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Divine Origins

Perini Navi delivers the first in a new series of fast cruisers.

August 18, 2015
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State of Grace’s spacious salon showcases the exquisite joinery work and attention to detail for which Perini Navi has long been renowned.
A cozy, retro-style sitting area graces the port side of the salon.
A hinged bolster allows the lower helm bench to do double duty as salon seating, with retractable screens enabling a better view at anchor.

Twenty years ago, State of Grace was a hit movie

starring Sean Penn as a Hell’s Kitchen cop. Ten years ago, State of Grace was a short-lived TV series. Last year, State of Grace was a popular Taylor Swift song. None of these, however, embodied the spiritual definition of the phrase as a flawless creation of divine origins. The new [Perini Navi][] yacht of the same name — the first in a fast-cruising series from the Italy-based yacht builder — absolutely does.

Perini Navi is well known for its beautiful sloops as well as for the distinctive DynaRig Maltese Falcon. The builder refers to the 131-foot State of Grace, however, as a cutter rather than a sloop. I’ll leave it to the sailing purists to argue that point, but I would side with the yard’s designation because State of Grace sports two large headsails and has her 165-foot-tall carbon fiber mast stepped well aft. She is the first in Perini Navi’s 40-Meter Fast Cruising series, a design that strikes a nice balance between cruising in comfort and no-frills racing.

The design of State of Grace, developed by Perini Navi’s in-house engineering team in collaboration with Ron Holland, was introduced to the public in early 2010. It is to the credit of the designers, the builder and the owner that, when she was delivered last fall and presented at the Monaco Yacht Show, she floated very nearly on the marks announced almost four years earlier.

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Displacement is a key indicator of speed, and anything that adds to the overall displacement, whether a designer’s overly optimistic miscalculation, a builder’s well-intentioned departure from the plans or an owner’s ever-growing list of changes, will inevitably degrade the yacht’s performance. None of that happened with State of Grace, as her displacement is within just a few tons of what was first predicted. The fact that she is fully classed for commercial yacht service by the American Bureau of Shipping, not one of the easier classification societies to satisfy, makes the achievement all the more commendable.

As I approached State of Grace and her slip mate, Seahawk, also built by Perini Navi and on display in Monaco (see “State of Affairs,” page 50), the first obvious difference in this new series of yachts was the absence of a flying bridge. From the beginning, almost all Perinis have carried bridges, some with hardtops and a few in conjunction with a raised pilothouse, but most of them simply open, elevated guest areas blended into each yacht’s low, sleek profile. The bridge was an innovation when it appeared on Felicità, Perini’s first big custom yacht in 1984, but it has been a signature feature of all 53 sailing yachts the builder has delivered since, with the exception of Squall, P2 and the two named Heritage. State of Grace follows Maltese Falcon as the second Perini to be finished completely at the company’s Yildiz satellite yard near Istanbul, Turkey. All subsequent issues of the 40M series, as well as some other models, will also be built there. Burak Akgül, the Yildiz yard’s manager and one of the sharpest technical minds in the business, has been a fixture at Perini Navi’s main yard in Viareggio, Italy, for many years, so there is no reason to question the quality of yachts coming from the newer facility. My inspection of State of Grace in Monaco confirmed that fact. It would have been impossible to determine where she was built without asking. Fit and finish were superb, and she was every bit worthy of carrying the golden Perini badge on her wing boards.

In addition to the absence of a flying bridge, State of Grace has a partial recess forward for carrying her 18-foot tender, further enhancing her low profile. That recess also clears the deck for easy line handling, a task that can be done by one person from the cockpit thanks to the sail control system developed by Perini Navi’s mast and rigging division. In addition to the mast, the furling boom and standing rigging are also fabricated by the division in carbon fiber. Laminated sails, along with Holland’s savvy input on the design, complete the suite to ensure optimal performance.

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State of Grace is every inch a performance boat, but she is as comfortable as she is fast. I try not to judge yacht interiors on my personal preferences, as there are as many styles as there are owners, but I must admit that I loved this interior as soon as I stepped across the salon’s threshold. Minimalist is too strong a word, but it is certainly uncluttered. In spite of that, Perini Navi’s interior design team made generous use of various midtone woods to create a feeling of modern classicism, if there is such a thing. The builder describes it as “spare and classic enriched with touches of contemporary flair.”

