About Diane Byrne

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.

VIDEO: Tim Heywood Talks About Cakewalk

Last week we brought you news about the launch of Cakewalk. Tim Heywood, her stylist, was at Derecktor Shipyards for the big megayacht’s move and, as you’ll see in these video clips created for the yard, was blown away. “It’s a remarkable achievement,” Heywood explains. “Nothing prepares you for the reality of the boat.”

In this clip, Heywood further avers that Derecktor now has an edge: Rather than stating what’s possible, it can point to the yacht as proof of a significant technical achievement.

Rumors and Ruminations Over Feadship’s Largest Yacht

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Feadship’s Royal De Vries yard quietly launched the 88-meter (288-foot) Musashi about two weeks ago, and since then yacht watchers and various websites have been speculating over the owner’s identity. The chatter is partly driven by the facts that this is the largest Feadship to date and, according to some, its most expensive.

We’ll leave the debate of size vs. cost to someone else… but further chatter centers on the identity of the owner—a guessing game that is pretty amusing, since most of the guesses come down to one of two people.

Rumor has it that the owner is a repeat client. That’s one reason why some folks believe Paul Allen commissioned Musashi. The Microsoft millionaire, sports-team owner, and general genius has owned a handful of other superyachts over the years, so it’s not a big leap in logic to think he might enjoy the build process again. And as some websites have pointed out, Allen does happen to have one of his yachts, Tatoosh, for sale.

But other people believe the owner is Roman Abramovich—because, after all, pretty much every mega-size megayacht being built these days is automatically ascribed to him. (JamesList, one website that joined in the guessing game, even got creative in its headline regarding the launch and Abramovich’s alleged ownership: “Roman Holiday? Feadship Launches Largest Yacht Ever.”) Abramovich also happens to be a previous Feadship client, but that tends to get overshadowed by the sheer sizes of his other yachts.

The most amusing part of the whole guessing game is that a quick Google search would have led them to believe what I do: that the owner is Larry Ellison. Why? “Musashi” is a Japanese name, and Ellison is well-known for his love of Japanese culture. Musashi was the name of several significant things in Japanese history, it turns out. It’s a former Japanese province which today encompasses Tokyo. A Japanese battleship from World War II was christened with the same name, for that province. And Miyamoto Musashi was a famed samurai born in the 16th century. Put these together with some facts that Ellison himself revealed in recent years, and the conclusion seems further confirmed. Ellison said that he had commissioned a new yacht (though he didn’t mention the builder) and that she’d be smaller than Rising Sun, allowing him to pull into Monaco’s Port Hercule.

The slick video production here is just one of a handful on YouTube showcasing Musashi’s modern profile, the latter from De Voogt Naval Architects. Enjoy the view. Even if all of us are still wrong, what’s certain is that Musashi bears some pretty powerful looks.

Broward Back in Business

Even K. Marshall design for Broward

It has a new name and new partners, but the Florida-based yard known for “the great American megayacht” is in the process of being revived once again.

The new name is Broward Shipyard, and Philippe Brandligt, a naval architect by training who has served with some significant firms, is working with the new ownership team. Brandligt has held positions at Moonen Shipyards, Amels (he also oversaw the build of Boadicea there), and Holland Superyacht Industries.

Broward Marine ceased construction in September 2008, shortly after delivering the 124-foot Coco Loco. A combination of the then-weakening economy and conflicts with clients were blamed for the troubles. The current owning partners, with experience in commercial shipbuilding and the cruise-ship industry, arrived about a year ago, and shortly thereafter Brandligt spoke with one of the principals. Despite the long lapse in operations, they all saw potential. “It is all of the history and most important it is the opportunities offered by the location itself and the determination of the new owners,” Brandligt says.

Broward had originally made a name for itself as a builder with happy owners, he explains, and the new owners wanted to revive that tradition of meeting customers’ expectations. The difficulties Broward Marine had in selling yachts did not weigh on his or the ownership team’s mind. “We are all enthusiastic,” Brandligt says. Besides, he adds, “Some very famous shipbuilding companies in Europe have gone bankrupt and are now on top of the world.”

Among the first orders of business are promoting its new way of operating. A statement released to the media and brokers explains, “we are reorganizing ourselves towards a ‘lean and mean’ project organization, a business model as commonly used by the most successful producers of motoryachts in the Northern part of Europe, in order to eliminate risks and safeguarding flexibility throughout and most importantly first class and up to date quality, on time and on budget.”

Broward Shipyard plans to complete hull numbers 603 and 604, which remained unfinished when Broward Marine shut down. It is also updating and promoting the 126’8” raised-pilothouse motoryacht design by Evan K. Marshall (above) that was developed with the former ownership. She’ll be classed to Lloyds, rather than ABS, and is expected to top out at 22 knots with twin 2,400-hp MTUs. The yacht will also be fitted with synthetic decks from Bolidt, whose products have been used by Carnival Cruise Lines and Austal Ships (parent company of Oceanfast), among others. Interior woodwork and decor is being left to the owner’s choosing.

