The 87-foot Oceanfast Bac O Booc (pronounced Back of Book) has a profile that has drawn comment every time the yacht is pulled into a marina. With her high freeboard and round salon windows, her external lines are unlike any yacht on the market today—and with good reason. The yacht was a custom build for the father and son owners of the Australian builder Oceanfast, which is better known for its megayachts and large ferries.
Launched in 2000, the construction of Bac O Book took advantage of Oceanfast’s extensive shipbuilding knowledge and built the one-off vessel to the standards of a much larger vessel. The unique profile caught the attention of a Fort Lauderdale businessman who was visiting Australia and had the yacht shipped to Florida.
In 2009, a lifelong boater became the Oceanfast’s third owner. He was looking for a boat a bit bigger than his 68-foot Lazarra that had an 18-foot beam and the Oceanfast, with her roomy 24-foot beam, caught his eye.
“It was a good buy. I liked the bones of it,” the owner says. “We get more compliments wherever we go.”
With the amount of cruising the Phoenix-based owner does, he must certainly receive plenty of compliments. The owner spends six months a year in West Palm Beach, which he uses as his base for cruising.
“We go from South Florida to The Bahamas to Wilmington, North Carolina, and all the places in between,” he says. “My daughter is in Wilmington, with a smaller marina where we’re the biggest boat. She draws a big crowd.”
The owner’s favorite cruising destination is The Bahamas. With the family onboard, the cruising plans typically reserve a day or two for the grandkids to sail down the underwater waterslides of Atlantis. With the four-stateroom layout, the yacht has plenty of room to fit the owner’s children and grandchildren
For a quieter escape, Capt. Jason Jones steers a course to the out islands chains of The Bahamas. With her shallow draft, the yacht can easily make it over the reefs that can cause larger yachts to take the long way around. There, Bac O Booc becomes the hotel the family returns to at night, and the towed-behind 27-foot Venture becomes a sports car to cruise between islands and hidden harbors.
One of the favorite cruising destinations are the Exuma islands. With dozens of hidden inlets for privacy as well as popular watering holes all within a relatively close distance, the Exuma islands are the perfect place to anchor the big boat and jet about aboard the tender. Anchoring near Staniel Cay puts the cruisers within distance of the ever-popular Staniel Cay Yacht Club, whose name belies the salty interior, and the infamous swimming pigs. If the grandkids are onboard, there are also the iguanas of Allens Cay to feed and the lazy nurse sharks of Compass Cay to pet.
“We hire a fishing guide in The Bahamas, and we’re happy if we catch two or three Wahoo,” he says.
In addition to a hotel, Bac O Booc has also doubled as a conference room for entertaining business clients and as a cocktail bar for hosting friends.
“We had 40 or 45 people onboard for a cocktail cruise once. We hired a couple bartenders, and everyone was comfortable,” the owner recounts.
Bac O Booc is able to sustain such a rigorous cruising schedule after her extensive refit at Lauderdale Marine Center in 2010. Over seven months, expert contractors completely overhauled the decade-old onboard systems.
“We went through everything,” Jones says. “There were a lot of things that were addressed.”
From a major overhaul of the MTU diesel engines, replacing many of the parts outlined by the manufacturer’s W-5 maintenance schedule, to installing a Fresh Air Make Up system, no equipment was overlooked. The main stainless-steel exhaust system was replaced with a new fiberglass system that saved 2,000 pounds and made whole operation quieter. The system’s layout was also altered so it no longer ran through the aft crew quarters, allowing a few extra feet to be added to the two cabins.
An additional five-ton water chiller also was added into the air-conditioning system. Jones says the previous dual five-ton system was working “adequately” but the addition of the third water chiller keeps the yacht cooler with less energy.
Updating the galley refrigerators posed a larger challenge than anticipated. The old refrigerators were dismantled onboard and carted off, but a full-sized replacement wouldn’t fit into the yacht without cutting a hole in the ceiling. Jones says they had to get creative and found that Cospolich brand refrigerators could install 32-cubic-foot units.
“We found a company that makes modular refrigerators and brought it in pieces,” Jones says. “It was built in place inside the boat.”
One seemingly simple upgrade was to the generator mounts, which had worn away through normal wear and tear and caused the yacht to vibrate when the generators were running. High-end Soundown mounts replaced the old ones, and now, the captain says he frequently gets asked if the generators are running or not.
Once the bones of the yacht had been updated, attention turned to her aesthetics. The interior was updated. The hull was painted a sleek shade of black. The exterior is now illuminated by 14 underwater lights and LED lights throughout. New, wider teak replaced the worn decking.
Now that he’s run the Intercoastal Waterway from New York City to Key West, the owner is looking to take a short break from yacht ownership to focus on his business in Phoenix.
“This is my 12th boat since I was 18 and my third boat on the East Coast,” the owner says. “I used to boat in San Diego but I love the East Coast more. There are more places to go and see. In San Diego, you’re limited to Catalina and the Bay.”
Bac O Booc will be on display during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the Las Olas docks, slip B-19.