American Splendor

From her layout to her look, Hargrave's 101-foot Sassy motoryacht is fully customized for her owners.
The design cues on the Hargrave 101’s bulkhead in the formal dining area.
Sassy’s country galley is a cheerful and inviting location for casual meals and entertaining.

One of the delights of reviewing a new [Hargrave][] is the titillation of expectation, the excitement of seeing what is new and wonderful. I am always like an eager child going into a candy shop for the first time.

But with Sassy, the new Hargrave 101, my wildest dreamings left me totally unprepared. This is a completely fresh and original Hargrave.

Of course no two Hargraves are alike because, though they start from molds like a production yacht, each one is fully customized to suit an owner’s needs. And this isn’t just changing the upholstery color, either. Go ahead and move a bulkhead, add a cabin, modify the exterior lines and make this your yacht. When CEO Mike Joyce took over the Hargrave brand, he made the comment “We’re looking for clients who want to do interesting projects.” And he has found them … in droves.


For me, surprise number one was seeing Sassy at the dock. The transom is not the usual classic perpendicular of Hargrave tradition. No, it curves forward, leaving an ample swim platform, and it also curves athwartships. And the flybridge overhang cleverly mirrors that same form. Together it makes the stern appear youthful and classic (think of the beautifully curved sterns on the commuter yachts of the 1930s), and with a transom door into an immense stowage area, it gives Sassy a look of eagerness.


That was only the prelude, because surprise number two was stepping into the salon. I was struck by the sheer size.

The area seems to stretch off to the horizon, utilizing the full 21-foot beam. (The crew gets narrow side decks for hanging fenders.) Contributing to the sense of space are the huge windows on each side that rise from behind the low couches and chairs nearly to the tray ceiling, which, by the way, allows more than 7 feet of headroom.


Designer Shelley DiCondina of Yacht Interiors by Shelley in Fort Lauderdale took to heart Joyce’s request for an interior that was “clean and crisp.” To that, DiCondina added “energetic,” and Sassy is a yacht that appeals to a broad range of clients from young to, um, seasoned.

Adding to the airiness is the choice of European or sweet cherry, a fruitwood that is unusual in yacht interiors. With a wonderful grain that the Hargrave craftsmen have carefully end-matched and a tawny color, it makes you want to smile when you enter the salon. From the intricate overhead design to the design cues that DiCondina used throughout, this is a happy yacht.

Much can be seen from the photos of the arrangements: four staterooms with a huge full-beam master, a spacious VIP forward and two mirror-style guest cabins, all with en suite heads. Forward of the salon and down a passage with an elegant day-head is the country-kitchen-style galley, which fills the forward portion of the house and creates a casual dining setting to balance the salon’s formal dining area.


Which brings up an important point about Sassy: This is an American yacht, not an Americanized yacht. There is a difference, and an essential one. Many European builders import Americanized yachts, in which they change the electrical system and do a few superficial upgrades. But Sassy was built from the keel up for the way Americans use their yachts. European-owned yachts may never leave the dock, while 1,500 to 2,000 miles a year isn’t unusual for an American-owned 100-footer.

Specifications Builder Supplied Number
LOA: 101’0″
BEAM: 21’0″
DRAFT: 5’8″
DISPL.: 202,802 lb. (dry)
FUEL: 3,200 gal.
WATER: 600 gal.
DEADRISE: 12 degrees
ENGINES (std.): 2 x 1,700 hp Caterpillar C32 diesels
PRICE: Upon request

Take the galley, for example. Euro­peans hide the galley (and chef) away, while Sassy opens it up for a family atmosphere. And Joyce specified all GE appliances because, when you’re in a place where folks can’t pronounce most European appliances, you can usually get GE service in an hour.

Another clear indication that Sassy was created for Americans is the crew area. European yachts often have crew quarters that make Guantanamo Bay cells look palatial. Aboard Sassy, the captain has his own en suite stateroom with a queen berth. Two more crew members share a second cabin with a head, and there is a comfortable crew mess with dinette, mini-galley and washer/dryer. Access is secure at sea via stairs from the main deck or, at dockside, through a big clamshell door in the transom. Best of all, the finish is to the same standards as in the guest areas. Expect a waiting list of crew applications.


Surprise number three was the flybridge, which, like the salon, makes the most of its beam. The helm has all the same essentials as the raised pilothouse just a few steps down, and there is a ­double-wide companion seat as well. But, oh my! This is a bridge meant for entertaining. A full bar with pedestal stools is to port, and a pair of comfortable lounges with tables are aft and to port. But here’s the thing to notice: The tables don’t crowd the seats. When you have five people on a settee around a table, the inner person always has to go to the bathroom. It’s a rule of nature. So everyone has to move. Not on Sassy, because they left enough distance so insiders can get out.

That attention to detail is best illustrated by “The Book” that Joyce acquired with Hargrave. The Book is Jack Hargrave’s take on the measurements for everything from settee heights to backrest angles to door widths to, ahem, the proper height of a toilet. If you’ve ever spent a few hours on a couch that was almost, but not quite, comfortable, you know how invaluable such a book can be, and it is referred to in the planning and construction of every Hargrave.

Finishing off the flybridge is an outdoor galley that would put some land kitchens to shame, with grill, fridge, sink and everything you need for alfresco meals. Opposite is a large hot tub complete with its own bar and stools so guests can soak or just hang out. And this still leaves room for an 18-foot tender and the optional Quick Lift davit with rotation.

Here’s another way Sassy will satisfy Americans: There is stowage space. Acres of it. We are a tribe of pack rats, and we take everything with us, but few boats have enough stowage. The guest berths aboard Sassy rise on gas lifts to provide space for the inevitable suitcases. Every nook and cranny has a cleverly hidden door, and some open to massive spaces. You could create a mother-in-law suite in one locker on the bridge, and another under the pilothouse could easily absorb several hundred cases of Cristal Champagne and leave room for a dozen cases of Sassicaia Super Tuscan reds.

I haven’t mentioned the engine room, entered from the crew quarters, but, like everywhere else aboard Sassy, the finish is to a high level. There is lots of service space around the engines, which are 1,700-horsepower Caterpillar C32 diesels that push Sassy to a top sped of 22 knots and to a cruise of 17 knots. ZF V-drives give a flat shaft angle that reduces draft to less than 6 feet, giving this yacht access to thin-water areas inaccessible to many 100-footers.

I liked the seamanlike engine room, from the huge stainless-steel sea chest to the tidy manifolding of piping. This brings up another point about Hargrave: It equips the yacht right. Going down a long list of options is as irritating to me as having to pay for parking when staying in a $2,000-a-night suite at The Savoy.

Hargrave doesn’t nickel-and-dime its clients, and it puts together a thoughtfully chosen package of standard equipment. A second 34 kW Phasor genset is standard as are Naiad stabilizers and bow and stern thrusters. The list of entertainment equipment runs four single-space pages, and the navigation/communication gear runs another four pages.

In fact, the only optional items on Sassy are the tender, the life raft, the davit and the watermaker, all of which were dictated by owner preferences.

So there you have Sassy, a new page in Hargrave history, one that brings an original and innovative look and style. She, and her future sisters, are likely to continue the Hargrave tradition of raising the bar for other builders.

Like that kid in a candy shop, I cherished everything I saw, and so will you.