They represent state-of-the-art design and engineering, and the finest interior styling afloat. They reflect the tastes and financial horsepower of their diverse owners, and they are the product of some of the most skilled craftsmen in the world. They are the largest recreational vessels afloat, and never before have so many been launched or under construction worldwide. In the pages that follow, Yachting's editors offer what we believe are the year's 25 most significant launches over 125 feet. One could argue any yacht over 125 feet is "significant," so we've included brief descriptions of the remaining superyacht launches, as well. Sit back and enjoy, and know that more in-depth looks at some launches are on the way.
The Westport 130 is a tri-deck motoryacht of graceful and sensible design by Gregory Marshall. She is built on a fiberglass hull cored with Airex PVC foam for lightweight strength and finished with Awlgrip polyurethane coatings for beauty. She is powered by a pair of DDC/MTU 12V 4000 diesels that propel her to a top speed of 29 knots and a cruise of 25. Her 9,900 gallons of fuel yield a range of 2,300 nautical miles at 11.5 knots.
She has four guest staterooms, and crew's quarters belowdecks forward. A utility room and engineer's cabin are abaft the engineroom. The master stateroom is forward on the main deck, with the dual bath boasting a whirlpool tub and a huge shower. She has two dining areas: an informal one forward of the galley and a more formal space aft adjoining the saloon.
Lounge space is available inside and outside on the boat deck. Additional outside lounge areas are on the top deck, and fore and aft on the main deck.
For many years, Westport Shipyard was best known for its commercial vessels, including many successful passenger carriers built on fiberglass hulls. Westport began building them for other yards in the Pacific Northwest to finish out as yachts. The company soon brought the finish work in-house, building complete yachts from keel to anchor light, though the vessels were marketed under other names.
The yard's yachts now bear the Westport name. Construction and finish are top quality, as is purchased equipment including Poole anchors, Maxwell windlasses and capstans, and Northern Lights generators.
Outfitting includes bronze ball valves on through-hulls and frameless windows to eliminate leaks and minimize maintenance.
France's Les Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie has delivered the 161-foot motoryacht Bermie from its CMN Yacht division. The yacht started life at Oceanco as Avalon. A French owner purchased the incomplete hull and deck assembly, which was moved to CMN for completion and outfitting. CMN also has signed contracts for a 105-foot sailing catamaran to be built in carbon-fiber composite construction and a 138-foot motoryacht. Work on four Yachtliners, 197 feet long, is pending. The Yachtliners, designed by Martin Francis, are intended for charter.
Contact: CMN, (011) 33 2 3388 3020; fax (011) 33 2 3388 3198; www.CMN-group.com.
Oceanco 182 Lady Christine
Lady Christine's 182-foot length helps counter her height, as do the elongated cat's-eye window arrays that dominate her profile. Built by Oceanco, she carries four identical guest staterooms abaft a multilevel engineroom. Each guest stateroom has a king berth that converts to twins. She has a tender garage aft, and another tender can be stowed on the top deck when the helicopter is not aboard.
Lady Christine's dining room is a magnificent circular space complete with skylight. Located at the forward end of the main deck and elevated a few steps, it offers a fantastic panoramic view over the bow.
The after end of the bridge deck is devoted entirely to the owner's full-beam suite. A private outside lounge area is beneath the helipad.
Contact: Oceanco, (954) 522-4155; fax (954) 522-5363; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delta 147 Gran Finale
Juan Carlos Espinosa's styling of the Delta 147 Gran Finale is an obvious departure from the builder's usual fare. Under the skin, though, her engineering advances the yard's reputation for excellence. Carbon-fiber space frames allowed Espinosa to fulfill the concept of open, unobstructed areas with lots of windows, few bulkheads and no stanchions. A dramatic skylight illuminates the floating staircase that spans the lower, main and top decks. Skylights are also above the bath and berth in the main-deck master.
