News & Events
My yachtbuilder pal Mike sent me an article on interior yacht design with a note attached. “Must be hard to write this stuff,” he commented. “It just seems either insincere or delusional.” I suspected, though, that it was not the writer’s style but instead the article’s content that got Mike’s attention: the notion of using a pile of pebbles as the inspiration for a boat’s design.
Mike and I are products of the generation that believed form should follow function and that boats should be more than an experiment in modern art. Mike built his brand around solid design. While each boat he’s built is unique, all had salt water in their DNA. Curated branding and proven design benefited everyone.
Traditionally, yacht designers abided by an unspoken Hippocratic oath of sorts. They had a free hand to fiddle with the future, but first, they needed to do no harm. Performance and safety were paramount. It was a time when beds were berths, and they were measured by length and width, not diameter. Kitchens were galleys and had no islands. Sky lounges were bridges, and bathrooms were heads that had separate showers, not cramped acrylic capsules.
The thinking changed in the 1980s with the invention of yacht-designer practitioners. These visionaries were not inspired by experience at sea or bound by reality. For me, change arrived with a phone call from a high-end interior-design firm. Its best client—a name-brand multinational—had asked for something a bit different. Instead of another boring skyscraper, it wanted a 150-foot yacht. I would provide the boring stuff (reality), and my new partner would add the razzle-dazzle.
When we faced off with the executive team, I performed my usual routine, focusing on performance and utility. I overlooked the fact that the Italian helicopter they’d spec’d needed another 50 feet of yacht. I figured we’d get to it later. My new partner headlined the presentation with slick illustrations and lofty design-speak. Organic solutions. Naturally flowing forms. Spatial relationships. It was all part of a new language to me. While a precipitous low in the company’s stock soured the deal, the effort was an education. I needed help with the new lingo.
My late pal Ted Black was just the man. Ted was a graduate of Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. He had worked with design icon Donald Deskey, the designer of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and helped pen the iconic bull for the Merrill Lynch logo. In the early 1980s, Ted managed design at Page Avjet, where he turned 747s into flying palaces for heads of state.
Mike had drawn on Ted’s genius as well. Ted taught us the lingo and much more. While he might not have been able to squeeze inspiration for a yacht from a pile of pebbles, he did apply innovative thinking in transportation design that made sense at sea.
Finding design inspiration far from the water is OK, but it’s wise to remember that yachts don’t have seat belts. Remember: Do no harm.
Cantiere Delle Marche in Italy has released the first set of photos of the Darwin 102 Archipelago, which the yard launched in June 2019.
Archipelago is the fifth Darwin 102 that Cantiere Delle Marche has built. The design is by Sergio Cutolo at Hydro Tec, with interiors by Francesco Guida. The shipyard’s interior department worked with the owner’s wife on materials, fabrics, loose furniture, lamps and more.
On board Archipelago are five guest staterooms, including an owner’s stateroom on the main deck forward. There are quarters for six crew.
Power is a pair of 670-horsepower Caterpillar C18 Acert engines that, according to the shipyard, provide a top speed of 13 knots and a cruising speed of 11.5 knots.
What is Archipelago‘s range? According to Cantiere Delle Marche, the yacht has a range of 4,700 nautical miles at 9.5 knots.
Take the next step: go to www.cantieredellemarche.it/
Van Der Valk in the Netherlands has unveiled a 30-Meter Explorer concept.
Guido de Groot designed the 98-foot yacht, which has a fast-displacement hull, a beach club, a hydraulic transom platform and a full-beam master stateroom.
Van Der Valk says the design also incorporates enough interior elbowroom for voyages longer than a day or two.
“As you would expect from a boat designed for taking the whole family or groups of close friends on long adventures at sea, there is a considerable amount of interior volume available, including exceptionally high ceilings,” the shipyard stated in a press release.
Is the 30-Meter Explorer a raised-pilothouse design? Indeed, it is.
For more information, visit: vandervalkshipyard.com
U Safe buoys are the first self-propelled, ring-type lifesaving device. U Safe buoys employ dual turbines (think of PWC drives), which are enclosed within each of the hull’s two legs. The turbines can propel the buoys at almost 8 knots.
The U Safe buoys are operated using waterproof (IP68) and buoyant joystick remote controls, delivering line-of-sight range via radio-frequency signals. A U Safe Buoy can retrieve a man overboard at speeds pushing 3 knots, or it can rescue two MOBs at a slower pace.
While the buoys look simple, Nick Bice—U Safe’s commercial director and a veteran of two round-the-world Volvo Ocean Races—says the crux of creating the buoy involved figuring out the right technologies and software. “Every component is custom-made, including the printed circuit boards, batteries and remotes,” he says, adding that the buoy’s real magic is its ability to be controlled by someone with little or no training.
As of this writing, U Safe buoys require a human interface; however, that won’t always be true. “For the future, we’re looking at options which include integration with both AIS and personal locator beacons,” Bice says, suggesting that GPS could also become part of U Safe’s ecosystem.
How It Works
- U Safe buoys are controlled from the boat via a handheld steering device.
- The buoys run on lithium-ion batteries that deliver 30 minutes of remote-controlled operation and are designed to facilitate multiple rescues between top-offs. Recharge time is four hours.
- U Safe buoys weigh 29 pounds, measure 39-by-31-by-8 inches and have four outward-facing handgrips.
Take the next step: usafe-global.com
Camper & Nicholsons International is promoting this 139-foot Explorer Ice Class yacht, which Arkin Pruva in Turkey wants to build. The design is by Karatas Yacht Design Explorer, which penned the yacht with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure.
Features include glass panels along the main and upper decks for unencumbered views of the outdoors, custom interior styling to suit the owner’s wishes, a gymnasium, an on-deck hot tub and a beach club. An infinity-edge aft deck pool is an option, if owners don’t want to use the space to stow tenders and toys.
Accommodations are for 12 guests in six staterooms, two of which are configured as masters (one on the main deck, and one on the upper deck). The remaining four guest staterooms are belowdecks.
