A Superyacht Distilled

James Dumergue — 10 January 2020
A Superyacht Distilled

The Divergence 45 is the distillate from a yard known for excellence in engineering and the quality finish of their superyachts. Tasked with the distillation process, the divergence team from Ocean Alexander have separated the critical elements of the marque and concentrated them into a refined high-octane day boat. It retains the character and subtle complexity of their 40-year heritage but brings with it a whole new sensation onboard an Ocean Alexander — mile-munching speed.

Packing a whopping 1400 horse power and tipping the scales at around 13 tonnes, this is no fragile rocket. It's a solid beast in an elegant suit, with a complex character and easy to mingle qualities. It can effortlessly blur the line from fishing and water sports to entertainment and dining with a quick shower and change of outfit. When you step aboard to put the Divergence 45 through its paces, the inner child is just waiting for the hammers down moment. Once that desire has been satisfied, or at least entertained a little, you can start to look at the craftsmanship and thought behind the design.


PERFORMANCE

Ripping around the Whitsundays in lakelike conditions wasn't the test ground for the handling and sea keeping characteristics of the boat, so speed and fuel consumption figures are the only performance related observations. In picture-perfect conditions, the boat hit the 43 knot mark. With its big frame and solid build, it takes much thrust to get out of the hole, but once it does, accelerating up to wide open throttle doesn't take too long.

When it's up and planing with wide open throttle, it burns around 480 litres per hour. Knock it back to 31 knots in benign conditions, the fuel consumption is around 280 litres per hour. The difference in speed increases your range from about 180 nautical miles wide open throttle to 225 nautical miles at 31 knots, leaving over 10 per cent fuel in reserve each time.

Time is probably a better comparison over the same distance for typical usage. Hamilton Island Marina to Bait Reef on the Great Barrier Reef is about 35 nautical miles which takes about 67 minutes at 31 knots. Wide open throttle would take about 49 minutes. Both are less than or equal to the average commute time in Australia's three biggest cities — think about that the next time you go places that take about an hour to get to. After thrill-seeking at 43 knots, it's time to put the handbrake on, and this is when this innovative boat morphs from the sure-footed mile muncher to the waterfront beach house. It may look like a centre console, but at over 47 foot in length and with a beam an index finger shy of 14 feet, the comparisons start to fall away quickly. This boat is more than a ‘race out to the fishing grounds’ boat — it is a luxurious multipurpose escape pod.

By blending the accustomed luxuries their owners enjoy with a substantial 1400 horse power injection of adrenalin, Ocean Alexander has delivered a superyacht in a concentrated format.


MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Visually, the Divergence retains the sheer line from the 70-foot marques and 118-foot motoryachts. The high freeboard steps and the sheerline drops in the same way, connecting the hardtop to the hull. Apart from the carbon fibre accents in the hull and the glaringly obvious stable of horses on the back, the design is outwardly subtle and sophisticated.

This boat has wings, and while it has no trouble soaring to eye-watering speeds, thanks to the equine endowment, these wings are more like extensions of the main beach house. They add access to the water away from the stables, and, like other innovative ideas on this boat, deployment is a button push with minimal fuss. They noticeably increase the cockpit footprint, and the beam goes from 4.19 metres to 5.8 metres when extended out. Each balcony has a swim ladder to deploy when down, and when up a purposeful side entry gate built into the bulwark allows for easy entry to the cockpit.

The chameleon nature allows this boat to have a reasonably open cockpit for whatever your aqua heart desires. The fold-up rear seat, with nifty adjustable hydraulic armrests, can disappear unnoticed like your friends at the fuel dock, leaving a functional area for serious fishing. When you are ready to go from primal hunter to sophisticated entertainer, the process is quite enjoyable and compelling to watch. Push another of the well-marked buttons, and the phoenix table rises from the cockpit floor. Once clear of the recessed bunker from which it came, the flaps that concealed the table return to level out the floor. The magnificent carbon fibre table can be set low as a coffee/cocktail table. Raise it up, unfold it further, and the dining table can cater to six to eight guests. Whether it's a casual cocktail or an indulgent feast from the outdoor galley, this aft area fluidly adapts to changing social and activity demands.

There are over 400 options for all sorts of tastes and uses. This Carbon Edition has large usable surfaces finished in well-crafted carbon fibre. Fabrics and colours on this boat are sublime; smooth glossy surfaces softened by textural headlining and strategic carbon fibre features. The stylist has done an exceptional job with the tones and textures.

Utilitarian choices in the cockpit cater to the down under market. The fold-away transom seat provides ample space to deal with the rewards of the ocean, and it can become an alfresco saloon with seating for six.

The Divergence 45 evolves beyond the sum of its parts as you get to know it. Every push of a button reveals another convenience or comfort. The button-operated SureShade is hiding in plain sight; the quiet achiever extends from the hardtop the full length of the cockpit. As the sun disappears, pop up lights reinforce the heritage and elegance of this 1400 horse power chameleon.

