I'm standing at the lower helm of Lazzara's 74 and there's a problem. My trusty Radio Shack decibel meter can't go any lower than 60 dB-A. We're running 26 mph at 2300 rpm and it's so quiet that I'm whispering in astonishment into my tape recorder. The meter reads 60 decibels, but I know the levels are quieter. I just have no way of proving it.
Ya wanna know why? Hockey pucks. At least that's what the assemblers at Lazzara Yachts call the 100 or so 3"-diameter, ?"-thick rubber isolators that are set in place underneath the interior liner. The latter consists of all the stateroom structures, soles, and upper sill and is fastened in place with a urethane glue.
That's only the beginning when it comes to a construction process that's as diverse and complicated as those employed by high-end go-fast builders. The stringers, bulkheads, and soles are cored with Baltek's Decalite panels, which are balsa sandwiched in fiberglass. The hullsides and bottom are also cored with balsa but not at the keel, chines, or in the vicinity of any through-hulls, and the entire laminate in the hull and deck is vacuum-bagged. Up top, the flying bridge structure is foam-cored to reduce weight, and when the manufacturer installs the optional hardtop ($49,600), the materials list includes graphite.
The result is what Lazzara calls a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Most people love to talk about the power-to-weight ratio. Lazzara says its boat is about 10 and 25 percent stronger than competitive models.
There's no definitive way to measure a boat's strength, but let's take a look at the stats of competitive models. Fairline's Squadron 74 ($4,264,000 with 1,572-bhp CAT C-30s) has a solid-glass laminate and weighs 108,206 pounds full of fuel, which is how Lazzara lists the weight of the 74. Not known for building light boats, Uniesse sets the weight of its solid-glass-built 72 (with twin 1,360-bhp MANs, it retails for $2,940,000) at 117,562 pounds, again full of fuel. Both boats are faster at 38 and 39 mph, respectively, but the Lazzara is powered by 1,001-bhp CATS. It weighs 107,000 pounds full of fuel and hits 30.3 mph.
DOUBLE SHOT. In addition to the weight savings, Lazzara uses a combination of proven bottom-design elements to help the 74's performance. The ends of the propeller tunnels are turned down slightly ("hooked"), which keeps the bow down, and lift is built into the stern to help the boat stay level. The combination helps keep the bow up in maneuvers and lets the 74 complete wide arcs without scrubbing speed. Finally, I liked the sporty feel that comes from the position of the 1,300-gallon fuel tank in the boat's keel, placing nearly 10,000 pounds of ballast low in the hull.
The 74 is the second smallest boat in the Lazzara fleet. Not surprisingly, I found many features you'd expect on larger yachts. The third station in the cockpit makes docking easier. The fire-fighting system is custom engineered for the boat. Circuit breakers are zoned throughout the boat for easier service. On the luxury side, Headhunter commodes are used exclusively, and all the soles and countertops in the salon and belowdecks are polished stone. In the engine compartment and throughout the boat, I found excellent access for maintenance. All hoses are Aeroquip-style, and wires and cables have ample support. Two fuel/water separators per motor ensure smooth-running engines, and the strainers and seacocks are easily accessed beneath a panel in the sole. Another removable panel between the motors reveals the batteries. Diamond-plate nonslip is a cool custom touch.
To get to the steering and trim tabs, you need to go through removable panels in the crew quarters, which were the most accommodating I've seen on a 74-footer. Crew luxuries include a full hanging locker and a Sharp flat-screen TV.
From the cockpit you can move forward easily on the side passageways. They feel secure thanks to 17"-tall bulwarks capped by rails that stand 30" above the deck. I liked the twin windlasses, but there was no anchor locker access from the foredeck. A huge locker in the foredeck measured 4'7"-by-6'1"-by-1'6" and had rubber flooring in the bottom.