Far forward at the bow are a forward-facing bench seat and a table, for hors d’oeuvres or cocktails with a view ahead. More guest relaxation areas are on the flybridge, which has a dining area, a bar and a hot tub.
How far can the Explorer Ice Class go? She is expected to have a 14-knot top speed and a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 9 knots.
For more information, visit: camperandnicholsons.com
Damen Yachting in the Netherlands has launched La Datcha, a 252-foot SeaXplorer that is expected to be delivered by the end of this summer.
La Datcha is also expected to be displayed at the first Amels and Damen Yachting Private View Event, which is scheduled for September. She will be the second delivery in the Damen Yachting SeaXplorer range.
The owner of La Datcha intends to use her for heli-skiing in Russia (she has an ice-breaking hull) and scuba diving off Papua New Guinea. The yacht has a dual helicopter setup with a primary helideck as well as a standby deck for a second helicopter. A belowdecks hangar can protect both helicopters from the elements.
Accommodations are for 12 guests. Amenities include a beach club with a sauna, steam room, massage room and gymnasium.
Some 25 crew will be on board to operate what Damen calls an “extensive collection of toys, aircraft, tenders and equipment.”
Is La Datcha available for charter? Yes. She’s expected to be in the Mediterranean this October before heading to the Indian Ocean for winter 2020-21.
For more information, visit: damenyachting.com
Simrad has updated the software for its NSO, NSS and GO series multifunction displays.
The 20.0 update includes features such as C-Map Embark passage planner sync, NMEA 2000 update capability for Mercury VesselView Link, and Naviop performance improvements.
C-Map Embark passage planner synchronization lets boaters sync user-created data such as routes, waypoints and tracks between C-Map Embark and their multifunction displays. Boaters and anglers can use C-Map Embark to plan upcoming trips on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Previously, Naviop information was accessed on a web browser running on Simrad displays. With this upgrade, Naviop runs natively and is directly accessible via a Naviop button on the home screen (or as part of a split screen).
VesselView Link has traditionally been updated via an SD card, making it difficult to perform an update if it is installed in a hard-to-access location. Now, VesselView Link software updates can be run from a display over an NMEA 2000 network.
In addition, the update gives Simrad users control of accessories that were not previously compatible with the multifunction displays. For users of Simrad NSO evo2, evo3 and NSS evo3, the FLIR M232 pan and tilt camera can now be viewed and controlled from the display. There’s also compatibility with the WM-4 Marine Satellite Receiver.
For users of Simrad GO series displays, a new app instrument page can be horizontal, vertical or split screen. The upgrade also allows users to control compatible Power-Pole anchors, and enables support for as many as six Mercury engines.
“We are very excited to offer our Simrad customers this enhanced functionality,” Knut Frostad, CEO of Navico, stated in a press release. “We are not only constantly working on adding new features, but also making the features we have faster, more streamlined and easier to use.”
For more information, visit: simrad-yachting.com
In the early 1950s, a young man enthralled with his father’s boatbuilding company took over the family business. As sometimes happens when new generations step in, he wasn’t content to do the same thing his father, or his grandfather, had done. Strong ambition persuaded him to design and build pleasure boats, as opposed to the racing and commercial boats of the shipyard’s past. What’s more, he continuously wanted to outdo himself, focusing on creating motoryachts that were more than boats, as well as status symbols.
While the young Carlo Riva succeeded in all of this after taking the helm of Riva, there’s perhaps no better example of his driving ambition than the period from the mid-1960s into the 1970s, when he launched three limited series of motoryachts.
Not only were their steel hulls a marked change from the glistening mahogany of their sisterships, they were also far larger. The Atlantic series, at 88 feet, and the Caravelle series, at 74 feet, were astoundingly large for their eras. Between their style and the fact that they were faster than many other yachts at the time, they helped Riva find several clients.
More than 50 years later, the spirit of these series lives on with the Riva 50-Meter. It’s the first model in the Riva Superyachts Division and the second Riva constructed entirely of aluminum. At 160 feet, 9 inches length overall, she’s larger than any previous launch from the boatbuilder, but she upholds many of the same principles her predecessors established.
“She is full of personality, exactly like any other Riva yacht,” says Sergio Beretta, CEO and co-founder of Officina Italiana Design, the studio responsible for every modern-era Riva. “It is essentially a true connoisseur’s boat. In a nutshell, it is chic, and that is the whole logic behind it.”
Mauro Micheli, chief designer and co-founder of Officina Italiana Design, agrees. “It is certainly a boat with a very different character to its siblings” because of the LOA and four decks, he explains, “but references to Riva’s signature styling are a constant.”
That styling is well-known and detailed. For instance, Hull No. 1, Race, shows off varnished mahogany and stainless-steel handrails, complementing the metallic painted surfaces. Even the yacht’s wing stations have these handrail details. The richness of the high-gloss wood serves as a reminder that “artisanal craftsmanship is at the very core of each project,” Micheli asserts. “The handrails are the fil rouge [French for common thread] of the yacht.”
Further to the styling’s influences, Micheli mentions the Caravelle line, conceived in 1964. Its uncluttered, simple elegance inspired the team working on the 50-Meter. Though more angular than today’s yachts, the Caravelle had long lines and a proud bow—two timeless characteristics.
“They are the kind of lines that don’t necessarily set out to dazzle but still capture attention with their sheer simplicity,” Micheli says.
For the Riva 50-Meter, the studio focused on classic yet sleek lines. “Race has a great personality,” he says. “She has three straight lines that define each level. The design is clean. We refuse overworked, elaborate and redundant lines.”
Amid these lines are some of the owner’s particular requests. “He wanted lots of light and to enjoy the external panoramas,” Micheli says. While every Riva—indeed, every large yacht—these days incorporates large glass ports, Race’s owner felt it was especially important for the 50-Meter to have them, notably along the main and upper decks. Additionally, in an interesting twist on an indoor-outdoor area, the covered alfresco dining area aft on the upper deck has slide-open glass to each side.
