Tony Fleming builds this 75-footer as a comfortable,
reliable ride for cruising couples
By Jay Coyle
August 2002 Yachting
In the big business of boating.
Tony Fleming is, in a sense, retro. He is neither a corporate
climber nor an entrepreneur seeking a new challenge. He is
a boatbuilder, and it shows in his boats. Each is a purposeful
design and a refinement of the last, and each new Fleming
75 should be no different.
Fleming has delivered 126 55-footers
since 1 tested that model in 1495. Loyal customers of his
first design have been pressing for a larger one that will
allow them to continue their lifestyle on the water.
"Our customers tend to be experienced
cruising couples who run their boat themselves," Fleming said.
"This sort of cruising requires comfort and reliability."
The Fleming 75 is designed to reach
that audience, with classic lines that can be traced back
to the earliest days of America's trawler yacht craze and
that are as satisfying now as they were then. While this is
not an unfamiliar theme, Fleming's boats differ in their details.
I here isn't a system on the 75 lie hasn't tweaked, and most
incorporate unique features developed during his 40-year obsession
A good example is Fleming's commitment
to noise and vibration attenuation. The 75's drive line incorporates
an Aquadrive system that functions as a thrust bearing, transmitting
thrust directly to the hull structure. The connection to the
gearbox is through a constant velocity joint. This minimizess
alignment problems and lets the engine float on a resilient
The Aquadrive units cost $38,000,
and Fleming insists the investment is worth it. I can understand
why. Coupled with a generous application of lead foam insulation,
the units help make the 75 one of the quietest rides on the
water. I recorded just 69 decibels in the pilothouse at maximum
On modern yachts, access to machinery
and systems is too often an afterthought. This is not the
case on the 75. Her 20-foot-long engineroom made our test
boat's pair of 1,400 hp Caterpillar 3412s look a tad small.
Engines and generators draw and return fuel to two 1,250-gallon
tanks along the forward engineroom bulkhead. A pair of 250-gallon
auxiliary tanks re-supply the mains by gravity feed or a transfer
pump, with an in-line filter and flow counter. Two 27.5kW
Onan generators with sound shields are standard, however,
those cruising the tropics will want the optional pair of
32kW Northern Lights units fitted with custom sound shields.
The 75 has a handlaid, solid fiberglass
hull that's 2 inches thick on the bottom and 1 '/n inches
thick on the topsides. A network of fiberglass/foam web frames,
plywood bulkheads and full-length box section fiberglass stringers
supports the hull. The deep keel sections are foam-filled
and fiberglass-sealed. Balsa-coring stiffens the superstructure
and decks. The hull-deck joint is bonded, mechanically fastened
and fiberglassed internally. A vinylester skin coat is used
below the waterline. The gel-coat finish is excellent.
The 75's deck space is not compromised
for interior volume. The flying bridge is expansive, with
companion seating and a pop-up electronics console at the
helm. The lounge area has a wet bar, a fridge and a grill.
An extended hardtop can cover the
lounge area, although there is a second lounge below, on the
shaded portion of the afterdeck. The boat deck can accommodate
a 15-foot tender.
Those fond of the 55's rich, satin-finished
teak interior will find more of the same aboard the 75. The
layout is casual. The main deck has an open arrangement with
an L.-settee, a table and two chairs. Galley counters are
finished in granite, and an adjacent dining area seats six.
Refrigeration is 110-volt AC, and two 4,000-watt inverters,
with the house batteries, can keep things cold without running
Owner and guest accommodations
are forward of the engineroom, accessible from the pilothouse
in the standard layout. Our test boat also had direct access
to the master stateroom from the saloon. The master has a
king berth, a desk/vanity and a head with whirlpool bath.
Each of the two guest staterooms has a private head with separate
The side deck engineroom access
also leads to a crew/guest stateroom with two berths and an
enclosed head. The space is finished to the same standard
as the rest of the yacht.
The raised pilothouse's L-settee
and table provide a delightful perch. The helm is sliiplike
in design, and a day head and flying bridge access are a few
steps away. Experienced cruising couples will have no problem
handling the 75 in close quarters, as visibility and deck
access from the pilothouse and flying bridge are excellent.
Wide side decks lead from tlie
cockpit and afterdeck forward to the Portuguese bridge and
foredeck. Our test boat had a remote station with throttle
and thruster controls aft on the boat deck, and one hidden
cleverly in a fold-down console in the cockpit. I would prefer
the plug-in control unit offered on the Portuguese bridge,
which would allow the captain full view of the side decks.
The line handler will appreciate the warping winches in the
cockpit and the capstan on the bow.
The 75 has a semi-displacement
hull, which Fleming prefers. "While full-displacement hulls
may be suited for those who dream of wandering the oceans,
they are a compromise when pressed into more conventional
service," he said.
I agree. The 75 can chug along
earning mileage points, or she can sprint. Our test boat's
pair of 1,400 hp Caterpillar 3412s burned 24 gallons per hour
at 9.6 knots, and a bit less than 100 gallons per hour at
20 knots, according to the Caterpillar electronics. Such versatility
The optional 800 hp Caterpillar
3406Es trim the 75's potential by 6 knots, Fleming said.
Ready to cruise with 1,400 hp Caterpillars,
the l-'leming 75 is about $3.4 million. This is a premium
price, and the 75 is worth it. I here isn't an inch of her
length Fleming hasn't fiddled with in search of perfection.