Philosopher’s Stone

Designers discuss the thinking behind their latest launches at this year’s FLIBS
Author:
Publish date:

Wally 48

Nineteen years later, the  Wallytender 48 retains many of the first 45’s design features, but it has been modernized for 2020. An outboard version is planned for the U.S. market.

Nineteen years later, the Wallytender 48 retains many of the first 45’s design features, but it has been modernized for 2020. An outboard version is planned for the U.S. market.

The Wallytender 48, which made its U.S. debut at FLIBS, was a déjà vu moment for Luca Bassani. The brand’s founder had created the Wallytender in 2002, a 45-footer with similar lines and open space for carrying guests. It was a breakthrough boat for the new builder, which went on to create some of the most iconic motoryachts and sailboats in Europe.

“We introduced a vertical bow on our Wallypower models, and that was very much criticized at the time,” Bassani says. “We were told it was crazy to use a vertical bow and was even unsafe. But we did it for a reason: It stopped the boat from slamming into waves. Now, of course, the vertical bow has become the norm. Everyone has copied us.”

The Wallytender 48 has a similar look with its plumb bow, but it’s modernized with a larger cabin and optional galley, as well as air conditioning and a watermaker. The aft hull sides fold down to expand the cockpit area. “Clients were asking for more comfort on board,” Bassani says. “It has the same DNA as the original boat, but more modern.”

4.b1-GMR19_WT48_1232_mod

The 48 is not just an update of the 45, however. It has a different shear, and the bow is fuller to accommodate more volume below. The running surface is the same, Bassani says, because it has proven to be seaworthy.

The 48 was the first launch following Ferretti Group’s acquisition of Wally last year. The new parent is building an outboard version for the U.S. market that will be introduced at the Miami show. “That boat will have twin 450-hp Mercury Racing outboards, so it will run at 55 knots,” Bassani says. “It’s an even sportier boat for customers who love the speed.” — M.V.

Zar Formenti 95SL

The Zar Formenti 95SL balances form and function with its upturned bow.  “I used organic and dynamic shapes to help the boat integrate better with its surroundings,” designer Carlos Vidal says.

The Zar Formenti 95SL balances form and function with its upturned bow. “I used organic and dynamic shapes to help the boat integrate better with its surroundings,” designer Carlos Vidal says.

The dramatically upturned bow is the most noticeable exterior feature on the Zar Formenti 95SL, and one that Carlos Vidal relishes for both seaworthiness and aesthetics. “Eliminating the inflatable tubes forward where they’re no longer in contact with the water allowed us to create a much more spacious deck layout. Plus, the boat’s weight is more evenly balanced throughout,” he says. “It’s similar to a conventional fiberglass hull.”

The flared bow, Vidal says, gives the 31-foot RIB a smoother ride. “The shape lets the water climb up the keel as it gradually stops wave impact, and then it’s redirected down again with our patented U-shaped water tunnels,” he says. “It results in a much drier ride in rough water.”

The all-black 95SL at FLIBS was powered by twin 350-hp Suzuki outboards and had a cockpit galley, full enclosed head, T-top and abundant seating. The turned-up bow, Vidal says, also let him harmonize the shape and elongate the proportions. He likens the 95SL to an aggressive sea animal, with side windows resembling narrow, slitting eyes.

3.b.2-ZAR95SL-T-top

“I try to appeal to the inner child in all of us where we like to play with a cool but stylish toy,” he says. “I do this with the understanding that a boat will always have an impact on the environment, not only in terms of pollution but also visually. That’s why I used organic and dynamic shapes to help the boat integrate better with its surroundings. These shapes also help alleviate the visual weight of the fiberglass over the tubes.”

Vidal wants owners to admire the boat when they leave it at the slip. “I want them to have the same feeling I have every time I walk away from my car,” he says. “I walk away backward, admiring every cool detail and almost not believing that, finally, I really own it. This syndrome of back-walking is what I’d like 95SL owners to have when they moor the boat.” — M.V.

Marquis M42

Naval architect Paul Miller says the boat was designed for function first, aesthetics second. “It had to function as something a real boater could use,” he says. 