In terms of the open alfresco areas, meanwhile, the owner wanted a front-row seat for when he was approaching shorelines. This explains why Race has cozy seating and viewing spots at the bow and up on the sun deck. Yet another request outside, for similar reasons: a walk-around hot tub and sun pads aft on the upper deck. The owner envisioned standing back here as Race entered a marina and tied up stern-to.
Inside is a relatively customary arrangement, with accommodations for 10 to 12 guests in five staterooms: a main-deck master and four guest staterooms below. However, the owner did request that the galley go belowdecks, with a dumbwaiter connecting it to each of the upper levels. The relocation of the galley permitted more room for the master stateroom.
With Hull No. 2 in the 50-Meter series under construction, Riva is poised to make its mark in the superyacht sector. Larger models are coming too, with the biggest being the 90-Meter (295 feet).
And while Carlo Riva didn’t live to see the 50-Meter launch, having died at age 95 in 2017, there’s no doubt he’d be proud. “The first time that engineer Carlo Riva saw the renderings of the first Riva 50-Meter mega-yacht, he said, ‘I’d like to try and cruise on her,’” Micheli recalls.
Perhaps the once-determined heir to the family business is doing that in spirit.
Take the next step: riva-yacht.com
At some point, nearly all visitors to Montserrat visit Hilltop Cafe and Family Centre and meet owner David Lea. “We’re going to change the sign to say ‘welcome center’ because people come here to learn everything they want to know about the island,” Lea says. A 360-degree spin in Lea’s coffeehouse/museum/art gallery/community center provides an engaging glimpse of the island’s past and present.
Most perceptions of Montserrat are stuck in the past—specifically, 1995, when the cataclysmic Soufrière Hills volcano eruption began. As an amateur videographer who hosted his own television series, Caribbean Crossroads, Lea chronicled the eruption and aftermath and compiled his footage into a documentary called The Price of Paradise.
Visitors can watch the film at Hilltop, but Lea also enthusiastically educates guests about Montserrat through his multitude of more upbeat mementos. Works by local artists (including Lea’s wife, Clover) adorn the walls. And photos and albums memorialize Air Studios, where music A-listers recorded 76 albums and which epitomized Montserrat at its full glory.
What inspired your collection of mementos? I hated for things to get buried. I’d bring signs or other things home whenever I’d go out. I didn’t realize how much stuff I’d collected.
What do you want people to know about Montserrat today? It has been 10 years since we’ve had any seismic activity. In that time, people have rebuilt in the northern part of the island. Where we live used to be considered the country—now we’re in the middle of everything.
What do you like most about Montserrat? The island’s motto until a few years ago was, “The way the Caribbean used to be.” It is. People are still friendly. There’s very little crime. Everyone gets along well. We retain that; I hope people come [and] experience that.
David’s Must-Do List on Montserrat
The People’s Place (Fogarty Hill): Owner John Fergus is like the mayor of Montserrat. He serves goat water [a stew] and other local dishes.
Olveston House (Salem): This refined restaurant and inn was legendary “fifth Beatle” Sir George Martin’s home. Look for the Beatles pictures taken by Linda McCartney.
Woodlands Beach: It has showers, changing rooms and privacy. If you go during the week, youll usually be alone.
Montserrat Island Tours: Our son Sunny grew up here and leads incredible tours.
Mazu Yachts in Turkey has delivered Hull No.1 of its flagship 82-footer.
The Mazu 82 is powered with triple 1,000 hp Volvo Penta IPS1350 diesels, which provide a 40-knot top-end speed and a 33-knot cruise speed, according to the builder. Mazu also reports about a 400-nautical-mile range at cruise speed.
The yacht’s sporty performance is aided, in part, to its carbon-composite sandwich construction, which helps keep the yacht’s displacement at around 110,000 pounds. The Mazu 82 also has a deep-V hull form with 19 degrees deadrise at the transom and 28 degrees at the bow.
“The hull lines of the new Mazu 82 were designed in-house to provide a perfect balance between top speed, seakeeping capability and fuel efficiency,” said Halit Yukay, lead designer and CEO of Mazu Yachts in a statement.
The Mazu 82′s profile is sinewy and linear creating sharp, well-defined lines. Cut-down bulwarks amidships enable ocean vistas from the salon. Hull-side glass helps bring in light and those salty views to the three staterooms belowdecks as well. The glass superstructure enables nearly 360-degree views from the helm and salon. The builder says the windshield is tempered and laminated, and “bulletproof.”
One of the Mazu 82′s custom features for this owner is “terraced steps” from the cockpit to the swim platform. The design allowed for a mini-mezzanine just above the swim platform, creating a place for cocktails after a swim or for keeping an eye on the kids when they’re in the water.
According to Mazu, the owner has taken delivery and is currently cruising his yacht, and he is even planning on using it as a floating office this winter.
For more information, visit: mazuyachts.com
By some estimates, three-quarters of the world’s charter business takes place every summer in the Mediterranean. And the stretch of coastline known as the West Med, including the French and Italian rivieras, continues to be the most popular region within this most popular place.
The beauty of the West Med is that it changes constantly—and yet not at all. Many of the towns and buildings have stood for centuries but have evolved, say, from family chateaus into public museums. The Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix continue to be the season’s kickoff events each May, but they lure increasingly impressive superyachts and A-list stars.
Antibes, France, is often used as the starting point for charters, thanks to the nearby airport at Nice and all of the yacht services nearby. From Antibes, itineraries can either hug the coastline or head out to islands including Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Multiweek charters can do both, combining the shopping and high-society fineries of St. Tropez, France, with the sunset views that turn mountains in the distance purple when they’re viewed from Calvi.
High season in the West Med—July and August—comes with premium pricing, and some yacht owners insist on bookings of two weeks or longer. If clients want a buzz-worthy yacht, then it’s wise to book six months or even a year in advance. After all, one of the best ways to experience something unique in a classic destination is to be aboard a new yacht.
When Azimut Yachts in Italy wanted to create a weekender for American boaters, it teamed up with Florida-based Michael Peters Yacht Design, long known for its work on high-speed vessels.
The result is the Verve 47, a sistership that adds space compared with the Verve 40 and that, reportedly, can hit 45 knots thanks to quadruple outboard engines.
Another key idea during the Verve 47′s design phase was making the skipper’s connection to the sea as complete as possible. That’s why the pilothouse windscreen is designed as you can see it in the photograph below: It not only allows for 360-degree views with few structural interruptions in the sightlines, but it also protects against wind and spray while still allowing fresh air to flow through.
Belowdecks are two staterooms and one head, ideal for a weekend getaway with the family or another couple.
Take the next step: azimutyachts.it
This content is also featured on our Princess Passport. To return or learn more, visit: The Princess Passport
Princess Yachts in the United Kingdom is planning a live Facebook launch for the new Princess X95 on July 27.
The online event is expected to last for a few hours with a tour of the yacht, inside and out. Speakers will include Princess Yachts’ executive board members, who will discuss different areas of the yacht’s development—everything from design and development to manufacturing.
The Princess X95 is the first model in the builder’s new X Class. The yacht has large, adaptable spaces that are designed to give owners a flexible onboard lifestyle. The interior can be used for privacy or parties, and the flybridge and main deck interiors span nearly the yacht’s full length.
Princess says this design approach creates a “super flybridge,” and that the layout provides 10 percent more outdoor space and 40 percent more indoor space than owners would have aboard a traditional motoryacht of the same length.
The X95 has a wave-piercing hull design from naval architect Bernard Olesinski. The builder says it increases overall efficiency by 15 percent when compared to a traditional monohull form. Powered with twin 1,900 hp MAN V-12 diesels, the yacht had a top-end speed of 23-plus knots during initial sea trials off Plymouth, England, according to the builder. Princess worked with Italian design firm Pininfarina on the vessel’s styling. The X95 can be set up with four or five staterooms, with a full-beam amidships master belowdecks or with a full-beam main-deck master.
Where to tune in for the Princess Yachts X95 launch: go to the builder’s Facebook page at facebook.com/princessyachts
For more information, visit: princessyachts.com
Ocean Alexander is planning for the debuts of three models at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this autumn: the 36 Legend, 32 Legend and 27 Explorer.
The 36 Legend, at about 118 feet length overall, will be the new flagship in Ocean Alexander’s Legend series. Hull No. 1 is going to an existing Ocean Alexander owner and is expected to be delivered in July. Hull No. 2 is expected to premiere in Fort Lauderdale with a five-stateroom layout and an oversized swim platform.
The 32 Legend will be about 105 feet length overall, coming six years after the debut of the Ocean Alexander 100 motoryacht (of which 20 hulls were delivered). The 32L retains the 100′s traditional lines and bow shape, but adds styling updates and technological innovations from designer Evan K. Marshall. There’s a more expansive use of glass, lowered bulwarks to allow more natural light inside, and a reconfigured main-deck master stateroom.
“We had a daunting task to elevate an incredible performer in this yacht segment, and all hands were on deck to execute it perfectly,” Richard Allender of Ocean Alexander stated in a press release. “I feel we have created a yacht that will exceed expectations and reach a broader audience.”
The 27 Explorer is the first model in Ocean Alexander’s Explorer Series. With a length overall of about 88 feet, the 27E is intended to expand on the builder’s Revolution series by adding exterior amenities including an aft deck with more than 225 square feet of space.
How big are the yachts that Ocean Alexander builds?
The company offers models from 45 to 120 feet length overall.
Take the next step: oceanalexander.com
She’s not the biggest all-carbon sport-fisher that Yachting Developments has built—that title remains with the 130-foot Lanakai the yard delivered in late 2018—but the new girl to come out of the yard in Auckland, New Zealand, is no slouch in terms of length.
Her name is Al Duhail. At 109 feet, she’s the yard’s second all-carbon sport-fisher. As you read this, she’s expected to have been delivered to her owner in time for the fishing season in the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean.
The concept is “basically a global fishing boat,” says Ian Cook, managing director at Yachting Concepts. “You can go for extended, long periods and get in good fishing, as well as good cruising.”
The carbon construction, he says, helps to keep weight down, allowing for more fuel to be carried (and fishing range to be extended) without going overboard on displacement. The team isn’t releasing exact nautical miles yet, but they are talking about speed. Al Duhail’s twin 2,000 hp MTU V-16 2000 M96L engines are expected to get her to a 30-knot top end, with a 20-knot cruise.
Warwick Yacht Design, also in New Zealand, worked with the shipyard on interiors, exteriors and naval architecture. The two teams had worked together before, including on the 100-foot Quintessential, a partnership that apparently put Al Duhail’s owner at ease. “He gave us a pretty free run at what we wanted to do,” Cook says. “The team here had quite a big say in the way the systems all went together.”
Inside Al Duhail are five staterooms, all belowdecks, with the owner’s space amidships (the owner, an experienced cruiser, wanted to be in the most stable part of the boat).The decor, Cook says, is calming. “It’s an oak interior with a soft-tone palette, some blues and some creams,” he says. “It’s minimalistic.”
And while they’re not shown in the photograph on the previous page, two fighting chairs have been installed in Al Duhail’s cockpit, which also has tuna tubes, baitwells and ice makers sized to ensure the catch is kept cool.
Looking ahead, Cook says, Yachting Developments is shifting gears to thinking about America’s Cup festivities, which will happen in Auckland in March 2021. The yard is building a 30-foot foiling monohull that will be raced in the Youth America’s Cup. “It will be the prototype for what will be five or six boats used in the event,” Cook says.
Azimut Yachts in Italy says plans for its Magellano 30 Metri—an upcoming new flagship in the Magellano line—are “currently taking shape.”
The yacht, which is expected to be about 98 feet length overall, will supersede the Magellano 25 Metri that is the current flagship in the Magellano line. The 25 is expected to launch in the next few weeks, according to the builder.
Details about the Magellano 30 Metri are sparse. She is expected to be a navetta, which Azimut says is a contemporary take on the traditional trawler. Her lines will be similar to those of her sisterships, with designer Ken Freivokh handling the design.
The yacht also will have Azimut’s Dual Mode hull, which works at displacement as well as higher speeds.
When did Azimut launch the Magellano line of yachts?
In 2009. It’s one of several lines that Azimut offers, including the Atlantis, Flybridge, S and Grande collections.
Take the next step: Visit azimutyachts.com
Yachting is an amazingly safe activity, and statistically speaking, you’re far more likely to get injured in your home or car than you are on your boat. Add to that the stress relief and relaxation that goes hand in hand with being afloat, and it’s easy to see how enjoying the yachting lifestyle can help you live a longer, happier life.
But this hasn’t become the case by chance. The inherent dangers of leaving land behind have always been cause for paying strict attention to safety measures, and everything from US Coast Guard regulations to boater-safety courses to modern technology has contributed to making our time on the water far safer than it once was.
And yet, of all the dangers that might occur, fire is one of the scariest.
Truth be told, boat fires resulting in injury or fatalities are extremely rare. According to the latest Coast Guard statistics, only four deaths and 49 injuries were caused by fires in 2018. However, the high amount of property damage resulting from the related accidents (more than $13 million, making fire second only to collisions in cost) also provides some insight into why fires aboard are so frightening. They tend to be incredibly destructive.
All of which begs the question: Just how prepared are you and your yacht in case of fire?
Fire by Wire
Setting aside boat fires caused by outside sources (more than a quarter of boat fires result from a blaze at a marina or storage facility, as opposed to an issue with the vessel itself), BoatU.S. marine insurance files show that 52 percent of all fires resulting in a claim are caused by some form of electrical issue. Most of these problems occur in the engine room, where heat, high-amperage loads, flammable fuel or lubrication leaks can contribute to a problem.
Thus, one of the best ways to prevent a fire is by doing regular maintenance inspections of your boat’s electrical system. Check out connections, and make sure they’re clean and tight. Look for loose or sagging wires and wire harnesses that may be susceptible to chafing. Search for signs of wear in wires and your shore-power cord (another notable source of electrical fires).
At the same time, keep the engine room clean and free of flammable-liquid spills, and inspect fuel lines and connections for leaks that can quickly turn a flare-up into a full-blown disaster.
Beat the Heat
Another substantial contributor to fires aboard is also located in the engine room: the powerplants. In most cases, the root cause is cooling- or exhaust-system problems overheating the engines. But there’s usually a secondary contributor as well—a rag or wire touching an exhaust elbow, for example, and then bursting into flame or melting when the system overheats. Again, regular maintenance is the best prevention because as long as your yacht’s cooling and exhaust systems are operating properly, the chances of them causing a fire are exceedingly low.
The remaining causes of fires aboard are diverse and account for a very low percentage of accidents. “Alcohol stoves used to be a big problem, but we see fewer and fewer these days,” says BoatU.S. Foundation president Chris Edmonston. “Today, people cook outdoors or with a microwave much more often.”
Edmonston credits National Marine Manufacturers Association certification standards and generally improved quality in boats and yachts across the board with reducing fire dangers in general. Still, fires can start in countless ways. Treat the galley just as you would your kitchen, he says, and the staterooms just as you would your bedroom.
There is, however, one big difference between home fires and boat fires: the presence of smoke detectors.
“Early detection is critical when looking at a boat from a fire-safety standpoint, and it’s often lacking on boats,” says John McDevitt, a former deputy fire chief who holds a US Coast Guard 100-ton license and chairs the National Fire Protection Association 302 standard for watercraft.
“Some people knock the use of smoke detectors because they aren’t necessarily marine equipment, but smoke detectors should be in each accommodation space, the engine room and at the helm,” he says, adding that he has wirelessly connected radio-frequency smoke alarms on his own boat. When one goes off, they all do, so no matter where he might be on the boat, he’s alerted.
Along with ensuring early detection, McDevitt says that everyone should evaluate all areas of the boat for easy and safe egress, and take a “fire inventory” to catalog first-response resources on a regular basis. Just having the required extinguishers aboard doesn’t necessarily mean you’re prepared.
“Nonrechargeable extinguishers are of no value after 12 years,” he says. “Check the date stamped on the bottom of the extinguisher or on the label, and when they’re out of date, even if they still show green on the gauge, they should be replaced.”
The presence of a fixed extinguisher in the engine room also is not foolproof. McDevitt cautions that they’re not always mounted as high as possible, which is where they belong. Being located near natural or mechanical vents can also impact their firefighting effectiveness.
There are myriad reasons why a fire can start on a yacht, but the bottom line often comes down to common sense. Savvy fire safety aboard is no different from on land, and it all boils down to three things: prevention, early detection and being prepared to extinguish any fire quickly. Cover these bases, and your yacht will remain one of your safest—and favorite—places on the planet.
A fishing boat catches fire off Alabama’s Dauphin Island, serving as a reminder for all boaters to be prepared.
By Kevin Koenig
Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class William Tadlock and his crew were watching a movie at Station Dauphin Island around 8 p.m. on January 15 when a distress call came in. A snapper-fishing boat had radioed for help from the island’s Confederate Strait. The vessel was on fire.
By chance, Tadlock’s four-man crew’s 29-foot response boat was out of the water that evening for maintenance and sitting on a trailer. The men rushed the boat to a landing and backed her into the water just as more information crackled over the VHF radio: The three men aboard the fishing boat were abandoning ship.
Tadlock, the response boat’s coxswain, revved the twin 225 hp Honda outboards. The vessel ripped off through the dark, glass-calm water at speeds upward of 40 knots.
As they covered the lone mile between the landing and the blaze, Tadlock went over his priorities in his head. “Obviously, the situation was very urgent, and we wanted to get an asset on scene as fast as possible,” he says. “And we wanted to help the people the best we can first, and then salvage their boat if we can, and third, prevent damage to other boats and property in the area.”
Tadlock and his crew found the fishing boat in a “fully involved” fire, meaning internal access was impossible because of heat, flames and smoke. Thankfully, they saw a life raft floating nearby with the three men in it.
