Yachts of the Pacific Northwest
By Chris Caswell
The Pacific Northwest bears the burden of a reputation for rain, bad weather and a generally inhospitable Pacific coastline, but those very characteristics have resulted in yacht design innovations that are now commonplace worldwide.
The raised pilothouse, for example, may be great with air-conditioning in the tropics, but it was born in the Pacific Northwest, where skippers wanted protection from the inclement conditions. The same is true for covered side decks, which allow the crew to stay reasonably dry while handling lines, but this innovation also keeps the sun out of the saloon in hotter climates.
And, of course, when it comes to building yachts, Pacific Northwest yards are renowned for building them both tough and luxurious. That's because the North Pacific, from Oregon to Alaska, is as unforgiving a stretch of ocean as you'll find anywhere in the worldwhen you're in between its many spectacular coves and anchorages, that is. As the region made a transition from working the sea to playing on it, yachts naturally were designed and built to take the bit in their teeth and run with it.
Indeed, part of the allure of yachts built in the Pacific Northwest is that they reflect the fact that many of the boatbuilders, and the craftsmen who create the yachts, come from a background in commercial fishing. As the fishing industry dwindled, many of the builders took their ability to construct seaworthy commercial boats and moved into the luxury yacht market. The resulting yachts bear the wisdom of lessons learned far offshore in rugged conditions. And yet at the same time, the new breed of Pacific Northwest yachts can also measure up against the most luxurious yachts from anywhere in the world. Here's a look at yachts larger than 80 feet from the Pacific Northwest.