Anyone familiar with "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", or with Savannah, Georgia, knows the city is an area of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps nowhere is that more apparent than in the city's aesthetically challenged northwest corner, where, among wood-processing mills, oil tank farms and chemical plants, Intermarine Savannah continues to turn out some of the world's finest luxury motoryachts.
One of the latest new builds is a 145-foot trideck motoryacht the builder completed on spec. Built of fiberglass in an on-site female mold, she shares a hull shape with the yard's earlier 136-footer, Mia Elise, but her interior and superstructure are totally different. Intermarine Savannah's President and CEO Thomas Conboy had the 145 finished to turnkey condition.
"A custom-built yacht is a very time-consuming process for the customer", Conboy said. "With a yacht built on spec, the project is already done and all the customer has to do is concentrate on any changes he or she may want to make in the interior furnishings."
The results, with this yacht, are nothing short of astounding.
The interior, styled by Luiz de Basto and decorated by Hansen & Associates and Intermarine Savannah's own Ari Cross Buchanan, is dominated by finely detailed white maple woodwork finished in hues between honey and cherry. Italian stone, including Bottichino, Portoro and Rosa Verona, highlights the foyer and bath areas. A Bose sound system caters to the senses, and nice touches like the shell-shaped sink above the marble countertop in the day head surprise at every turn.
Spec yachts must appeal to a wide range of buyers, so the 145's standard arrangement plan is appropriate. The main deck has a saloon aft and a separate dining room amidships with adjacent galley. The superstructure is full-beam forward, allowing for a spacious master suite. The engineroom is well aft, with only an engineer's cabin, control room and lazarette between it and the transom. Forward are four guest staterooms and the crew quarters. Topside, the bridge deck includes the pilothouse, a sky lounge and a captain's cabin.
This yacht's beauty is not in the arrangement of her basic elements, but in her details. In the saloon, a large plasma screen rises from a cabinet when needed. The bar is on the afterdeck to allow extra interior space. The formal dining room has no dark corners, with bulkheads curved to match the shape of the table. Subtle recessed lighting illuminates without intruding.
The galley is designed for entertaining large parties with dispatch or holding more intimate gatherings with lavish attention. White cabinetry is capped with stainless-steel countertops. The assortment of Sub-Zero and GE Monogram appliances includes two refrigerator/freezers and a sizable wine cooler.
Double doors from the main foyer open to an owner's study and to the master stateroom beyond. In addition to a sizable walk-in closet, cabinets on either side of the room provide extensive stowage. The master bath takes advantage of the full beam with the expected his-and-her facilities, but does so in rare style with exceptionally beautiful, detailed stonework. The marble was computer designed, then laser-cut by a specialty supplier in Seattle. A whirlpool tub is forward, and on the after bulkhead, a glass shower fitted with multiple heads offers ultimate pampering.
Guest quarters include two queen-berth cabins aft and a twin-berth cabin to port. Opposite the twin-berth cabin is a kitchenette where guests can get midnight refreshments without disturbing others or intruding on the main galley. Two Sub-Zero drawer-type refrigerators hold plenty of snacks and drinks, and a sink and spacious counter complete the amenities. A washer/dryer is in the guest foyer for those who prefer to launder their own delicates.
Forward of the three guest cabins is a full-beam VIP stateroom, only slightly smaller in scale than the master stateroom. A hidden door leads from the VIP to the crew lounge forward, allowing emergency escape for guests and crew, as well as direct access for the steward to clean the guest cabins and baths each morning without transiting the main deck guest areas.
Buck Younger, Intermarine Savannah's director of engineering, pointed out large and small features as we walked through the ABS-classed 145. Younger sprang from commercial shipbuilding roots and migrated to yachts, and the features he noted were important but not readily apparent.
For instance, the reduction gear is remotely mounted to keep engine vibration from transferring to the hull structure. Further, the entire interior is isolated from the hull structure, floating on rubber mounts to keep noise to an absolute minimum. Extra cabling, currently unused, is provided in key areas for possible future power and monitoring needs. Fire alarm monitoring includes heat and smoke detectors. Navigation lights are dual bulb, with a central monitoring and control panel. Drawers glide easily on roller-bearing Accuride slides, but have built-in locks to keep them in place at sea.
The deep shipbuilding roots at Intermarine Savannah are apparent in the 145, with lessons learned from the T-2 tankers and Liberty ships built during World War II and the 220-foot fiberglass minesweepers completed for the U.S. Navy and NATO allies. Also apparent in the 145's quality is the difference between this builder and other commercial yards. Intermarine Savannah is fully dedicated to yacht work these days, unlike other yards that only dabble in yacht construction.
The 145 trideck is the yard's biggest and finest yet. The attention to construction and system detail is apparent, outfitting is first class, and finishing is exceptional-proving Intermarine Savannah is one of the 10 best custom builders in the world, standing with the best of Italy, Holland and the other premier American yards.