Ask the average cruising boater whether he’s considered an Offshore and he might say, “A what?” But since 1983, this builder has quietly carved out a name for itself in serious long-range vessels. The 87 Motoryacht is only the latest of some 360 Offshores, ranging from 52 to 92 feet, now cruising the world.
Like all Offshores the 87 is conservatively built, with the emphasis on strength and seaworthiness rather than weight savings. Her hull bottom is a solid FPR laminate, hand-laid at the well-known Kha-Shing yard in Taiwan. A keel that begins at the foot of the stem and extends to roughly 10 feet forward of the props and then abruptly disappears is designed to ensure good tracking and running-gear protection without adversely affecting maneuverability. Hull sides are hand-laid with Corecell, more to produce a flawless gelcoat finish than to save weight on this 194,000-pounder. Corecell is also used in all deck and superstructure components. All cored areas and some small parts are vacuum-bagged; the hardtop, hatches cabinets, and doors are infused. Offshore emphasizes its use of top-quality lamination materials, including Cook gelcoat, Hypoint 90 catalyst, Cymax bi-directional and unidirectional fabrics, and vinylester resin for outer laminates and isopthalic resin for inner laminates.
Being a true semicustom build, the 87 has a layout that is designed to be modified according to each owner’s tastes and needs.
The starting point is a three-cabin, three-head design: a full-beam midship master with private companionway, forepeak VIP, and large guest cabin to port with athwatships single berths. A four-cabin version is also available, but the layout of our test boat illustrates the kind of flexibility Offshore offers its customers. One of the owners wanted more hanging-locker space and a second washer-dryer set so she wouldn’t have to trek all the way aft of the engine compartment to the lazarette/crew quarters to use the standard pair. Offshore accommodated her by pushing the starboard bulkhead in the full-beam master head forward and changing what is normally the head for the guest stateroom into the space she desired. It then reconfigured the guest stateroom into a smaller space, which is fine since these owners rarely travel with two couples.
William B. Luther, the hull’s designer, describes the 87 as having “a planing hull designed to operate at speed-length ratios of between 2.0 and 3.0; that is, speeds to 25 knots, dependent on installed horsepower.” With 1,150-horsepower CATS, our test boat topped out at the lower end of that range. These engines are among the smallest offered, and anyone who wants more speed can choose from a variety of diesels of up to 1,600-horsepower.
Luther worked with the famous designer Bill Crealock, whose designs are known for seakindliness, comfortable motion, and fine handling in heavy weather, and the 87 seems to have benefitted from that legacy. We took the boat offshore into steep three- and four-footers, and never experienced as much as a jar or thud. Credit for this, says Offshore, goes to the combination of a moderate beam, fine entry and deep forefoot—but not so deep that the boat wanders. Concave hull sections in the after part of the hull combine with the modest keel to produce good tracking.
The 87 is a boat the perfectly reflects its builder: It goes about its business quietly and efficiency, with little fanfare and undeniable success.
Offshore Yachts, (949) 673-5401; www.offshoreyachts.net
: 194,000 lb.
: 3,600 gal
: 460 gal
: 1,150-mhp Caterpillar C-18 ACERT diesel inboard diesels
: 2/Northern Lights 30-kW
: various Caterpillar C32 ACERTs, MANs and MTUs to 1,900 mhp
: ZF 550A/2.517:1
: 34 x 40 5-blade Nibral
*Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity.