Hargrave Custom Yachts has progressed well along the learning curve since introducing the marque several years ago. The new 100-foot raised pilothouse motoryacht La Marchesa has a refined look and a luxurious feel less apparent on earlier Hargrave launches.
The builder has returned to its roots, embracing the uncompromising standards of its late namesake, legendary yacht designer Jack Hargrave.
"We insisted on wider passageways, wider doors, to make it more in the proportions that Jack always promoted", said senior designer and veteran staffer James Loeschen. "Everybody seems to like the way the boat feels inside, and I think that has a lot to do with it."
La Marchesa's owners, Dr. Robert and Christine Emmons, have owned seven yachts. They cruise extensively and put about 1,200 hours of use on their previous yacht, an 82-footer. "We don't just park it and hold cocktail parties", Robert Emmons said.
They plan to spend three months cruising the Northeast this summer. Given the couple's active cruising lifestyle, personal involvement with La Marchesa's design was essential to the building process.
"We started off thinking in terms of building a 92-footer and ended up with 100 feet", Robert Emmons said. "We enjoyed that process immensely. We found (Hargrave) to be very open and very willing to make some changes without a lot of change orders for minor changes in the design and development of the boat."
Personal involvement is evident, for example, in the arrangement of the master stateroom and nearby library. A bath with double entries separates the two, so Robert Emmons, an early riser, can pass through from the stateroom and do a bit of work or read in the morning without disturbing his wife or their guests. The library also has a Pullman berth, allowing it to double as a guest cabin.
A number of La Marchesa's other details stand out as improvements from the builder. Stairways generally have reduced angles and wider steps. Portlights are fitted in heads wherever possible to provide fresh air and light. Many of the berths, particularly in the guest quarters, are full dimension for added comfort and to allow the use of standard-size linens.
The master stateroom has a true king berth, nicely recessed into the bulkhead and flanked by bow-front nightstands. One guest stateroom has twins, the other a queen.
A beautiful country kitchen, forward on the main deck, is available to guests and crew. This area is finished with granite countertops, a sparkling inlaid table surrounded by a plush settee and a teak-and-holly sole that extends into the main foyer and beyond to the raised pilothouse. Abaft the pilothouse, the arrangement is familiar, with a carpeted dining area and saloon defined by wood-framed tray ceilings and recessed lighting.
The décor aboard La Marchesa, as on most other Hargrave Custom yachts, is nicely finished and tasteful, but stops short of being opulent. Handrails are varnished wood supported by simple brackets, not backlighted acrylic on custom-cast, gold-plated dolphins. Moldings are attractive and well fitted, but lack the intricate hand carving and detailing that drives up costs.
"Our mission is to be the lowest cost producer of quality yachts in the 70- to 125-foot size range", said Hargrave President Mike Joyce. He cited the low labor costs and overhead of Hargrave's Pacific Rim building facility and the savings of direct sales without a dealer network.
To promote sound construction and safety, Hargrave builds to Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and American Boat & Yacht Council standards. DNV or other classification is standard on yachts destined for European owners and is optional on American deliveries. The shipyard itself is fully certified to international quality standards as an ISO 9002 facility.
Robert Emmons called his 100-footer a quality yacht that represents significant value. After taking La Marchesa on a 15-day shakedown cruise last winter, he returned with a punch list of corrective items less than a page long.
"In my experience, that speaks volumes about how the boat was built", he said. "I couldn't be more pleased with how the boat performs." Mike (Joyce) is a man of really great integrity that stands behind the product. He will do anything that has to be done within reason to see that the customer is really satisfied and pleased with the product. "I think that's very special."