by Bob Wonders
I had my first experience with the Taiwanese-built range of Johnson back in 1990 when a mate of mine, Bill Duggan, then proprietor of Sydney’s Point Piper Marina, discovered the marque at the Miami International Boat Show.
The Johnson 75’ motor yacht gives its 1400hp Caterpillar diesels a workout.
He was so impressed he came home as the Australian agent for the Johnson range.
I had a great time aboard the first Johnson to hit our shores, a quite stunning 50’ convertible powered by the proven 8V-92 TA Detroit Diesels pumping out about 720 shaft horsepower each.
Duggan sold out and left the industry to pursue other interests shortly after and one John Ruston became the official Johnson importer for several years.
One of his primary selling agents at the time was well-known Sydney identity Mike Gaffikin. As the old saying goes, however, nothing stays the same.
John Ruston sold his company to Tony McLeod in a deal put together by Gold Coaster Jim Winchester, of Sun Marine Services, which was the Queensland distributor for the Johnson range.
Sun Marine remains the Queensland ‘house’ of Johnson, while McLeod established Johnson Motor Yachts Australia to market the breed elsewhere.
If the current examples of Johnson yachts can be viewed as typical, then all is rosy in the Johnson garden.
Later this month there’s a new Johnson 75’ due in to the Gold Coast, joining a fabulous duo already in town in the form of a 58’ and a magnificent 87’.
The craftsmanship and finish these vessels boast must be seen to be believed.
Superbly laid teak decks, sumptuous leather upholstery, galleys to suit qualified chefs and staterooms no one would wish to leave are among the many features.
Even the crew quarters aboard these craft could be rated as luxurious.
None are ‘slow coaches’ when it comes to performance, either.
The Johnson 87’ sports a pair of C-32 Caterpillar marine diesels each delivering a ‘thumping’ 1650 horsepower at 2300rpm.
For the Johnson 75’ a pair of 1400hp Caterpillar diesels does the trick, while dual 800hp Caterpillar diesels take care of performance aboard the 58’.
Dining aboard the Johnson 75' is all class.
It’s really the fit out and finish to these superb craft that will leave people impressed.
Extensive use of marble, joinery in mahogany, cherry wood, burr walnut and ivory lacquers, built-in vacuum systems, air-conditioning, plasma television sets ‘scattered’ through staterooms and saloons, Johnson motor yachts seemingly want for nothing.
Other standard features include fire extinguisher systems, Morse electronic engine controls, Hynautic power steering systems, Northern Lights marine gensets, family-sized refrigerators and water makers.
The Johnson 58' shows its style underway.
The imposing Johnson 87’ even has a safe in the master stateroom!
All three of these vessels will be on display at the forthcoming Sanctuary Cove and Sydney International Boat Shows and if I’m any judge they will certainly impress those who take time to inspect.
Needless to say, yachts such as these don’t come cheap; look at spending about $6.5 million for the Johnson 87’ (check the safe in the master stateroom?), around 4.5 million for the Johnson 75’ and a ‘mere’ $1.950,00 for the Johnson 58’ (you’ll even get change from $2 million!).
For further information contact Sun Marine Services, Mariner’s Cove, Gold Coast, telephone (07) 5571-1440.
Luxurious master stateroom aboard the Johnson 58'.