Propelled by Caterpillar 3512B diesels, Gran Finale cruises at 18 knots and tops out at 21. Range is 2,600 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Ocean Pacifico 125 Inca Rose
Inca Rose is a 125-foot yacht with clear intent. She is a classic Diana design built for cruising with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. Her Caterpillar 3412 engines push her at a sensible 10.7 knots, and her 15,000-gallon fuel capacity gives her a range of 4,400 nautical miles.
Though built by Ocean Pacifico in the Philippines, the remainder of Inca Rose's main equipment is very much the cream of the European crop. Her bow thruster and stabilizers are by Vosper. The steering gear is by Tenfjord, and an Alfa Laval centrifuge cleans the fuel. All hydraulic equipment is by Cramm.
The galley is a commercial-grade space executed largely in stainless steel. Stainless is also used for toe-kicks throughout the accommodation spaces, complementing marble and unornamented coachwood to create a minimalist look.
Inca Rose's moderate speed allows a traditional arrangement that would be impractical in a faster yacht. All four guest staterooms-three with double berths and the fourth with twins-are abaft the compact engineroom. The main deck is also traditional, with master stateroom forward and dining and saloon abaft the galley. The flying bridge helm station has been omitted, however, and a whirlpool spa fitted in its place. Wing control stations flank the pilothouse for docking and close-quarters maneuvering.
Contact: Ocean Pacifico, (011) 63 47 252 7434; fax (011) 63 2 893 5547; email@example.com.
In a building where wizards of composite construction once turned out high-performance sailboats and sophisticated carbon-fiber parts for the ultimate racers of years past, workers are now building fiberglass motoryachts for Westship World Yachts. One of the best recent examples is a sleek, richly furnished 140-foot tri-deck that made her debut in Miami earlier this year.
Her reception by the public was so positive that two sisterships, as well as a 103-foot sportfisherman, are under construction. Though the yacht's arrangement, with four guest staterooms and an on-deck owner's suite, is not unusual, the attention to detail and equipment is superior.
Safety received special attention, with exemplary fire detection and extinguishing systems in place.
Contact: Westship World Yachts, (813) 839-5151; fax (813) 839-5030.
Codecasa 164 Moneikos
Visiting the Codecasa yards in Viareggio, Italy, is a real eye-opener. The complex of three yards is a family-operated business, and that business, since 1825, has been building ships. The fact that some of the ships happen to be private yachts these days doesn't change the way they are built, which is solid and well-equipped, even where it doesn't show.
Moneikos is the latest in an incredible line of 164-foot Codecasas that shows no sign of ending. Each has a bulbous-bowed, semi-displacement hull welded from high-tensile AH36 steel, and an aluminum superstructure of 5083 alloy. The hull and superstructure shapes are largely shared between the various incarnations, but beyond that, the choices are largely the owner's.
Moneikos has an interior that is stunning in simplicity and high visual contrast. Dark, polished-wood flooring is offset by bleached bulkheads and joinery. Soft goods are simple and straight-lined.
The juxtaposition from the earlier Invader, with her intricate inlaid marble and heavily detailed, honey-hued woodwork, is a testament to the varied skills of the Codecasa work force.
Driven by a pair of Caterpillar 3516 engines coupled to five-blade Finnscrew class "S" propellers, Moneikos achieves 18 knots with exceptional smoothness. Range is 5,500 nautical miles at 14 knots. The yacht is fully classed by Lloyd's Register and RINA, Lloyd's Italian counterpart. Accommodations include a master suite and four guest staterooms.
Perini Navi 133 Thetis
At 132 feet, 6 inches, Thetis is not the largest Perini Navi to hit the water, but it still takes a bit of slack-jawed staring to take in the full deckhouse, the raised pilothouse and the flying bridge. This is, after all, a sailboat, and sailboats are supposed to be low and cramped, right? Thetis manages to include all the comforts the extra interior space provides and still retain an appearance that matches the yacht's fleetness. Sail area is 8,740 square feet on a ketch rig.
