Hampton 620 Modified Sky Lounge Passagemaker Review August 2011
Comfortable and Sophisticated
Iíve spent time crawling through and poking around a number of Hamptons in my career and Iíve written two previous articles on this well known marque. As a result, theyíre a well known commodity for me, combining high quality, great attention to detail and a few special touches thanks to their East Coast dealer, Anchor Yacht Sales. When Capt. Forest Roberts, Anchorís proprietor (and Hamptonís dealer of the year six years running) contacted me and asked if Iíd be interested in touring their new model, the 620 Modified Skylounge, I accepted the invitation without hesitation.
Like the comingling of fiberglass fabric and resin, itís difficult to discuss the performance attributes and design features of any Hampton without Forestís name coming up early on in the conversation, and like resin and fabric, the two are mutually beneficial and reliant upon each other. The first time I met Forest, at the Miami Boat Show several years ago, I thought I had him pegged, a talking head who seemingly had an answer to every question. However, somewhat frustratingly, I found that more often than not the answers were usually the right ones. Later, as I got to know him, and more so after I wrote my first Hampton story, I found that my opinion of him changed dramatically. Referring to Forest as a Hampton booster would be like calling Secretariat just another horse. Forest Roberts and his wife, and able partner at Anchor Yachts, Sandy (he refers to her as Admiral Sandy because, after all, Forest is but a captain) eat, breath, sleep and likely dream Hampton Yachts and ways to support and improve them. Weíll return to them and the role they play in this story later.
Forest met me at the airport and asked what I wanted to do first. I said, ďLetís go for a sea trialĒ. Just minutes from Ft. Lauderdale International airport, Anchor Yachtís office, formerly Hacienda Cove Police Station, Fire Department and Courthouse, is an immaculately manicured water front complex with 500 feet of dockage, a workshop and sales offices. Itís where all Anchor Hamptons are commissioned. Within less than an hour of wheels down Forest and I were underway, heading down the New River toward Port Everglades inlet and the Atlantic. On several occasions during this nearly hour-long run, if youíve ever transited this waterway you know how tight the quarters can be, Forest ran on one engine with the other trailing in neutral, demonstrating how well the 620 maneuvered under reduced, uneven thrust. When we reached the inlet it was clear the conditions were ideal, for a sea trial that is, it looked, with wind against tide, like the proverbial washing machine.
The 620 churned her way through this confused tumult, finally breaking out into more predictable albeit far from placid conditions. Winds were from the southeast at 20-25 kts, seas ran 4-5 feet with white caps all around. We took continuous spray over the bow while running into the wind. It was, however, sunny and the temperature hovered around 85į. While I do suffer from seasickness, I was pleased to see that the environment represented real-world cruising conditions, through which we ran for nearly an hour. The 620 took this all in style, her Wesmar digital three term gyro stabilizer system, employing six square foot fins kept her on a mostly even keel in everything from bow on and beam to quartering and following seas. With a realistic 7/8 fuel and ĺ water, 950 and 300 gallons respectively, at my request we ran at everything from idle to wide open throttle through troughs and over crests; the 620 shook it off, maintaining a steady course and speed with minimal manipulation of the helm. I was even able to have lunch after the trial, an indication of the 620s sea kindliness. You can see video of the Hampton 620 underway at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8IB8nA4SWc
The 620 Modified Skylounge flybridge, itís the only station on this vessel, a lower station is optional, utilizes a unique combination of three sections of conventional 10 mm glass for the forward sections and 40 mil flexible Strataglass for side and aft curtains. Fixed glass panes are also installed below the main panes, affording better visibility of the fore deck, and the hardtop extends slightly over the windshield, reducing glare. Not only do these two features, a departure from earlier Hamptons, offer added functionality, they simply look better. Mullions between windshield panes are reasonably narrow; a welcome feature that keeps blind spots to a minimum. However, the dashboard forward of the helm console is a glossy, arctic white, the reflection of which onto the inside of the windshield can be distracting. This could be easily remedied if this area were gelcoated or painted a neutral color such as flat gray. The fixed forward glass panels are equipped with heavy duty pantograph windshield wipers, which we tested heavily, while the side curtains conveniently lift inward and upward, where their bottoms are easily affixed to the overhead. This, along with triple overhead hatches, affords the bridge ample ventilation and an all around good feeling for the crew. If, however, the weatherís too hot, or rainy, the bridge, equipped with three air handlers offering a total of over 40 thousand Btu of cooling power, is fully climate controlled.
