What does a cruising couple do once they realize they miss their Marlow 57? Simple – they build a new 61.
The Marlow 61E MK 2 was built specifically so that an owner, and particularly his wife, could enjoy the comforts of a Marlow while doing another Great Loop. As I would find out, Marlow met their expectations, and then some.
The master suite is as you’d expect: palatial in size, with his-and-hers heads separated by a shower, plus four hanging lockers, and a bureau with liveaboard drawers. Using the full 18-foot beam, the stateroom includes a couch so the owners can have their own sanctuary.
The VIP cabin is forward, and has been greatly enlarged to provide an almost-master suite. No guests will feel like second-class citizens with all this space, plus an oversized head with shower.
There’s a very civilized crew’s quarters abaft the engine room. These owners were considering using the space for storage since they are owner/operators, but David Marlow convinced them having additional accommodations would be perfect for a couple of teenagers or for a future owner who wants a captain.
The saloon is warm and inviting, with large windows and meticulous joinerwork everywhere. I liked the desk built into the forward corner, complete with file drawer, so one can work if necessary while cruising.
Power for this Marlow 61E is a pair of 1,015-horsepower Caterpillar C18 ACERTs, each equipped with Seatorque enclosed and oil-filled shaft- and thrust-bearing assemblies. There is more than ample room to move between the two engines on varnished teak gratings, and the fuel manifold system on the forward bulkhead, with user-friendly labeling and stainless-steel piping, is a benchmark for other builders to emulate.
Two 17-kW Onan generators are outboard and accessible, and this 61E has been thoughtfully equipped with everything from a Charles Industries Iso-Boost transformer to an ultra-reliable 900-gallon-per-day Aquamatic watermaker from Sea Recovery. One specific owner request was a large and well-equipped workbench in the engine room, providing the perfect place for onboard tinkering.
Access to the flying bridge is either from the cockpit, with a curving and solidly railed stairway, or from the pilothouse. The bridge is designed for entertaining, with an outdoor galley hidden in a fiberglass console to port with a Wolf grill, Sub-Zero fridge, sink, and storage. Opposite is a table that seats four easily, while the boat deck aft is capable of handling a large center-console inflatable.
Underway, this 61E has a pleasant blend of speed and economy. She uses the same well-proven and seakindly hull that appears under Marlows from 57 to 61 feet and has the proprietary Marlow Strut Keels that provide prop protection and down-sea tracking.
In admittedly ca-ca conditions, we topped out at 27 knots with 53 percent fuel and full water. Even in cross seas our windshield stayed dry. Perhaps even more pertinent to most owners, the Marlow 61E eats up the miles at 1200 rpm, which gave us an 11-knot cruise with a 22-gallon-per-hour fuel consumption that shouldn’t cause your credit card to melt. On plane at 55-percent load, we were doing 17 knots but we had doubled the fuel consumption to 50 gallons per hour. You may not always want to go fast, but having that choice is a wonderful alternative.