Neptunus 55 Express running

By Andy Adams

Elegant Custom Yacht Construction in a More Popular Size

It was a particular pleasure to visit the home of Neptunus Yachts in St. Catherines, Ontario to review their new Neptunus 55 Express because for many years, this builder served a high-end clientele who generally kept their yachts down south. Seeing a Canadian-built Neptunus in Canada was at least a bit uncommon. Also, their yachts have been mainly in the larger sizes – up to 80 feet and there have been limited facilities in the Great Lakes for such a big private vessel.

Today, the Great Lakes Canadian market for larger boats is strong and the facilities are being built for the growing number of owners with yachts over 50 feet. Addressing this market, Neptunus introduced their 55 Express in the summer of 2014. 

We toured their facilities first and saw this 55 in it’s final stages of completion before its launch, then later returned to run it with Neptunus’ Managing Director, Jan Willem De Jong. He also took us on a tour of another Neptunus, this one a 72 Motor Yacht that was being built. It’s a spacious facility and seeing their craftsmen and technicians at work was quite impressive. These are not production boats; they are what they call semi-custom and are built one at a time with the future owner being given a wide range of choices in materials and finishes.

When you are buying a million dollar yacht, you want it to meet your expectations in every way!

Also, as soon as we went onboard, we could sense and feel that this boat was built to yacht standards. It’s not just the handsome design or features like the imposing door to the lazarette (that features a washer and dryer along with big item storage). All the hardware is polished stainless, massively sized and perfectly suited to the task. There is a special feel to the Neptunus. This is not a big boat from a boat builder, it is a 55 foot yacht from a yacht builder. 

Neptunus 55 Express helmThe test 55 Express was equipped with some of the more elegant options. The swim platform is equipped with a hydraulic lift and all the aft decking and cockpit are done in hand-laid teak strip; no synthetic materials here. Side decks are wide and the railings are big and high. You can easily get around this boat.

Stainless steel gates enclose the port and starboard transom steps. The cockpit features a sweeping aft seat with a dining table and there are huge storage lockers here, a sink in a cabinet and space to have an ice-maker. On the starboard side is an iAnchor docking station that works with the ZF Joystick Manoeuvering system. The test boat had a 25 hp proportional hydraulic thruster like larger yachts – serious power for docking in high winds!

There is perimeter LED pinpoint courtesy lighting around the side decks and under the cabin overhang. Forward you find the Lewmar windlass and massive anchor as well as a foredeck tanning area. 

Then, back in the cockpit, the saloon is accessed through a massive Trend Marine sliding stainless steel door that latches open for safety. You step into an elegant living space with a large u-shaped seating area to starboard and to port, a large cabinet that includes a concealed HDTV on an electric lift.

Most noticeable was the magnificent dark-stained cherry wood furniture with blonde finished burled wood tops. The high-gloss cabinetry is simply stunning and the burled finish is carried throughout the interior across the helm area, down into the galley, lower salon and dining area and into the cabins.

No detail is missed. Even the big HDTVs are mounted in matching custom cherry frames. The décor is not dark however. In fact, the Neptunus 55 Express has big areas of cabin glass, white wall panels and headliner and the huge windshield is open ahead of the helm to the lower deck. Natural light just floods down.

Neptunus 55 Express galleyA funny thing is that I didn’t realize the sunroof was open the whole time we were running the boat. Jan had opened it and the boat was so quiet, we didn’t notice! 

The helm is very spacious and laid out for extended running with side by side Stidd seats that feature a wide range of adjustment for comfort. Three enormous wipers keep the windshield clear and the test boat’s dash area included a Raymarine 12” E-Series touch screen display, twin displays for depth / speed and autopilot and even engine room and cockpit cameras. The wheel is on the centerline and the companion seat is by the chart locker with space for the navigator to really roll it out.

This is an impressive big yacht but it’s easy to run. The Joystick docking takes the drama out of close quarters manoeuvering and the twin Cat C12 ACERT electronically controlled diesels are smooth and powerful at all speeds right up to the 29 knot maximum. The 55 Express is intended to cruise at 25 knots, nicely planed off and with each engine burning 26.4 gph. That’s very good for such a big vessel. The 55 Express displaces 50,000 pounds yet the power assisted hydraulic steering is precise and effortless and the hull tracks unerringly. Long distances are not a strain.

Of course, you’ll want something to eat when onboard and the galley down layout includes an expanse of Corian counter top with a four-burner cooktop by AEG, an AEG convection microwave with oven to really cook a grand meal, side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, double sinks and abundant storage for dishes, cutlery, etc.

Opposite is the dinette with u-shaped seating, another gorgeous cherry and burled wood table and the two port holes here are enclosed by more cabinetry for storage of all your loose items. Our test boat had the optional electronics package with Bose surround sound, big sub-woofers hidden in the seat bases and an HDTV screen in the dining area.

Neptunus 55 Express engine roomThe guest stateroom is forward with a queen island berth, four port holes, a generous amount of storage space and this has separate access to the day head. 

Aft is the master stateroom and it’s full beam with his and hers dressers, hanging lockers and optionally, four large opening ports that bring in loads of light and fresh air. Like the day head, the master head has an enclosed shower, bowl sink, elegant fixtures and a very tasteful basket weave pattern tile floor.

Everywhere you look the Neptunus 55 Express has an impressive level of fit and finish but perhaps the yacht level of quality and equipment is most obvious in the bright white engine room where the rigging is clearly top notch.

Given the price, the Neptunus 55 Express is not for everyone but for those buyers who really appreciate quality and the personal touch in all aspects of ownership, this is a yacht you should see in person. 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINES:

Twin CAT Marine C 12 ACERT diesels, 6-cylinder inline with turbocharging and aftercooling, 12 litre / 732 ci producing 700 hp each. Shaft drive with prop pockets. ZF JMS Joystick Manoeuvering System with iAnchor control, upgraded 25 hp proportional hydraulic thruster system.

 

SPEEDS

25 knot cruise

29 knot maximum

 

LENGTH: 55’1” / 16.76 m

BEAM: 15’7” / 4.57 m

DISPLACEMENT: 50,000 lbs / 22,679 kg

FUEL CAPACITY: 750 gal / 2839 L

WATER CAPACITY: 160 gal / 606 L

WASTE: 120 gal / 454 L

PRICE AS TESTED USD: $1,673,550.

 

Test boat and price provided by Neptunus Yachts, St. Catherines, Ontario. www.neptunusyachts.com 

 

Photos:

Photo 1 - The sweeping lines of the Tony Castro – Greg Marshall-designed Neptunus 55 Express are timeless in their elegance.

Photo 2 - The burled wood finish at the helm is quite impressive, but so is the spacious layout with companion seat and chart area to starboard.

Photo 3 - The galley is visible in this shot of the dining area with it’s high-gloss cabinetry and plush upholstery. Notice the light coming in from above.

Photo 4 - This is just a part of the bright and beautifully rigged engine room.

 

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