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Form follows function - Or does it?

by John Curnow, Global Editor, Powerboat.World 18 Feb 20:00 PST
WHY200 © Wally Yachts

It is one of the cornerstones of design philosophy. As too is blue and green should never be seen, without another colour in between. However, in modern times, the latter one has been totally shattered, with design houses even putting out logos with lime green and navy blue right there abutting each other. Wow.

So yes, if there is one thing that you can say about now, it is that change is well and truly with us. Arguably, we have not seen this sort of shift in the paradigm since Bertram, Hatteras (and if you're Australian, the big Savages with Chrysler Hemi power) took over from the era of lovely ChrisCrafts or Halvorsens.

Even iconic Wellcraft Scarabs and Cigarettes can trace their lineage back to that point, which is a bit like all dogs are wolves when you boil it all down... Of course the maintenance and fuel bills have helped them become yesterday's star, whilst the incredible utility of the centre console, and the insane horsepower available in an outboard to make 60 knots+ more than achievable, all did their bit to make the go fast boat just a little bit obsolete...

I mean, sure, in the intervening time things like multihulls, warped planes, RIBs, solar/electric craft have made their mark, and construction methods and materials have developed rapidly, so that where you saved weight you could go faster, or opt to put even more amenity on board. Yet the argument is, nothing has changed so much as now, and if the function was to float back then, today the route purpose is a far more amorphous blend, of entertainment, relaxation, separation, exploration, soothing, and enhancement.

So now we see what are effectively scow bows atop fine entries to allow for massive volume up for'ard, and this is applicable whether you're one of the Beneteau Flyer 10/Gran Turismo 32 siblings, or the intriguing Wally WHY200. Naturally, these two are poles apart in terms of market niche, yet the similarities are as distinct as is their very form.

Boats are also transformers, with bits going here, there, and nearly everywhere, or popping up from that point, swinging out from this one, and even retracting back into their home. So unequivocally, in terms of the times, it is all very much a case of that was then, and this is now!

Power on

We've already mentioned the outboard, but once they marched through the 300hp bracket, it seemed like nothing was too much. Volvo Penta may have announced the death of the Seven Marine 627hp 'Predator' (so named for its resemblance to the movie character), as it meets its sustainability targets, but this may have just allowed Mercury all the real estate on the prairie, with the pioneers well and truly on the way in droves.

Not since the original Black Max inline six powerhead atop the leg has a motor looked so different. 7.6 litres of atmospheric, quad cam, 600hp V12, and we're talking boats, not Italian Supercars. A steerable gearcase ensures you're bound to see three, four and even five units on a transom near you soon enough, whilst the two-speed transmission and contra-rotating screws should help to minimise thirst when not aiming for warp speed.

Of course if it is grunt you're after, then the long awaited Cox Powertrain 300hp Diesel should have the kind of torque needed to spin some very big and impressive wheels, offering real world offshore grip and range to boot. Personally I just cannot wait to have a go.

Back to Volvo and with 30k IPS units installed worldwide, the take up in latter years is impossible to walk past and shows acceptance of the format. Lower noise by virtue of underwater exhaust, lower power requirement against other set ups, and lesser consumption are pretty handy USPs. Interestingly, Australia's Riviera accounts for two thousand of these. Of course, we are now seeing plenty of triple and quad installations, especially of the D13 1350s, and that means it is important to remember that even at 2.5 tonnes for each powerplant, jack shaft and pod, that it is power that makes you fast, but torque that makes you quick!

A note too that Volvo Penta's Assisted Docking is now a reality, just a mere couple of years after it was announced to many a raised eyebrow. At a time when many new to boating souls are arriving on the scene, all I can say is slam-dunk, and I bet the insurance companies are equally delighted. Maybe we should also ensure there is education to go with that, so that should it, or the driver, fail for whatever reason, then there is a level of knowledge around the fundamentals behind it to avoid greater issues evolving.

Next, we would have to also mention the hybrid and ZF. OK. Presently only for the superyacht realm, but where do you think traction control, adaptive suspension, ground effects, and adaptive wings all got their start?

The Expedition and Explorer

Valerio Rivellini's Extended Explorer is a fusion between Amphibious Assault Ship and Superyacht, even down to camouflage paint, sharp edges, and splendiferous clipper bow. From Polar Bears to hair braiders - they'll definitely see you coming.