The interior is appropriate to the boat, largely traditional in appearance but with enough modern flair to excite. Two guest staterooms are just forward of the engineroom, the port with twin berths and the starboard with a queen. The owner's stateroom spans the full beam and includes a head with full-size tub, a sitting area and extensive hanging-locker space. A third guest stateroom with upper and lower berths is forward of the owner's stateroom, as are three crew's cabins, the crew mess and a large galley.
A dining area and saloon are sunk into the main deck and are divided by the raised pilothouse and a day head. There is extensive open-air space in the cockpit abaft the saloon. The flying bridge, complete with upper helm, sits just abaft the pilothouse. It can be accessed directly from the pilothouse or via a spiral stair from the cockpit.
Benetti 171 Alfa
The glass-and-blue facade of Benetti's newly remodeled building hall is magnificent, but it can't begin to match what's going on inside.
Alfa, at 171 feet, is representative of the builder's custom motoryacht activity. Among Alfa's many unique features is one sure to please fans of what was once a staple of American teenage life, the drive-in movie. A retractable screen is housed in Alfa's mast for when the mood and evening weather are right.
Benetti emphasizes safety, specifically crew training, evidenced by the company's construction of a navigation simulator at the yard. The simulator is realistic enough that experienced captains break a sweat as they "maneuver" their new yachts through narrow passages and crowded waterways.
The Jongert yard in Holland is busy with construction and a new building facility. The problem with getting large yachts out of the current yard became apparent with the delivery of Passe Partout. At 138 feet long with a beam of nearly 28 feet, the yacht was too wide for a lock near the yard. Her unrigged hull had to be transported overland for delivery.
Passe Partout is the third Jongert-each larger than the previous-to carry that name for the same owner, a man who has completed several circumnavigations. She has an enclosed pilothouse and fully sheltered cockpit for use in northern waters, as well as a flying bridge for warmer climes. Beneath the flying bridge, the full-beam saloon has a large banquette in one corner and a game table opposite.
Abaft Passe Partout's saloon and engineroom are the master and two guest staterooms. Forward, two staterooms are to starboard, opposite a large galley and dinette.
Lifting the veil of secrecy that has surrounded "Project X," Australian builder Oceanfast recently delivered its largest private motoryacht, the 187-foot Sagitta. She has an aluminum hull and composite superstructure. Constructed in separate buildings, the two modules were mated before rolling the assembly into a building hall for completion and outfitting.
Sagitta's hull is a hard-chine, semi-displacement form that cruises at 20 to 22 knots, depending on load. Power is provided by two DDC/MTU 16V 4000 diesels driving five-blade carbon-fiber propellers.
A Seastate ride-control system controls stabilizer fins and a special forward hydrofoil to minimize roll and pitch.
Sagitta accommodates 12 guests in six staterooms. Skylights bring sunlight into the main stair tower and through it to the main and lower decks, and brighten the main lounge areas.
Feadship 153 Detroit Eagle
It is always a pleasure to tour a new Feadship, but Detroit Eagle is a special treat, not for her 153-foot length, but for the technology she embodies.
She is the brainchild and pride of Roger Penske, CEO of Detroit Diesel and numerous other business enterprises. Formerly a renowned race car driver in his own right, Penske now satisfies his need for speed and horsepower by owning a collection of race teams. His passion is obvious from the trophies and artwork scattered around the yacht. It is also apparent from the propulsion package fitted to Detroit Eagle.
Cruising power is provided by a pair of DDC/MTU 16V 4000 diesels, developing 3,650 hp each in a spotless engineroom that is nothing short of a showplace. The engines drive fixed-pitch propellers in tunnels optimized through testing at Holland's MARIN model tank. When the 28 knots the diesels provide is not enough, it's time to fire up the TF50 gas turbine for another 5,600 hp directed through a Cincinnati epicyclic gear into the centerline waterjet. Top speed varies from 32 to 35 knots, depending on fuel loading.
Such fun does not come cheap. Fuel consumption approaches 750 gallons per hour for the combined total of 12,900 hp.
