Where your heart wants to go, your brain may not let you follow. The Trident 620 from Outer Reef may help get everyone on the same page.
How does modern-day boating fit into today’s world of lightning fast (and nonstop) communications, routine, eventless (hopefully) jet travel, and virtual everything taking over? (Yes, the drone race will be televised. Ack.)
So bear with me a moment. As I begin to write this, the airplane I’ve just boarded needs to pause on the taxiway … for de-icing. In mid-November. In France. As the de-icing crews work I think about the potential for ice forming on the wings, and that leads my caffeinated mind to an image from the dark recesses of my memory: The ship Endurance stuck in pack ice, its rigging hanging heavy and useless. Of course, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his expeditionary crew are on board, as rendered in the forthright prose portrait of his book South, as well as in Caroline Alexander’s excellent The Endurance that presents the same epic tale of survival against incredible odds.
Nothing like a deliberately unstimulating transatlantic flight to remind me that the call of adventure stirs in the hearts of men. Indeed, anyone who’s felt the prickle of thrill run down his spine at the sight of a wave-splitting plumb bow matched to high bulwarks understands that shape heralds one thing—the need to get off the dock and put some miles beneath the keel.
When I sea-trialed the Trident 620 from Outer Reef (in France also, but on an earlier visit, on a golden early morning in September at the Cannes Yacht Show), the idea of what a boat like this can do—both body and soul—was merely a seed planted in the midst of my brain. But it began to grow.
Fast forward to the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, where I stopped by the Outer Reef Yachts stand. The company builds a line of cruising boats ranging from 58 to 88 feet, including motoryachts, cockpit motoryachts, and Deluxbridge skylounge yachts. That entire line is now called classic because the company’s introduced a new Ward Setzer-designed Trident line of motor-yachts, including the T550, the T620, and a newly announced stablemate, the T620 Solara (which swaps the flying bridge out for a hardtop) in addition to designs for a 72- and a 106-footer, all that stick to the same exterior styling.
“They wanted a fast trawler type of vessel to address the needs of folks that want to run their own vessels but with more speed than the classic trawler,” Setzer told me. “Then to make it hard they wanted shallow draft, speed, and seakeeping. We thrive on challenges and problem solving. So this was started from the outside in and with a few hull-form ideas I was working with to push the normal a bit.” When I saw the T620 on the dock, making her American debut at the show, it struck me that she was like a rodeo bull in the chute, all hemmed in by the docks at the Bahia Mar, when she should have been out and about.
But this bull is anything but rank, as evidenced by our sea trial off Cannes on the Côte d’Azur. Her hull gets it right, and in more ways than one. First of all, Outer Reef uses only three major molds, so the number of seams are minimized when the pieces are put together. The builder uses vinylester resin in FRP cored with PVC foam in a sandwich construction. The design features a full-length keel that extends below the running gear. Integrally molded rubrails are capped with stainless steel. A pair of 550-horsepower Cummins diesels matched to Zeus pods were placed low and aft within the hull. Remember, the Zeus pods are placed in pockets rather than on the angle of deadrise of the running surface, as Volvo Penta IPS is.
While the day would eventually grow very hot, our morning off Cannes didn’t present us with rough conditions. The boat tracked like a champ and surprised me (pleasantly) with her speed and handling. After we got out of the traffic and ran her through her rpm range, Trevor De Faoite, Outer Reef’s European sales director based in England, set her at a gentle 12-knot cruise while I took a sound reading in the master stateroom—a mere 57 decibels. This builder has long paid attention to sound and vibration, using materials such as Noxudol to damp the noise and improve the onboard experience.
When I returned to the helm, Outer Reef Founder and CEO Jeff Druek and I looked on as De Faoite pushed the throttles forward and turned the T620 into a sprightly cruiser with a quick pace of 17 knots. As De Faoite turned the wheel to starboard, she dropped her shoulder, inspiring the confidence that we sometimes miss in the slow-cruise set.
