With every Outer Reef comes a piece of Jeff Druek. Outer Reef is an innovative powerhouse driven by the evolutionary diligence of its founder and president. Druek, a passionate overachiever, provides much of the day-to-day momentum behind Outer Reef’s success and expanding custom line, which includes this just-launched 70 foot long-range motoryacht.
You’ve heard it before: “I couldn’t find anyone who could build what I wanted,” Druek says. “They couldn’t respond or adapt quickly enough to design or build the features I had in mind, so I decided to build it myself. I took a hard look at the market and developed a trawler concept responsive to custom features from boat to boat.”
While Outer Reef values the traditional handsome profile of a classic seaworthy design, no two Outer Reef yachts are exactly alike, except in their construction and approach to service. Along with every purchase of an Outer Reef comes Druek’s cell phone number, the cell number of the selling broker, service manager and commissioning manager, just in case. Yet the goal is to build vessels that are trouble free, thanks to sturdy materials and stringent construction methods.
Outer Reef’s material of choice is composite. Solid hand-laid laminates and a skin coat of vinylester resin to offer blister resistance are found on the outside. The composite core above the waterline is vacuum-bagged with bidirectional laminates and closed-cell PVC divinycell coring to produce a void-free, light-but-strong structure. The bottom features multiple epoxy barrier coats. Longitudinal and transverse stringers make for a rigid structure. Each model of the Outer Reef line from 58 to 86 feet uses only three major molds with beams of 17 feet, 2 inches; 18 feet, 6 inches and 21 feet. The result is “unitized” construction, boasting strength and rigidity, available in one-foot increments.
The hull remains in the mold throughout the construction process to maintain shape and rigidity, a rare practice among production builders who prefer to keep their mold working. “Outer Reef stresses quality and not quantity,” Druek says. Construction methods are designed to minimize parts, joints and seams. The truss-like structure allows versatility in bulkhead placement, which in turn yields interior-layout flexibility. Propeller pockets recess to help protect the running gear, and a full keel enhances tracking. Craftsmen reinforce the deck with solid laminate according to Druek’s design, which identifies the areas where hardware and equipment need to be deck-fastened.
Most trawlers are hard-chined, semi-displacement pilothouse cruisers. Add full wraparound covered decks, a Portuguese bridge and a covered flybridge, and that covers about 90 percent of the market. What makes the difference, Druek says, is all the rest: comfort, performance, durability, finish, storage and service. That’s the foundation for each Outer Reef yacht, which is then tailored to its owners.
The new 70, Good Times, blends contemporary style with signature trawler traits, such as the simulated planked hull sides and full teak interior. The interior is satin-finished, warm-toned teak. The main salon is open from the aft deck all the way to the pilothouse, unless one pushes a button to raise a bulkhead between the midship galley and the pilothouse. With the bulkhead down, the expansive open layout with plenty of windows creates one socializing space that ties the main salon—with its large L-shaped settee, hi-low table, burled window mullions and dual armchairs—to the area forward. In the up position, the bulkhead isolates the galley for serious food preparation and the pilothouse for nighttime navigation common among East Coast cruisers. The galley features blue pearl granite countertops, and the main salon a wide plank teak floor with holly perimeter inlay. A service bar sits to starboard across from the galley, and the pilothouse features a tall settee and table as an ideal perch for viewing cruising waterways. Along with a panoramic dash array, there is enough room for charts. A Stidd helm seat offer long-passage comfort.
