It used to be the standard joke in south Florida that a boat factory was four wooden poles and a corrugated tin roof.
Times have changed.
Where the tired pole buildings of other marine businesses once stood, the impressive blue-capped offices and modern shops of Destiny Yachts are nearing completion along Ft. Lauderdale's New River. When completed, the shops will be able to shelter three 135-foot yachts simultaneously. Destiny has already delivered a 94-foot motoryacht from the site.
On the day of my visit in late December, the builder's latest project, a sleek 98-foot motoryacht christened Crowned Eagle, had just completed sea trials and was hours from delivery to her eager owner. This semi-production model has styling and layout virtually identical to that on the 94, which has been discontinued. The difference is in the length of the bow. Four extra feet allow for side-pocket anchors, twin vertical windlasses and additional foredeck space. Also offered in the semi-production category with the 98 are 102 and 105 motoryachts. One of each is under construction, the 105 to ABS class. The longer models are similar to the 98, with additional length at the stern to accommodate larger engines and crew's quarters.
Crowned Eagle has Detroit Diesel/MTU 16V 2000 engines and a top speed of 26 knots. The first 105 will have DDC/MTU 12V 4000 engines and is expected to top out at 34 knots with a half-load of fuel. The tank-tested hull form can maintain 24 knots in 10-foot seas.
Options on these three semi-production models include an on-deck master suite, as on Crowned Eagle, or a country kitchen arrangement. The saloon is available as a full-beam or a walkaround. Minor arrangement changes in other areas are possible. Standard joinery is cherry, nicely finished to a warm medium hue and a high gloss. Owners choose from a selection of carpeting, upholstery and other soft goods.
Destiny has also sold a 135-foot motoryacht that will have a full custom interior, and two 88-foot models it considers production yachts with limited customization. The fiberglass hulls, decks, bulkheads and superstructures are molded and assembled in Italy, and the monocoque shells are shipped to Ft. Lauderdale for completion.
As I surveyed a hull nearing completion in Ft. Lauderdale, one immediate advantage caught my eye. Delivered without engines, the shell's main and upper decks have large installation hatches above the engineroom. Too many yachts built using modular construction techniques omit such hatches in a short-sighted bit of manufacturing economy. Owners end up cutting expensive holes in the hull bottom or topsides to replace engines or generators.
I boarded Crowned Eagle with Janusz Leczynski, a partner in Destiny Yachts with Ed Weiner. Leczynski has an extensive background in marine engines and shipboard systems engineering. As we went through the yacht, his influence was readily apparent.
Clever pneumatic systems on the flying bridge open and close covers at the helm and over the davit. Wiring is neat and orderly, and important touches, such as an automatic shut-off on the electric grill, were not overlooked.
There's no question the accommodations aboard Crowned Eagle are gorgeous (you can see that for yourself in the photos), but the engineroom is where she really shines for guys like Leczynski and me. The underwater exhaust system is a polished masterpiece mounted on spring hangers with a muffled bypass. The fuel oil system sports multiple filtration and an Alfa Laval centrifuge. The fuel fill and transfer manifold is clearly arranged and labeled, and includes a pressure gauge and Fill-Rite meter to keep track of how much fuel is being moved. All the piping is of a quality normally found only on considerably larger yachts.
Careful attention to emergency planning is evident. Not only does the engineroom have a second egress for emergency escape, every stateroom on the yacht has one, as well. The combined ship-style fire and bilge system is equipped with two pumps and fitted with changeover valving for maximum flexibility; it is not necessary to enter the engineroom to activate the system. There are several fire stations throughout the accommodations, each with a large-diameter fire hose stowed accordion-style for rapid deployment.
Tearing myself away from the nicest engineroom I've seen on a yacht this size, I joined Tom Sanders, Destiny's marketing vice president, for a tour of the remainder of the yacht.
Crowned Eagle has an on-deck master stateroom in a split-level arrangement. There are walkaround decks to either side of the stateroom, so extra space for a luxurious bath and dressing area is gained by going down into what would normally be crew's quarters. The combination of frosted glass, polished brass and high-gloss woodwork is a perfect complement to the bath's marble sole. In a clever reflection, the panes of glass enclosing the shower are clear in the center with frosted edges, while the matching toilet enclosure reverses the pattern for more privacy.
A full-beam VIP stateroom is forward of the engineroom and rivals the master in size and outfitting. Two baths, one with shower and one with tub, serve this stateroom and separate it from the engineroom. Two additional en suite staterooms, one with twin berths and one with a queen, share a foyer with the VIP. A washer/dryer is nearby for guest convenience.
Crew cabins, one with a full berth and the second with upper and lower singles, are directly under the master stateroom. They are separated from the guest cabins by a continuous bulkhead and served by a separate stair from the main deck galley. A second washer/dryer, and a crew mess and lounge, share the area.
The galley is outboard to port of the raised pilothouse, convenient to the dining area. A low divider separates the dining area and saloon. A bar is to starboard of the divider. Additional space for alfresco dining or relaxing, as well as a second bar, occupies the open deck abaft the saloon.
Air trunks in the corners of the saloon ensure the air delivered to the engineroom from high on the superstructure will be as dry as possible.
Topside, two forward-facing benches at the flying bridge helm seat five in comfort. An L-shape settee provides additional seating if you aren't at the bar, in the whirlpool spa or stretched out on the adjoining sunpads. Another sunpad awaits on the foredeck.
Whether you choose the 88 production model, the 98, 102 or 105 semi-production models, or the 135 custom model, Sanders says Destiny's goal is to deliver "the highest possible quality turnkey yacht."
Pricing is all-inclusive, including the artwork on the bulkheads and the crystal in the lockers, but I suspect you'll still have to bring your own toothbrush.
Contact: Destiny Yachts, (954) 522-1882; fax (954) 522-1909; www.destiny-yachts.com.