A sloop-cutter rig in which hi-tech even when knowingly concealed by refined decor, plays a fundamental role in obtaining a decidedly hi-performance yacht.
In the initial part of the eighties’ there was only one route for any shipyard starting with an ambitious project aimed at consolidating a solid position in the superyacht sector in a short time and that was: innovation. But so as to be credible in a milieu made up of few high sounding brands, it had to have a reliable, expert, recognisable scout/guide. Here are the two prerequisites on the basis of which Alloy Yachts from New Zealand flanked by expert yachtsman Tony Hambrock have successfully built up what’s today the yard’s image: one of a team – more than of a company – which is very much updated from a technological view point and with as many as thirty four international awards to their name in twenty eight years. But also and perhaps above all we’re talking about a team which has the ability to strike up a deep exclusive, empathically sound working relationship, with its clients. And furthermore what is typically symbolic of this, is the fact that among the names signed in to each project there are also those of the owners.
Obviously “Encore” is no exception. It is Alloy’s one but latest sailing yacht launched from the yard’s slip in Auckland. This yacht sports wide use of aluminium alloy (from which the shipyard’s name)a generous sail plan, a range of more than 4,000 nautical miles when powered by engine and an array of in house designed and tailor made winches and thrusters as well as other devices to highlight the yacht’s importance and the uniqueness of the exteriors and interior layout and decor.
Encore’s overall length is just a shade less than 44 metres, she sports a low silhouette over the water, she’s streamlined with a harmonious deckhouse situated astern of a special 60 metre Southern Spar mast which can carry approximately 2,000 square metres of canvass. The ensuing strong lateral push with the canvass set is balanced more by the hull’s shape than by anything else as the 60 tons worth of ballast is not a great deal when compared to a 265 ton displacement. So as to remain on the same subject, it would be safe to say we’re looking at a hull which is slightly below the mark that separates light displacement range from middle ones and promises therefore hi-performance levels.
Surely enough it can top 18 knots under engine when propelled by a generous 837 HP Caterpillar which is proof enough of the hull’s speed and stability which is actually well above the theoretical one: to be clear, the one expressed by Froude’s number gives an indicative top speed between 14.4 to 15.5 knots.
Obviously this achievement is no coincidence but is the result of a long and evolutionary process which Ed Dubois -the architect who drew up the water lines and the exterior design – has been upgrading over a 25 year period, in fact ever since he designed “Espirit” (later named “Eclipse) for the same owner, which was also built by Alloy Yachts.
In spite of the considerable arc of time, there’s a well defined degree of similitude between these two sailing yachts. Several elements which at the time seemed daring –we’re talking of 1991 – are found once more, but rightly mature today: Just imagine the spectacular transom which slopes down towards the sea between steps which seem locked into the sides and cannot be seen when looking at the yacht’s silhouette; or the bow and lateral cut glass panelling which as we’ll understand, makes for highly bright saloon/lounges boasting incredible panoramas.
“ The owner had been happily sailing on his “Eclipse” for many years, and when he decided to order a much larger yacht from us he laid down, among the ‘must haves’ the same features and characteristics which made ”Eclipse” so special, but of course they had to be scaled up to the required new size” says Ed Dubois. Surely enough the name chosen for the new superyacht clearly wishes to underscore this sense of continuity.
The British designer goes on to say: “Obviously, “Encore” performs much better. And this makes us proud as it is living proof of what we‘ve learnt and have developed over time in terms of hull designs, skegs, fin keels, the distribution of weights and not least the sail plans for today’s large yachts”. Nevertheless a boat of the kind is not made of pure technology. This one on analysis contains very little that can be seen, but instead what meets the eye as you climb on board, is a view on what can be said as being well balanced harmony throughout all living quarters.
“ Above all, this aspect has been achieved thanks to the owner’s own input – says Donna Maree Allcock Alloy Yachts designer – which has been fundamental in getting things done to resemble what was wanted from layout, decor, right to the styling of the furniture and type of lighting systems”. “ In a nutshell- Allcock went on to add quietly – my main function meant translating the owner’s requests so as to come up with the requested design”.
And since the owner had not only plenty of experience under his belt but wanted a family feel about the yacht, high on the priority list there was the importance the convivial shared areas below decks had to represent. Therefore even though these areas are diversified, for one the informal dinette (which is nearer the entrance) and the formal dining area and lounge (situated almost amidships) the entire area is but one where everyone can find his/her own space without being isolated from everyone else. What adds to a precious welcoming feeling overall is the light which seems to envelop the interiors of this area thanks to the window like ports along the perimeter highlighting a refined decor and furnishings which are nevertheless practical and usable.
D.B. Fletcher’s wonderful dining table is a great example to better illustrate what’s just been said. The table is made up of about a thousand parts (just in the way of a comparison, a Jaeger Le Coultre wrist watch is made up of about five hundred parts)and can proudly sport the most ingenious system by which to lengthen it – and the most expensive – that has ever been invented. A flight of stairs leads from this area to the cabins. The elegant owner’s suite is made up of a large bedroom, a bathroom, a study corner and small lounge.
The guests’ quarters comprise two doubles and a twin cabin all with private bathrooms. Each of the cabins has been designed in such a way that each sports something different without doing away with the level of comfort. Skin inserts and tweeds by Ralph Lauren embellish the interiors. As for the so called technical areas, the engine room and adjacent ones comply to the highest safety standards which allow best access to the various plants installed. Access to these areas is guaranteed directly from below decks and from the crew quarters which are made up of three doubles, furnished with the same materials as in the guest cabins and with private bathrooms.
Since the owner is not only a gourmet but enjoys preparing cooked dishes as well, the galley is the size of a truly professional kitchen but geared up to sailing so that for example the drawers and oven open out lengthwise so that they can’t accidentally open when going about.
by Corradino Corbò
For further information: Alloy Yachts
by Corradino Corbò