Alaska 46 set up to go anywhere

The Alaska 46 manages to pack a lot into its 14m hull, with a twin-cabin/twin-head layout and a long galley.

When one first sees the new DHS Alaska 46 Flybridge Gen II, it is hard to know what sort of vessel one is looking at. At first glance, it seems to be a passagemaker. There are the wide side decks, complete with bulwarks, side doors, protective overhangs and those traditional aft-sloping supports.

However, look a little higher and there is an enclosed flybridge which seems oddly out of place. Whereas most designers aiming for the motoryacht look create a steady incline from bow to radar arch, those responsible for the Alaska 46 have taken quite a different approach.

They seem to have put the flybridge on top of the saloon in normal fashion, but then put a sort of large flange around it. This creates the overhangs that protect the side decks and most of the cockpit, but it does leave the flybridge looking a little marooned. In fact, it reminds me a little of those 1980s and 1990s 12m and 13m launches that started life with an open flybridge and then later had them enclosed.

That, of course, is an aesthetic consideration and boaties have been arguing over function versus form since Noah started drawing lines for his ark. While some of us might find the look of the vessel a mite unusual, there is no doubt the designers have managed to pack a huge amount into what is a relatively small hull.

The Alaska 46 has an LOA of 15.1m, a hull length of 14.02m and a beam of 4.25m. Yet, with its motoryacht styling, it initially looks far bigger.

Built by the curiously named Shanghai Double Happiness Yacht Company (hence the DHS), the Alaska 46 is billed as a coastal cruiser. Given its pedigree, its 16,500kg displacement and its ability to travel at up to 25 knots, that seems a perfectly reasonable description. One imagines it would safely and comfortably cruise anywhere around the New Zealand coast and, with a brace of 480hp diesels, should be able to outrun any potential trouble.

The Alaska 46 has a good cruising range, too. At a slow cruise speed of just under 9 knots, it can travel almost 1000 nautical miles on a single 2270-litre tank.

Should one wish, there is also provision to cruise further afield. The Alaska range is distributed in this part of the world by Gold Coast-based Leigh-Smith Cruiser Sales. It offers the boats set up for coastal cruising (one just chooses the electronics package), but is happy to "up-spec" for those wanting to passage-make further offshore.

The generator, currently an Onan 7kva, can be upgraded, a watermaker added and a davit fitted.

As layouts go, the Alaska 46 is reasonably traditional, but there are some clever touches. A hopper window on the aft end of the galley means the back area of the saloon really does open up to the cockpit.

The Alaska is designed for those who want to live on board for reasonable periods - and those who like to do a lot of entertaining.

There is, however, a good-sized boarding platform, partly protected by an island pushpit, from which one could fish. The pushpit will also support a bait board or barbecue and provide protection for a small tender.

The cockpit proper is where one relaxes of an afternoon or entertains guests. There is a lounger aft and a small fridge has thoughtfully been set into its base so one does not have to move too far.

The galley runs almost the full length of the saloon, with an L-shaped settee and dining table opposite. Clearly, in a calm anchorage, a long galley like this has advantages (several people able to work at once, more room for appliances and stowage, not being "shut way"). However, if one is passagemaking for a while, an enclosed, u-shaped galley is far easier (and safer) to work in, especially in rough seas.

While "made in China" is not usually indicative of a high standard of workmanship, there is little to fault in that regard on the Alaska 46. The saloon is lined with satin-finished North American cherrywood, there are venetian blinds as well as curtains throughout and the standard of finish is high.

Vessels of this size and type traditionally have a three-cabin, single-head arrangement. However, that is not the case here, with a twin-cabin, twin-head layout preferred instead. The master cabin has a queen-sized berth, dual hanging lockers, berth-side tables and its own en suite.

Access to the flybridge is from the for'ard end of the cockpit via a staircase. The helm station is set about three-quarters of the way aft, with a reasonable amount of spare space behind. There are twin helm seats and a large u-shaped lounge for'ard. Again, the designers have thoughtfully placed a fridge and sink close at hand.

Powered by twin 480hp Cummins QSB-5.9 diesels through conventional drives, the Alaska 46 has a nominated cruising speed of 18 knots. This allows one to cover a fair bit of ground in a relatively short time. It also comes complete with that genset, a 12V/3000W/120A inverter/charger, an 11.7kW air-conditioning system and both bow and stern thrusters.

The Alaska 46, as described here, is available for about A$860,000 ($1.1 million). Considering what one gets, that compares very well with other vessels of this size.

Alaska 46

DHS 46 Alaska Flybridge GEN 2

LOA: 15.10m

LOH: 14.02m

Beam: 4.25m

Draft: 1.07m

Displacement: 16,500kg

Construction: GRP composite

Engines: 2 x 480hp Cummins QSB-5.9

Max speed: 25 knots

Cruise speed: 18 knots

Fuel capacity: 2270 litres

Water capacity: 756 litres

Price as described: $1.1 million

Want to know more?
Check out Barry Tyler's boat review on the Alaska 46 in the November/December issue of Pacific Powerboat magazine.

- NZ Herald

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