Specifications Builder Supplied Number
LOA: 131’0″
LWL: 112’0″
BEAM: 30’10”
DRAFT: 11’5″ keel up, 29’6″ keel down
MAIN MAST ABOVE DWL: 167’0″
TOTAL SAIL AREA: 12,826 sq. ft.
FUEL: 3,170 gal.
WATER: 1,321 gal
CONSTRUCTION: aluminium
DISPL.: 220 long tons
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: Perini Navi and Ron Holland
INTERIOR DESIGN: Perini Navi
ENGINE: 1 x 670 hp Caterpillar C18 diesel
CRUISE SPEED (under power): 12 knots
RANGE (under power): 3,000 nm at 12 knots

The salon resides amidships on two levels, with the upper carrying the larger area, including a helm to port and a navigation area across. Her lower level has a large dining area and a more intimate sitting area, and benefits greatly from the extreme rake of the windshield above creating a skylight effect.

The galley and crew quarters, along with a day-head, are forward below the trunk cabin. Cleverly, the trunk extends much farther forward than is necessary for headroom over the galley and crew mess, but in so doing, it serves three purposes that are not immediately obvious.

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First, it visually extends the horizontal line of the superstructure, combining with the cockpit coaming and lower window line to increase the length-to-height ratio and make the house seem lower than it actually is. Second, it creates on-deck space for four large lockers to house gear. Third, the extended trunk allows for recessed stowage of the tender without encroaching on the crew quarters’ headroom.

Aft, a large open cockpit provides lots of comfortable seating with more than enough room for both overnight guests and day- trippers. The main helm is elevated on centerline, giving excellent sight lines over and around the house as well as an unobstructed view of the sails. These are important considerations at any time, but especially so for a performance cruiser that can be expected to compete in the occasional regatta. At the stern, wide stairs lead down to a sizable swim platform that folds out of the raked transom.

The four staterooms that comprise the guest accommodations are below the cockpit, accessible via a winding stair from the upper salon. Two identical queen staterooms are adjacent to the engine room but well isolated from it by en suite heads. The staterooms are well lighted and ventilated by large, rectangular double ports and are finished with light woods, white overheads and planked soles for an open feeling. A third guest stateroom is to starboard and is similarly finished, but with twin berths plus a pullman.

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At the stern is the master suite with a king berth and settee to port, and a desk to starboard. There’s room to port for a huge head and dressing area, but the owner opted to keep the necessities fairly modest, leaving room for a gym with step and rowing machines. It is a perfect example of the customization possible, even in a so-called “standard” series of yachts.

If you’re ready for an adventure on a yacht like State of Grace, you have two excellent options. First is to contact Perini Navi. Second, if you’re not quite ready to commit, State of Grace is available for charter as part of the YCO fleet. Either way, you can’t lose.

State Of Affairs

The delivery of State of Grace was just a part of Perini Navi’s activities during the past year. The yard also delivered Seahawk, a 197-foot, twin-mast beauty, while sister company Picchiotti delivered a 240-foot Vitruvius ­moto­ryacht. The first of a new series of 230-foot sailboats will be completed in 2015, with sisterships to State of Grace being built in both Viareggio and in Istanbul. Seahawk is an evolution of the 184-foot Perini Navi model. The new ketch should boast an increase in performance. New sail tracks incorporating titanium are smaller and lighter, but can carry loads up to 30 tons. The rig uses carbon fiber in the booms, spreaders and many other parts. In addition, the two masts, while still aluminum, have been redesigned. Together, the two weigh less than the main mast alone on Burrasca, the first of the earlier yachts. The advances in ­materials and design ­reduce weight aloft and ­allow for 70 tons less ballast. Seahawk also benefits from a reshaped lifting keel, which should ­enhance speed. She is fitted with a new generation of captive reel winches and below-deck head sail furlers to keep her deck clear. In spite of the technological advancements aboard Seahawk, she is not entirely about performance. As I toured her, I was impressed with her stunning interior, designed by Christian ­Liaigre of Paris. The interior is contemporary with a significant nod to marine ­influences. Four guest staterooms carry queen berths, and the full-beam ­master ­stateroom is fitted with two queen berths, with provision for a divider to create two staterooms. A smaller trunk cabin for Seahawk means more outside living area for guests, with cockpits both fore and aft. There is also a huge stern platform, plus a new side door with platform for swimming, boarding tenders and launching toys from the lazarette.

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