It is not unusual for engines to be soft-mounted to limit noise and vibration transfer to the hull structure, but Detroit Eagle's reduction gears are soft-mounted, as well. This is made possible by separate thrust bearings fitted abaft the gears. Hollow carbon-fiber shafting reduces weight forward of the tail shaft between the bearings, gears and engines. Resilient couplings at each point also help reduce vibration.
From the lathe-turned bulkhead panels on either side of the engineroom entrance to the details of the variable-geometry air intake on the turbine, there was just too much to absorb in the time allotted. There was a lot of dazzle, of course, but Detroit Eagle has one of the sweetest machinery packages I've seen in a long time.
Some features, including the cross-connected sea chests, are just good traditional design. Others are state-of-the-art, such as the infrared tank level sensors recessed above the tank top to prevent direct contact with fluid. Still other features are a blend of cutting-edge technology and common sense. Programmable logic circuits developed in cooperation with electronic giant Siemens monitor, but do not control, the engines. If the electronics crash, Detroit Eagle remains fully operational. With wry smiles, the crew shared that they had an opportunity to test the theory, with success.
Four blowers, two intake and two exhaust, are fitted to exchange the engineroom air. The exhaust blowers are reversible to supply the additional combustion air demanded when the gas turbine is operating. Two generators, powered by DDC 4-71 engines, are in a separate room abaft the main engineroom, allowing for extra sound and thermal insulation. Even the engineroom escape trunk to the side deck is innovative: Its ladder includes a "why didn't I think of that? lift-and-slide mechanism so it can be stowed out of the way when loading machinery supplies.
Designer John Munford is perhaps best known for traditional interiors with lots of detailing, but Detroit Eagle gave him a chance to show the breadth of his talent with a look that is warm, but thoroughly clean and modern. After all, Penske's collection of racing helmets and trophies would look a bit out of place in an Edwardian cabinet.
There was also the spatial challenge the machinery package posed. Large ducts penetrate the main and upper decks, bringing air in and exhausting gas from the engines through wings that support the radar arch. By angling the duct enclosures and fitting them with frosted glass doors, Munford divided the saloon from the dining room to create distinct spaces that can be combined or segregated.
The master stateroom is a full-beam space forward on the main deck that includes his-and-her baths and an arc of eight hanging lockers. Above it all, just forward of the pilothouse, is a tender garage with a hinged hatch that encloses the boat and davit.
Six guests are accommodated in three staterooms belowdecks. Twin staterooms are to port and starboard adjacent to the engineroom, and a VIP queen stateroom spans the hull's full beam. Crew is forward, and the captain's cabin is on the bridge deck.
Also on the bridge deck is Penske's office. It is hard to imagine a more inviting and appropriate venue for a man whose life has revolved around speed and power. An array of Penske Racing Team helmets spreads across the after bulkhead. Trophies, photos and other racing memorabilia are displayed around the remainder of the room. If that's not enough, consider the possibilities offered by the world beyond, which likely will include docking Detroit Eagle quayside in Monte Carlo, stepping onto the large open lounge area at the stern and watching Penske cars and drivers compete in the Grand Prix. Or maybe he'll go up a deck and watch from the hot tub.
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