Now I have an idea of what it's like to be TV astronomer. Describing Intrepid’s 475 Panacea, the world’s largest center console, presents the same challenge as describing the universe: you fear whether the size of the numbers is so large as to become incomprehensible.
For instance, I measured cockpit square footage. But informing you that it took me 18 strides to walk from the six-person, removable transom bench, past the center console entry to the capacious cabin, and on to the table that creates a seating area in the bow, may provide a better sense of the 475 Panacea’s size.
Fortunately, unlike the heavenly bodies illuminated by Horkheimer, Sagan and Tyson, anybody with a boat show ticket can actually see, touch and tour this newest, outboard-powered “star.” (Takes a tad more than a ticket to own one, though.) In person, the 475 Panacea elicits awe by virtue of its sheer size—plus a whole lot more. Is it the perfect boat? It may be perfect for some of you. Read on and find out why.
There are several reasons why it’s worthwhile to note that Intrepid routinely customizes the boats it builds to suit the individual customer. For one thing, it lets those in the market know that comparing equipment lists will not qualify as due diligence; you’ll have to speak with Intrepid to discover what actually can “come with” any given boat model. Another reason to mention this is by way of informing potential buyers that they are dealing with a boat builder in possession of a great deal of design, rigging and structural expertise. Finally, custom touches can also bear upon performance—or at least one’s perception of same. It did for me.
Powered by four 350-hp Yamaha F350 outboards, our test boat topped out at over 60-mph and delivered stellar efficiency at 32-mph, achieving nearly three-quarters of a mile to the gallon. Those are great numbers for a 50-footer, most of which would struggle to net one-half mile per gallon. Such performance is even more impressive when you consider that this particular Panacea was customized, at owner request, with solid ½-inch thick teak decks plus stainless-steel liners for many of the compartments. These mods proved beautiful and functional, but they added weight. Nonetheless, Intrepid’s transverse step hull delivered unrivaled efficiency and economy relative to the power and weight in question.
Most other boats this size are inboard-, pod- or surface-driven vessels. There simply are no outboard-powered boats with which to compare performance. The closest we can offer you is to review Pursuit’s 38 foot, 17,000-pound 365 SCi (BOATING, April 2013), which I ran and which sported twin F350’s. That boat hit 48-mph.
How does it run? Put the throttles down and the boat lifts and surges forward, carrying the bow proud, and providing the helmsman with a sense of counterintuitive goodness: it feels simultaneously big and hefty and light and nimble. Visibility remained unhindered as we accelerated. In the groove and romping through Atlantic swells at over 50-mph the 475 Panacea rode smooth. I mean that in both very low slamming loads were felt and in the observation that the boat never displayed the hesitation some step hulls exhibit as the step vents clog and cause the momentary stalls that deliver a staccato acceleration experience. Turning proved conventional V-hull easy—and safe. Like every Intrepid I have tested over the years, the 475 Panacea delivers high-performance and smart handling with “point the bow and go” operation.
I was just as impressed with the fit and finish. The aforementioned bow seating accommodates eight crew, and with the filler cushions, becomes a circular sunlounge. More sunbathing can take place atop the cabin top.
The aft cockpit—the area behind the trio of Stidd helm seats-- taped out at a humongous 120-square feet, providing the space to entertain a crowd, host a diving expedition or wrangle with the biggest kind of fish. The hullside divedoor—an innovation Intrepid popularized makes water access easy. Access to the corner dive platforms is also easy and safe. The cockpit is self-bailing and the gutters for the multitude of hatches in the sole are integrated into the drainage system.
Belowdecks, the cabin is huge; though a center console, remember that the 475 is nearly 50- feet long. I was impressed with the electrically-actuated V-berth, which, besides being cool, makes converting from Queen berth to dining table easy. There’s a fully-functional galley, and a head with a separate shower. Counters are Corian, cabin lighting features dimmer switches and there are no gaps or flaws in the fit of cabinets, headliners or drawers. A diesel genset ( the tester is a yacht tender; plus diesel is just safer) powers lights and the 16,000-btu air conditioner. Sunlight floods in through large fixed ports and the opening deck hatch above.
Looking for a big, super seaworthy dayboat with the speed and enough accommodations to make spur-of-the-moment weekend jaunts to the islands a reality? A boat that will prove as at home in 1000 fathoms as it does when nosing up to a beach? Seatrial Intrepid’s 475 Panacea.
Comparable Models: Pursuit 365 SCi