Wally and Hermès Part Ways on WHY Project

From its public introduction last September straight through to now, the WHY 58x38 project from Wally has been garnering plenty of attention. And why not (if you’ll pardon the pun)? The unusual wedge shape and elbowroom-inducing beam are far different than anything else on the water or on the drawing boards. But Thursday, Hermès surprised many by announcing that it’s leaving the joint venture. The reason: its lack of experience in yacht construction. Patrick Thomas, the company’s CEO, told Reuters that the technical complexity and need for “on-the-spot decisions” were beyond its abilities. “It seemed a good idea ...

4th March 2010.
By Diane Byrne

From its public introduction last September straight through to now, the WHY 58×38 project from Wally has been garnering plenty of attention. And why not (if you’ll pardon the pun)? The unusual wedge shape and elbowroom-inducing beam are far different than anything else on the water or on the drawing boards. But Thursday, Hermès surprised many by announcing that it’s leaving the joint venture.

The reason: its lack of experience in yacht construction. Patrick Thomas, the company’s CEO, told Reuters that the technical complexity and need for “on-the-spot decisions” were beyond its abilities. “It seemed a good idea to us to have only one decision-maker, and we naturally decided to hand the reins over to Wally,” Thomas was quoted as saying.

Thomas added that Hermès is selling its stake in the WHY project to Wally, though it will receive commissions on megayacht contracts sold through the next decade.

While no contracts have been announced yet, the design and build teams did create a full-scale mockup last year. This two-minute video shows how that mockup came together, from May to September. The video is actually a cleverly strung-together series of photos, taken every few days:


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Diane Byrne

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Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.
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