I had joined the delivery crew of seven on Saturday at Los Sueños, in Herradura Bay, Costa Rica. They'd been underway for more than 10 days by then and had traversed the entire West Coast from Seattle, en route to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show. Their shakedown trip was going well so far: They'd lost a part of the windlass in a huge head sea, had some minor generator problems that had since been repaired, and the wireless Internet was only pretending to work. Pretty small stuff when you consider the size and complexity of a shipyard-fresh 130-foot yacht.
Westport would be quick to tell you that they've built a great reputation for quality and customer service (and their many repeat customers are quick to agree). Part of that is because building semicustom yachts well is all about eliminating surprise, designing and building, instead, for repeated perfection. The way Captain Fred Hammond put it to me was that Westport is "always thinking one step ahead." They're constantly improving their product, sometimes building in extras in advance of needing them, and always with the long term in mind. When talking about the new 40m, which is built on the hull of the hugely popular, William Garden designed Westport 130, Hammond cites this vessel's ABS-class and MCA-compliance as an example of something they started working quietly toward on previous builds.
But, in reality, everything about the 40m makes Hammond's point. I'd had a couple of days with nothing to do but explore the new model and it was impressive. It's been reconfigured in a way that extends the sundeck significantly and, in the process, creates a covered, outdoor dining area on the bridgedeck. An all-new one-piece deck mold here has integrated seat bases, a hot tub, coamings, and other elements to create a single unit for structural integrity. The result is a yacht that maximizes its outdoor living areas, whether at sea or at anchor.