Keeping it Light and Strong: Beneath The Skin
Something wonderful happened as the [Arcadia 85] idled out of her Palm Harbor Marina slip in Palm Beach, Florida. I was walking from the pilothouse, far forward, through the spacious salon when the captain slowly pivoted the yacht 90 degrees in the fairway. The near-noon light flooding into the salon, parsed by the grids of solar cells sandwiched between the low-emission glass overhead panels, rotated with the motion of the boat. It was a moment of transitory beauty, almost theatrical in the way it redefined all of the Poltrona Frau Group furnishings and the varied surfaces it touched and changed as it moved.
The moment reminded me of a favorite quote by American architect Louis Kahn: “We are born of light. The seasons are felt through light. We only know the world as it is evoked by light.”
Kahn would have enjoyed this moment, and indeed, the very structure creating it. Nothing about the deckhouse shape and its materials is obscured. If anything, this design from the drawing board of Francesco Guida highlights the yacht’s uniquely functional purpose and sets a style and tone that are truly head-turning. The fit and finish are superbly well done too.
Arcadia Yachts began in 2007 when its founder, Ugo Pellegrino, saw Guida’s conceptual drawings for a series of luxury yachts designed to operate efficiently, have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional yachts of the same size, and offer living spaces comparable to those on larger builds, said Dean B. Young, who heads the Arcadia project for HMY Yachts. Our test boat was Hull No. 8 in the 85 series, and she was tailored for the U.S. market under Young’s watch.
For instance, HMY specified increased air-conditioning capacity of 180,000 Btu, twice the European version’s generating capacity with two 25 kW, 60 Hz Kohler gensets and a U.S.-compatible electrical system, Young said. As we headed for Lake Worth Inlet on a brilliantly sunny March day, temperatures throughout the boat were nothing but comfortable. I stepped out of the salon onto the aft deck, and a strong southwest breeze swept the area with the smell of clean salt water. From the salon’s aft bulkhead to the transom, there were multiple weather-protected seating choices for privacy or entertainment, whichever is desired.
The aluminum superstructure here included a solid roof that shaded a long table for eight and, farther aft, an open arrangement of lounge chairs, three of which were in the sunshine. Two patio shades, lowered for our open-ocean run, stood ready to protect family and guests on sun-intense days. Imagine the alfresco meals.
Twin 730-horsepower MAN R6 diesels located well aft idled us along at 6 knots while burning four gallons per hour, and our test vessel topped out at 16.9 knots with her motors burning 77 gph. Running at an economical 12.2 knots and burning 24 gph, the Arcadia 85 had a theoretical range of 714 nautical miles with a 10 percent fuel reserve.
The semidisplacement hull form produced a comfortable ride thanks to its deep forefoot and substantial chines, supplemented by TRACStar zero-speed stabilizers. I definitely appreciated the solid, not to mention luxurious, teak-planked surfaces underfoot on exterior decks, which were installed with great care — good-looking and good footing decks in wet sea conditions.
As I toured the main and lower decks, I marveled at the amount of influence that Guida and his staff brought to bear. Lacquered surfaces, leather coverings, light fixtures, door handles, even slate walls in the passageway leading down to the accommodations level — all are selected for complementary style and textures that delight the eye and the touch of fingers.
Our test boat had crew quarters in the bow, accessed from the pilothouse, with three guest cabins and a master stateroom accessed from the portside stairs. The master takes full advantage of the amidships 23-plus-foot beam. Immediately abaft the pilothouse, separated by a bulkhead, this optional layout had a galley with sliding-door access to both side decks. I imagined doing meal preparation on pleasant days with both doors open, and it seemed to me that this was a great place to be a cook. This yacht also had a formal dining area adjoining the salon.
The 85 has numerous other noteworthy features, including a spacious engine room and a garage to house a RIB or two-person PWC, but her real focus is the efficient use of fossil fuels as well as solar technology — harnessing forward-thinking design for more eco-friendly yachting.