Brooklin Boat Yard built Bequia of Douglas fir (four layers arranged fore-and-aft) and Western red cedar (two layers on the diagonal), cold-molded with epoxy resin and sheathed on the exterior with two layers of 12-ounce fiberglass. She shows off some of her frames belowdecks. Areas of the interior that don’t contain cabinets — behind the sofa is one of those — reveal the inside layer of planking and the framework. This area and the space surrounding the portlights are finished bright, showing the beauty of the wood’s grain. Deck beams divide the overhead into pleasingly proportioned sections. Being able to see even some of the hull’s reinforcing structure has always made me feel safe, as though the boat would take care of me at sea, come what may.
Bequia’s owners selected the colors, style of furniture and purpose assigned to many of the general arrangement’s spaces. They have two teenage daughters and asked, for example, that the forward stateroom be their exclusive domain. Each side has a single berth and hanging locker, shelves at the head of each berth, a head and separate shower. It’s as private, cozy and inviting as any young person could want. Their parents’ stateroom is as far aft as the design permits — every teenager’s dream come true. (Maybe the separation is every parent’s dream too.)
Be that as it may, the master stateroom is also, I have to say, “as private, cozy and inviting” as any reasonable adult could want. The large double berth is on the port side to make room for the companionway that leads to the afterdeck. The steps are removable and stow out of the way, leaving a varnished mahogany bench just to starboard of the centerline. Outboard of the companionway, Stephens placed a large locker in a corner that could easily have become wasted space. A built-in lounge chair, forward of the locker and beneath a portlight, seems like an ideal place to read late at night without disturbing one’s bunk mate.
Most of us may reckon that 90 feet overall length provides more than enough volume belowdecks to ease the designer’s burden of including everything the client wanted. Bequia, though, is relatively small for her length. The traditional shape of her hull limits the volume devoted to living spaces, as compared with that of modern yachts, which are broader by far in the stern sections. Her long overhangs aren’t suitable for anything other than stowage, and her deadrise over much of the bottom reduces the percentage of maximum beam devoted to living. For anyone who loves the classical style, these compromises are worth every bit of space given to stowage, instead of extra staterooms, king-size berths, a larger salon or what have you.
From the designer’s point of view, making room for all of the modern systems requires a great deal of thought. Stephens and Waring were certainly up to the task. We find a perfect example of this between the main mast and the master stateroom. This area is chockablock with machinery, galley, captain’s quarters and head, enclosed sea/guest berths and day-head, the master head and about a dozen lockers. The area in question roughly corresponds to the yacht’s static center of buoyancy — the part of the hull most able to float the weight — so it is the best location.
The bulkiest items — engine and generators — live in the forward, or widest, section of the machinery space very near the hull’s point of maximum waterline beam. The after part of the machinery space angles to port, crossing the centerline as it nears the master stateroom’s bulkhead. Here, we find the propeller shaft and the gear-and-shaft linkage of the Jefa steering system. This section forms the inboard wall of the passageway to the master stateroom. The outboard wall of the passageway is also one wall of the master head. Juggling the volume in this way allowed the designers to create a fairly large, though unconventionally shaped, space for the head. The galley lives on the port side of the yacht amidships; the skipper’s quarters are immediately abaft the galley.