Steering? From hardover, the Novatec's helm feels a bit heavy, which is no surprise when you consider that it features oversize rudders and hydraulic, rather than power, steering. If you're a buyer who feels electricity and water don't mix, you'll applaud this choice. A hydraulic steering system isn't vulnerable to electrical glitches. Which means that onboard the 55 CMY, you're the pump. Using 1/2"-diameter lines instead of the more common 1/4" size, this system produces reliable turns, lock-to-lock, through 95 percent of the wheel's rotation. And thanks to the 55 CMY's big rudders, big props, and CAT engines, which can be placed in slow-speed mode at the touch of a button (reducing idle in gear from 675 to 550 rpm), you won't need to use the wheel much around the dock. There's plenty of torque available. Just back and steer with the shifters. To get this much control, turning yourself into a human pump is a fair price to pay in my book.
THE HIGHS: Kiss your home office goodbye: There's one onboard! The systems aboard this ship are so inventive they should have named it The MacGuyver-Craft.
THE LOWS: Access to the engine room is clumsy unless you have $35K to spare. Wires and cables need chafe protection where they enter the helm.
LIVING WITH IT. Innovations abound aboard the 55 CMY. Do you enjoy drifting off to the gentle slap of wavelets caressing your hull? On many competitive boats, the air condi tioning's discharge stream is released about a foot above the waterline, drowning out the sounds of silence you crave. The discharge from the 55 CMY's a/c system is plumbed into the exhaust and quietly exits the hull directly into the water, leaving no thing behind but a soothing lullaby. The a/c is durable, too. A pool pump with a bronze impeller replaces the more common nitrite impeller pump. Your service rep may as well audition for the part of the Maytag repairman on TV.
With a clear plastic rain guard installed at the exit end of each deck gutter, rain and dew drip into the water instead of down the hullsides. Bye-bye, black streaks. Have you ever wondered how much fuel your boat is carrying? Sight gauges are installed aboard all three tanks, which are coated with epoxy to fight corrosion. Also, both motors draw fuel from wing tanks and return fuel to the aft tank. Why? This allows hot, unburned fuel to cool without raising the temperature of the supply tanks. It increases efficiency and power. The dripless shaft and rudder seals are plumbed to a continuous loop of water from both engines. If one engine shuts down, you won't burn out a seal. See those clear-coated seacocks? No more green patina. There's even a paper towel rack mounted in the engine room.