New Zealand Yachting Developments Ltd. in Auckland may not be on the lips of many yachtsmen in North America, but it has become a force in the rapidly growing boatbuilding industry down under. Specializing in composite and traditional wood construction, the builder has a Langan 85 and a Frers 95 under way in the same shed.
One of Yachting Developments’ most recent launches is the 111-foot sloop Silvertip, designed by Dubois Naval Architecture & Yacht Design, headed by Ed Dubois. Although the exterior design elements speak of speed, the yacht’s accommodations offer all the luxury modern owners expect-a difficult task made possible by the intelligent use of composites.
Silvertip is reportedly the largest composite sloop built over a male mold ever to be completed in New Zealand. Hand-laminated of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber over an end-grain balsa core below the waterline and foam in the topsides and deck, the entire structure is vacuum-bagged. Male molding lets the builder produce a one-off yacht over temporary molds, so he doesn’t have to spend the farm on a permanent mold.
French designer Agnes Comar did the interior in a wonderfully simple style that encourages casual use. Straight lines and right angles define the majority of the belowdecks spaces, which may seem harsh to folks who subscribe to asymmetry and rounded forms. The disadvantage of so many right angles is the number of pain-inducing corners available for the crew to crash into during rough weather.
In stark contrast to the Edwardian interiors of traditionally styled yachts, in which so many of the design elements are whimsical devices meant to merely “decorate, Comar’s treatment relies on an object’s function to establish its beauty. Even if she has added a whimsical device or two, the subtlety likely will impress observers without their knowing.
At the working end of Silvertip is a professional-quality galley designed to please the chef. Most of the furniture in the galley is made of stainless-steel panels over a lightweight core, and it is absolutely stunning. The crew mess is opposite, and the rest of the crew quarters fill the remainder of the forward sections.
The owner’s stateroom spans the full 23-foot beam way back aft, and the guest cabins, separated by a passageway fore and aft, are forward.
Ed Dubois is definitely not a stranger to fast sailing yachts, and his expertise shows in Silvertip‘s clean wake. She exhibits no sign of the speed-robbing bow and stern waves that suck some displacement yachts into a hole between them.
The rig, too, hints at her speed potential. The mainsail’s aggressive roach requires a split backstay so it clears on tacks and jibes. Under spinnaker, the rig is powerful enough to require running backstays, in addition to swept spreaders, to keep the mast in column.
The days of luxury cruising aboard slow boats have long since passed, and careful study of Silvertip demonstrates the reason why.