There’s also a 154-footer designed by Cor D. Rover in the early planning stages. She’ll encompass three decks (Broward calls her a “Triple Bridge” model) and be constructed of aluminum and composite.

Equally important, Broward Shipyard will refurbish and perhaps even expand facilities. Brandligt says a timeframe can’t be established until some anticipated changes occur with neighboring companies. However, the wish list includes upgrading and deepening its docks plus deepening the main channel leading to its property. Broward Shipyard also plans to enclose a covered shed and equip it for cost-effective operations.

There are other ideas on the wish-list, too, such as collaborating with other builders. As details become available, we’ll update accordingly.

The Rebuild of Attessa IV

Attessa IV rendering

“This was more of a new build than a refit. I think the term remanufactured describes it pretty well.”

So says Capt. Ted McCumber, who has been overseeing the transformation of the superyacht formerly known as Evergreen into Attessa IV. She’s one of a handful of yachts that have been rebuilt or refitted for Dennis Washington, the American whose passion for fixing up yachts is matched seemingly only by his acumen for fixing troubled companies.

Launched as a 302-footer (92.14 meters) in 1997 at Hayashikane in Japan, Evergreen was acquired by Washington in 2007. As he’s done with previous yacht projects, his Washington Yachting Group has been handling the construction at Vancouver Shipyards, which he also owns, with McCumber ensuring everything goes to plan.

The drawing at top gives a good idea of what she’ll look like when she’s completed in a few months’ time, measuring 332 feet LOA. As of this writing, Attessa IV is still encased in shrink wrap, expected to launch in October. She’s in such a state because “the boat was too big to fit in our building,” McCumber explains. “We had to scaffold and shrink wrap and keep it heated.” He points to this method of dealing with the elements as being the biggest challenge of what has definitely been a complex rebuild.



How complex? Compare Attessa IV’s look with the original lines of Evergreen, above. Given that Evergreen’s angular superstructure was entirely aluminum, the new design couldn’t be achieved in metal alone. Gavin Erickson, who’s been guiding the design and engineering, tells me that “significant parts” of the superstructure were removed and replaced with both aluminum and composite parts. In fact, “There remained a number of areas where we had to use the existing structure as a base and fabricate large composite parts directly onto the yacht,” he says. It wasn’t just attaching composite components to the metal with adhesives, he explains: “Large in-situ fabrications are actually laminated directly to the existing structure.” McCumber believes that this blending of composites to metal could very well be a first in the yachting industry.

The process was further complicated by the realities of mechanical stress, Erickson adds, and the different expansion rates of metal versus fiberglass. The Washington Yachting Group extensively researched how to avoid structural failure, of course. Through proper preparation of the aluminum plus selecting the most appropriate composite materials, the team is confident the structure will withstand both situations.

After Attessa IV hits the water in October, there’s still work to be done. The accommodations for 16 (including the owners) and 25 crew need to be fully outfitted, for example, as do the private cinema and spa area. The latter includes a beauty salon, massage room, steam room, sauna, and gym. McCumber says the skylounge will be “amazing,” featuring a blown glass chandelier created by the famed glass artist Dale Chihuly. Exterior areas will be expansive, all the better to enjoy the anticipated 25-knot top speed and continuous cruise speed of 18 knots. (Dialed back to 14 knots, Attessa IV should see a 5,000-nautical-mile range.) McCumber expects the Washington Yachting Group team will take a few months to complete everything.

Not that he’s in a rush to see Attessa IV depart, as he enjoys rebuilds. He actually prefers them over new construction, since “we have complete control and everyone in the yard works for us. You have a lot more influence on the finished product.” McCumber and Washington seem to be like-minded in that regard. The captain says his boss benefits from being able to “do whatever he wants” and “has a great eye for design, and he loves the project.”

“I think you will really like his latest vision,” McCumber tells me. I have a feeling I will indeed. Stay tuned.

Palmer Johnson Closes UK Operations

In a sign of the times, more than 100 craftspeople that Palmer Johnson hired for its UK-based yacht-building operations have been laid off.

Both the Daily Echo newspaper and Boating Business magazine reported earlier this week that the yard in Hythe, on the southern coast of England, planned to release 110 employees and shut its doors. It’s the same facility that recently launched the first 51-meter Sport Yacht. Boating Business further reported rumors that some employees staged a walkout in the days prior because they hadn’t been paid, and suppliers also reportedly hadn’t been paid. Boating Business attempted several times to contact Lee Archer, director of the facility, for comment but indicated that the phone went unanswered.

