We love express boats for their versatility and fishability. With an open command deck, family and guests are just steps away from the action in the cockpit, while the captain has the option of running the boat from the helm or high above in the tower, where he has a completely unobstructed view. Winter Custom Yachts recently launched First Light, a 65-foot express that marks the largest of that style for the North Carolina custom boatbuilder. First Light is fast, seaworthy and highly maneuverable, designed to chase the world’s toughest game fish. Like all Winter boats, she features a cold-molded hull and fiberglass-infused composite decks and bulkheads for strength and weight savings.
First Light was built for a Florida family who enjoys travel and fishing, and who were interested in stepping up from their current boat, a 52 Cabo. However, the owner insisted on an express design, despite knowing that most 60-footers built today are convertibles. “I feel like I’m on a charter,” he says. “Everyone else is having fun down below, and I’m by myself up on the flybridge.” With an express, the owner can be right in the middle of the action. As with all their builds, Winter extensively customized First Light to accommodate the owner’s wish list, which also included a unique aft helm station. The result is one of the most beautiful express boats on the water today.
The boat is powered by a pair of 1,550 hp MAN 12-cylinder diesels, which produce not just great performance but good fuel efficiency as well. At her low cruise speed of 30 knots, First Light burns just 100 gallons per hour. At 35 knots, that number increases to 122 gph, and at wide-open throttles, she tops out at 40 knots. A pair of Northern Lights 27.5 kW gensets provide plenty of house power, and a Seakeeper 16 gyrostabilizer keeps things stable even in rough conditions.
Marlin will review First Light for an upcoming issue but in the meantime enjoy this exclusive photo gallery.