On an earlier Hampton I reviewed I complained that the quality of the helm seating was not in keeping with the vesselís overall high level of fit and finish. The 620 has no such shortcoming, with twin Pompanette captainís chairs bridge crew sit in style.
Thanks to some careful engineering, liberal use of acoustic insulation and the cored composite nature of the cabin and decks, the 620 is quiet underway. While at 18 kts and 1900 rpm I took sound readings in every cabin and was impressed with what I heard, or didnít hear. On the dBA scale, the flybridge measured 72, forward cabin 68, starboard guest cabin 67, master stateroom 69, galley 67 and saloon 72. Considering that a luxury automobile traveling over a smooth road at 60 mph typically yields noise readings of somewhere around 68 this is all the more impressive. Albeit outside, the only area that was noisier than I would have expected was the cockpit, with a noticeable rumble it measured 87, far too load to be enjoyable underway. Hampton and Anchor are still working on a fix for this audible malady.
A full range of speed and fuel consumption figures are available from Anchor, however, in brief, at wide open throttle, at the above mentioned loads, pushed by her optional CAT 873 HP C18s, the 620 managed a very respectable 21 knots. At 19.5 kts and 2000 rpm, fuel burn is 78.8 gph. However, at a comfortable 12 knots, she turned 1400 rpm and burned a total of just 27.8 gph.
Cabins and Accommodation Spaces
Accommodations spaces aboard the 620 are modern and comfortable with an air of sophistication that is no doubt the result of the flawlessly finished, high gloss Mikori veneer and burled inlay, a Hampton Yachts hallmark. In fact, I have yet to board a Hampton where the joiner work was anything less than a stunning display of perfection and the 620 is no exception. The finish is no accident; Hampton uses a proprietary process that relies on no less than twelve coats of two part polyurethane varnish.
The Hampton 620 offers an amidships king master, a forward queen VIP and a between the two, on the starboard side, a double twin. However, rather than describe each and every cabin in detail, you can see and read about these on Anchorís website, Iíll instead touch on notable highlights.
The 620 is equipped with a combination of ultra-thin LED and LCD TVs and sound systems in just about every space, count them, there are seven, including the fly bridge, cockpit and galley. TVís in the master and VIP staterooms include surround sound. Speaking of the master stateroom, it has twenty drawers, all of which are made if dovetail jointed white pine and all slide on high quality metal tracks and ball bearings (rather than plastic bushings). Theyíre small things but all interior door locksets are from the well respected manufacturer Baldwin and each and every cabinet and storage space (including the bilges!) is expertly and smoothly finished in gelcoat, paint or attractive woodwork. Not such a small thing is the interior lighting, itís all LED, Forest says this was a $9700 upgrade, a change Hampton made at his request.
A storage area located under the forward cabin and central accommodation passageway could easily hold monthsí worth of provisions and spares. Storage aboard a cruising vessel is often in short supply; therefore, its value cannot be overestimated and as such this area is simply invaluable. I would, however, recommend two minor changes, the access ladderís round rungs should be flat, this would offer surer and more comfortable footing, especially when shoeless, and considering Hamptonís joiner working prowess, I would like to see them include shelving and bins. Currently, the space lacks any means of stacking or supporting layers of provisions and gear, reducing its efficiency. The full size Bosch Axxis dryer is located under the companionway stairs, housed in a flawless, nearly invisible when shut, Makore faced locker. The washer is located in a similar locker on the master stateroom forward bulkhead. On many vessels little thought is given to access to these and other appliances, for service or repair, often necessitating removal of joiner work. Not only does Hampton thoughtfully make provisions to easily slide them out, they include a stainless steel skid plate to prevent the varnished deck on which they are mounted from being scratched in the process.
The galley, located just aft of the forward seating area and what would be the optional lower helm station, is a practical and well equipped, with a full size GE Profile stainless steel refrigerator, Fisher Paykel dish washer and trash compactor, the latter two Makore trimmed and thus invisible when closed as well. Overhead cabinets securely hold dishes and glasses, all of which remained absolutely stationary during our sea trial, as did all of the vases, plants and other decorations around the cabin (they are held in place with a special non-permanent adhesive). A glass top electric range and oven complete the picture. The rounded edge galley countertops are granite, as is the dining table and sole. The makore trimmed wine locker, with a glass door, lives opposite the galley. Notably, hutches, cabinets and other the furniture are equipped with fiddles to keep gear, dishes and glasses from ending up on the deck while in a seaway. I like fiddles and consider them a necessity for any vessel that leaves sheltered waters.
