December 14th 2011. By Tom Tripp.

Symbol 60 Classic: Cure for Wanderlust

Comfort, easy access to well-installed systems, and a hull designed for open water make this a great option for active liveaboard cruisers.

The new Symbol 60 Classic of Symbol Yachts’ current production line is identical to the builder’s earlier 59 Classic Raised Pilothouse. My recent sea-trial of a new 2008 59 Classic left me with the feeling that I could easily move aboard and happily wander the coastlines of any continent. It has a collection of subtle design touches that amount to an impression that you’ve stepped aboard a comfortable family vacation home. The only real difference between home ashore and aboard the Symbol 60 is that this Jack Sarin-designed hull is simply a joy to drive, at any speed.

The Symbol 60 Classic, powered by twin Cummins diesels, is identical to the 59 Classic Raised Pilothouse shown here.

With two good-sized couples’ cabins, a third stateroom with twins, lots of storage space, 1,000 gallons of fuel, and a 4’9” draft, this yacht can self-sufficiently host an extended family aboard on a cruise to Bermuda, island-hopping in the Caribbean, or up the Inside Passage in the Pacific Northwest.

You can board the Symbol 60 amidships through a bulwarks gate or from the stern swim platform. The aft cockpit is about half-shaded by the boat deck overhang above, although the test boat had a beautiful flybridge bimini and aft cockpit awning, custom made by The Canvas Lady in Warwick, RI, who also made the interior pillow and cushion fabrics. There’s a transom-mounted bench seat with a table in the aft cockpit, and the deck there includes the hatch to the lazarette and engine room.

Moving forward from the cockpit, large sliding glass doors open to the airy saloon, with an L-shaped settee to starboard and barrel chairs to port. The coffee table in front of the settee expands to full-size dining table. Forward and to starboard is an entertainment center, with a wine cooler and flat-screen TV on an electric lift. The demo boat also had beautiful custom cabinetry to safely hold stemware. It seemed like every nook and cranny held a storage compartment.

A few steps up on the port side brings you into the galley and helm area. To port are the door to the sidedeck and the stairway up to the flybridge. The galley is to starboard and has plenty of counter space to prepare meals. The cook also gets a large window, which keeps the galley feeling open and well-lit.

Aft of the helm and galley, the saloon features an L-shaped settee to starboard and armchairs to port.

Forward and on centerline is the helm, with a single captain’s chair, large wheel, and lots of space on the dash for large displays. The test boat had two Furuno NavNet 3D screens as well as one of the two ICOM radios and a Simrad AP-28 autopilot. The engine controls are by Glendinning and include an optional handheld remote to operate engines, transmissions, and bow and stern thrusters. There are plug-ins for this remote forward, in the cockpit, and up on the flybridge, which makes dockside handling simple.

Forward and to starboard is the companionway leading below. It lands in front of the separate Bosch washer and dryer, with VIP stateroom forward and third stateroom with twins aft of the washer/dryer lockers.

The VIP berth is an island queen with lots of hanging storage and useful shelf space on the outboard bulkheads. It has private access aft to a head, which is also accessible via the companionway. The third stateroom has two large opening port lights that give the space plenty of natural light and ventilation. It really doesn’t feel like the dark cave you sometimes see in third staterooms.

A couple of steps down and aft bring you to the master stateroom, with a luxurious centerline king berth, vanity/desk to port, and a large head that extends along the starboard bulkhead. Full-length hanging closets and seemingly endless storage lockers and compartments offer enough room for multiple wardrobes. A combination of light teak and port lights make this feel like a cozy sanctuary.

The main-deck helm station is on the centerline, with a single chair and large wheel.

The engine room is a brightly lit, functional space. Two Cummins QSM-11 diesels, with 715 hp each, provide the propulsion. A 17kW Onan generator provides power, and there are both 24V and 12V electrical systems aboard the Symbol 60. The yacht has 30-amp and 50-amp inlets forward topside and another 50-amp inlet aft. Isolation transformers and boosters help condition the power coming aboard, and a 3kW inverter provides plenty of electricity.

There’s lots of room for routine maintenance on the Cummins engines and the generator. The test boat was also equipped with a 2-micron-filter fuel polishing setup that’s a good idea for anyone running diesels. There’s both AC and DC lighting in the engine room, as well as a remote control station for the engines. Our test boat also had an exhaust gas temperature sensor installed, which is a great way to get early warning of cooling failures.

The two fuel tanks are fiberglass, as are all tanks on board, and are mounted transversely across the forward bulkhead of the engine room, aft of the master stateroom. This location ensures that the center of gravity doesn’t change with fuel burn. All the wiring and plumbing is nicely color-coded, and access to the Wesmar stabilizers is easy.

It was a balmy late autumn day on Narragansett Bay when we sea-trialed the Symbol 60 Classic, so I decided to drive from the flybridge. Peter Vassilopoulos, owner of Symbol Yachts Sales, Inc., N.E, was my host. Peter owns the Wharf Marina in Warwick, RI, and we left from there with about 800 gallons of fuel and an estimated displacement of about 80,000 pounds. Peter used the handheld remote Glendinning controls to maneuver the yacht away from its starboard-to tie-up and we idled smoothly out into the Bay.

The hull is a modified-V, with a modestly deep keel that protects the running gear, which is in prop pockets to reduce draft. The big Cummins diesels are miserly at displacement speeds, burning only 5.5 gph at 8 knots. Top speed with these engines is about 18-19 knots, and a comfortable high-speed cruise is about 15 knots. From idle, the big yacht accelerates extremely quickly and smoothly. I tried a couple of high-speed, rapid turns both with and without stabilizers engaged. Even unstabilized, the yacht only leans a couple of degrees, and the boat will turn in less than two boatlengths. The sea state was fairly calm and I could barely detect the waves of our own wake while circling at high speed. This yacht will handle nicely in a seaway, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it offshore for extended periods.

The flybridge is set farther aft than on many similar designs, which keeps it lower. I didn’t have any trouble seeing the bow, however, and there’s extra room to each side because of the sidedeck overhangs, so visibility while maneuvering in close is no problem. For that matter, I’d probably just take the handheld remote down to the aft cockpit and dock the boat from there. Peter docked it from the flybridge.

On a yacht like this it’s pretty much pointless to measure sound levels. Even up on the flybridge on a windy autumn day, the dBA measurements were in the 70s, barely above normal conversation levels.
The Symbol 60 features a sturdy Portuguese bridge with a comfortable seating area and easy access to the foredeck for anchor and line-handling chores. Aft of the flybridge, the boat deck has a Brower davit that can launch up to a 12-foot tender over the stern or to port. There’s also a built-in BBQ and food prep center to starboard and storage lockers to port. Large seating areas on the flybridge mean that area will be the social center when the weather is nice.Symbol 60 Classic specifications

The demo yacht that I sea-trialed is currently for sale at a list price of a little more than $1.1 million with its beautiful customization and as-new warranties. A brand-new Symbol 60 Classic ordered from the factory in Taiwan would probably run close to $1.7 million.

If you’re in the market for a truly comfortable, seaworthy, liveaboard luxury yacht in the 60-foot range, the Symbol 60 Classic is a remarkable value.

For more information, visit Symbol Yacht Sales, Inc. N.E., and the builder’s site at Symbol Yachts.



Tom Tripp
Tom is the publisher of www.OceanLines.biz, a website about passagemaking boats and information. He is also a contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine who has been at sea aboard everything from a 17-foot homemade wooden fishing boat to a 1,000-foot-long, 96,000-ton, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.