That speed is not the paint-blistering kind achieved by some turbine-powered yachts, but Detroit Eagle is not a stripped-out speed machine. She is a complete and finely appointed yacht. This entails a certain amount of unavoidable speed-robbing weight. While the structure is aluminum and much of the joinery, decking and bulkheading is cored, every amenity and detail one expects of a Feadship is present.
There is also the special effort made to keep machinery noise and vibration to a minimum. Not only are the engines resiliently mounted, remote from the reduction gears, but the gears are also resiliently mounted, remote from the shafting. Large independent thrust bearings carry the load from the propellers and jet. The centerline shaft is a hollow, carbon-fiber fabrication to keep spinning weight to a minimum.
Alloy 130 Victoria of Strathearn
Victoria of Strathearn's name couldn't be more British Isles, nor could her character. This 130-foot yacht's profile, deck fittings and interior appointments recall the exquisite Fife designs of the early 20th century, but she's a product of Langan Design Associates (naval architecture and exterior styling) and Andrew Winch (interior). They interpreted their Scottish client's design brief in an engaging combination of Victorian elegance and charm, and modern rig, underbody, appendages and systems.
Juxtaposing the new with the old requires a great deal of skill and sensitivity. Victoria's lovely sweeping sheerline, for example, may beg for a gaff rig in the eyes of die-hard traditionalists, but the high-aspect ketch rig Langan Design drew suits the yacht perfectly when you understand that everything below the waterline is modern.
Skeptics could argue that overhangs are a waste of materials, but these are gorgeous. Langan balanced the ends of the boat by making the transom's angle mimic that of the bow. The trunk cabin is beautiful, with sides standing proudly vertical, and the round portlights in the topside complement the overall image as no other shape could.
Belowdecks, these portlights reinforce the notion that one has stepped into the past, as do the walnut joinery and wainscoting. The walnut panels extend to the overhead in areas that don't display original artwork. The overhead is off-white and made to look like tongue-and-groove paneling, typical of the early 20th century.
Trinity 126 Big Easy
With a name like Big Easy, the New Orleans connection is obvious. This 126-foot raised pilothouse yacht was recently completed by Trinity Yachts. Formerly known as Algorithm, she was purchased by Felix Sabates, one of the Louisiana builder's principals, for his personal use following the sale of his 141-foot Victory Lane.
Big Easy's hull and superstructure are aluminum. Powered by Caterpillar 3412B engines, through ZF BW295 gears at 3.09:1 reduction, she tops out at 17.5 knots and cruises at 14.5 knots. Pull her back to 12 knots and she'll deliver a range of 3,750 nautical miles on 9,600 gallons of fuel.
Electrical power is provided by two Northern Lights generators, rated at 55kW each. The bow thruster is an HPS 60 hp 16-inch model. Stabilizers are Naiad 353 units with 12-square-foot fins. Five MarineAir soft-start compressors deliver a total of 25 tons of air conditioning. Windlasses and capstans are by Muir.
With a large cockpit abutting her aft engineroom and lazarette, Big Easy carries only three guest staterooms. The master stateroom is also adjacent to the engineroom but buffered by his-and-her baths. It has a spacious walk-in hanging locker, as well as a settee and a vanity/desk.
Forward of the pilothouse on the main deck is a large galley/country kitchen. Aft are a formal dining area and saloon that open onto a large, teak-covered afterdeck. A spiral stair provides access to the boat deck and flying bridge.
Palmer Johnson 156 Anson Bell
"The owner of Anson Bell has maintained a very clear, uncompromising vision for this yacht," said Phil Friedman, president of Palmer Johnson Yachts. The vision is 20/20, for the yacht's arrangement and functionality are quite sensible.
Built to Lloyd's Register and MCA Code requirements, the 156-foot Anson Bell is a no-nonsense vessel that avoids flash and fad. She is one of the few sizable yachts built in recent years without a reverse transom or integral swim platform.