“Look at her carve that turn,” Druek said. While a boater may rarely need that turn of speed and handling, I expect it’s a good feeling to know it’s a throttle-push away.
Both pilothouse and flying-bridge helms are on centerline and each features a pair of 16-inch Simrad NSS Evo 2 multifunction displays, each linked to a C-Zone monitoring system and a NMEA 2000 network, and capable of displaying chart, radar, and sounder data. Cummins VesselView displays are dedicated to engine data and autopilot control. The pilothouse features a near-vertical windshield that allows for excellent lines of sight, overlooking that proud bow. An L-shaped dinette to port offers companion comfort.
The flying bridge also offers a complete helm, accompanied by a separate companion seat, and the sheer size of the top deck makes it feel like it’s on a larger yacht. That’s primarily thanks to the boatdeck aft where a large davit shares space with an optional alfresco galley with electric grill serving a dinette with L-shaped settee. A generous hardtop has a fabric sunroof to add versatility on pleasant days.
The Trident 620 can be propped to suit the cruising needs of her owner. Pick the sweet spot where you will cruise most often and Outer Reef will prop the boat to suit. Why didn’t I think of that?
A design doesn’t work for Outer Reef unless someone would like to buy it. So there are ways the layout can be modified to suit an individual buyer’s needs. Often no two builds from the same line are identical, but Outer Reef shares ideas between owners, so there may be an obvious homage here and there.
When a builder shows it understands what its clients need, that’s good. When a builder invests in developing a new line thanks to client feedback, that’s a game-changer.
On the main deck, the saloon is down two steps from the pilothouse, where a settee to port faces a U-shaped galley counter to starboard. The window abaft the galley folds up on a ram to help create a true indoor-outdoor feel, and makes it easy to serve plates to the transom settee with dining table nestled comfortably beneath the generous flying-bridge overhang. Getting around outdoors on this boat is remarkably pleasant, thanks to 20-inch-wide side decks with 37-inch-high rails.
Belowdecks, the T620 has a three-stateroom layout with three heads. The master is amidships and has the run of the ship’s full beam. The king-size berth is cheated just a shade to the port side, and that’s because the facilities are placed to starboard with separate shower and head compartments. There’s a walk-in locker forward of the head to starboard, while a credenza and desk built into the port side offer additional stowage and utility. Huge hullside windows on either side combine with a 6-foot 7½-inch overhead to enhance the whole space.
Up one step from the master, the forward guest staterooms consist of a double bunkroom to port off the landing and the forepeak with a tapered queen-size island berth. The stairs curve down from the saloon next to the lower helm station to drop you off on the landing.
A crew’s quarters is situated aft of the amidships master and has its own separate entry located beneath the cockpit stairs that lead up to the flying bridge. A watertight door grants access to the engine room from here, so snotty seas won’t preclude engine checks from the transom door.
And what an engine room. Druek and his team make equipment selection count, and it shows. This engine room is built around a couple of 550-horsepower Cummins QSB diesels linked to Zeus pod drives, and has 6 feet of headroom. A 20-kilowatt Cummins Onan genset sits to port, and I noticed it felt almost like a commercial ship (but spotless), with aluminum diamond-plate panels underfoot, and stainless steel rails around each engine. I noticed single Racor 1000MAs for each engine. I was surprised not to see duplex fuel-water separators here, but Outer Reef uses the same Racor for the mains and the genset so it’s easy to stock replacement elements—that’s good thinking.
If you’re familiar with Outer Reef, you know this builder understands what experienced boaters want, and the Trident series in general, and the T620 in particular, delivers the goods in a design that may pry open the recesses of your heart where adventure lies, and call “climb aboard” into that hollow. How you respond is up to you.
Generator: 20-kW Cummins Onan, Warranty: One year stem to stern, 5 years on the hull.
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 79°F; humidity: 60%; seas: 1′
Load During Boat Test
400 gal. fuel, 116 gal. water, 6 persons, 250 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
Transmission/Ratio: Cummins Zeus