Used Boat Review: Vicem 72 Classic Flybridge
I’ve always admired the timeless lines of Down East-styled yachts. They have a beauty born of purpose, of an implied seaworthiness. Most of all, they remind me of the wood boatbuilding tradition of Maine, of vessels that are honest and reliable in the way they’re designed and constructed, vessels that served their owners for years.
When I first laid eyes on the Vicem 72 Classic Flybridge, I was amazed at her graceful length and beauty of finish. What didn’t surprise me was the fact that she was of cold-molded wood construction, a time-tested method of laying up and reinforcing hulls, decks, houses, frames, bulkheads, and stringers in thin, overlapping strips of wood firmly bound with epoxy.
Yachts built using the cold-molded wood method are prized for their beauty and strength, and comparatively light weight when measured against fiberglass yachts of the same size, and with desirable sound deadening and temperature-minimizing qualities.
Some buyers may be hesitant to consider a yacht made with wood, but understanding the process will help mitigate those fears. Vicem and other custom builders treat the epoxy-resin-coated, multilayer wood as the core of a composite yacht structure, sealing it inside and out with a layer of engineered resin to help prevent water migration into the core.
Epoxy undercoating, fairing, and barrier coating, sealed with polyurethane primer and final coating, or antifouling paint, completes the structure’s barrier to water damage. As with any cored vessel, water migration beneath the inner or outer fiberglass skins can lead to delamination if the boat is not engineered, built, and maintained correctly.
Let me be clear on this point: Vicem Yachts are built by craftsmen in Turkey, a country with a 3,000-year history of building yachts in wood. Combined with leading-edge resin encapsulation and fastening techniques, the company produces each yacht on a custom basis.
Vicem calls its Down East-style yachts Classics, available with or without optional flybridges, and builds them in six different lengths, ranging from 55 to 80 feet. The 72 Classic Flybridge shown above is an example of Vicem’s artistry. Chance is a three-stateroom, three-head, 2009-model-year yacht with a galley down, an enormous saloon and helm station on the same level, and a large aft deck one step down. Her flybridge is exceptionally large, although it doesn’t include room for dinghy storage on a boat deck extension aft.
Her flag blue hull contrasts nicely with a white deckhouse and flybridge, and the owner-specified brightwork on the transom, deckhouse sides, and toerails, plus grabrails and an accent line on the cabin top forward. Finished in this way, Chance is typical of yachts that spend a lot of time in Northeast climes, although owners living farther south who appreciate the beauty of her varnished surfaces will surely keep her in the gleaming condition she deserves.
A transom door allows easy access to the swim platform. The aft deck features comfortable seating for five on the L-shaped lounge, which has a fixed folding table for feeding friends and family. Forward, and also to starboard, is another bench seat, an outdoor refreshment locker, and a quarter-turn spiral staircase to the flying bridge with plenty of safety rails to port. There’s ample stowage under the settee, under the starboard gunwale, and in a built-in box that doubles as a step up to the side deck.
The bottom three steps of the spiral staircase hinge up, giving access to an optional crew’s quarters, which has access to the engine room’s watertight door. Chance is powered by optional twin 1,550-horsepower MAN V12 1550 CRM diesels, the highest-output offering of three upgrades (two 900-horsepower MAN V8 900 CRM diesels are standard). Vicem estimates that the 72 Classic Flybridge has the ability to cruise at 25 knots and top out at 31 knots, with a range of 376 to 278 nm respectively, with the optional engines. Comparatively, the standard engines are estimated to cruise at 19 knots and top out at 24, with a cruising range of 430 and 400 nm, respectively.
The well-designed engine room has sufficient headroom for ease of inspections, and a wide centerline walkway for easy access to the mains, the hydraulic components (for options such as TRAC stabilizers, a bow thruster, a stern thruster, capstans, and a windlass), and two (one is standard) gensets—rated for 22.5 kilowatts and 13.5 kilowatts.
The engines are mounted on massive structural beds of laminated mahogany that’s cold-molded with West System epoxy resins, via the same technique which is used to create mahogany and hardwood stringers, framing, keelson, sheer, clamps, chine clamps, and transverse members throughout the yacht.
As an aside, the hull is laminated using mahogany strips, both horizontally and diagonally planked at 45-degree angles, for exceptional stiffness. Bi-axial E-glass seals the outer skin, which is finished with epoxy fairing compound, an epoxy barrier coating, and priming and polyurethane coating for all topside surfaces. The result is a flawless finish that will stand up to the rigors of cruising in all waters.
On the flybridge, which is very nearly covered with a Bimini, teak decking and high handrails provide safety and comfort. The helm console is set to starboard, spacious enough to accommodate several large MFDs, plus a full set of controls for maneuvering, and features a Stidd double bench that is fore-and-aft adjustable—making the space between it and the vertical stainless steel wheel suitable for operation from sitting or standing positions. Another double-wide bench seat is to port, and there’s an aft-facing bench seat at the far end of flybridge deck, unprotected by the Bimini, for those who want to catch a few rays.
Abaft the helm seat is a C-shaped lounge for six people and a three-section, high-low table for those who want to relax on the bridge. Opposite, there’s an outdoor kitchen with a stainless steel grill, sink, refrigerator, ice maker, and enough stowage and counter space to make meal preparation easy and convenient. With a little planning, there will be fewer trips up and down the stairway for an afternoon’s (or evening’s) supply of food and drink.
Aft in the main saloon, Chance sports leather upholstery on aft facing lounges, as well as on the lounge that’s set to port forward. The starboard side lounge has a hi-lo table and two ottoman-style chairs.
The lower helm has a massive console that houses two Raymarine E120 MFDs, tilted slightly away and mounted high enough for at-a-glance visual updates without losing sight of the waters ahead. The owner specified a full suite of Raymarine navigation and communication gear, including three of the company’s CAM 100 CCTV video cameras for remote views of the engine room, plus an Ocean Systems 2020 transom-mount underwater camera.
There’s plenty of room for standing to use the teak-and-stainless destroyer wheel in the center of the console, and the engine and thruster controls are within easy reach for control and docking. The electrical panel is found just across the centerline behind a glass-front locker door, to prevent accidental deployment by guests using the steps leading to the accommodation deck. There is a door to starboard of the helm, allowing quick access to the side and forward decks for shorthanded line handling or anchoring.
Five steps down to the lower level, the galley is located amidships—the best location for preparing meals underway. In Chance, the owner spared no expense in creating a large, well-equipped galley with leading-edge appliances from Bosch (4-burner cooktop, dishwasher, microwave/convection oven) and Sub-Zero (full-size Series 700 refrigerator with two crisper drawers, wine cooler), plus granite countertops (on the serving island, as well) and stowage beneath. The stairway is hinged and raises up to reveal a combo washer/dryer—always handy, even on weekend cruises.
Taking the lion’s share of the amidships square footage, the master stateroom is a study in lavish woodwork. Two massive hanging lockers and a chest of drawers along the aft bulkhead, and a large head forward flank the athwartships queen size berth. Vicem’s designers included a cozy bench that does double duty as a seat for the built-in desk. The VIP stateroom is in the bow, and like the master, it offers beautiful cabinetry and vast living space. A guest stateroom is found to starboard between master and VIP.
If you appreciate impeccable joinery and love the melding of traditional craftsmanship with modern building techniques, it’s worth your time to explore the Classic yachts from Vicem.
Displacement 91,300 lb. (dry)
Fuel 1,580 gal.
Water 400 gal.
Power 2/1,550-hp MAN CR diesels
Years Built 2009 to present
Price Range $1,995,000 to $2,987,000