Guests are accommodated in four staterooms belowdecks. The master stateroom is on the main deck. The dining room is serviced via a butler's pantry off the main galley. There is no wet bar in the saloon, though one is provided on the afterdeck, which has wing doors and sizable wingboards to keep out wind and spray. A spacious sky lounge occupies the bridge deck, and all but a few feet of the sundeck are available for the exclusive use of the guests.
Warren Yachts 142
Slipstream, built by Australia's Warren Yachts, is 142 feet in length and constructed in advanced composites. She cruises at 15 knots and has a top speed of 17. Power is provided by Caterpillar 3412 diesels. At 13 knots, range is estimated to be 3,300 nautical miles.
Four staterooms accommodate eights guests. A fifth guest stateroom, dubbed "the honeymoon suite" and available for "special guests and special occasions," is on the upper deck.
The owner's suite is on the main deck forward and has a study equipped with the latest communications equipment. A separate dressing room and his-and-her baths are accented with granite. A concealed door in the paneling provides emergency escape to the main deck.
A grand staircase in the main foyer leads to the sky lounge and upper deck lounge areas. Abaft the foyer is a dining room, partially partitioned from the main saloon. The saloon has three oversize sofas for enjoying conversation, or movies on a satellite-connected entertainment system and 42-inch plasma screen.
Contact: Warren Yachts, (011) 61 2 4368 1722; fax (011) 61 2 4368 1263; www.warrenyachts.com.
I visited the family-owned Hakvoort yard in Monnickendam, Holland, last year, and construction of the 131-foot motoryacht Solaia was well under way. Delivered this year, she benefited from changes at the yard. An in-house woodworking facility recently opened near the main facility. A veritable hive of activity, the building was filled with craftsmen building mock-ups and finished joinery to fit into the hulls as modules.
It is this control of all the major aspects of construction that allows Hakvoort to deliver the fine vessels for which the builder is known.
Solaia has a displacement hull suitable to her cruising speed of 13 knots. Superstructure construction is aluminum. Power is delivered by two Caterpillar 3412 diesels governed to 1800 rpm for long-range cruising. Northern Lights generators power the 220/380-volt, 50 Hz electrical system at sea, and an Atlas 75 kVA converter system is fitted to accommodate the variety of shorepower inputs expected during her extensive cruising.
Sensation 156 Aria
There are naysayers who decry the "waste" involved in building a large yacht, but the skilled craftsmen who actually do the work are not among them. They know a large part of the cost of a building a large yacht goes directly to them. As an example, the 156-foot tri-deck motoryacht Aria, completed by Sensation New Zealand, consumed an estimated 480,000 hours of labor from more than 400 workers during a period of two years. The results are clearly worth the effort.
Aria's attractive exterior styling is complemented by Donald Starkey's sumptuous interior. Yellow cirrus and burled eucalyptus are used throughout, as is a variety of Italian marble. One interesting feature is a glass dining table on the upper deck that doubles as a skylight for the deck below. Another is the flame-mahogany cabinet for display of the American owner's Stradivarius violin.
The owners plan to cruise extensively. The full-beam master suite, forward on the main deck, includes an office to let the owner keep in touch with his business interests. Though Aria can achieve a top speed of 24 knots, long-range cruising will be done at 12 knots to extend the range to 5,000 nautical miles.
Four guest staterooms are arranged for maximum flexibility. Two doubles are largely traditional, while the others are divided by a sliding wall that can be retracted to create a spacious VIP suite with sitting area. Guest comfort extends to the dining room, where a Starkey-designed table will seat 12 beneath a grand crystal chandelier. Service should be exceptional, with Aria carrying a full-time crew of nine.
Royal Denship 125
The 125-foot Classic from Royal Denship is an interesting blend of old and new. Her cruiser stern, sweeping sheer capped with teak, streamlined stack, arched windows and wood trim along her coachroof edges all contribute to the impression of a yacht "from the last century," according to the yard. She has a displacement hull with an engineroom farther forward than is common today. The placement, however, is consistent with a cruising speed of 12 knots; top is 14.
