Chances are if you have the means to possess a pioneering vessel like Exuma — the 164-foot expedition yacht built by venerable boatbuilder Perini Navi at its Picchiotti shipyard — then you’re not the type to recoil from risk. In fact, it’s safe to say that the whole “risk equals reward” mantra is embraced with overzealous enthusiasm by this sort. If history is kind to these risk takers, the successful ones will be viewed as visionaries — individuals who cast convention aside and blazed a trail, leading others to think differently and recognize that greatness is rarely found on the well-worn path. What makes Exuma so special is that she is the culmination of varying concepts from several strong-willed visionaries — led toward launch day by an experienced owner who knew precisely what he wanted in a yacht intended to explore the far reaches of the globe.
“I had signed up with a sailboat designer who had never designed a motoryacht, and with a builder of sailing yachts that had never before built a motoryacht,” chuckled the Belgian owner as he explained the genesis of the project during sea trials off La Spezia, Italy. The collaborators he referred to were noted naval architect Philippe Briand and sailing superyacht builder Perini Navi, respectively.
“But my confidence was high because people who design and build sailing yachts are always striving for an efficient hull that offers lightness and minimal drag.” Well, judging by the end result, his gamble paid off in spades.
Exuma’s owner — who had circumnavigated with his previous boat — was in search of his next project just as Briand was developing the Vitruvius series of explorer yachts. With America’s Cup boats, a host of successful production sailboats and large custom sailing yachts such as Perini Navi’s P2 to his firm’s credit, Briand began to set his sights on creating an economical, long-range cruiser intended to ply the world’s oceans. Briand’s foray into motoryacht design is an obvious evolution from performance sailboat design, utilizing the basic shared engineering principles necessary for a successful long-range cruiser. It’s a matter of wetted surface and creating a slippery hull that will glide through the water with the least amount of drag.