F&S Yachts 61 | Boat Review

The Bear, Delaware, builder creates yet another masterpiece

The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em> out on the water.
Esme is designed to prowl the waters of the Northeast as well as South Florida, with the occasional transit to the Pacific.Courtesy YachtPics.com

In 1998, Jim Floyd and his talented team of boatbuilders finished the first F&S. The 59-foot Fin-Alley started the company on a journey that has seen its boats fishing the world’s oceans with great success. Floyd’s team gained a reputation for building fast, stable, good-riding boats with sweeping, rounded features and a look of their own. Ten years later, F&S Yachts continues to create custom sport-fishing boats that are truly unique to their owners.

One of its latest is the 61-foot Esme, purpose-built to fish the canyons of the Northeast out of Martha’s Vineyard and the sailfish grounds of South Florida, while also having the ability to reach the exotic waters of the eastern Pacific. Founded on the noted ­longitudinally stepped, variable deadrise hull, made famous by SeaCraft boat designer Carl Moesly, this F&S bottom has been raved about by most of the skippers who run them; Esme is no exception, according to her captain, Chris Peters.

Engine Room

With a beam of 18 feet and a draft of 4 feet, 10 inches, Esme has the ability to carry 1,400 gallons of fuel and 200 gallons of water. Her engine and pump rooms are well-laid-out, with great care taken to accommodate the many custom systems. Everything is easily accessed and serviceable; the two 17 kW Onan generators are located against the forward bulkhead of the pump room, with good access to three sides.

The boat has some very well-thought-out and integrated systems, including a bilge-drying Willy Vac, Brownie’s Third Lung dive compressor, Reverso fuel polishing system, and the Bye Bye Barnacle raw-water air-conditioning and refrigeration flush system. The Bye Bye Barnacle requires a bit of extra manifold plumbing to perform its task, but does it in less time with fewer materials and less labor than a typical service call to ­descale the raw-water lines once fouled with scale and growth.

Just aft of the engine room, the Seakeeper 9 ­gyrostabilizer sits on the centerline beneath the cockpit deck, with fuel tanks to either side. The lazarette has a watertight hatch, and offers great storage as well as good access to bilge systems, steering components and livewell pumps.

The cockpit and helm of the The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em>.
The helm has plenty of space for a pair of 24-inch Garmin monitors, with an additional 12-inch display to port and an aft-facing 10-inch monitor.Courtesy YachtPics.com

Cockpit and Bridge

Esme’s cockpit is clean and uncluttered, with a beautifully varnished genuine teak bulkhead, teak deck, a large transom livewell, and undergunwale storage. A shapely mezzanine contains a large freezer under the seat, dual freezers under the step to port, lift-up engine-room access on the centerline, and a large drink box under the step at the salon door entrance. And below that, at the first step, there’s another storage area with drains to accommodate lead weights. To starboard of the salon door entrance is a built-in cabinet with a hidden ­electric grill and stainless-steel ice-machine dump box under the step.

Esme is graced with a full Palm Beach Towers tuna tower and hardtop package, complete with all the trimmings. Her bridge is well-equipped with Miya Epoch US 9HD teaser reels that are recessed in the hardtop, and an aft-facing 10-inch Garmin display is mounted aft of the teaser reel box. Her console features a teak helm pod and two ­flush-mounted 24-inch Garmin monitors with an additional 12-inch display to port.

The Seakeeper 9 control panel, Garmin digital depth/speed display and ZipWake trim tab controller are mounted above the 12-inch monitor. The controller for the Furuno sonar is in the cabinet to port, as well as the Furuno radar ­controller and fuel transfer controls. In a recessed pocket overhead are the engine and Furuno radar displays and the Simrad ­autopilot controller.

The interior of the The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em>.
The boat’s interior has a unique look, with the wood grain arranged horizontally for a modern look.Courtesy YachtPics.com

Salon and Belowdecks

Moving into the salon, Esme features an interior with the grain arranged horizontally for a custom and modern look. Immediately to port, an L-shaped sofa with storage beneath sits aft of a booth-style dinette on a slight riser that creates a huge and easily accessible slide-out rod storage below. Along the starboard side of the salon is a cabinet that runs forward to the galley counter. The cabinet features a stone countertop with a pop-up flat-screen television and ample storage.

Esme’s galley is well-laid-out, with four undercounter refrigeration drawers. On the forward bulkhead, ­cabinets house a Miele coffee-/espresso-maker, a convection microwave oven and plenty of additional storage; a large sink is outboard under the forward cabinet. And behind the galley cabinets is a large storage and electrical room housing the boat’s audio-visual equipment and the other ship systems.

The interior of the The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em>.
The windows are switchable privacy glass, which goes from clear to opaque with the touch of a button.Courtesy YachtPics.com

Along with the horizontal grain in the woodwork, the other standout feature of the salon and galley is the switchable privacy glass windows. An innovative and widely used technology in office and medical buildings, switchable privacy glass is a film laminated between the glass; when an electrical current is applied, the properties of the glass change from opaque to clear. With the flip of a switch, these windows offer ­complete privacy, even at night, without blinds or curtains—a clean, uncluttered look and feel while still offering the benefits of safety, security and temperature control.

Take a look inside the F&S Yachts facility.

With the ­companionway slightly offset to port, the landing below sports a crew stateroom with over/under bunks, a closet and nightstands. Forward of the crew stateroom is a shared head for crew and day guests. To starboard, the master stateroom features an island berth with storage below, a large cedar-lined closet, along with an en suite head and full shower. All the way forward is the VIP stateroom, which has a raised queen bed, flanking storage on both hullsides, a full-length cedar-lined closet, and an en suite head.

The deck and fighting char of the The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em>.
The clean, uncluttered cockpit, ready for action.Courtesy YachtPics.com

Performance

Full of fuel and water, we ran Esme out of Florida’s Hillsboro Inlet on a nice spring day with light breezes and calm seas. As we pushed up the speed, her 12-cylinder MANs got her rolling, and Esme reached her sweet spot somewhere around 1,850 rpm —­making 32.3 knots and burning 110 gallons per hour. She is extremely ­responsive and easily trimmed for ­an optimal ride.

Esme is just another fine example of the quality vessels that continue to roll out of the F&S Yachts facility in Delaware. She carries the lineage well, and has already had a great season of fishing in the Northeast, proving herself on the giant tuna and white marlin grounds of the canyons. Why ride when you can fly, right?

The F&S Yachts 61 <em>Esme</em> on the water.
Esme’s 12-cylinder MANs offered excellent performance.Courtesy YachtPics.com

F&S Yachts 61 Specs

  • LOA: 61′
  • Beam: 18′
  • Draft: 4′10″
  • Displ: 82,000 lb.
  • Fuel: 1,400 gal.
  • Water: 200 gal.
  • Power: Twin V-12 1,800 hp MAN
  • Gears/Ratio: ZF/1.763
  • Propellers: Veem—33″ dia, 43″ pitch
  • Paint: Topsides—Awlcraft, Antifouling—VC Offshore
  • Climate Control: Dometic