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Certain Charm

When a knowledgeable owner taps an experienced builder, the results are Inevitable.

October 4, 2007

When the 131-foot tri-deck motoryacht Inevitable made her debut in Ft. Lauderdale last fall, she was moored alongside the 115-foot Mostro, another recent Palmer Johnson delivery. The two yachts were good examples of the builder’s capabilities. Mostro is a sleek, low-profile Italian design that belongs to the yard’s new owner, Andrew McKelvey. Inevitable, by contrast, is more traditional, though with no less style.

That’s the true value of custom yacht building: Every customer gets exactly what he wants. In the case of Inevitable, the customer knew exactly what he wanted.

He selected designer Patrick Knowles to help him create a yacht that would be traditional yet not overbearing, formal yet not stuffy. Knowles said the owner’s enthusiasm and pride of ownership resulted in clear goals and high expectations, a source of inspiration rather than a list of challenges. The designer also remarked on what a pleasure it was to work with a knowledgeable owner who had well-defined requirements, including Lloyd’s Register and MCA certification for charter, enhanced safety wherever possible and a design that focuses on service.

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Palmer Johnson met the first requirement by making Inevitable, in the builder’s estimation, the first all-aluminum motoryacht built to the stringent Lloyd’s and MCA construction and safety standards. Her lines are based on a proven full-displacement hull design by Dick Boon. His work is known for seakeeping ability and long-range cruising efficiency, so such a derivation was a sound choice.

Working to meet the owner’s request for a traditional yacht, designers gave Inevitable a deep blue hull, a crimson boot stripe and a rich mahogany interior-all of which make her welcome timeless. She has a formal dining room with a coffered overhead defined by heavy beams, and smaller touches, including books held on their shelves by polished brass keepers and sea rails providing a decorative accent and practical handholds at bath countertops.

The extensive use of mahogany paneling and other joinery could have resulted in a dark, oppressive interior. Instead, Knowles achieved a design that is quite light and comfortable. The woodwork is finished in a medium shade, carpeting is cream and overheads are white. In most cases, bulkheads have mahogany paneling only to waist-height, with stretched-fabric panels of white silk above. An abundance of mirrored wall sconces, recessed overhead lighting and indirect deck-level lighting further illuminate the interior to create a mood that is just right.

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Also at the owner’s request, enhanced safety was incorporated wherever possible without breaking the traditional feel of Inevitable. Both in the yacht’s arrangement and in her outfit, MCA Code requirements were a consideration. Life rings are recessed into the side of the house, and liferafts cantilever from the sundeck. Large freeing ports evacuate water from all exterior decks, and engineroom ventilation ducts extend to the bridge deck to minimize the chance of flooding. Forward of the Portuguese bridge, a walkway to the foredeck is fully protected by handrails.

In other areas, safety features are less obvious but just as important. There is a single door, for instance, in the watertight bulkhead between the guest and crew’s quarters. It provides an emergency escape route to a second stairway for the occupants of both compartments, and it lets the crew service guest cabins each morning and evening without entering the public areas on the main deck. Incorporating such innovative and beneficial features can be done easily during construction, often at little or no additional cost. It is too bad all designers and builders don’t do so on a regular basis.

The yacht’s service-oriented arrangement was also at the owner’s request. There is no country kitchen or dinette. The dining room, unlike that on many new yachts, is large, formal and totally private-serviced by the crew from a butler’s pantry off the full galley to port. Dining is enhanced by richly framed paintings and elegant cabinet doors of burl inlays.

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Forward and to starboard of the dining room is a spacious bar that serves multiple duties. Adjacent to the entry foyer, it is a nice spot to welcome arriving guests with a drink and a light snack. During evening meals, it can be used as a second serving area or children’s dining area. In the morning, with the foyer door closed, it becomes a private breakfast area for the owner. At other times, it functions as a bar. This keeps noise and mess away from the quiet, relaxed ambience of the main saloon, where sofas and easy chairs dominate and a reading nook occupies one corner.

While more informal arrangements are popular on smaller yachts, particularly those that are owner-operated, I like the idea of a separate bar and private dining room on a fully crewed yacht this size. Guests are there, after all, for an experience. The enjoyment of food and drink is a big part of that, and is always enhanced by good service and quiet conversation with friends.

Less-formal guest activities occur on the afterdeck, where another bar serves two tables with seating for 12. Access to the water is via a large swim platform that folds out of the transom. Tenders can be boarded easily via stairs to starboard. Guests can also relax in the bridge deck sky lounge, which has a bar, a game table and casual seating for conversation or watching a movie.

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The sundeck, the most informal area, has a variety of guest amenities in addition to the flying bridge helm station. Among the amenities is a huge wet bar with surrounding stools and a Jenn-Aire grill, as well as spacious L-shape settees on both sides. All are sheltered by the radar arch and fixed bimini. Aft, raised sunpads flank a large whirlpool spa.

Sleeping accommodations are available for 10. Each of the two VIP guest staterooms adjacent to the engineroom has a king-size berth. Heads are equipped with bidets, two lavatories and whirlpool tubs. Forward, two more guest staterooms have heads with showers. The starboard cabin has twin berths. The portside cabin sleeps four in twin-size bunked berths.

As befits a yacht on which service is a hallmark, crew’s quarters are spacious. In addition to three cabins with upper and lower berths, there are a large crew mess, a walk-in stowage room and an oversize laundry that doubles as a steward’s anteroom for servicing the guest staterooms.

The master stateroom is a private retreat forward on the main deck. Extensive use of mahogany joinery gives this large space a warmer, more cozy feel. Spreading across the yacht’s full beam, the stateroom is centered around a king berth capped by a deep overhead coffer. This lends the impression of a classic postered canopy bed, a cocoon within the expanse of space.

Effect is one thing, reality another, and the reality is that this is a huge stateroom. Built-in dressers and under-berth drawers offer more stowage than that on many yachts twice Inevitable’s size. Each of the two dressing rooms on centerline is oversize to provide a surfeit of hanging space. A large bathroom with whirlpool tub is to port of the dressing rooms, and a second smaller one to starboard has a shower.

Inevitable will appeal to a lot of people, keeping her owner and charter parties happy. With such a positive result for all involved in her creation, it was perhaps, well, inevitable that a sistership would be built. The second yacht was recently purchased and is expected to be delivered in fall 2002.

Contact: Palmer Johnson Yachts, (920) 743-4412; fax (920) 743-3381; [email protected]; www.palmerjohnson.com.

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