I’ll never forget the Marlow Explorer I sea trialed a decade or so ago, out in the Atlantic Ocean, with the Miami Beach skyline off in the distance. The day was a doozy, characterized by 6- to 8- footers, a wintery north wind and, at least at first, nary another boat in sight. Eventually, though, as the morning wore on and I finished recording all the necessary test data, a couple of fairly large, diesel-type cruisers exited the jetties at the bitter end of Government Cut and started what appeared to be an après-Miami-boat-show run up the coast toward Ft. Lauderdale.
Now, whether it was David Marlow who then hatched the idea or myself I can’t remember, but one of us decided to see if our test boat could literally drive rings around the cruisers as they plowed resolutely north into the weather, sending uproarious plumes of spray into the air. And what made what subsequently ensued so memorable, I suppose, is that we did indeed circle each big cruiser not once, but a couple of times, thereby confirming, albeit with lots of good-natured fun thrown in, the real-world seaworthiness of the Explorer’s semi-displacement hullform.
During a Marlow Marine party at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show this cheeky little episode came to mind, as it often does during this particular annual event. Marlow, at the time, was introducing an updated version of one of the first four-stateroom boats he’d ever put on the market: the Explorer 70. And truth to tell, as I slipped away from the festivities and went aboard the newbie towering in the darkness—the 70 MK II Command Bridge, she was called—I had a hard time remembering whether it was a 70-footer, an 82-footer or a 66-footer we’d had so much fun with so many years before. But it didn’t much matter, I suppose.