Cockpit and Helm
Stepping over the wide teak covering boards and into the teak-topped deck, space abounds. The cockpit is huge, even with the unlimited-class Release Marine Trillion Series fighting chair occupying center stage. While some will say a 74-footer is too large to fish competitively, it’s hard to beat the amount of square acreage available for a team of anglers and mates to work multiple hookups or a single big fish. Because the boat will likely remain on the Texas coast for the near future, she will spend time not just chasing blue marlin in tournaments but also tuna fishing for big yellowfins and even bottomfishing or deep-dropping from time to time; switching gears and species isn’t a problem on this rig.
Heading up to the bridge, it’s clear that this area is one that has undergone considerable change over the years. Once the solo realm of the captain, the bridge is now as much an area for the owners and crew to gather as anywhere else on the boat. Years ago, the space forward of the console would have held a small chest freezer; on Centurion, there is a full lounge area with cavernous freezer storage below. Flanking the console is additional seating, with functional (and very comfortable) bucket seats in the corners. There is storage for eight rods in the hardtop, making them easily accessible, yet secure and out of the way when not needed.
The center console helm includes a pair of Garmin multifunction units flanking a Simrad MFD in the center; a second Simrad unit is recessed in an overhead display, with engine displays on either side. This setup offers redundancy and flexibility, utilizing the benefits of each system to its fullest. A pair of Miya Epoch teaser reels also resides in the hardtop, along with remote speakers for the VHF radios. On either side of the teak helm pod are controls for the Omni 360 searchlight sonar, hydraulic PipeWelders outriggers and more. A PipeWelders tower tops the rig.
Spencer’s boats are well known for their high-quality interiors, and Centurion leads the way in this respect. Visitors enter through a J.R. Beers electric salon door — these doors have quickly become an industry favorite for their near-bulletproof reliability. Swathed in satin-finished American walnut, the salon is simply incredible. To port is a U-shaped lounge for entertaining, with a hidden television rising from the lower cabinetry on the starboard side. Heading forward, the galley is to port and a dinette opposite. Storage spaces large and small abound throughout the boat. It seems that nearly every settee has a small cubby nearby, with USB ports for charging phones and other electronics. The countertops are natural stone, cored for weight reduction.
Heading down the companionway, the crew’s quarters and day head are on the starboard side, while a guest VIP is to port, complete with flip-down television in the overhead as well as en-suite head. Moving forward, there is a beautifully executed tackle locker with lighting and glass-front door, plus a laundry room, not just a washer-and-dryer stack. A second set of bunks is to port, and the master is forward. The entrance is gently curved and perfectly matches a curved LED television in the wall. The doors all feature beautiful highly burled walnut veneer that is hand-selected.
“I enjoy the process of going through the wood for our boats,” Spencer says. “We may look at 600 sheets of veneer to find the 10 we might use for a stateroom like this.” That kind of attention to detail is the mark of a truly custom builder.
Read Next: The Anatomy of a Modern Sport-Fisher
Construction and Performance
Centurion is the third 74-footer Spencer has produced, with two more currently in production; build time on the boat was approximately 36 months. The hull is entirely constructed of composite Divinycell and built on a jig — Spencer says he hasn’t built a wooden boat in his last 25 builds, preferring the strength-to-weight ratio and durability of the modern composites. The boat’s decks and bulkheads utilize carbon fiber, and the hull, house and components go through a post-cure process. The result is a hull that’s approximately 7,500 pounds lighter than a comparable wooden boat.
Belowdecks, the engine room gleams in snow-white Awlgrip and chrome. A pair of Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizers provides stability, while twin Onan 36 kW generators offer plenty of juice when away from the dock. The boat's air-conditioning needs are handled with Technicold by Northern Lights.
By any measure, Centurion is a heavyweight: 95,000 pounds, with 2,700 gallons of fuel drawing from integral tanks and feeding a pair of MTU Series 2000 M96L engines producing 2,600 hp each. As we put her through a sea trial off Port Aransas amid a confused 4-foot swell and wind chop, she handled like a high-end sports car, easily carving turns without taking a drop of spray on the enclosure. Centurion hit a top speed of 44 knots; easing back the throttles produces a cruising speed of 35 to 38 knots, burning around 140 gallons per hour. And while the boat has a range in excess of 1,100 miles at 10 knots, she can put well over 700 miles in the wake at 20 knots, making those passages to distant destinations much faster.
As we admired the handiwork of the Spencer Yachts team, Paul Spencer remarked that Centurion was a clean, elegant, well-executed boat, as well as the culmination of his decades of experience. Congratulations on Hull No. 100.
|Power:||Twin 2,600 HP MTU Series 2000 M96L|