Naval architect Paul Miller says the boat was designed for function first, aesthetics second. “It had to function as something a real boater could use,” he says. 

When Carver-Marquis lead designer Paul Miller began drawing the Marquis M42, he knew it would be an unusual project. “We knew it was going to be a dayboat, but it had to be different from anything on the water,” he says. “And it had to function as something that a real boater could use.”

Miller’s marching orders were to create a new type of boat based on automotive design, but it had to handle rough seas, with up to 17 people on board. “We included grabrails all over the exterior so the boat could weather big seas,” Miller says. “We also made areas around the outer grill and below deck larger to increase functionality. We focused on features like cup holders. The helm console had to be able to accommodate two large displays, just like any other boat.”

Other than the practical design cues, Miller was given free rein on the M42’s styling. “For the exterior, we did a study of the automotive world and made a section of the exterior bump out toward the front of the boat, so it had more of a 3-D effect,” he says. “There was a more purposeful two-tone look to the exterior, and the forward section with the window gave us the opportunity to add another accent color.”

Carver-Marquis was simultaneously working on the Lexus LY 650, which also launched at FLIBS. Miller says that boat was being managed by designers from Toyota, so the M42 gave his team more freedom to create. “It was refreshing to have our own project,” he says. “And we had a specific direction that was very different from the LY 650 — and different from what we’d ever done before.” — M.V.

Silent 55

A new owner about the all-electric Silent 55:  “Why would you own a gasoline-powered car if you’ve ever driven a Tesla?”

A new owner about the all-electric Silent 55: “Why would you own a gasoline-powered car if you’ve ever driven a Tesla?”

Michael Köhler, who spent nearly 20 years as a liveaboard, decided in 2005 that there had to be a better way to power boats. Köhler experimented with an electric boat fueled by solar power and battery packs, launching the Solarwave 46 in 2009. A decade later, his Silent Yachts builds three power catamarans, including the 55-footer on dispaly at Fort Lauderdale.

The Silent 55 is noteworthy not only for its wide beam and large interior space, but also for the arrays of solar panels on most of the exterior. The electric motors, from Canadian manufacturer TM4, are rated at 250 kW peak and 150 kW continuous power. There are three battery banks, each rated at 400 volts, of modules weighing 44 pounds each.

The basic propulsion system comprises the motors, thrust bearings and inboard shafts. The 55-footer reaches a top speed of around 17 knots. “It would take less than three seconds to go from full throttle to full reverse,” says Jean-Marc Zanni, of Sempra Italia, who designed the propulsion system. “But everyone would be on the floor if you did that.”

Charles Deyo, owner of the Silent 55 at FLIBS, says he plans to keep the boat near his home in Key West, Fla. Deyo says low operating costs and a low carbon footprint attracted him to the brand. “I’ve owned a bunch of smaller jetboats,” he says. “This is the opposite experience. It’s so quiet, almost like being on a sailboat when you’re underway.”

Jim Malachowski, a former Formula One racecar driver, recently purchased a Silent 80. He liked the idea of the catamaran being fully “adaptable,” with a 25-year life span on the solar panels, and being able to replace batteries as new technologies emerge.

“Why would you ever own a gasoline-powered car when you’ve experienced a Tesla?” Malachowski asks. “This is the same experience but on a boat, and it’s the only full-sustainable solar technology on the boating market.” — MV.

Sunseeker 38 Hawk

Sunseeker’s 38 Hawk takes style cues from the builder’s performance boats of the 1990s, but is designed around a more modern hull. 

Sunseeker’s 38 Hawk takes style cues from the builder’s performance boats of the 1990s, but is designed around a more modern hull. 

The Sunseeker 38 Hawk is a modern take on the XS2000 that the U.K. builder launched 20 years ago. “Those iconic Sunseekers couldn’t sustain the profit margins we were getting from our yachts, so we stopped building them,” says Ewen Foster, director of design and naval architecture. “But there is always pull from clients who wanted a 21st century XS2000.”

Like the previous performance boats, Fabio Buzzi, who died earlier this year in a boating accident, designed the 38 Hawk’s running surface, giving it the ability to run offshore at 70 mph. “Fabio had fine-tuned the steps, deadrises and other hull structures so that, from my view as a naval architect, most of the hard work was done,” Foster says.