The galley breakfast bar incorporates yet another Hampton trademark, captive stools. That is, the two forward square stool legs engage matching square cutouts on the foot rest. This arrangement keeps the stools safely in place while underway. Itís a nice touch that Hampton has used for years, one Iím surprised it hasnít been adopted by other manufacturers.
The 620ís ground tackle is all business, relying on a Maxwell electric windless, 300 feet of 3/8Ē chain and a single 50 kg stainless steel anchor. A heavy duty, highly polished stainless steel chute with a clamp gate supports the anchor when stowed. As an indication of the level of attention paid to critical gear such as ground tackle, the chute roller is retained by a nylon lock nut and cotter pin. Talk about belt and suspenders. Lockers on either side of the windlass provide ready access to the chain. Six large cleats are installed on each side of the deck, providing a variety of main and spring line attachment points.
Itís easy for builders to slip into the, rob Peter to pay Paul trap, by impinging on side deck space, or doing away with it altogether, to make the saloon wider. Not in this case, the 620ís symmetrical side decks are generous, measuring between 17 and 22.5 inches wide (they are funnel-shaped, getting wider from the deck up to match the human form factor). Bulwark and rail heights are also generous, affording crew a strong sense of security when moving about these decks, their height ranges from 32.5 to 36 inches. The rails, like all of the stainless steel work aboard the 620, are gorgeous, highly polished, beefy and functional. Engine room air intakes, which are according to Forest sized for 110% of the engineís and generatorís needs, are built into the bulwark. This design, as opposed to installation in the hull topsides, ensures that air being drawn into the engine compartment is as free from seawater and spray as possible, and unlikely though it may be they incorporate a dorade to drain off any water that may make its way into the vent. While this isnít a unique design, it is functional and welcomed.
Remote shift/throttle and bow/stern thruster controls are built into compartments located at the aft end of the house, in the cockpit. This enables the skipper to expertly back into a tight slip or stern-to mooring with much greater confidence than working from the fly bridge with a spotter or using a camera. The hatches for these lockers are indicative of all those used on weather decks, if I didnít know better Iíd say they were cast from a solid block of resin, they are smooth, straight and fair. High quality hinges, latches and stainless steel gas shocks make this installation top flight. Storage lockers just forward of the swim platform and the hatch-equipped shore power cord channel, yet another Hampton trademark, use the same approach. Twin 80 foot (a special request to Hampton from Forest, he says 50 feet is never enough), wireless remote reel control, transom-mounted, 50 amp shore cords can be used either singly or simultaneously for support of the vesselís AC electrical service.
Painted aluminum hardware is conspicuous by its absence aboard the 620. With the exception of the dinghy crane, most deck hardware is mirror polished 316L stainless steel, including and especially the twin cockpit sliding doors, they are simply beautiful. While this costs more initially, and weighs more than aluminum, it is truly maintenance free and the owner never has to worry about, or pay for, touch up or painting.
Construction and Systems
Hull design and construction is important in the respect that itís impossible to know whatís beneath the gelcoat. Iíve cut into my share of otherwise very pretty hulls only to be horrified at what I found. As such, buyers must simply have faith in a builderís expertise to do the right thing. Hamptonís conservative approach to this area is evident in the build protocol to which they adhere. The outer five laminates utilize blister resistant and very stiff vinyl ester resin (it shares many similarities with epoxy). The industry norm calls for two laminates, referred to as a skin coat, to provide blister protection, giving Hampton a multifold safety margin. The forward section of the hull incorporates what Hampton calls a collision zone, made up of two laminates of Kevlar up to the toe rail and twelve feet back, and eighteen feet back below the waterline. The hull is a solid fiberglass layup, toe rail to toe rail, while fore and aft stiffeners and stringers utilize synthetic structural foam. Notably, other than furniture and cabin joiner work, no wood is used in the construction process.
The remainder of the vesselís structure, the decks, cabin and cabin top are all built using a composite core material called Divinycell, a synthetic polymer foam that is exceptionally strong yet will neither absorb water nor rot if exposed to the elements. Thereís no better way to build a strong, stiff, light and quiet fiberglass structure than with the composite core technique.