Just before last Christmas, Camper & Nicholsons released information about this 54m (and under 500GT) vessel, which is named BowSprit. We love an expedition craft here at Powerboat.World, so the form and the name were quite captivating. Also interesting was to see how in 2023 she will become the first white boat out of the famous Cantiere Navale Vittoria under the new brand Vittoria Yachts.

"Vittoria's military and paramilitary boats have technical specifications that equal or even exceed those of most superyachts," says Michele Zorzenon, Managing Director of Vittoria Yachts. "With our long history, our skills, and important investments in research and development, together with our facilities, we felt that the time had come to transfer all our expertise and professionalism into yacht building. The new brand will have its own strong personality and we are sure that, thanks also to recognised and valuable partners, it will succeed in offering tailor-made solutions to meet the desires of all our customers."

The Naval architect is Sergio Cutolo with the Hydro Tec team, and the yacht under construction is steel/aluminium, but the shipyard can build all aluminium vessels. What are they aiming to achieve from an amenity point of view, given it will have to operate in both warm and cold environments? "To keep the vessel below the 500 GT threshold, there many open spaces that can be easily converted, with removable panels/canvas into closed spaces."

Given the expansion of the charter sector, BowSprit also has an optional layout with six cabins that will suit extended families or multiple party guests. "The bowsprit gives optimum visibility during anchor hauling, apart from offering a unique point of view."

BowSprit is conceived to be able to do 6500nm at 10 knots. This niche does tend to be green, so what is possible with BowSprit? "On the first unit there might be the option to build the boat without Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR and think AdBlue), but the design has been conceived to receive SCR and a hybrid propulsion system, which may lead to higher fuel efficiency. In addition, the yacht can be built according to RINA Green Class."

Different by virtue of being, well, different

Now that could be because they're green, they look like sculpture, or they just totally mix it up, as if they have been put in the cocktail shaker with ice, and given plenty of welly.

Francis Lapp - Founder and President of Sunreef - commented, "With Sunreef Yachts Eco we took the time to reassess the way we think of yacht interiors. We have a unique, holistic approach to green yachting. It is present in every single aspect of our boats, including the decors. Today, we can proudly say our boats are green inside and out. This is because we sourced for the best natural and recycled materials, making no compromise on quality. Luxury and sustainability can and should go together."

Dynamiq. It is part Thunderbirds, part Art Deco, 100% sensuous, and possibly closer to calling a gallery its home, rather than a marina. Say no more.

CMY 161, the compact motor yacht of just 16.1m, that is powered by three 300hp OXE Diesels (developed in conjunction with BMW), can achieve 27 knots on all three, or do 2000nm at 7.5 knots burning just 1l/nm on solely the midships donk. Finnish build quality, Australian Naval Architecture, and some very innovative thinking could just sum up the heading and the premise behind it in one go.

Classic brands and traditionalists

All of which means they're not stuck in yesteryear, either... Not that long ago the sport yacht was considered a bit different. Resale is a big factor for larger players, so trends need to be monitored, and evolution is key.

Style icon Itama has undergone some tweaks with Piero Ferrari (son of Enzo) instrumental in the Ferretti Group's work to make the Med specials retain not only their carefree essence, but gain even more suitability to the modern world. And anyway, who does not like doing 40 knots?

Speaking of famous, Tankoa is to resurrect the brand whose head-turning speedwagons etched Cantierie di Pisa into the memory of any boating enthusiast. Can't wait to see what new models from 30 to 45m will look like and perform.

Moving away from Europe and Chas Milner, Matilda Bay Yacht Sales, Australian dealer for Tiara Yachts and Tiara Sport said, "It is great to Tiara Sport at the forefront of innovation again, by being one of the first manufacturers to adopt the new 600hp Mercury outboards on their 48LS. It was released just after Mercury's own announcement. The Tiara brands have a heritage that dates back to the 1970s, and are renowned as a quality, high end product in the USA. There are a number of their vessels in Australia, and whilst the dollar has held us back in recent times, the recent upturn of the dollar has brought them back into contention."

Last time we spoke, we showed you our new address - Powerboat.World - and today, we can inform you that due to our growth, we'll be going fortnightly with this editorial.

Today you will find that the website has an abundance of material from right across the globe, and if you cannot find something, just try the search button right up the top of the landing page, above our logo.

So as you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other parts of the group, go to the top of the Powerboat.World home page and the drag-down menu on the right, select the website you want to see and, voila, it's all there for you.

Finally. Please look after yourselves,

John Curnow
Global Editor, Powerboat.World

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