Review of The Bering 18 Euro Trawler
Breaking All The Rules
Review by Judy Waldman
Bearing in mind that Bering Yachts has become known for rough, tough, bring-it-on trawlers
that look like they could take on anything the ocean throws at 'em, the new Bering 18 meter
breaks all rules of the stereotypical slugboat 'look' that trawler fans find endearing. To see if
style meets substance, YachtForums Editor Judy Waldman flew from Florida to Antalya, Turkey
to sea trial a trawler set to make big waves in the ripple-speed community.
Alexei Mikhailov spent his formative years in Russia, obtained a masters degree in hydrology, but it was rebuilding an abandoned 136’ crew ship that started his passion for shipbuilding. Shortly thereafter, Alexei moved to North Carolina and it didn’t take long before he built up a successful conglomerate exporting poultry to China and Russia. Plying the local waters and taking on fishing as a serious hobby only sustained his interest in his ultimate dream of early retirement and cruising the world. Initially Alexei wanted to build a passagemaking yacht for himself, but the itch to take on shipbuilding as his mid-life career change took him to his decades-long relationships in China, bringing onboard his friends in the marine industry from Russia. Alexei and his naval architects based the hull form for Bering Yachts on the Norwegian fishing trawlers knowing that seaworthiness and safety needed to be the number one priority in building a proper ship for the owner operated cruising explorer.
Bering Yachts launched their first Bering 55, a classic style trawler, in 2009. In 2010 Mila, another classic Bering 55, began cruising the waters of the Mediterranean (see Bering Yachts - YachtForums.Com). In Alexei’s continued determination to bring quality trawlers to the seafaring market, he veered away from the same-ole, same-ole and had his crew design a contemporary yacht that might appeal to a younger crowd, Europeans, or those looking for a stand-out head-turner, yet still offer the same requisite long-range attributes for safety and comfort at sea.
And what an accomplishment! With the B18, Bering has now created a new genre in the mid-size trawler market. Looking more like an Italian motoryacht, the sleekness of the hull belies the 18’8” beam. Clean lines and contemporary styling are enhanced by the generous use of curves, angles, and an abundance of glass and stainless steel, yet the interior living areas are humongous and it’s easy to forget that this is only an 18 meter boat.
Beauty might be skin deep, but the fortitude is structural throughout the hull. One might mistake this enchanter for a fiberglass yacht, but the gotcha factor is that the B18 is marine A36 steel from top to bottom. Bottom plating and integrated tanks are 8mm, sides are 6mm, the superstructure is 5mm, and flybridge is 4mm -- bring it on! Great visibility is achieved by the almost frameless windows and near floor to ceiling views from most. The windows boast construction of reinforced double glass laminate with a heating film in-between. The combined thickness of the glass is 18mm.
Front row seating on the bow makes an enticing locale for romantic dining, although 4 or 5 can comfortably sit on the oversized viewing pad while feasting at the large hi-lo dining table. For me, this would be prime napping spot, at least until it’s time to drop anchor from the dual Muir 4000 anchor winches.
The generous full walk-around 30” side decks have good overhead coverage and are one level from stern to anchor gear. Additionally, deck level recessed lighting and no toe stubbers make for happy feet. The bulwarks rise higher amidships forward but the robust railing maintains a consistent height of 3 ½ feet. Safety features continue with liberal freeing ports and generous heavy duty bollards and assorted cleats. The spacious aft deck has spectator seating for 6 with large storage bins beneath. The recessed overhead lighting is ready to enhance the dining experience at the yet to be installed tables.
Entering through the double wide-opening 15mm glass weathertight doors, the “wow” factor hits. The milieu is oh so Euro and the contrasting colors defined by the African Rosewood woodwork are striking. Leather couch seating and fold-leaf table are to port; starboard side houses the retractable TV and entertainment system and two matching leather chairs. The “wow” factor really stands out when the salon is viewed with her panoramic windows in full display complemented by the elegance of the lighting and simplicity of style. The spiral staircase, although rather steep for maneuvering in a seaway, artistically and unobtrusively services access to the flybridge. The headroom in the salon is 7’3” which also adds to the dramatic feel of voluminous space. And can you believe all of those magnificent windows are electrically heated? Bring on the icebergs!
The one-level concept continues to the galley and beyond to the pilothouse. The ½” thick oak veneered sole assures for stepless, sure-footedness. As well, the sole in the salon and galley is heated so no cold toesies here. The multiple lighting options include kickboard lighting, direct ceiling, local lights, wall sconces, and my favorite is the lighting over the galley breakfast bar recessed into a wooden soffit that mirrors the musical note shape of the countertop - nice artistic touch to the high-tech galley. The lunch counter/breakfast bar serves as a good prep station or as convenient buffet service. Four barstools sit comfortably for mealtime or pull up the other two and call it a party. A securing mechanism for the barstools would probably come in handy to prevent a flying by the seat of your pants experience in rough water.
