Hargrave 120

Decor and technology unite seamlessly in this user-friendly and inviting Hargrave 120.

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The word "integrity" takes on all manner of meanings at sea: The integrity of the hull comes immediately to mind. A lesser-known usage refers to the quality and consistency of electronic data. The integrity of one's shipmates, a necessity on long passages-or in a marriage- is even more important. And all of these definitions come into play aboard Sandrine, a new 120-foot Hargrave motoryacht.

Hargrave Custom Yachts built the pretty trideck to order for Rick and Sandy Sorenson, and the entire vessel was executed the way they wanted it. Sandrine is a showpiece, a prime example of how far Hargrave has come in finish and sophistication. It starts with the interior, but it goes well beyond that.

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Sandrine has four staterooms belowdecks, a spacious country galley forward, a cozy skylounge abaft her wheelhouse, and an open flying bridge for casual relaxation. No one doubts that Hargrave knows how to build a solid yacht. But Sandrine takes Hargrave to a new level in a number of areas, first of all in their interiors: Mountain verde marble forms the sole amidships on the main deck, perfectly bookmatched in four large quadrants that define the boundaries of the dining room and foyer. There are also a number of cast-glass art panels, including a large one between the dining room and salon, and a smaller one in the skylounge day-head. The skylounge itself is a special treat, decorated in an African theme with tribal masks and art, and finished with wenge and zebra wood joinery.

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The interior design was a collaborative effort of Yacht Interiors by Shelley, who have worked with Hargrave on a number of yachts, and Sandy Sorenson. The interior arrangement, the exterior styling, and the naval architecture are by Hargrave's in-house team, and their talents show in little details that may pass without notice unless you're watching for them. For instance, the central stairway that runs from the belowdecks guest accommodations through the maindeck foyer to the upper-level skylounge is a compact design that takes little away from the generous, but still finite, space available on a yacht of this size. To conserve space and volume, the staircase is close to being a spiral, but without the drawbacks of that classic feature. The stairway aboard Sandrine, called a "winder," has a small hollow central core that allows a few more inches of tread for your feet as you climb, making it both safer and more comfortable than a spiral. It's a small distinction, but an important one when you're descending the stairs with the yacht rolling in a beam sea.

As pretty and comfortable as she is, Sandrine is hiding a little secret under her skin. I had reviewed the yacht's specifications and arrangement plans before my visit, and had consequently wandered through the yacht, taking in all the décor and layout details. My only clues to her secret were one line in the specifications and a few switches that I noted for their ease of understanding and functionality. The spec line read "Octoplex System" without further elaboration, but that was to come during my second visit to Sandrine. The next day, Sandy's husband Rick Sorenson, president and CEO of Carling Technologies gave me the tour. Carling makes the Carlingswitch electrical products found on so many yachts. One of the group's subsidiaries is Moritz Aerospace, developer of the Octoplex System (www.octoplex.com) referenced in the specifications.

Octoplex derives its name and logo from the octopus, and it is a multiplexing system that owes some of its design to that cephalopod, with multiple legs reaching out from a central "brain." The system remotely monitors and controls both AC and DC circuit breakers. It also enables plug-and-play installation of NMEA 2000 electronic components, allowing for future expansion or modernization of electronic installations, and is non-proprietary, so most standard marine electrical equipment can be wired into the system. It reduces the length and gauge of wire runs, lowering cost and weight during construction and reducing voltage drop.

Sandrine is Rick Sorenson's baby, the first superyacht showcase for the Octoplex system, and he was eager to reveal her secrets. Rather than beginning his tour in the elegant salon, Rick dived immediately into the lazarette, where the core of the Octoplex system resides. Here, the system is integrated with three 3-phase shorepower panels as well as an Atlas shorepower converter. The system is also set up to allow automatic start and paralleling of the two gensets based on load, and there's a substantial inverter with automatic load-shedding features that kicks in to maintain essential functions should there be an AC power failure.

The remainder of the Octoplex system, consisting of two main wiring busses and a number of subpanels, is scattered in hidden spaces around the yacht, out of sight but readily accessible. There are also touchscreen panels for control and monitoring wherever needed, and each can be preprogrammed to allow or prohibit specific functions.

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As complicated as the system may be to design and install-all 177 light switches, plus most of the electrical equipment, feed through the system-conversely, it is simple to operate. Those understandable switches I noted earlier are all that the routine guest will ever see, but their simple looks belie their sophistication and capability. The bath vent-fan switches, for instance, are programmed to 65-percent power to reduce noise, and are timed at ten minutes for automatic shutoff.

The captain and crew, on the other hand, have full control. They will know immediately if there's trouble with the bilge pump, if a navigation light is out, or if the frozen stores locker has lost power. They can also remotely monitor and control almost all of the electrical and electronic equipment aboard Sandrine via small touchscreens, or reprogram functions as requirements change.

Troubleshooting is straightforward, and in the event of a failure that the owner-operator or captain cannot diagnose or repair, Octoplex technicians can tap into the system via satellite or landline to evaluate the system remotely. Should something go wrong with the Octoplex hardware-which is unlikely given its ultra-reliable aviation genesis-the breaker panels have a provision for switching over to manual mode to keep things going. Breaker sockets are programmable, so a universal breaker good for up to 30 amps will protect at 5 amps if that's where the socket was initially programmed. No resetting of the breaker itself is required. Not only does this reduce the number of spares to be carried, but allows non-essential breakers to be moved to essential functions should there be no spares available. A measure of the user-friendliness of the Octoplex system is that it has now been specified as standard equipment not only by Hargrave but also by several production yacht builders, including Viking Yachts, for smaller yachts that are often owner-operated.

Sandrine shows Hargrave is willing to adopt the latest technology, but some of the company's proven standards will never go out of style. The company's dedication to Hargrave owners seems to increase with each delivery, a feeling the owners seem to reciprocate. And builds like Sandrine go a long way to explaining this mutual respect and admiration. It all comes down to one word owners consistently use when they talk about the company: "integrity."

Hargrave Custom Yachts, (954) 463-0555; www.hargrave-usa.com