Entertaining even the most seasoned landlubbers on this robust platform is enhanced by the optioned Seakeeper 6 Gyro, running off the diesel generator. Entertaining at anchor, under the stars feels like being tied to a marina as passing wakes have little effect. There is a close connection to the environment, particularly with the balconies extended. The eyeline is low to the water creating an intimate connection with the surroundings and may help those who need one eye on the horizon at all times.

If you’re after a media room, it's as simple as changing the backrest to forward-facing for two rows of seating. A 50-inch TV pops up in behind the helm chairs and connects to the satellite dish housed on the hardtop. Underfloor refrigeration is capable of handling about five cases of longnecks, which translates to some decent space for the landed pelagics.

For a change of pace, head to the foredeck. At anchor the custom carbon poles and sturdy sunshade ensure this prime real estate forgoes neglect until the sun loses its sting. When you see it's design and finish, you'll hope no one down the back finds out. The double forward facing day lounge easily accommodates three and lends itself to siestas in the breeze away from the action. Stretching out is not limited; another button lowers the carbon table forward, the in-fill cushion converts it to another lounging area with decent proportions. Raised, it's an entertaining area and seats for four or five people. Subtle pop up lighting and audio independence give this area the sovereignty it deserves.

How does this seemingly easy-going, adaptable and well-dressed beast do it all with such composure? A look at the helm area provides some answers. You know it's serious when there are three stunning Llebroc helm chairs for the flight deck, three 24-inch multi-function display touch screens and a joystick that make the outboards behave like POD Drives, with a thruster available for more challenging conditions. Each helm chair has a welcome and dedicated air conditioning vent including forward-facing rump cooling vents for when the hot days have shorts sticking to the back of the legs.

The helm looks impressive but not daunting. The Edson three-spoke carbon wheel has a comfortable grip, one of the many comfort and ease of operation features for the shorthanded operator. You can engage the GPS handbrake, and hold position thanks to the Skyhook system, giving assurance to leave the helm and prepare the boat for your next manoeuvre. Close quarters, bringing alongside and berthing are a breeze with the joystick.

The helm is also the command centre thanks to multi-function displays allowing you to control stablisation, monitor the engines, navigate and control the entertainment systems. Complete AC/DC electrical control is centralised with the 'big ship' Octoplex digital switching system. Built on the familiar NMEA 2000 CAN bus network for integration, everything can be controlled and monitored from the dedicated touch screen. Considering the amount of equipment and systems packed into this boat, the intuitive user interface is a welcome addition.

No matter where your adventures take you, down below has plenty of hanging locker space for weekend escape whims and wardrobes. Close the door, set the climate control, make a drink in the galley and enjoy the comfortable amenities — it has everything you need, including a full-sized shower compartment. If you need to stay a night or two, that's covered. With a few quick moves, the dining area bulkhead extends forward, and the dining table drops converting to a sleeping area for two.

There's plenty of room and conveniences for two to go on extended coastal explorations, mixing onboard stays in remote bays, with dropping into shore-side accommodation or services when desired. A cruise speed of 28–31 knots yields a fuel burn of around 250–280 litres per hour. Leaving a bit over 10 per cent in the tank for reserve gives you about 7–8 hours cruising in favourable conditions. Put the hammers down in ideal conditions, and you could potentially leave from Sydney Heads and a couple of hours later be in Port Stephens. At this speed, the options for weekend escapes and day dashes are limited only by your imagination and the sea state. Depending on where you live, it could become a stress-free commute as well.

There are a lot of hardcore fishing and watersports styled day boats, and some of them have utilitarian function and conveniences. There aren't many hardcore superyachts, certainly not in a distilled format, made for fun, entertaining and putting a big kid smile on your face. The dealer has chosen options well suited to the local market on this test boat. The Grand Tourer of the water, without as many speed restrictions, it's optioned for the watersports enthusiast, the explorer and the adventurous entertainer.

Owners of large motoryachts can enjoy this boat as an escape pod that is equal in both form, function, fit-out and finish to the mothership. In between boat owners can appreciate the same big ship feel and appeal without the complications of big boat ownership. Bluewater flybridge owners not using their boats as often as they should, can find much appeal in a boat that is easier to cast lines from, access the helm and operate themselves, fostering spontaneity. If it's not a stand-alone day craft, then it is the ultimate support vessel to tow behind your superyacht. Ocean Alexander has flexed its copper pot and concentrated distillate of refinement, with subtle complexity and distinct bold notes. It brings a breath of fresh spontaneity to the luxury motoryacht world.

This boat is a reward. The more time you spend on it, the more you come to like it. If you've worked hard and are looking for something that maximises your destination time, or you want the thrill of a high octane pedigree ride, then this could be just for you. But be warned, this boat comes with a great deal of emotional certainty, inducing unfiltered responses and broad smiles of delight as you fly around in this well-crafted vessel.

Tags

Boat review Ocean Alexander Ocean Alexander Divergence 45 Motoryacht

Photographer

James Dumergue