|LOA||57 ft., 6 in.|
|Engines||Twin MAN R6-800 diesels, 800 hp|
|Base Price||See dealer|
|Twin MAN R6-800 diesels, 13.5 kw genset, cockpit day head, LED lights throughout, trim tabs, air conditioning w/reverse-cycle heat, transom dual-tank bait system, 20-gal. water heater, under-salon utility room and much more.|
|Consult with Mikelson.|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Mikelson Yachts, San Diego; (619) 222-5007; mikelsonyachts.com|
Posted: January 1, 2014 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Imminently fishable, comfortably cruisableFrom our perch at the marlin tower helm station, Mikelson Yachts’ Paul Fecteau and I could see a big sea lion following us through the harbor as we headed back to Mikelson’s Shelter Island office. It was obvious to me the big guy recognized the Mikelson 57 Sportfisher as the kind of boat that could have a payload worth checking out, given its 160-square-foot fight-ready cockpit; the rack of rocket launchers on the flybridge overhang, the five rod holders in the gunwales and the outriggers; the big double-tank system on the transom; the extra VHF radio, Fusion stereo control console and Garmin display built into the bulkhead; a tackle center with a sink and storage; and the cockpit day head with a hand-held shower.
Fecteau burst my cartoon-worthy thought bubble, however, by telling me the sea lion figured we might have some extra bait we didn’t use and that we might throw it overboard. No matter. In my mind, the pinniped had recognized the boat as a serious fishing vessel and me, no doubt, as the kind of guy who could bring home a whopper of a fish — or at least a fish tale.
I was in San Diego to test hull #7 of the Tom Fexas-designed Mikelson 57 Sportfisher line, which is the first M57 to have MAN R6-800 diesels, each with 800 hp, providing the power. The big MAN engines replace the Cummins QSM-11 715 hp powerplants, and they deliver a couple of extra miles per hour while performing well at slow speeds, too.
We hit a top speed of 28.3 knots, which is about 1 knot slower than the Mikelson folks have achieved in other testing but is 2 knots faster than a previous Sea boat tester went with the Cummins engines. At that speed, the common-rail fuel-injected engines were turning at 2345 rpm and burning 82 gph. At a 24-knot cruise speed, the engines were at about an 80 percent load, turning 2050 rpm and burning 50 gph, which delivers a range of 600-plus miles. Slow down to 10.2 knots, which is about 33 percent load for the MANs, and you’ll get 1 mpg, which increases the range to more than 1,100 miles on the 1,245-gallon tanks (given a 10 percent reserve).
At the flybridge helm station, from where we conducted the bulk of the sea trial, you’ll find twin Stidd captain’s chairs and an expanse of white fiberglass dash, which on our test boat has two 15-inch Garmin Glass 8000 displays with pinch-to-zoom capability, MAN engine displays, a VHF, a Fusion entertainment unit console and engine throttles — and there is still room for a couple more multifunction displays, if the owner so chooses. A second flybridge helm station aft — for operation during that epic billfish fight — has engine controls and room for a display of the owner’s choosing. To starboard of the main helm is a bench settee that runs from the dash to the stairs coming up from the cockpit, the stairs being a great feature for accessing the bridge — far better than a ladder, especially for a guy who wears size 15 shoes, like me. Just aft of the companion captain’s chair is a semi-circular settee with a fiberglass table. There’s room for the entire party on the bridge, and both settees have storage underneath.
Before we get to the interior of the M57, I want to mention another step Mikelson has taken to make its yachts more efficient. The lighting on the vessel has gone to Imtra LEDs throughout, which means the main generator has gone from a 17 kw model to a 13.5 kw genset. It may seem like a small change, but it pays off. LED lights last longer than traditional bulbs, and there is a smaller genset to fuel.
While it’s becoming more common these days for sportfishing yachts to be elegant and cruise-comfortable inside, Mikelson has been doing that with its models for some time now, and it shows. The second you step through the glass door to the main cabin, you recognize that this isn’t simply a crash pad for hardcore fish wranglers to rest up in before hitting it hard again tomorrow. Glossy American cherry wood dominates the scene, creating a stylish, inviting lounging scene. Madrona burl accents class up the countertops, tabletops and headboards. Granite counters — made lighter and more durable with aluminum honeycomb backing — grace the galley and the heads.
Whether it’s after a hard day fishing, an easy day cruising on the bridge or it’s Friday night happy hour, the salon will provide an ideal setting, especially since it shares the cabin with the galley. Overhead is an elliptical burl accent insert that is backlit with ribbon LEDs — a nice touch to break up the white headliner. Ten or 12 people should be able to gather comfortably on the twin settees and the dual barstools. The settee to port has a high-low dining table, while the starboard one has a coffee table. A console in the aft starboard corner houses a flat-screen TV and the main electrical panel. Mirrors on the bulkheads forward of both settees make the full-headroom space seem much bigger, and windows all around let in plenty of natural light. There’s no helm on this deck, but there is a windshield forward to supply even more light. On a sportfisher.
In fact, that rearward-leaning windshield helps illuminate the belowdecks accommodations, too. It leans over the companionway and two of the three staterooms — the starboard mid-master and the port bunk room — which in turn both have a large “window” in their ceiling to maximize light. They are essentially skylights that take advantage of the large windshield “skylight.”
This 57 Sportfisher has the three-stateroom layout with two master-worthy cabins (one forward, one to starboard, which is the one most owners will likely choose) and the aforementioned bunk room, but you can configure it with two staterooms, which nixes the bunk room and increases the salon’s size. Both masters have a queen-size bed and an en suite head with a full standup shower stall. They both have hanging lockers and drawer storage, and the Madrona burl sets the headboard area apart. The forward cabin has an overhead hatch and two opening portholes for light and air.
Carrying the same rich American cherry and Madrona burl from the salon through the staterooms ensures that the comfortable cruising-yacht look and feel is never out of mind. People might forget they are moving over the waves in a sportfisher, at least while they’re inside.
Mikelson’s principals, Pat Sullivan and Dick Peterson, have learned a lot from their customers over the years, and it’s obvious customers appreciate being listened to, as Sullivan estimates that up to 70 percent of Mikelson buyers are repeat customers. The stairs to the flybridge are one example of listening to customers, one that made perfect sense, since an area that is easy to get to is an area that’s going to be used more. Two large electric-opening hatches in the cockpit provide easy access to the engine space and the lazarette. There isn’t room to stand, but I had no problem squatting and reaching everything that one might need to reach to effect repairs or conduct regular maintenance.
One space I found particularly clever is the under-salon utility room. Again, there isn’t enough height to stand, but it’s a comfortable enough room that has a couple of flat work spaces, a bench seat, a washer/dryer, an ice-maker and storage for inflatable toys, coolers of every size or food for weeks and weeks at sea. It is accessed by raising the steps from the salon to the companionway, so it is out of sight and mind when it needs to be, which may make it a perfect place to stash the kids with their electronic gadgets for an afternoon.
After 30 years in business and more than 275 yachts, Mikelson knows what it is and what it isn’t. Fortunately for the builder, it is a lot of things to a lot of boat buyers. It is a favorite of hard-core sportfishermen, Sullivan said, some of whom use their Mikelson regularly in tournaments. But a lot of Mikelsons have been sold to families over the years, too, thanks to their upscale interiors and real-world capabilities: comfortable sleeping, dining and lounging quarters; modern engines that squeeze out a few extra mph while increasing range at lower speeds; and galleys with high-end appliances that make meal prep a pleasure. Plus, there’s always room for some customization, so every Mikelson is unique to its owner.