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Old 10-21-2016, 08:30 AM   #1
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What's the story on Navigator Yachts?

I'm guessing they're maybe a slight step up from Mainship in quality and offshore ability? Is this correct? My preferred boats are Ocean Alexander and Tollycraft and this seems to be a step below them.

I'm looking at using the boat primarily inshore, but will occasionally go 100 miles or so offshore crossing the Gulf of Mexico. I"m looking at the 53 pilothouse.


Any thoughts would be appreciated.

thanks

ETA: I haven't seen or have been able to confirm hull design, but it seems this boat has no keel, is this correct? I would assume this may be she's not as directionally stable or rides as well in seas as a Tolly or OA.
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #2
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On 25+ year old boats quality care and maintenance trumps perceived quality difference from the initial build. Then comes sea keeping, access, fuel systems etc. What year and model OA and Tollycraft are you comparing? Check out filter locations as to how easily you can do a change in a seaway.

One thing about Tollies, they were designed and built for offshore fishing and crossing bars. But now long in the tooth.

For far offshore in the Gulf, crew experience is a point to ponder. So many variables ---
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:58 AM   #3
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I've sailed offshore in my own boats (sailing) for 25 years, so captain/crew are not an issue.

OA is an 86, though in excellent condition. No concerns at all on this boats ability to handle reasonable gulf seas or mechanical condition.

Tolly is a 92 and also excellent conditions. Again, I'm not concerned about this boat's ability to handle gulf weather. and condition.

The Navigator is a 98 and I've confirmed no keel, a flat bottom aft, though a reasonable bow for seas as far as I can tell. I can't imagine she'd be as good as OA and TC IN handling seas and holding course, but guess she'd be OK as long as I kept her out of really bad stuff. I also guess the wiring, decks, windows and build wouldn't be as robust as OA and TC, but guess it would be above average (mainship/carver etc). All of this I guess as I really know nothing about the boats.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:20 AM   #4
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There are a lot of differing opinions about Navigators and their business model. However, we have 2000 4200 Classic and really love it (although it did take some getting used to on my part). Recently, a former member of this forum was nice enough to fill me in on some facts and stories about the Navigator brand. Extremely knowledgeable in all things pilot house. You could say he is the king of them... if you were so inclined. Navigator is an interesting story for sure. Here are some of the highlights.

Now, before I go too far, I want to say that Bess and I have only had ours for 15 months. Over which, was a spring, summer, and fall that was full of challenging weather condition that kept us in the slip more weekends than we would have liked. Therefore, most of our experience is "fair weather", so I will not comment on their open-ocean abilities.

Designed by Jules Marshall of Californian fame, these boats were all built in Perris, California. A po-dunk third-world town he picked because the cost of living was so low that he could pay less and still have the workers provide for their families. A small piece of land on the edge of the Mojave Desert next to a huge garbage dump.

The build quality seems excellent. I have dug around and through her and things are very stoutly built. I keep having to remind myself that this is a USA made boat. I always surprises me how much thicker and heavier duty things are when I go to drill or cut stuff compared to our old Taiwanese trawler from the 80's. Navigator was proud that nearly everything they did was in-house. Less the stringers. They were custom cut for each boat and were 1-peice from Georgia-Pacific that arrived kiln-dried and wrapped in plastic.

The hull is a unique design, one that everyone thought the company should have given a fancy name to like other production companies have done. It is super efficient. I have a cutout from a thru-hull we just had installed and it is 1" of solid fiberglass. When they were being sold new, people criticized Navigators for being under-powered, but similar size boats needed more than double the horsepower to do the same speed. However, there was one setback. All Navigators were basically set using the same hull mold, just dammed up for varying lengths. This was a double-edged sword. The 15' beam of our 42' is CRAZY WIDE, on a 58' boat, it is very narrow. That, in part, aided in their efficiency in the larger sizes.

Handling seems great for her speed and size. There are two things that I would change and that is to center up the flybridge console and make it closer to a stand up station than a sit down only.