Back in the cockpit, there's no problem if Mom wants to catch rays while the kids check out a video. The flat-screen TV in its own cabinet swings out on an arm to virtually any position. On the flying bridge, I like the wide open layout. I don't like that there's no gate to close off the cockpit stairs. Lazzara offers only a canvas cover for this spot for rain protection. Aft are cushions with convertible backrests that let you lounge facing fore or aft, and if you prefer shade, there's more seating around a table underneath the hardtop. Locker hatches on each side open to let a small crewmember or rigger get in to access the rigging up and down each side of the boat.
At the upper helm I found the CAT ECM screens, the usual array of big-boat electronics, but unfortunately, a shiny white finish that creates noticeable glare. Unique is the computerized Integrated Shipboat Information System (ISIS) for vessel monitoring that Lazzara includes on every boat it sells. The system monitors every alarm and warning that goes off in the boat and records them from the day it's commissioned.
BEAUTY SALON. Like the flying bridge, the 74's salon is all on one level, which gives the boat an even bigger feel. There's plenty of room on the lounges for your family to stretch out and watch a movie on the huge 42" flat-screen TV.
A portside dinette seats four around an expandable table and I like that there's a salon-level dayhead. Just ahead a hatch opens up a 4'-by-3'4"-by-2'2" locker. Removable panels let you access all the rigging for the helm. Abaft the lower helm, which is finished in tan to kill glare, the galley includes plenty of pull-out racks and a full complement of appliances. The serving island houses a sink and glass and cup stowage.
For more opulent surroundings, check out the aft quarters. At the base of the aft stairs is the master stateroom with two freestanding armoires, a lounge, plenty of stowage, and a queen-size berth. To starboard, the walk-in closet is as big as New York City studio apartment, and to port, the master head has a full Jacuzzi tub, his and her sinks, plus plenty of room for toiletries.
Two more staterooms forward are outfitted with double berths, and each has a separate private head with a walk-in shower. Head down the forward stairs to the media center, which has a small lounge where the kids can sit and watch cartoons, and there's even a desk where you can work on your laptop. Or watch the hockey game.
The Highs: So quiet in the salon, she'll hear you whisper those sweet nothings. Loaded with such big-boat features as an individually engineered fire system, zoned circuit breakers, and closed-circuit cameras. Nimble for a big boat.
The Lows: No hatch or gate to close off the flying bridge. I'd like some anchor locker access from the foredeck. Too much glare at flying bridge helm.
n. mi. range
s. mi. range
Displacement: (lbs., approx.) 107,000
Transom deadrise: 12.5°
Bridge clearance: 22'8"
Max. cabin headroom: 6'5"
Fuel capacity: (gal.) 1,300
Water capacity: (gal.) 300
Price (w/standard power): $3,240,000
Price (w/test power): $3,240,000
Standard power: Twin 1,001-bhp CAT C18 in-line-6 diesel inboards.
Optional power: None.
Test boat power: Twin 1,001-bhp CAT C18 in-line-6 diesel inboards with 1,106 cid, swinging 39" x 45.5" five-bladed Nibral props through 2.5:1 reductions.
Standard Equipment (major items): Six-zone 80,000-Btu a/c; American Bow Thruster TRAC System w/2 FRP stabilizer fins; 17-hp 27.5kW genset; Headhunter commodes; four 24v auto. bilge pumps; manual bilge pump; central vacuum system; CAT ECMs and controls; ISIS; auto. fire-suppression system in engine compartment; 30-gal. water heater; 4 freshwater washdowns; hydraulic steering; shorepower; Simrad VHF RS-87 radio/hailer; Furuno NX 300 Navtex receiver; 2 Northstar 6000i LCD chartplotter/radar/sounders; Simrad AP 22 autopilot and CI 300 X compass interface; 2 Maxwell VWC2500 windlasses; 8-person liferaft; salon entertainment center, including 42" plasma TV, CD stereo, DVD player, VCR; galley w/4-burner stove, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, 15" TV; master stateroom w/king-size berth, 30" LCD TV, DVD/CD player; master head w/Jacuzzi; washer/dryer.