A rich, mahogany-adorned cockpit set against a mirror-finish, navy-blue Awlgrip hull seemed to appear from out of nowhere in a sea of white fiberglass. It stopped me right in my Sperrys. I was walking the docks the day before the Palm Beach International Boat Show and was drawn to this 40-footer like a wide-eyed fish is attracted to a shimmering lure.
Hooked, I approached to get a closer look. Her transom read Reliant with a Newport, Rhode Island, hailing port. Hmm. Who was she? I needed to know more. I later learned this captivating craft, called the Reliant Commuter 40, comes courtesy of some serious boatbuilding veterans and their new company, Reliant Yachts.
David MacFarlane and Jim Ewing have decades of experience. They met while working at Alden Yachts. MacFarlane is also an experienced ocean-racing sailor with Fastnet races, America’s Cup campaigns and countless Newport-to-Bermuda races notched into his belt. Ewing is also the former president of Trumpy Yachts.
Seeing a place in the market for a well-executed, customizable, midsize, commuter-style yacht, MacFarlane and Ewing went to work finding a yard that could make their vision a reality. They found their answer across the sea in Turkey at Su Marine, an Istanbul-based boatbuilder with 40-plus years of craftsmanship and knowledge behind it.
The Commuter 40’s design is classic, from her striking, razor-straight sheer line and trunk cabin to her transom tumblehome. She is a yachtsman’s, well, yacht. With her Sunbrella-covered cockpit bench seating and two opposing settees forward under the hardtop, she makes a great family day-tripper. A forepeak berth provides accommodations for a couple during weekend or longer cruises
One of the standout features is the fit and finish of her woodwork. The deck joinerwork and trim is varnished, high-gloss mahogany. Belowdecks, the bulkheads are satin finish. Should owners prefer another wood such as cherry, teak or some combination of a couple or few, Reliant will make it happen.
With several 40s already spoken for, Reliant’s other models include 50- and 60-foot expresses, and motoryachts from 60 to 93 feet. Reliant Yachts might be an unfamiliar name now, but not for long.
Wood or Glass?
Reliant Yachts is taking build customization to new places with its Commuter 40. Owners can choose a mold-based, all-fiberglass build if they like, or, for those who prefer wood, the builder can use tcold-molded khaya mahogany.