Another huge thing Navigator did was the aft (under cockpit) fuel tanks (aluminum). Jules didn't trust fuel gauges. The deck fills are an 8" straight shot into the rectangle tanks, so filling and dipsticking them is a breeze. It does, however, give her a bit of a heavy ass when you are full of fuel and water and I am actually thinking of adding some ballast in the bow in the future or increase the size of the trim tabs to compensate (but I digress).

The interior of ours in a unique layout that we have never seen before and is unique to the 42' and 44' models. More traditional layouts emerge in the larger models. fit and finish are very good. The Navigator woodworkers were from Laos and were the highest paid workers in the yard. Sure, there are some things we find ourselves scratching out heads over, but I would imagine there is some of that in every boat. :-) One of the things I have had to get used to is the midship berth that is buried in the center of the boat. It is a departure from our aft cabin trawler. Since we enjoy anchoring out, it doesn't provide any cross breeze thru the cabin. The good side of the main stateroom is that the queen berth will take a regular queen mattress. Not some weird trapezoidal thing that costs thousands to get custom cut.

The showers are on the small side, however, there is NO SHORTAGE of cabinet storage. There are places everywhere to stick stuff. And I mean everywhere!

Most (if not all) Navigators are powered with a pair of Volvos. They were picked for their fuel efficiency... and correctly so. With the fuel tanks aft, the engine room is very spacious. Access is good, but not great to the outboard sides of the engines. The fuel filters and batteries are easily accessible. The DC electrical system does leave something to be desired. It is based on 8D truck batteries and a poorly laid out switching system. It is VERY typical of production boats. We spent last winter changing it all. The 8Ds will work if you are jumping from marina to marina, but if you want to spend days on the hook, you will need to redo it.

I won't try to compare them to other boats. Only people that have owned both can. What I can do is to say you should really take a close look at them. Navigators are good boats. Jules Marshall was a great designer (even if he was a bit of a dick to his dealers). They are great boats, only nobody really knows it. Everyone who see ours really likes it... and so do we.

I hope this helps. It took me almost an hour and a half to write!
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:23 AM   #5
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The Navigator is a 98 and I've confirmed no keel, a flat bottom aft, though a reasonable bow for seas as far as I can tell. I can't imagine she'd be as good as OA and TC IN handling seas and holding course
The hull is much more attune to a sportfish boat. Ours keeps her course very well, but as I said above, our ocean experience in Skinny Dippin' totals about zero hours to date.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:02 PM   #6
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I just closed on a 57' Navigator a few months ago that I had listed. The buyer is now living on board and it is his first boat. I thought the boat was a good fit for him because it is a 2004 model. For the price he paid for this boat compared to a similar size boat built by other builders he would have had to buy a much older boat. Without a lot of experience in maintenance, the newer boat should be easier to take care of for him. Plus he liked the layout and light wood interior.
I have not been out in rough water with him but did a trip to Miami and back this week for part of his free boat driving lessons. With a Yacht Controller and bow and stern thrusters he is handling the boat very well.
Navigator built the boat to be sold for less money than some other builders and therefore some boats on the used market may be a lower price.
This was the second time I listed the same boat, I listed it six years ago and that owner was happy enough with the boat to list with me when he decided to sell.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:38 PM   #7
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You can look here as well.....


Market View: Navigator Motor Yachts from the Past 20 Years
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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I will add that the 42' has beautiful wide side decks that are easy to navigate for line handling. The flybridge will easily sit 6 or 7 adults for sundowners.

When we bought the boat, Tom thought for sure the pilothouse settee was a waste of space and we'd never use it. As it turns out, it is a GREAT place to hang out for meals, morning coffee and working from boat. (with a great view too!)

We love ours. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:12 PM   #9
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SWEET! Thanks!
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:35 PM   #10
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"Designed by Jules Marshall of Californian fame, these boats were all built in Perris, California. A po-dunk third-world town he picked because the cost of living was so low that he could pay less and still have the workers provide for their families. A small piece of land on the edge of the Mojave Desert next to a huge garbage dump. "

Jule Marshall is his name (no "S" in Jule). I believe Jule is still alive, but I'm not definite.