The galley offers numerous features, one of which is safety at sea by virtue of the shape and ability to hold on and maneuver simultaneously. Two big windows over the double stainless steel deep sinks with macerator provide distraction for wishing you were outside instead of washing on the inside. The Electrolux 4 burner glasstop stove could use some fiddles but the Siemens oven exhaust is modernistically cool. Epicurean accoutrements include Whirlpool dishwasher, full-size convection-microwave, Scholtes large refrigerator and freezer drawers, trash compactor, and numerous cabinets, cubbies, and drawers. I would have picked on a shortage of long-term provision space for staples and frozen food until I discovered the “back-up galley” below deck.
The pilothouse presents a custom instrument panel incorporating high-end electronics gadgetry with the synchronal bells and whistles. Outstanding viewing for the captain perched upon his Llebroc helm seat from the picture windows while the lookers-on get prime gazing from the large leather settee on the raised dais. Stowage is beneath the settee as well as numerous large cabinets, drawers, a hanging locker, and fiddled bookshelves. The lighting options are augmented with the above the helm red lighting for night passages which is further enhanced by the seclusion of extraneous light with the solid aft bulkhead and the pilothouse door separating the galley. The weathertight doors port and starboard are comfortably large and swing back to allow out-of-the-way easy and if necessary fast access to the decks.
Access forward from the foyer is by way of a wood weathertight door that leads to the master stateroom. The large banks of drawers take care of stowing the nautical duds more than sufficiently. The continuation of lighting options is enhanced by additions of rope lighting and the Japanese screens providing translucent cover and privacy for the four screened opening portlights. The master stateroom centerline bed is flanked with small night tables and houses a large storage cabinet behind the headboard. Stateroom simplicity seeks sublime supine slumber. Strangely, the master is located in the forepeak, again bucking traditional trawler trends. The ensuite master head offers plenty of room including a pretty fantastic shower. The heated floor and towels dryers are repeated in the guest heads as well. The "I can’t get enough of myself mirror" shows the confidence a steel hull provides as there’s no flexing in this big fragile plate of back atya.
The VIP stateroom is portside amidships. This could be used as the master stateroom. The bed is equal in size to the forepeak stateroom as is the storage space with its banks of drawers. Additionally there is a large cedar-lined hanging locker and a huge mirrored vanity that could double as long gun storage. The vertical windows offer a striking view underway. What differentiates this oversized guest stateroom from the master is that it shares an adjoining wall with the 3rd stateroom and doesn’t offer cross-ventilating opening ports, but it’s a mighty fine bedoir that might discourage guests from overstaying their welcome.
This image from the forepeak of the master stateroom shows the curved stairs to the starboard side of the galley leading to an amidships foyer. This pivot point is an improved divergence from the standard narrow companionways that skew off into staterooms. As well, this landing area offers a large sector for separation of master stateroom from the guest cabins, but also serves as a great storage and service platform. It’s a nice treat to find the separate full size Bosch washer and dryer conveniently located close to the staterooms, but finding two separate Frigidaire refrigerators with freezers for the long-haul provisioning is a welcome rarity. Plenty of space for dry-goods storage. The six Cruisaire A/C units are located in this area assuring quiet climate control in each room.
The starboardside third cabin is ideal for the additional short-term visiting couple, children, or grandkids. With upper and lower beds being able to handle the 6’6” fellas and access to an ensuite head with another great shower, this cabin is particularly well suited for crew. While the front entry to the cabin is from the foyer, the aft watertight doorway from the head leads to the engine room, which also makes it convenient for use as an engine room head and, as well, serves as a sound buffer from the engine room.
The engine room looks space-age mechanical with the two Cummins QSB5.9 (225hp) commercial engines recessed with opening grate overlay flooring straddling each side of the Seakeeper R2D2 looking gyro stabilizer. DeAngelo Marine engineered the exhaust system assuring quiet and safe underway comfort. Engine room entry for at-sea checks and servicing can be accessed from the inside by way of the 3rd cabin or in not so following seas from the transom pantographic watertight door from the swim platform down three steps to the engine room where headroom is just under 6’6”.
Flat seas make any comments on the sea trial inconsequential. I asked for a rain-check when there are some 10 footers heading at us. This B18 says B all that you can B – and bring it on, in style. Bering Yacht's use of proven steel shipbuilding techniques has combined the latest mode to come up with the modernistic styling to give a new-age 3,000+ nautical mile can-do blue-water exploration yacht. The B18: Cruise it in comfort, cruise it in style, and most importantly, cruise it anywhere!
Length: 60' (18.08 m)
Beam: 18' 8"
Draft: 5' 4"
Fuel: 2,300 gallons
Speed, Cruise: 8 knots / 10 gallons per hour. (for speed & fuel burn stats, see end of review)
Speed, Max: 9.8 knots / 23 gallons per hour. (for speed & fuel burn stats, see end of review)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312, United States||