The Sunseeker team was responsible for the look above the waterline, including Foster’s helm area. “We wanted to keep some elements of other boats in our range, including the anodized aluminum and race-oriented gauges, but we also wanted a more utilitarian helm that was smaller and practical,” he says.

2.b.2-Sunseeker-International-Hawk-38_1

The team also gave the 38 Hawk what Land Rover calls its “command driving position,” which combines a high seating position and upright steering wheel to increase the line of sight and give the driver a feeling of confidence. Sunseeker used taller helm seats and an upright steering wheel, and it widened the windshield so the view would unobstructed. “We were concerned about possibly losing clients by making the profile higher on a performance boat,” Foster says. “But our lower-profile helm designs haven’t been as popular.”

Being a performance boat, the 38 Hawk has subtle design cues from the SX2000 and Superhawk models of the 1990s. “There are nods to our past across the boat,” he says. “If you squint hard enough, you can see the DNA from the older models.” — M.V.

Tiara Sport 43 LS

“We unshackled our design team,” says lead designer Andrew Bartlett about the smart features across the Tiara Sport 43 LS.

“We unshackled our design team,” says lead designer Andrew Bartlett about the smart features across the Tiara Sport 43 LS.

When Tiara Sport introduced its LS line, design lead Andrew Bartlett said the project “unshackled our design team.”

“We’re the first domestic maker to absolutely pursue the luxury dayboat, stripping anything that’s fish,” Bartlett says. “It’s not unfishable, but it’s not its priority.”

For instance, the cockpit decks are raised because the depth required for a fishing boat isn’t needed. A rotating aft bench seat, depending on the position it’s in, adds swim platform or cockpit space. The console is widened because only one person at a time will be walking from the cockpit to the bow. The port walkway is raised for easier boarding from a dock because there’s no worry about fishing from that side of the boat.

7aTiara43ls_dsc03025.jpg-2

The heart of the 43 LS is the galley island, which has a Corian countertop, a cooktop, two refrigerators, an optional icemaker and a hidden wastebasket. A television folds down from the underside of the hardtop for viewing from the cockpit. And because there’s no need for unobstructed 360-degree passage around the boat, the hardtop supports are on the cap rail. In the bow, there’s a triple-wide chaise-style lounge with backrests, foldout armrests and an adjustable footrest.

Below deck, Tiara used multiple colors and textures in the upholstery, and included a full-height head and two separate cabins. “We set the designers loose in here,” Bartlett says, “making a luxury sport center console.” — E.C.

Boston Whaler 405 Conquest

8cWhaler405

When the Boston Whaler 405 Conquest was in design, consumers told the builder that the boat should have separate head and shower compartments. “When we talked with customers, especially with women, this was the must-have,” says Charlie Foss, design director for Brunswick Boat Group, the parent company of Boston Whaler. “You need to have a separate shower.”

That shower is positioned beneath the helm to give the stall plenty of headroom, and the head compartment offers ample space, as well.

Another customer request was a proper master stateroom. “Once you get to around 40 feet, people have this idea of a dedicated stateroom,” Foss says.

Many of the 405 Conquest’s features are the result of customer feedback, including separate head and shower compartments, and a dedicated master stateroom.

Many of the 405 Conquest’s features are the result of customer feedback, including separate head and shower compartments, and a dedicated master stateroom.

The master is in the 405’s bow, with an island berth that lifts up on gas struts to reveal stowage. Foss says Boston Whaler took this approach, rather than drawers, because the larger space can accommodate a variety of items — life jackets, duffel bags, even a life raft. The pocket-style entry door to the stateroom slides to starboard, and when it’s open, the bottom third swings up to fit within the hull’s deadrise.

There’s also an aft stateroom with good natural light. “The idea here was to keep it nice and open,” Foss says.

In the cockpit, where the forward port lounge can extend to a create a sun pad, the aft-facing seats are raised in mezzanine style. From the helm, the skipper has an unobstructed view whether backing down on a fish or pulling into a slip. “You can really see out over everything,” Foss says. — E.C.

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue.

Related