“We made our approach to the raft and found that the three guys were all OK,” Tadlock says. “We got them on board our boat and got farther away from the fire so that we could assess any injuries. Then we took them to a pier nearby where they were cleared for medical attention. Then we went back to the fire.”
With the boat still engulfed in flames, Tadlock became concerned about a nearby pier. He and his crew rigged their P6 dewatering pump for firefighting and blasted the fire with a thick stream of salt water. In about an hour, the blaze was out. As of this writing, investigators were still determining the cause.
Tadlock says it’s important that the crew of the fishing boat was prepared. The lesson for recreational boaters is to know what to do in an emergency.
“You need to do routine maintenance on your vessel,” he says, “and have the right safety gear, obviously—life jackets, a throwable flotation device, emergency signaling like flares and fire extinguishers. This boat had all the proper equipment. The water was 54 degrees that night. Them having that life raft and quickly coming up with a plan to abandon ship? That absolutely saved their lives.”
In fact, in the moments after Tadlock’s crew hauled the fishermen on board, he told them: “We’re awfully sorry about your boat, but we’re also awfully happy you had the right safety gear. Because property can be replaced, but lives cannot.”
Uniesse has recently announced the development of the Exuma HTC5 Yacht line, a vessel that is designed for cruising, fishing, diving and extended stays aboard. She is, in effect, a sport utility vehicle for the sea.
The Exuma series was named after the glamorous and pristine Exuma island chain in the Bahamas. The line will have four different models, all of which are hand-built with care at the company’s efficiently run, Pisa, Italy, manufacturing yard. A major selling point is that the yachts can all be customized to an owner’s whims, depending on what he plans on using the boat for, primarily.
The model is 54 feet, 7 inches long, and evolved from Uniesse’s popular Open Series’ hull, which was penned by yacht designer Fred Hudson. Her beam is a respectable 15 feet, 2 inches, and the volume it affords her allows her to comfortably fit 14 passengers and sleep 6 guests. Despite her onboard space however, the HTC5 has sleek and aerodynamic lines that will make her immediately stand out from other express cruisers in any port.
“The Exuma line from Uniesse is designed with unsurpassed luxurious accommodations, copious living spaces, and high performance that provides superior course handling while underway in all sea conditions,” said David Schwedel, Executive Director of Uniesse. “The yacht is built with ultimate versatility combined with the top-quality Italian craftsmanship and attention to every fine detail. The exemplary construction makes Exuma the ultimate yacht within her range.”
The first HTC5 will soon be shipped to South Florida, where her lucky owner plans to use her in a variety of ways, just as she was designed to do. Keep an eye out for her at a marina near you in the near future.
Take the next step: uniesse.com
Benetti Yachts in Italy has delivered the 315-foot Lana, one of several 300-plus-foot yachts the yard has had under construction.
Lana has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, and comes in at 3,900 gross tons. Her beam is just shy of 50 feet. Amenities include a swimming pool, a helipad and a spa with a hammam, gymnasium and massage room. Also on board are a grand piano and a touch-and-go helipad.
“Lana represents a statement of building excellence, every technical feature, every aesthetic element, every single detail was executed to perfection,” the owner stated in a press release. “I am glad we all made this way to prove a new level of Italian shipbuilding industry.”
Benetti’s in-house teams handled the yacht’s design. Naval architecture is by PLANA in Italy. Imperial Yachts was the owner’s representative for the project.
The propulsion system is diesel-electric, with twin 2,800 kW engines. According to Benetti, Lana has a top speed of 18.5 knots and a range of 5,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Plenty of room for people: Seven staterooms accommodate 12 guests, and there are quarters for 34 crew.
Take the next step: visit benettiyachts.it
Ferretti Yachts in Italy has unveiled its new flagship: the Ferretti 1000. The yacht has a length overall of 100 feet and, according to the builder, a top speed of 28 knots.
“The new concept for onboard flow that has been introduced here is set to become an iconic part of all of the large vessels in the range,” designer Filippo Salvetti, who penned the exteriors, stated in a press release. “Designed with the future in mind, this new creation takes things to the next level for faithful Ferretti Yachts customers.”
The Ferretti Yachts 1000 is the result of a partnership among Salvetti, Ideaeitalia (which handled interiors), the Ferretti Group’s Product Strategy Committee (led by engineer Piero Ferrari) and the group’s Engineering Department.
Ferretti Yachts is calling the flagship its first “100-percent wide-body vessel,” with teak being used liberally throughout, and with a substantial use of carbon in the superstructure, including the hardtop.
Inside, owners can choose from two décor packages: classic, with softer traditional tones and subtle contrasts; and contemporary, with bolder colors and more urban and modern influences. The galley has an electrically operating wall that separates it from the bar and dining area, and that can be opened to create a larger, open space.
The stern area for guests spans about 430 square feet, including a beach club with direct water access. Inside are five guest staterooms, including a main-deck master.
Power package: According to Ferretti Yachts, twin 2,600-horsepower MTU 16V 2000 M86 engines push the yacht to a top speed of 28 knots and a cruising speed of 24 knots.
Take the next step: go to ferretti-yachts.com
Wajer runabouts are a staple in some of the glitziest superyacht anchorages the world over. Now, the Dutch builder is upping the glamour ante with the 38 L, its first limousine model. The 38 L is a Vripack design with standard twin 350 hp Volvo Penta D4-DPs and optional twin 480 hp Volvo Penta D6-IPS650s (top speed is 46 knots). The boat can ferry as many as 16 guests comfortably to the dock.
Whom It’s For: With a 37-foot length overall and 12-foot-2-inch beam—and meant to be carried aboard—the 38 L is built for a superyacht owner who values the precision embodied in Dutch design.
Picture This: Your yacht is anchored in a stiff chop off Sardinia, and you have dinner reservations at 8. Nobody wants to get sprayed on the trip to port, so you all step into the 38 L and arrive warm and dry.