Spray rails are molded into the hull, rather than being glued and screwed on after the fact. This is important as it makes for an extremely strong structure that does not rely on hardware to keep it attached to the boat in the event of an especially hard landing. Molded in rub rails can only be made using two piece molds and, you guessed it, two piece molds are more expensive and more complex to build and maintain. After removal from the mold the hull is carefully inspected and then hand finished using a four step, successively finer abrasive polishing process.
The two part mold also affords the Hampton 620 another of its many attributes, the full, deep keel. Although itís not especially large or full length, for planing vessels they rarely are, the 620ís keel extends deeper than the hullís most important accessories; propellers, struts, shafts and rudders, providing them with some margin of protection in the event the vessel should run aground.
Hampton Yachts prides itself on its design and execution of its engineering space, lazarettes and engine rooms. The 620, and all Hamptons Iíve been aboard for that matter, is true to form with excellent access to important gear. This is a welcome change from so many designs that relegate engineering space design to afterthought status.
Engineering spaces are entered via a transom watertight door, which means service personnel donít even have to walk through the vessel, or even take their shoes off, to get to this area. While there is no access to the engineering spaces from the main cabin, a lazarette deck hatch (it lifts electrically) and ladder, its treads are comfortably flat by the way, is available for accessing these areas as well, preventing the need for venturing out onto the swim platform to access engines while underway.
A short companionway ladder leads down into the large lazarette from the main transom door. While the cherry ladder is beautifully made, the treads are varnished (they do include narrow strips of non-skid), which, when wet, is a recipe for a slip and fall scenario. Traditionally, wood ladder treads are teak, they arenít varnished, and they offer excellent footing. This is an easy fix. The overhead above this ladder could use another hand hold too.
This space provides easy access to steering gear, isolation transformers, 60,000 Btu (each) HVAC compressors, twin HVAC raw water and circulation pumps and the central vacuum unit, twin Charles battery chargers, house battery bank, a workbench and Magnum inverter, among other items.
Moving forward through another door brings you into the commodious engine room (while lighting is generally excellent it would benefit from one more fixture on the centerline). For those who prefer stand up engine rooms, the head room here is a generous 71Ē. The decks in the lazarette and engine room utilize a familiar ďcoin dotĒ tread material, however, instead of a hard plastic finish this material, made by Pirelli, is soft and rubbery, offering excellent footing even when the surface is wet (I tested it). In keeping with the good access to gear theme, I was able to make my way to the outboard side of both engines without a great deal of difficulty. Bravo Hampton for not neglecting this important feature.
The fiberglass fuel tanks are located forward of the engines, separating this compartment from, and providing insulation for, the master stateroom. Heavy duty, solid polycarbonate, valve equipped sight glasses provide fuel level information, backing up the electric gauges. Main and back up potable water pumps, 120 and 24 volts respectively, are located outboard of the starboard engine.
The twin CAT C18s are each equipped with a hydraulic power take off that operates twin power steering pumps. This is Forestís doing, he doesnít want an owner to ever have to run the boat without power steering in the event of a single pump or engine failure. The 620 is provided with a manual tiller as well as tools required for propeller removal. Twin Kohler gensets are also located in the engine room, a main 23 kW and a night or light-load 15.5 kW unit.
I clearly recall the first time I went aboard a Hampton and made my way to the engine room, as I always do. I marveled at the condition of the bronze raw water plumbing and strainers, they all looked virgin. Even aboard new boats, at boat shows, this gear has usually begun to take on the familiar and harmless green patina. When I looked more closely I noticed that all of these components had been carefully prepared, masked and sprayed with clear coat, to keep them looking new for years to come. This is standard procedure for all Hamptons sold by Anchor Yachts, verdigris, harmless though it may be simply isnít allowed aboard a vessel under Forestís care.
When I asked Forest about ABYC compliance, he forthrightly shared that Hampton makes every effort to comply, particularly for critical systems like electrical and fuel. I pointed out a short list of observations while he dutifully took notes to pass on to the builder.
The Anchor Yacht Sales Value
I mentioned earlier the role Anchor Yachts, Forest and Sandy Roberts play and how very important it is. Having known them for several years Iíve been afforded unique insight into just what this means. Take, for example, Forestís insistence that, at Anchorís expense, every new vesselís engines are fully checked out and sea trialed by a dealer for that engine, Caterpillar calls this a start up certification and itís done in the buyerís name, to verify they have been installed correctly and in full compliance with the manufacturerís requirements and to ensure that there will never be an issue over warranty coverage for the owner in the future. This also establishes a detailed baseline for the engines and vessel performance.
