Best in Class
By Chris Caswell
The Ocean Alexander 120, though marketed under the Ocean Alexander name, is a collaboration that came from out-of-the-box thinking by two major boatbuilders, Ocean Alexander and Christensen Shipyards. The result is nothing short of spectacular. Indeed, so spectacular that the OA 120 was named Best Overall Boat of the Year at the 2012 Active Interest Media Marine Group Editors’ Choice Awards one day after the yacht made her debut at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. (Active Interest Media publishes this magazine.)
The 120 is built to ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) classification and MCA (Marine and Coastguard Agency) rules. And it’s clear that the design team had chartering in mind when it came up with the vessel’s distinctive trideck styling with a spacious main-deck master suite plus four large staterooms on the accommodations level.
The master suite is fit for royalty, with a centerline berth, a comfortable sitting area with a sofa, an expansive desk/vanity, and two oversized hanging lockers. His-and-hers heads are forward and also span the full beam, separated by an oversized shower and a whirlpool tub, all accented by the intricate Christensen marblework.
The main deck has an openness that makes the yacht seem far larger than 120 feet, starting with a marble-lined entry through electrically operated curved sliding doors from the afterdeck. The formal dining area is forward and, in a clever design touch, offset to port to create an unblocked passage fore and aft. The magnificent handcrafted dining table seats 12 atop a marble sole for easy maintenance, and cabinets of black walnut and maple hide china, crystal, and silver behind frosted art deco doors. A sliding door in one corner allows seamless service from the galley just forward.
The skylounge on the upper deck has the feel of a private club, with burled cabinetry, art deco frosted doors, and, like the saloon, full-height windows. And the pilothouse is seemingly transplanted from a much larger yacht, with a wraparound dashboard holding five monitors, chart tables to port and starboard, and a pair of Stidd pedestal chairs behind the wheel.
The OA120 has a solid FRP bottom, although upper-hull areas are cored with comparatively expensive, vacuum-bagged Baltek AL600 balsa. Carbon fiber is used on the tops of the stringers inside the hull and as reinforcement in other critical areas throughout the vessel where extreme strength is called for. Also, I-beams of 6061aluminum are used in various parts of the vessel, adding a great deal of strength but comparatively little weight. A highly sophisticated sound-and-vibration attenuation system (which includes numerous vibration-isolation features) produces an unusual level of quiet and comfort onboard.
In keeping with the potential charterability of the Ocean Alexander 120, the designer and builders made an effort to create a yacht that will be economical to operate. The power is provided by a pair of MTU 12V 2000 engines that have been detuned to about 1,450 horsepower each, which allows them 12,000 hours between overhauls, or twice the service hours of more powerful engines. This gives the 120 a transoceanic cruising speed of 11 to 12 knots but, because the engines have a continuous-duty rating, the yacht can run all day at 16 knots without concerns.
The synopsis? It’s hard to explore the Ocean Alexander 120 and not keep thinking, this has to be larger than a 120 feet. It’s a tribute to everyone involved, builders and designer alike, that the airiness and space create a feeling of opulence and privacy that is usually the province of much larger yachts.
Ocean Alexander, 954-779-1905; www.oceanalexander.com
: 420,000 lb.
: 6,000 gal.
: 1,200 gal.
: 2/1,450-bhp MTU 12V 2000 M72
: 2/76-kW Caterpillars
: ZF 3050 with 3.28:1 gear ratio
: 48 x 40 5-blade Nibral Veemstar
: 2/1,200 gpd FCI