A sea trial with John Staluppi is hard to forget. My first was aboard the 60-knot, 115-foot, gas turbine/diesel-powered Moonraker in 1992. Breaking the sound barrier is no longer Staluppi's sole focus, but creating high-quality, high-tech yachts remains his passion. He formed Golden Yachts with fellow yachtsman John Rosatti to develop the Millennium Series and called on Dutch naval architect Frank Mulder, long a key element of Staluppi's successful formula, to design the series of yachts ranging from 75 to 151 feet. The first, the Millennium 75 Express, has an aggressive profile that more than suggests her performance capabilities-Staluppi's unmistakable contribution to the 75's design.
To her designer's credit, the 75's performance was achieved without compromise to creature comforts. Her afterdeck has a curved seating area, a wet bar and a built-in electric grill. Gates to port and starboard allow access to the water sports platform. Wide side decks and a sturdy rail lead to the foredeck sunpad and ground tackle system with electric windlass and chain rode. A curved, stainless-steel framed glass bulkhead has sliding doors that automatically lock in place in a seaway. The upper saloon has a seating group, entertainment center and full-service bar. The helm is laid out with power-assisted hydraulic steering, single lever DDC/MTU electronic controls and adjustable pilot and co-pilot seating. An L-shape settee and table provide guests a comfortable nest near the helmsman. When weather permits, glass panels in the overhead can be retracted with the push of a button to allow natural ventilation. Electrically actuated vents in the house face provide additional ventilation.
A 19-foot, 6-inch beam and relatively high sheer create a generous envelope for the 75's interior. The lower saloon has a large, curved seating area, a table and an entertainment center. The open galley has a service counter that seats four. There is a guest stateroom forward with an island berth and private head. A second guest stateroom, adjacent to the saloon, has upper and lower berths and a private head with second-door access for use as a day head. A passageway leads aft from the saloon to a full-beam master stateroom with a settee, a desk, an entertainment center and a private head with whirlpool bath. Crew's quarters for one and the machinery space are accessible from the transom platform.
Evan Marshall designed the 75's interior, which is arranged more thoughtfully than any I have seen on this type of boat. The blend of natural lighting, cream-colored lacquered surfaces, granite counters and burl wood accents surmounts the cave-like feel some express designs suffer. First-class joiner detail and finishing complement Marshall's work.
Millennium yachts are built to Golden Yachts' specifications by a number of shipyards around the world. Golden Yachts supervises construction and commissions, and services the vessels at its 15-acre waterfront facility just north of the Port of Palm Beach. The 75 is built at the Neptunus yard in Holland. Female tooling was created for the project, and the hull and superstructure are a blend of multidirectional fiberglass reinforcements and marine-grade polyester resins. The bottom is a solid fiberglass laminate. Closed-cell foam coring is used to stiffen the topsides and superstructure. A network of fiberglass stringers and transverse frames, together with cored bulkheads, provides support. Core materials also were used in the construction of non-structural interior partitions and joinery.
A thorough weight estimate was completed prior to the 75's construction, then compared with actual weights at various stages. Taking this approach with a new design keeps surprises to a minimum. The weight savings achieved by careful structural design and the use of core materials was balanced against the investment made in the 75's lavish interior décor. As a result, her displacement of 45 tons fully loaded, while not ultra light, is quite respectable.
Standard equipment includes a bow thruster, chilled-water air conditioning and a 25kW generator fitted with a sound shield. Mechanical installations appear well executed, and machinery and components are accessible. By positioning the 75's machinery space abaft the owner and guest accommodations and forward of the crew's quarters, Mulder optimized the position of the engines in regard to performance. This, coupled with shallow propeller pockets in the hull, made it possible to use a conventional drive line and maintain appropriate tip clearance for the five-blade Teignbridge propellers. As a result, the 75's draft of less than 5 feet makes her an ideal choice for wandering the Bahamas.
Mulder has a record of achieving performance targets in his designs. This is more a matter of sound engineering than luck. The 75's hull form was tank-tested at speeds up to 53 knots and is balanced for her mission. She has relatively fine forward sections for the control of head seas at speed and flatter, more efficient after sections to maximize lift and speed potential. Standard power is a pair of 1,350 hp Detroit Diesel/MTU 12V 2000s. Golden Yachts' performance data indicates a top speed of 36 knots and a cruising speed of 30 knots. The company predicts a range of 900 nautical miles at 12 knots. The 75's 2,128 gallons of fuel is carried in two aluminum wing tanks that feed an integral day tank.
The 75 Express is offered as a turnkey yacht with everything from interior décor accessories to docklines and a boarding ladder. The standard electronics package includes a 72-mile Furuno radar, a Northstar 961 GPS/plotter and a Robertson autopilot. Considering this, her price of $2,695,000 is quite competitive. Golden Yachts offers a variety of interior décor options. A flying bridge adds $200,000 to the base price.
If you enjoy going places in a hurry and arriving in style, the Millennium 75 Express is worth considering. She has the feel of a custom yacht, and with the limited production Golden Yachts expects (three boats a year), chances are she will remain a unique, distinctive ride as the market for her type continues to expand.
Contact: Golden Yachts, Inc., (561) 721-4100; fax (561) 844-7162