Design: Onyx 41

No one ever said a sport yacht had to be practical. But beautiful? You bet your life.

November 9, 2013

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 exterior

Sculpted in the best tradition of the late 1930s streamlining movement, the Onyx 41 sports yacht simply overloads a person’s senses. She’s the offspring of a collaboration between Hodgdon Yachts (naval architecture) and Luiz de Basto Designs (interior and exterior styling). “I wanted to design a modern boat, but with touches of the old glory days of commuting in America,” de Basto said. “On the other side, it’s a high-tech boat with hidden comforts, such as the built-in fenders and cleats, not to mention the hybrid propulsion.”

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 stern

A quick look at this profile rendering is all you need to confirm that the Onyx 41 is sensuous — pure aesthetic indulgence. Though her underlying shape is relatively simple, the shadows, highlights and contrasting colors that delineate the whole create a complex visual experience. One way to decipher this design is to imagine it as a series of lines devoid of all aesthetic enhancements — a minimalist wireframe view. Begin with the sheer line, because it almost always influences the overall look more than any other element. Tracing it from its origin just abaft the stemhead to the terminus aft shows us the foundation of the yacht’s fastback shape.

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 Salon

If we remove the Onyx 41’s superstructure, which reinforces the look de Basto wanted, she would remain every bit as stunning. We’d leave the windshield, of course, and side windows would terminate at the mullion. Making the Onyx 41 into an open boat, though, would reduce the intoxicating effect her overall shape has on us, because she’d lose the interplay between the white band just below the sheer line and the sail panel of the deckhouse.

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 interior

The other shape-defining elements of the hull are the character line along the topsides and the chine line emerging from the static waterline at the leading edge of the planing surface. Both curve upward in the same arc and will create a variety of eye-catching shadows and highlights as the light dances over the yacht. Note also how the swim platform hugs the hull, its arms reaching forward and up, mimicking the arc of the chine and character line. What appear to be covered portlights, defined by the oblong reveals in the topsides, hide the automatically deployed fenders.

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 lounge

Although every studio creates its designs on a computer screen, this yacht deserves a small three-dimensional model so we can also feel the interaction of her elements — the way a sculptor experiences the clay, marble or wood.

Hodgdon Yachts Onyx 41 Stateroom

LOA: 42’2″ (w/ swim platform)
BEAM: 12’1″
DRAFT: 2’4″ (hull); 3′ 9″ (outdrives lowered)
DISPL.: 26,500 lb. (half load)
FUEL: 340 gal.
WATER: 105 gal.
ENGINES: 3 x 279 hp Steyr SE286E40 diesels Parallel Hybrid w/ 3 x Volvo DPH Duoprop
SPEED: 35 knots max., 30 knots cruising, 5 knots hybrid cruising (duration approx. 1 hour) Hodgdon Yachts, 207-633-4194;
Luiz de Basto Designs, 305-373-1500;

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