However, Mike Kelsey, Jr., president of Palmer Johnson, confirmed the layoffs and shut-down in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. The statement further added:

The company had also been planning to build a new facility in the former VT shipyard in Woolston, Southampton. The Wisconsin-based builder, which received planning permission to build the yard last month, had forecast the creation of about 800 local jobs. “We have decided that with the world economy as it is, along with excess capacity offered by our base in the United States at the Wisconsin Shipyard, that we would wind down the UK operations at this time and move the entire Sportyacht program to the Palmer Johnson facility in Wisconsin,’ said Mike Kelsey, Palmer Johnson president.

It’s a sad turn of events from early 2008, when Palmer Johnson unveiled plans to begin yacht construction both there and in the nearby town of Woolston, at a facility formerly occupied by Vosper Thornycroft. Eight hundred jobs were expected to be created. Local officials and media celebrated the plans, in light of hundreds of layoffs previously made by large firms that had operated there. Furthermore, they saw it as bolstering the marine-industry operations in and around Southampton. Sunseeker has long had a presence there, and Lloyds Register relocated its headquarters to Southampton from London. It created 100 new jobs, complementing the 450 employees transferred in the process.

However, Kelsey remains optimistic that it can revive operations in England. The statement added: “‘We are still in discussion with S.E.E.D.A. to develop the Woolston site when the need arises.” (SEEDA stands for the South East England Development Agency, which supports economic development in the region.) Kelsey also stated that the design team located there will remain there.

First Monte Fino 100 RPH Delivered

Monte Fino 100 RPH

The Kha Shing shipyard in Taiwan has been producing the Monte Fino line since the 1980s, with U.S. distribution beginning in the mid-1990s. The line is among the few worldwide that still offer fully custom motoryachts up to the 120-foot range. The yacht pictured here is the newest to join the Monte Fino family, the Monte Fino 100 RPH.

Humphreys Yacht Design, hired in 2007 to give the Monte Finos a makeover, lends the 100 RPH modern appeal, with nice expanses of windows and a dramatically flared bow. Note also the inclusion of side decks, which don’t impinge on the 22’5” beam. Up top, she features an open flying bridge shaded by a hardtop; owners can opt for an enclosed bridge instead, creating an intimate skylounge.

Inside, the owner chose an on-deck master stateroom and three guest staterooms below decks. The captain and crew are housed aft of the engine room. They can access their accommodations via a transom entrance or a stairway from the aft deck. The owner further requested the addition of two sets of crew-only stairs, though curious guests may venture along one on occasion. That set leads from the flying bridge to the interior helm station. The other stairway leads from the galley to the flying bridge, to simplify serving drinks and snacks. Amenities on the flying bridge include the ubiquitous Jacuzzi, a sunpad, a dining area, and a bar.

While certification is optional overall for the Monte Fino 100 RPH, the owner of this first delivery requested compliance with RINA and MCA.

The Launch of Cakewalk, America’s Largest Yacht

Traffic stops for a variety of reasons any given day of the week along I-95, one of the busiest U.S. highways. Imagine, then, the traffic-halting situation that probably occurred this past weekend as Derecktor Shipyards, whose sheds and waterfront in Bridgeport, Connecticut are in full view from the roadway, gently slipped the largest American-built yacht into Long Island Sound.

Cakewalk in water

Cakewalk, America's largest yacht; Jim Raycroft photo

As many of us in the media have been reporting since the contract was signed in 2006, the 281-foot (85.6-meter), 2,995-gross-ton Cakewalk is the largest yacht by volume to be built on U.S. soil since the 1930s. An American couple who previously owned two European-built megayachts commissioned her. They firmly believed that they could get a well-engineered yacht stateside.

Cakewalk launch

Cakewalk dwarfs the Derecktor drydock; Jim Raycroft photo

For the launch, Derecktor employed its new 4,000-ton dry dock. The christening photo at left gives you a good idea of just how massive both the dry dock and the yacht herself are. In fact, it’s tough to see the spray from the traditional champagne bottle breaking across her bow, and your eyes are naturally drawn to the flare of the bow and how towering it is over the powerboat below.

Indeed, everything about the steel-hulled Cakewalk is huge. Her beam is nearly 47 feet (14.3 meters). The superyacht rises six decks high, with the owners’ and guests’ relaxation spaces occupying much of them. She employs a 400-kW bow thruster. Two of her four main gensets are MTU 12V2000 M40Bs. Her twin MTU engines produce 3,306 hp apiece. Ninety-seven-thousand gallons (370,000 liters) of fuel are onboard, too.

You’ll have to wait until her debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to get a good look at her, with accommodation for 14 guests and 26 crew. For now, finishing work continues, and sea trials are expected shortly. Anticipated top speed is 17 knots, while anticipated cruise is 15 knots. Cruising range should be 5,000 nautical miles.