The Mojave Desert is a 3 hr drive (about 200 miles) NE of Perris, CA. Perris is in an area called the Inland Empire in southern CA, 85 miles east of LA, near Riverside, CA. It might have been relatively sparsely populated (by LA standards) when Navigator moved there but has a significant population of close to 70,000 today, up from about 35,000 in 2000.

Love those Navigator boats! They might be faster than the OA or Tolly. Tom, what's your high speed cruise? 12-14K? If you're on plane, the importance of a keel for course keeping diminishes.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:26 PM   #11
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Top end is 20-22 at 30 GPH. We cruise regularly at 10 burning just 10 GPH. Both are significantly better than the 7kts we used to do!

here is a shot of the bottom....on this stern view, you can see the sunlight highlighting the very bottom edge behind the ladder.

And here is a shot of the bow as well, pre clean and wax.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:01 PM   #12
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Navigators are good honest boats. They are a successor brand to Californian, which many members here have. The hull is most similar to the classic Bertram deep vees, which are ocean going offshore boats. Being of west coast origin, they are built for ocean use, as there are no "protected waters" between San Francisco and Cabo (not counting Mission Bay), hardly a "cruising ground" per se. I wouldn't turn my nose up at one, and I am a Hatteras snob (keeled boats BTW).
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:01 PM   #13
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"Designed by Jules Marshall of Californian "

Jule Marshal is his name (no "S" in Jule).
But Marshall (two L's), right?
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:03 PM   #14
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But Marshall (two L's), right?
LOL!! Absolutely right! Fixed in red above...thanks.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:55 PM   #15
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Navigators are good honest boats.
There are a "ton" of Navigators in my marina and I have two close friends that have Navigators and love them. I have personally been aboard a 56 footer and a 46 footer and had nothing negative to say about either. IMO, a great boat for the money!
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:27 PM   #16
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Thanks for the corrections. I like being more smarterer nowz.
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:40 PM   #17
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I'd call Navigator another of those boats that un-knowledgeable non-owners might put down, yet they have a lot of very happy owners. It happens a lot to moderately priced boats.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:08 PM   #18
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To further B&B's post above...

I would caution newbies (and we were all newsbys once) to avoid ranking boats in terms of build quality, or better yet perceived build quality.

All boats have pluses and minuses. Here's some examples...

One of the least cost ways into a large boat is to buy a older "Taiwan Trawler". These are boats that were built in the far east under a variety of brand names from about the early 70's to about the mid 80's.

Many of these boats had exceptional interior jointery, probably due to the inexpensive labor available in the far east back then. Does that mean they are ranked higher? Or lower? But wait, time has shown that some of these boats had major issues such as steel tanks that have failed. Does that affect your ranking??? Or is that just indicative of the technology available back then???

Take the Navigators that were asked about. Nice looking boats, but some unknowing slam them, for really ZERO reason. Does that make them bad? No it does not.

Take Bayliner. Heck, everybody seems to want to slam the Bayliners. Right up to the time they step onboard one. Then they generally say things like "nice boat"

Then lets take engines. Everybody seems to love the Ford Lehman. Why??? Is it a great engine? Hey current internet lore slams the Detroit/GM 2 strokes. But wait.... both are reliable engines, yet parts for a detroit are much more readily available, as is skilled mechanical help. Yet, if you listen to current internet lore the Detroit 2 strokes should be used only as anchors.

So... My advice to you is to think more in terms of how you are going to use your boat. What do you see yourself doing in it? Think of big picture items like do you prefer aft cabin, or pilot house designs. Then go look at real boats and decide for yourself if you like what you see.

And always remember, you are not just buying a boat. You are buying all the care (or lack of it) that every previous owner put into the boat. That is often much more important than the factory that built it.
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Old 10-22-2016, 11:07 AM   #19
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Please forgive my ignorance. I was told this summer that navigators were built by a division of Bayliner???? True?
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Old 10-22-2016, 11:26 AM   #20
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Please forgive my ignorance. I was told this summer that navigators were built by a division of Bayliner???? True?
No.
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