When you think about it, the last century was only a year ago, or two, depending on which millennium theory you accept. That is consistent with much of the construction, outfitting and equipment found on the yacht. Her structure is composite, her engines are Caterpillar 3406Es, and all her auxiliary machinery is modern. Navigation and communication electronics are state of the art, as are systems throughout the accommodations. LCD flat screens are in all cabins and public spaces, supported by a central system offering each unit independent access to a library of movies and music.
Three guest staterooms are abaft the engineroom. There is a twin-berth cabin to port, and a full-beam stateroom is tucked into the rounded stern. The forward guest stateroom could easily be the master, were the master suite not forward on the main deck. If a full guest complement is not being carried, the arrangement offers an interesting opportunity for maximum comfort and the best of both worlds: belowdecks aft at sea, and forward abovedeck at anchor.
Heesen of Holland recently completed Jangada, a 131-foot tri-deck motoryacht that is part of a trend for the yard. Previously known in the United States primarily for a series of high-speed yachts under the Diaship name, much of Heesen's recent and future production is in the displacement realm. With moderate power and a round bilged hull designed by Diaship, Jangada will cruise at a comparatively sedate 12 knots, a long way from Heesen's 1988 Octopussy, the first yacht to break the 50-knot barrier.
Displacement speed doesn't mean dull, though. Jangada has an attractive, modern profile. Styling and overall design are by Omega, and the interior is the work of Velendric Design. Jangada is classed by the American Bureau of Shipping. Outfitting includes two self-priming fire/bilge pumps and a CO2 extinguishing system for the engineroom.
CRN 141 Magnifica
Built by CRN in Ancona, Italy, Magnifica's aggressive exterior houses an interior packed with the latest computer and entertainment systems. The 141-foot tri-deck has three projection video systems with supporting sound systems, and a panel-controlled system provides just the right mood lighting.
Magnifica is classed by Lloyd's Register and built to the requirements of the MCA Code. Construction is steel with an aluminum superstructure. Caterpillar 3512 diesels push Magnifica to a top speed of 17 knots, with a cruise of 15 knots. Range is 3,600 nautical miles at 14 knots.
Christensen 155 Liquidity
Liquidity is the latest from Christensen Yachts. Her 155-foot length and 28-foot beam create a huge interior volume arranged to suit her owner's every desire.
The engineroom is aft, with guest staterooms and crew belowdecks. Guests are accommodated in five staterooms, two with twins and three with queens. The master is on the main deck in a full-beam space illuminated by four oval windows.
The dining area and saloon are aft on the main deck. A sky lounge is abaft the pilothouse. The top deck has a whirlpool spa forward, and lounge and bar areas aft.
Intermarine Savannah 145 Raven
Anchoring the upper end of Intermarine Savannah's range of motoryachts, which starts at 95 feet, Raven is a 145-foot composite tri-deck built on spec and being offered turnkey for $18 million. This is consistent with Intermarine Savannah's marketing policy of offering partially or fully completed yachts for buyers who don't want a previously owned yacht but don't want to wait out a full building cycle.
Raven has planing hull form. She achieves a top speed of 20 knots and cruises at 18 with power from a pair of Caterpillar 3512 diesels. Fully classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, she accommodates eight guests in four guest staterooms belowdecks. The on-deck master stateroom is full beam and includes a study, a whirlpool tub and a large walk-in hanging locker.
A formal dining room and saloon are abaft an amidships galley outfitted in white cabinetry with stainless-steel countertops. Accommodations and public spaces throughout the yacht are furnished in classically detailed white maple with a cherry tone finish. Italian stone is used for detailing in the foyer and bath areas.
Topside, a sky lounge abaft the pilothouse is outfitted with a wet bar and a large-screen plasma TV. The flying bridge deck has an island bar and hot tub amidships, with settees forward and sunpads aft.
Contact: Intermarine Savannah, (912) 234-6579; fax (912) 236-8887; firstname.lastname@example.org;