Take the next step: wajer.com
The Tiara Yachts 50 Coupe was built off the same running surface as the company’s 4800 Convertible. Optional twin 750 hp Volvo Penta IPS950 diesels powered the 50 Coupe we got aboard. Top-end speed: 34.6 knots. (Standard power was twin IPS800s.) Belowdecks is a full-beam master stateroom amidships with an athwartwhips berth. There’s also a forepeak VIP and two heads.
The galley is aft to service the cockpit and salon.
At press time, there were four Tiara 50 Coupes on the market, ranging from $895,000 to $1.19 million.
From the Archive
“The design team has cleverly disguised her mass with a graceful reverse sheerline, an airy superstructure and a contrasting color on the topsides, which mimics the S-shaped sheerline of a sport-fishing boat and seems to lengthen the yacht’s profile. The coachroof appears to float above the deck, even though the supporting structure is clearly visible. Dark sail panels at the after end of the house trick us into thinking they aren’t there.” —Yachting, December 2013
DutchCraft in the Netherlands has delivered a custom DC56 to an owner in South Florida. The owner plans to offer the yacht for charter there and in the Bahamas.
The yacht’s name is Go-N-Hot, which is the same name as owner Matt Kutcher’s special-effects company for movie, television and other productions.
“I say ‘going hot’ on set to let everyone know an explosion is about to happen,” Kutcher stated in a press release.
Amenities that Kutcher requested include PWC stowage on the bow, paddleboard stowage on the flybridge, numerous rod holders for fishing, and an onboard dive compressor. DutchCraft also added extra bottle stowage, built-in tackle boxes, Seabob charging stations, and a custom vanity in the master stateroom.
Ready to roam: Go-N-Hot has twin Volvo Penta IPS950s. According to DutchCraft, the yacht’s top speed is 32 knots. At cruise speed, range is reportedly 840 nautical miles.
Take the next step: go to dutchcraft.com
Royal Huisman in the Netherlands says that following Covid-19 delays, the sea trials have now been completed for the 266-foot Sea Eagle II, the world’s largest aluminum sailing yacht. Delivery to the owner is now scheduled for July.
Sea Eagle II is designed by Dykstra Naval Architects and Mark Whiteley. She has three carbon Rondal masts and booms and reportedly can achieve speeds faster than 21 knots.
The rig can carry more than 37,600 square feet of sail area that’s controlled by 34 winches. The largest winches are capable of an 18-ton pulling load, according to the builder.
Who is the owner of Sea Eagle II? The same person who owns the 142-foot sloop Sea Eagle that Royal Huisman built in 2015.
Take the next step: go to royalhuisman.com
I stared at the Pearl 62′s image above, switching back and forth between placing my thumb over the flybridge and then removing it. The exercise, to my eye, displays lines that appear inspired by an express cruiser—but with the added function of a flybridge. That flybridge does not distract from her sporty look and instead flows with the yacht’s superstructure.
Bill Dixon, who also penned the builder’s 80- and 95-footers, did the exterior design and naval architecture on the Pearl 62. Dixon drew motion into the yacht’s profile via the raked window forward, the curved glass reaching aft in the superstructure and the fiberglass line between the panes flanking the salon. That line rises up and aft, similar to the look of a wake breaking behind the transom. The flybridge hardtop’s supports lean forward, contrasting the sweptback look and adding sleekness to the yacht’s appearance. Hullside glass extends the profile visually, while adding light and views in the four-stateroom, three-head layout belowdecks.
There is a full-beam master stateroom amidships with an en suite head, two chairs and a table to starboard, and a private entrance from the salon. This stateroom’s volume is possible because the yacht’s Volvo Penta IPS diesels are farther aft than straight-shaft powerplants, increasing living space. There is a forepeak VIP with an en suite head. Abaft to port and starboard are guest staterooms with double berths.
The flybridge has a helm console to starboard with a sun pad to port. There is U-shaped seating abaft the sun pad, and two L-shaped seats are far aft.
Power options are IPS950s (725 hp), IPS1050s (800 hp) and IPS1200s (900 hp). Preliminary sea trials showed a reported top hop of 32 knots.
The Pearl Yachts 62 might be the builder’s smallest model, but it has all the function and flair of her bigger siblings.
Take the next step: pearlyachts.com
Common wisdom says catamarans don’t like short, choppy seas, especially the kind of maelstrom created when a north-running Gulf Stream meets a leftover northerly breeze. “Washing-machine sea” doesn’t quite describe it.
But the Fountaine Pajot MY 40 power catamaran ate up the confused sea and then asked for more. Running bow on, beam to the lumps, this cat just licked her paws and seemingly smirked, “That’s all ya got?”
The MY 40 I got aboard will be a liveaboard cruiser for an experienced couple. Frankly, I envy them. French charter cats can lean toward easy maintenance at the expense of style, but the MY 40 surprised me with both. It has tactile fabrics, including on the settees in the salon, and lots of solid, light-oak joinerwork.
The salon is the living room for liveaboards, and it’s also home to the lower helm with a double-wide seat and a media room that has a pullout TV abaft the galley.
That galley is definitely liveaboard, with a full-height refrigerator/freezer, double sinks, a microwave/oven, a cooktop and an optional dishwasher. There’s also generous counter space and stowage.
What makes this boat a particularly desirable liveaboard is the owners’ stateroom, which is full-length with 6-foot 7-inch headroom. Inside is an athwartship berth about 6 inches narrower than a king. It faces a hullside window for great views. Forward, the head has a walk-in stall shower opposite a hanging locker, and the electric toilet is in an enclosed compartment.
The starboard hull has guest staterooms fore and aft, although the owners of the MY 40 I got aboard chose to replace the double berth forward with upper-lower bunks for youngsters.
The flybridge is comfortable underway or at anchor, with the helm behind a Venturi windscreen. A companion seat folds into a sun pad, and just aft are a sink, grill, fridge and ice maker.
Standard power is a pair of 300 hp Volvo Penta IPS400 diesels; 370 hp IPS500 diesels are optional. On flat water, the MY 40 hit 24 knots.
After getting to a gunkhole of choice, owners can lower the hydraulic swim platform into the water, creating a teak beach. Owners can also launch the 10-foot-8-inch tender with room to spare on all sides.