Being such a large, complex project, Cakewalk employed contributions from a number of companies worldwide. Some, like interior designer Dalton Designs, are based in the States. Others, like stylist Tim Heywood Designs and the naval-architecture team of Azure Naval Architects, are in the UK and Europe, respectively. Still others include McKay, a New Zealand-based firm that designed and supplied the electrical system plus the alarm and monitoring system. Some yards prefer not to credit subcontractors, but Derecktor’s vice president of business development, Gavin Higgins, readily acknowledges them. “You cannot successfully build a yacht of this size and complexity with having that sort of talent available,” he explains.

Derecktor also acknowledges the challenges it faced with Cakewalk. “Needless to say, as with any project of this scale and sophistication, there were some growing pains along the way, but we think the result speaks for herself,” Paul Derecktor, president of Derecktor, says.

I’ll be visiting the yacht soon and have a full report here on Megayacht News close to boat-show time.

Perini Navi Sells Fourth 45-Meter Sloop

Perini Navi C. 2114

Late summer 2011 should see the delivery of C. 2114, the fourth in Perini Navi’s 45-meter (148-foot) series. The steel-hulled sloop will look similar to the photo here, as well as the three previous 45-meter deliveries: Heritage, Helios, and Fivea, the latter of which was delivered in April.

Like her sisters, C. 2114 bears naval architecture from Perini Navi’s in-house team and Ron Holland Design. Her aluminum mast rises more than 51 meters (167 feet) high, bearing a nearly 1,200-square-meter (12,917-square-foot) sail plan. (Incidentally, Perini Navi is building the mast itself, rather than subcontracting it the way some yards do.) In a nod to the convenience of modern technology, there are electric furlers for the mainsail.

Inside, C. 2114 will feature the owner’s imprint as interpreted by the Perini Navi Design Department. No details have been released about the decor, but the yard has revealed there will be four staterooms on the lower deck, including the owner’s suite. The main deck will feature the traditional saloon and dining areas, for up to eight people.

Megayacht Emerald Isle Up for Auction

Emerald Isle

In two weeks, the 126-foot Emerald Isle, which has had one owner since delivery from Christensen Shipyards in 1992, will be auctioned to the highest bidder in Fort Lauderdale.

Emerald Isle is being sold on an “as is, where is, with all faults” basis on August 24. She’s presented jointly by J.P. King Auction Company, an auction marketing firm, and Yacht Auction Group, which has overseen the sale of boating-related and other luxury assets. The megayacht had been offered for sale through traditional brokerage channels in 2008 and 2009 and went through a few price reductions, but ultimately did not sell.

While Emerald Isle was not used much in recent years, she did previously undertake 11 ocean crossings. Among the places she’s visited: Sardinia, Norway, the Caribbean, and Alaska. She also underwent a $2-million refit in 2009, which saw extensive work performed. The galley was gutted and received new cabinetry, new appliances, and granite countertops. New soft goods updated the living areas as well, including the saloon, with has an onyx-topped table and wetbar plus teak cabinetry. There’s also a backlit onyx table in the dining room. A survey was performed in June 2009, too.

Emerald Isle features an on-deck master suite plus three guest staterooms, one of which is full beam. There are crew’s quarters for six, all below decks.

Minimum bid is $2.85 million. All interested bidders must make a $50,000 deposit and register with the auctioneer. In addition, a broker preview day is scheduled for July 21.

Frans Heesen Building Another Boat

Heesen YN 15747 lobby

Shortly after Frans Heesen, founder of Heesen Yachts, and his wife took delivery of My Petra last year, he revealed they were already thinking about a bigger yacht. That yacht is the project referred to as YN 15747 (the build number)—signed, naturally, at Heesen a few months ago.

Now comes word that Bannenberg & Rowell Design has been tapped for a “strikingly different” interior to complement the Omega Architects general arrangement and exterior styling.


Heesen YN 15747 stateroom

The 46.7-meter (153-foot) superyacht, with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, will draw inspiration from a diverse mix. There’s optical geometrics, where light affects transparent or opaque objects and even affects other light beams. There’s also 20th century industrial Dutch design and other general industrial elements. Words alone can’t really convey the concepts, so take a good look at the illustrations here, of the lower-deck guest lobby and stairs (top) plus a guest stateroom (above).

It will be interesting to see what the Heesens’ grandchildren—themselves a diverse bunch—think about the decor. My guess is that they probably won’t pay too much attention, given that the lower deck will practically be their own domain, as will the media and games room forward on the main deck. The Heesens will have their owner’s suite up on the upper deck… far from the screams of delight (or distress) when one child beats another at the latest Wii or PlayStation game.