Below is a broad master suite with a full king-size berth backed with shoji screens concealing twin portlights, plus two walk-in closets, a small desk with black absolute granite and an ensuite head featuring tumbled marble and mosaic tile detailing. The forward VIP has an island queen berth with its own head, an abundance of storage and a large opening skylight hatch. The midship stateroom, with its own head, has both a queen and single Pullman berth. While a couple can handle the boat, crew (or guest) quarters astern are more than an afterthought. Accessed directly from the main salon, they feature the same satin teak finish as the rest of the boat and include two staterooms (one with a queen bed for the captain), plus a companionway mini-galley area with refrigerator, sink and microwave. This leads to the engine room, which includes twin CAT C9s at 503 horsepower each with twin Northern Light gensets in soundproof cases, Trace inverters for quiet anchorage without generators, dual 50-amp boost transformers to suit shorepower and an automatic fire-suppression system. Good Times is moderately powered for cruising efficiency and hits a top speed of 16 knots. It cruises day in and day out at 10 to 12 knots with a fuel capacity of 2,600 gallons, which produces a 2,500-mile range at 10 knots and up to 3,500 miles at 8.5 knots. This owner had a few extras in mind, so the builder added five feet to its 65 to create, among others, practical interior access for the crew/guest quarters. On the 70, two sweeping staircases lead the way to the swim platform and the California deck with table and settee, which can be sealed with an EZ2CY clear enclosure to create a protected and panoramic living area—a natural extension to the salon. A stylish composite hardtop protects the flybridge deck. The expansive standard hardtop shelters an extensive dash with complete controls, Stidd seating, a spacious settee, grill, sink, icemaker, refrigerator, dual hi-low tables and enough room for a 22-foot tender (Good Times’ owner opted for a smaller 14-footer).
This owner also wanted a beefed-up 1,800-gallon a-day watermaker and oversized stabilizers. He cruises with a chef and stewardess and, while he is from Australia, he spends most of his time on board in Florida, the Bahamas and Bermuda where the boat is often operated short-handed. For that he installed hydraulic bow- and stern-thrusters and five remote-control stations located in the wheelhouse, flybridge, foredeck, aft deck and boat deck. A cruising couple can easily handle the 70, which features high freeboard with substantial bulwarks capped with stainless-steel handrails, extra boarding gates, eight stainless hawse pipe cleats to facilitate line handling, heavy rub and spray rails, and spacious walkaround decks for extended cruising.
Some buyers have requested Kevlar-reinforced bows, special tanks, safety features or super-heavy lift cranes. No builder can anticipate every owner’s taste, but Druek comes close, and he’s proud of the business model that makes it possible. “I have no dealer network; all my offices in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe are staffed by Outer Reef employees and sales representatives,” Druek says. “I listen to our customers and the voices in my market and make over 100 changes each year to the line.” He will pull open his laptop and make changes on the spot. That kind of response is not surprising for the relentless “can-do” Druek.
He built his first boat at the age of 13 on Eastern Long Island and then put it to work as a commercial baymen, his first business venture. He bought several small boats, did a stint in the Merchant Marines and returned to start a construction company that grew to more than 130 employees building luxury homes in the Hamptons. He built his first 60-foot trawler around 1994 in Taiwan, and it was during the construction of a 75-footer (his last of four) that he realized he could structure a company to build more efficiently, and with his “elite” Hampton sense of finish could standardize a better quality. “I made over 170 changes to that first design from the beginning of the tooling to the first completed yacht,” Druek says, “from moving outlets to swapping out fuel tanks that are now all aircraft-grade aluminum.”
His own designer and draftsman, Druek stepped 100 percent into boatbuilding when he launched Outer Reef Yachts in 2002, building boats at the fourth-generation Tania Yacht Company in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, under the direction of General Manager Karl Lin and Lead Engineer Chaucer Chen. He now makes a dozen trips a year to the yard. A full-time American yard manager is in charge of project management and quality control. The company’s commissioning manager, based in the Fort Lauderdale office, joins in toward the end of each build to pre-commission the yachts while they are still at the shipyard. The goal is for the yacht to arrive with the tender chocked, electronics and A/V installed and the artwork on the walls. So commissioning time is minimal and, ideally, by the time the boat is delivered, all that is left to do is wash and wax, do customer orientation and cruise off into the sunset.
Outer Reef is building its own pedigree with an expanding line that anticipates and reacts to customer input. The company considers owners its greatest resource for innovation and it is reflected in a growing line. Outer Reef’s models appeal to all sailor types, from short-handed cruising couples, single handlers, coastal cruisers, long-distance explorers and adventuring families toting grandkids. Due to Outer Reef’s expansive international network, almost half of the yachts are sold elsewhere than in the United States. Recently, the company turned to renowned yacht designer Ken Freivokh (of Maltese Falcon’s fame) to create interiors appealing to the international yachting set. Like the yachts themselves, Druek has designed his company to go the distance.
For more information, visit outerreefyachts.com