Modest Size, Mega Features
The smallest of the Marlow Explorers is big on style.
Marlow Yachts offers vessels that are grand in stature and classic in styling, as I’ve noted in past reviews of the Marlow Explorer (ME) 80E (see Southern Boating, February 2014) and ME 72E. Marlow Yachts also introduces the same level of superior craftsmanship and styling in a yacht much smaller—the ME 58E. Built to replace the 57E, the 58E is the smallest in the Explorer line, with a 49E in the works to debut in early 2015.
Quality craftsmanship is guaranteed on all Marlows, inside and out. The proven Full Stack Infusion© process allows for the entire structure to be infused all at once, from the outer skin coat through the coring material/fabric layers to the inner skin. Ensuring the perfect amount of resin to permeate all of the layers is critical to prevent pools of excess resin from forming in the laminate. Additionally, no harmful resin fumes or chemicals are released into the environment.
The beauty factor is carried out in the 58E’s styling. Non-skid, covered, walk-around decks, a fully covered aft deck, bow seating, and a Portuguese Bridge come standard—features typically found on larger yachts. From a side view, the house/flybridge are neatly proportioned for length and height against the lapstrake hull. Angular struts supporting the flybridge coincide with the top deck supports, and the forward windshield is swept back akin to the flybridge windshield. The bottom line? It’s one good-looking yacht.
David Marlow once told me that he builds his yachts like an airplane fuselage—fully supported around the house so there is no need for obtrusive bulkheads or posts within. This technique lends to a more open floor layout and reduces the yacht’s weight by moving the center of gravity lower, which also improves stability. Another benefit is that the interior wood is used in a cosmetic form rather than structural purposes, which creates more dynamic layouts.
The ME 58E can be construed as an extension of home. To begin, the aft deck is large with twin L-shaped settees and tables in the corners. Access to the swim platform is via a center staircase, while access to the flybridge—a preferred area for dining—is from the portside curved staircase (no ladder here). The homey feeling extends into the saloon with a gently curved leather couch to starboard in front of a decorated shelf that keeps both the couch and guest’s head off the sidewall.
Marlow piques interest with décor. Teak wood cut from the same tree ensures consistent grain, color and grade—a satin finish for the walls and cabinetry blends well with the lighter shades of the sofa and ceiling panels. The owners’ choice was to have two armchairs to port, covered in a blue plaid fabric for contrast. An entertainment console is forward with sliding doors to conceal the flat-screen TV and stereo systems, with cabinets for storing components. A wet bar to port includes a fridge, ice maker, recessed sink, and fold-down faucet.
If you’re fortunate enough to see the 58E at one of this fall’s boat shows, take a good look at the woodwork. Marlow does it right with teak grab-rails that meld into the overall décor—display cases, doorframes, teak and holly flooring, custom air conditioning vents and molding, and teak coffee table with fiddled edges all blend seamlessly.
Up a few steps is the raised pilothouse level. The AC/DC distribution/breaker panel is eye-level at the steps in its own cabinet, so there’s no need to get down on hands and knees to throw a switch. The U-shaped galley is aft of the helm station. With its mid-ship location, it’s easy to serve guests in the saloon, forward dinette or even up on the flybridge. Smartly laid out—with expansive granite honeycomb counters, over/under cabinets and drawers, Franke double sink with Grohe faucet, Kenyon electric cooktop, microwave oven, and four fridge/freezer drawers—the galley is open on the forward side but semi-enclosed from the saloon. The gourmet touches make food prep a pleasure.
The forward helm with dinette to port arrangement works well to keep the captain and crew in close proximity. With the upper Command Bridge option, the lower station is optional and the space can accommodate a full dinette under the forward windows. The multi-tiered, centerline helm has room for two or three charts and radar displays in the upper dash, with space for a bevy of components on the mid-level (i.e. CAT engine displays, autopilot, speed/depth log, Maxwell anchor controls, stabilizer controls, etc.).
It’s well known that David Marlow has personally owned more than a few of his own yachts and welcomes input from other owners, which may have contributed to the two pantograph doors on either side of the raised pilothouse for quick entry and exit. Many builders may opt for one, but this gives a Marlow owner/operator ease of access when docking or handling lines without having to walk around the house to get to the other side.
Accommodations are accessed from the staircase next to the helm. The master is mid-ship just aft of the foyer. You’ll find a king berth just off center, with the head/shower stall running along the port side and chest of drawers and locker along the starboard, thanks to the generous 18-foot, 6-inch beam. With the head and locker being side–to rather than aft of the stateroom, it keeps all staterooms well sized, with ample room for the engine room and aft crew quarters. Locating the fuel tank between the stateroom and engines helps buffer noise.
The queen VIP is forward, with ensuite head and shower stall—old-world charm exudes thanks to the teak finish that fully envelops the room. A third stateroom has double bunks but can also double as an office, thanks to the built-in desk unit with cabinets and even a dedicated printer cubby. Crew quarters located aft have twin bunks, fridge, microwave, TV, and a private head.
Not to be outdone by the rest of the 58E’s luxury, the flybridge is not only a space for relaxation but also to take in the sights of new destinations. Twin Stidd helm chairs, full helm electronics and a chart table next to the captain add to the business function. Relax on the aft corner settee with table across from the exterior entertainment center; it could also include a grill, icemaker, and fridge. With the deck extended fully aft, there’s room for a davit and dinghy or a few chaise lounge chairs.
If speed is what you need, opt for the C-18 CAT engines. Chances are, however, as with every Marlow I’ve enjoyed, you’ll want the ride to last as long as possible. Marlowyachts.com
By Tom Serio, Southern Boating September 2014