January 28th 2013. By Jeanne Craig.

Cheoy Lee Alpha 76 Flybridge: Put the Sport in Sport Yacht

Although Cheoy Lee is known for its long range motoryachts, with its second sport yacht, the Alpha 76 Flybridge, this builder proves that change can be a good thing.

When Cheoy Lee debuted its sleek and sporty Alpha 76 Express, more than one salt-encrusted eyebrow was raised. After all, Cheoy Lee is best known for the construction of long-range motor yachts and expedition cruisers that are carefully engineered for slow, steady and serious ocean travel. Yet the Alpha Express skillfully carved a unique wake in a crowded field of competitors. Now, on the heels of that model’s success, the Hong-Kong-based builder–a venerable name in recreational and commercial building–debuts the Alpha 76 Flybridge. While the new boat shares many of the same features of the express version, it has a number of distinct features, including a revamped interior, that make it a standout in its class.

Cheoy Lee 76 alpha sport yacht

With a roomy flybridge, this 76 is designed for those who want an upper deck for entertaining as well as for driving. Here, the helm station is protected by a fibreglass hard top. Like the 76 Express, the flybridge version was designed to appeal to an owner/operator. The 76 is based on a moderate-V planing form powered by twin 1,900-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels engines with ZF 350V gearboxes, Aquamet 22 prop shafts and Platzer Marine props.

Cheoy Lee sportyacht

Cheoy Lee has been building boats for 140 years, yet with the Alpha line, the company entered new territory. To create a flybridge model that could run 37 knots at wide-open throttle, the builder partnered with experts in the sport yacht field. It consulted with Gurit/SP-High Modulus–a specialist in high-tech composite construction engineering–on structural design and weight-saving materials. For hull expertise, Cheoy Lee tapped Michael Peters Yacht Design, the award-winning firm with many fast-paced megayachts and sportboats to its credit.

Cheoylee sport yachts

With a beam of 19ft 8ins, the 76 is about 18 inches wider than many boats of similar length. The generous beam makes for a serviceable engine room and roomy accommodation, and aids stability under way, yet Cheoy Lee still puts a high premium on a slippery hull design and weight control to maximise speed and performance. Like all fibreglass models from Cheoy Lee, this one is cored, resin-infused and vacuum-bagged. The hull is finished in durable Awlgrip rather than gel coat.

motoryacht galley

Unlike the Express version, which puts the galley forward of the helm and down in an atrium-style layout, the 76 Flybridge locates the meal-prep area at the aft end of the saloon, where it’s close to the doors leading out to the cockpit. This arrangement makes it easy to serve meals in the cockpit, which is nicely protected by the bridge’s overhang.

dinette at the helm

While the 76 Express has a lower helm station located on centreline, the Flybridge model puts the driver’s seat to starboard. By moving the helm to the right, the builder was able to carve out space for a big, U-shaped dinette to port.

SPD Smartglass light control

Among the Cheoy Lee’s nicest features are the oversized saloon windows that both enhance a dramatic exterior profile and make for a well-lit entertaining area. This isn’t typical glazing, though. Here, Cheoy Lee incorporates SPD-SmartGlass light-control technology. With it, an owner can control the amount of light, glare and heat coming through the windows while preserving the view or maintaining privacy. According to the builder, this 76 is the first large-scale production yacht to make such an extensive use of Smart Glass technology.

guest cabin in the cheoy lee 76

On the Flybridge version, the accommodation level has been reconfigured for three huge suites (each with a queen berth), plus a day head and laundry room. The Express has two suites and a third cabin with bunks.

master stateroom cabin

The full-beam master stateroom showcases the expertise and good eye of Luiz de Basto of Miami, who was brought in to do the interior design on both Alpha models. De Basto is known for his creative use of natural light. In this stateroom, he chose to take advantage of the big windows on both sides of the space, leaving them all completely open for dramatic views. Natural light enhances the high-gloss cabinetry and furniture clad in handsome stitched leather.

76 alpha running

While the Alpha 76 Flybridge has unique features of its own, it’s offered with many of the creature comforts found on the Express, including recessed seating at the bow and a hot tub in the cockpit.

With style, performance, creature comforts and solid construction, the Alpha 76 Flybridge has all the qualities of a cutting-edge performance yacht. With this debut, Cheoy Lee continues to make waves in a new niche. But this is not the last you’ll hear of the Alpha line. According to the builder, two more models are in the works: a 26-metre express and flybridge. Even with its solid and proven reputation in the long-range market, Cheoy Lee appears to be heavily invested in sport yachts.

For more information, contact Cheoy Lee.

-Jeanne Craig

SPECIFICATIONS: LOA: 23.3m (76ft 6ins) • Beam: 6m (19ft 8ins) • Draft: 1.65m (5ft 5ins) • Displacement: 48,534kg (107,000 lbs) • Fuel: 4,012 litres (1,060 gallons)

Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.