Every parent, at some time, has wondered why. You give each child the same time, love and attention, but one just seems to turn out better than the others. Designers and builders seldom admit it, but the same is true of their yachts. Once in a while, everything comes together perfectly. For Tom Fexas Yacht Design and Cheoy Lee Shipyards, that special offspring is the 92-foot Sport Motoryacht.
Wyatt Huggins, chief designer for Fexas, is effusive in his praise for the builder and the yacht that sprang from the collaboration. Ever since the Midnight Lace days, the hull forms emerging from the Fexas office have been known for fine entry sections and fast, clean-running hulls. Performance, however, is entirely dependent on the builder keeping the finished yacht’s weight within bounds.
Cheoy Lee achieves displacement targets through extensive use of Airex, Divinycell and Airlight coring in fabrication of the hull and superstructure. Multi-axial E-glass reinforcements further reduce structural weight, but that is only part of the story. A yacht’s interior joinery is always a significant part of total displacement. On this yacht, the woodwork is so well done, it is impossible to distinguish a solid wood piece from one cored with Nomex honeycomb-until you pick it up. You can grab a drawer by the front and easily hold it up at arm’s length. Don’t try that with a solid wood drawer unless you’ve been working out regularly.
The full-beam master stateroom, immediately forward of the engineroom, has a king-size berth. The U-shape galley is fully outfitted with well-placed Frigidaire appliances. Forward on the main deck, the crew mess also serves as a companion area for the lower helm, which lies to port.
The hull’s structural arrangement also reduces weight. Rather than building a stringer-and-thwart backbone for the hull and installing separate tanks, the 92-foot Sport Motoryacht uses integral double-bottom tankage. The sides, ends, tops and swash bulkheads of the fuel, water and holding tanks both contain the fluids and form the hull structure. This is common practice in aluminum and steel construction, but the technique is rarely used in fiberglass yachts because of the extra demands on quality control during fabrication. Cheoy Lee has been doing it successfully for at least 20 years.
While Fexas has a passion for weight control in his designs, he is not obsessed. Unlike some yachts that end up as little more than go-fast shells, this one offers all the creature comforts expected of yachts at this level. Proper outfit and guest comfort were not sacrificed in the quest for performance. All the deck hardware, from the 11/4-inch bow rails to the bollards and fairleads, is 316 stainless steel. There is a Maxwell anchor windlass with a 3/8-inch chain, as well as a bow thruster and stabilizers. Inside, the countertops are Corian. Wood is warm to the eye and solid to the touch, offering no hint of its cored construction.
Exterior styling is definitely Fexas, with the upswept pilothouse window and crescent saloon window. The powder horn sheer, the reaching stem and the generous bow flare are all clues to the yacht’s Fexas pedigree, but this yacht seems less aggressive than some of Fexas’ earlier work, less in-your-face with its retro theme. Both on paper and in the flesh, this yacht’s aesthetics offer a great deal to like. Cheoy Lee cut no corners in executing the design, as evidenced by the flawless fiberglass work.
To a large extent, the interior arrangement flows from the designer’s performance objectives. To keep the hull’s bow sections as fine as possible, the longitudinal center of buoyancy must be shifted aft. This, in turn, requires a shift in weight toward the stern, most easily achieved by locating the engineroom aft. That is exactly what was done here, placing the concentrated weight of the propulsion engines, generators and other major machinery abaft all accommodations.
The yacht offers not one, but two full-beam staterooms. The master is immediately forward of the engineroom. It boasts a king berth and two heads, one with a spacious shower and the other with an oversize whirlpool tub. There are three hanging lockers, one a walk-in, and an L-shape settee in the corner. The VIP stateroom, adjacent to the master but reached via a separate stair, also spans the full beam. A queen berth is to port, and two lockers and a head with tub are to starboard. A vanity is centered on the after bulkhead.
Additional guests are accommodated in two cabins forward of the VIP suite that share its stairway. The port cabin has a queen berth, the starboard has twins and each has a head with shower. Noise from the crew area is reduced thanks to an insulated bulkhead and the heads positioned at the forward end of the cabins. It includes a spacious crew lounge and two crew cabins. The captain’s is forward with a double berth. The other cabin, outfitted with upper and lower berths, is to starboard. Both have heads with showers.
The crew mess, forward on the main deck, serves double duty as a companion area for the lower helm, which lies to port. Abaft the helm is a spacious U-shape galley fully outfitted with Frigidaire appliances. The refrigerator is on the after bulkhead, where it should be to keep food from falling out when the door is open while under way. A small thing, yes, but indicative of Fexas’ attention to detail. A day head is to port.
The saloon and dining area are one large room, but low room-dividing cabinetry creates the effect of individual spaces. Saloon seating is divided between two wraparound settees that can accommodate a crowd when needed yet not overwhelm one or two guests relaxing alone. The open afterdeck is fully covered by the extended bridge deck, and a ladder provides a route up in addition to the main stair, which is forward on the flying bridge. Two large L-shape settees with tables are abaft the upper helm seats. A fixed hardtop covers the entire area, which is open but could easily be enclosed with curtains.
The Cheoy Lee 92-foot Sport Motoryacht delivers good looks, fine performance and comfortable accommodations, all in a well-built package from a respected designer and an experienced builder. Buyers can’t ask for more.