Forest is also maniacal about ensuring proper performance, tweaking propellers to ensure that engines turn up to their full rated rpm and typically just a little bit more, taking into account the weight owners will inevitably add. Sandy, who does the decorating for most of the boats sold by Hampton, has the couches, chairs and mattresses custom made (couches include large hinged under cushion storage areas and the armrest even has a compartment to hold remote controls). The coffee table, which is also custom made for Anchor, is ballasted to prevent it from falling over in heavy seas. Forest and Sandy personally select all of the hardware for the heads, towel racks, toilet paper holders, etc. and Forest installs them and then he labels the Allan Keys used to install them so an owner wonít come across them someday and say ďI wonder what these are for?Ē Forest and Sandy select and personally deliver to the factory in China every garbage disposal installed Hamptons ordered by Anchor Yachts, and they visit every boat during its build process on at least two occasions.
Hamptons sold by Anchor come with everything, from dishes and silverware to linens and towels, Sandy likes to say, ďAll you need to bring are clothes and foodĒ. Forest is forever tinkering with Hampton designs, recently discussing with me his plans for slightly increasing the depth of the keel and slightly reducing the prop diameter to increase protection for the latter. Looking for better, more reliable and more economical ways of doing things is his mantra; he refers to himself as the Tucker (the innovative auto manufacturer) of boat building. Toward that end, he has installed a product called Pipe Defender aboard the 620, itís designed to keep the raw water portion of the HVAC system free of marine fouling. Forest also replaces the stock dry exhaust system insulating blankets with a locally made version of his choice, one that he believes fits better and is more durable.
Documentation for the 620 is among the best Iíve seen, every manufacturer of every component used aboard the vessel is listed, with model and serial numbers as well as all contact information. Anchor also administers and is responsible for all warranty claims, owners need not deal directly with the factory. Additionally, Anchor works as an intermediary with individual equipment manufacturers, from engines to air conditioners to ensure their customers get the support they need.
The Hampton 620 cruises comfortably and economically at 10-12 kts and, when necessary can kick up its heels and move along quickly, faster than most weather systems. The features list is a long one indeed, far too long to fully detail in this article, however, the harder I looked, and the more I listened, the more I liked this boat.
LOA 63í 10Ē
LWL 57í 8Ē
BEAM 17í 4Ē
DRAFT 5Ē 1Ē
DISPLACEMENT Dry 74,900 Wet 90,000 Lbs.
BRIDGE CLEARANCE (MAST UP/DOWN when appropriate)
To Top of Radar 20í 2Ē Top of Mast 21í 6Ē
FUEL Fuel Grade and bio-fuel resistant fiberlgass 1200 Gal. WATER Food Grade fiberglass 400 Gal.
HOLDING TANK Fiberglass 100 Gal.
GRAY WATER None
GENERATOR One 23KW Kohler One 15.5 KW Kohler
ENGINE(S) as tested Cat C-18 Commercial rated at 873 HP Each
Engines standard: Cummins QSM 11 715 hp
MAXIMUM SPEED 23 to 24 Knots
CRUISE SPEED 19.5 to 20.5 Knots
RANGE AT CRUISE SPEED suggested cruise speed 9.5 Knots or 18 Knots
I think you took your own readings
DESIGNER Bottom by Howard Apollonio Looks and Interior
Hampton Yachts/ Anchor Yachts design team
BUILDER Hampton Yachts Shanghai China.
Family Owned and operated for 48 Years
OLD Co. Formosa Ship Building name changed in 1997 to
BASE PRICE Steve we sell the Boat at $2,188,800.00 with three Options
Tender, Sat TV, Watermaker Vessel has $33,500.00 allowance
for electronics at our cost installed single station
WARRANTY Limited 12 Mo. Bow to Stern plus other
Manufactures Warranty; 5 years on the hull. TURNKEY PRICE $2,188,800.00
PRICE AS TESTED Same
Condition of vessel when sea trialed, tankage, gear etc. Fuel 7/8 full Water 300 gal.
For more information: See full specs our web listing at www.anchoryt.com then Yachts for Sale FYI we are building Hull 620-20 with 930 C-18 Cats at 930 HP each with 300 gallons of water (Miami Show Boat) . Hull number #19 is sold to a buyer in Seattle. Company Name Hampton Yachts International Address City, State Shanghai China Phone Website/email www.hamptonyachts.com or www.anchoryt.com
Anchor Yacht Sales LLC