Thoroughly likable and refined, the Fountaine Pajot MY 40 could make many yachtsmen cat lovers.
Take the next step: fountaine-pajot.com
When Dan Prigmore and Marcia Hayes pulled their Sabre 48 True East up to a hand-operated lock in Norway’s Telemark Canal this past July, they received an extremely enthusiastic greeting from the senior lockmaster.
“He asked: ‘Can I come on the boat and get a picture with your flag? I’ve been at this job 16 years, and this is the first American boat I’ve ever seen,’” Prigmore says.
Since launching True East in 2012, the veteran cruising couple from Coconut Grove, Florida, has taken great pride in voyaging beyond the beaten cruising waypoints. They’ve logged more than 35,000 miles on True East, exploring nautical nooks and crannies from Alaska to the Canadian Maritimes, Sardinia to Sweden, with Hayes’ Chihuahua-terrier rescue dog, Lola, along for the ride and the frequent company of friends and family.
“When we first met and Dan asked me how I felt about boats, I said, ‘Let’s put it this way: My absolute favorite thing is to be either in the water, on the water, next to the water, or coming and going to the water,’” Hayes says.
A lifetime boater, Prigmore commuted for a while from his summer home in Hull, Massachusetts, to his office in Boston aboard Johanna, a 30-foot twin-engine Hacker-Craft christened with his mother’s middle name. He also logged 30,000 miles on Canim, a 1930 Ted Geary-designed 96-foot motoryacht he had restored. After Prigmore met Hayes, the couple cruised along the Maine coast and elsewhere aboard Prigmore’s 32-foot Legacy, True South.
“We spent two summers up in New England, where Dan is from and has lots of friends who have boats,” Hayes says. “Everyone kept asking us, ‘When are you going to buy a place up here?’ But Dan and I both agreed we couldn’t decide on one place. What we really wanted was to be able to cruise on a boat but have company join us. That was the inspiration for buying a two-cabin boat.”
They made the rounds of boat shows in the United States and Europe, checklist in hand. “We wanted a boat with two equal cabins with en suite heads and a separate shower,” Prigmore says. “It had to be under 50 feet, run-and-hide capable, American-made with classic lines. The Sabre 48 was exactly what we wanted.”
The clincher was the lower stateroom, whose head serves as a day-head for guests and whose sleeping area becomes stowage during long voyages. That stateroom also holds a washer and dryer. They converted the queen berth to a twin and fitted the extra space with a wire-rack stowage unit. Foldable bikes and an inflatable kayak stay down there, as do a refrigerator for food stowage—second to the one in the galley—and an average of 10 cases of wine.
Their favorite scenery, by far, has been during their Alaska voyages, where they’ve even scooped up some ice to mix glacial martinis while watching the wildlife.
“If you get up into Tracy Arm at the right time of year, the seals give birth on the ice floes to keep their pups away from the orcas,” Prigmore says. “You have a ton of eagles overhead and whales nudging around the edges. You’re floating in ice. It’s unbelievable.”
While True East’s 550 hp Cummins diesels provide the power Prigmore needs in rough crossings—such as from Newfoundland to Cape Breton in Canada, and from Italy’s Sardinia to Spain’s Mallorca in the Mediterranean—the couple prefers to keep things in a lower gear.
“We like to nudge our way through tight passages where you have to pay attention, but it’s more interesting than going 50 miles per hour 24/7 offshore,” Prigmore says.
They were charmed by the Mediterranean’s Rhone-Rhine Canal, where they just barely squeezed under the bridges and through as many as 25 locks in one day.
“I’d swear Marcia walked halfway across France,” Prigmore says. “There was usually a beautiful path next to the canal, so she’d walk with the dog, Lola, while I drove the boat.” As she strolled past abandoned lockmasters’ houses, Hayes picked sun-ripened pears, peaches and plums.
True East’s next plum itinerary, starting in May, will depart from Sweden and head east to the Baltics, then explore the coast of Poland and the Mecklenburg Lakes region of Germany. Prigmore, Hayes and Lola expect to be together at the helm, keeping True East on course, for their next great adventure.
Several charter yachts are offering reduced rates for Bahamas yacht charter as the Covid-19 pandemic eases up, with the islands now estimating a broader tourism reopening date of July 1.
Camper & Nicholsons International says the 138-foot Holland Jachtbouw Fabulous Character is giving a 10 percent discount off the usual weekly base rate of $150,000. The deal is good on charters booked through September 15.
Fabulous Character is a 2010 build that most recently was refitted in 2018. She accommodates 10 guests in five staterooms, and charters with nine crew.
Another yacht offering a Bahamas yacht charter deal is 130-foot Westport Far Niente, which is part of the fleet at Churchill Yacht Partners. She has dropped her weekly base rate from $115,000 to $99,000, and is offering postponements of up to six months in case of future Covid-19 restrictions.
Far Niente accommodates 10 guests in five staterooms, four of which can be set up with king berths for couples wanting to charter together and not have to sleep in twin beds.
Isn’t the Bahamas already reopened? The islands began phase one on June 15, allowing private jets and yachts to arrive in the island and test out new procedures. Phase two for more tourism is expected to begin on July 1.
Oscar is an automated monitoring system whose “eyes” are thermal and color cameras that feed information to a “brain” powered by artificial intelligence. The system was developed in cooperation with offshore-racing teams, and is being marketed for use aboard everything from day cruisers to superyachts.
The system detects floating objects to reduce the risk of a collision. “Non-signaled crafts, sleeping whales, wooden logs, containers and debris or other floating objects are detected, which neither the crew nor the radar or sonar system will detect,” according to the company. “Owners, skippers and crews benefit from increased safety as well as more comfort and peace of mind during navigation, especially at night.”
The developers say the goal for the Oscar system is to connect it to a boat’s autopilot, to automatically change the boat’s trajectory to avoid a collision risk.
Can Oscar’s data be tied into a multifunction screen? Yes. The Oscar Advanced Series also can be integrated with a boat’s communications bus.
Take the next step: Go to oscar-system.com