I was piloting Aquila, a custom Northern Marine 64, through the deep, dark waters of the Guemes Channel off Anacortes, Washington, and although I was far from my familiar East Coast waterways, I was confident in the knowledge that I was transiting on a vessel born for passagemaking. She’s a purpose-built expedition yacht that encourages a helmsman to point her in any direction and just go. And this 64 is unlike any that have come before her.
“We’ve revamped our approach over the last few years of what I call a young company,” Northern Marine’s president, Andy McDonald, told me as we zipped up our fleece parkas against the cold air’s bite. Northern Marine encourages each owner to participate in his project. And Aquila’s owner, Todd Taricco, was very involved with his yacht’s build.“It makes it easier to get lots of fresh ideas from our designers and workers. In the end, that means we are constantly working to improve the process and, thereby, the product.” On past 64s, a more traditional approach resulted in a general arrangement of four staterooms and four heads below; entertaining, dining areas and pilothouse on the main deck; space topside for the bridge, tender and crane.
“With this particular project, and given Aquila’s commercial dive/charter/expedition yacht profile, with the ability to operate in both U.S. and foreign waters and to carry paying passengers in international waters, the design was a bit more specific,” Taricco said. “Andy and I made efficiency and energy-saving a priority.”