A Tale of Two Yachts (by Guest Blogger Phil Friedman)

In my experience — or as my teenage daughter might say, “IMHO” — when considering the purchase or the charter of a yacht, the first question to ask is, “How and where am I going to use it?” The more closely you can match a yacht’s characteristics with the dictates of how and where she will be used, the better chance you have of a achieving a positive experience.

Consider two very different yachts with which I’ve been working lately. One is a 152-foot full-displacement tri-deck motor yacht, the other a 90-foot triple-engine, waterjet driven planing vessel. Sorcha, the 152-footer, cruises at 10 knots, and tops out at about 15 knots. Migliori Amici, the 90-footer, cruises at 25 knots, and makes a top speed of 29. The former draws eight feet, while the latter draws but 30 inches, yes inches. And the larger costs ten times as much as the smaller yacht. So, what’s the point?

The point is that each addresses specific needs and requirements. Sorcha is a modern long-range luxury cruising yacht with a range of 4,000 nautical miles. She has made several successful transoceanic passages, including an extended circumnavigation of the Pacific Rim. But that doesn’t make her one’s best choice, if, for instance, one wants to run right across the Bahama Bank and gunk hole in thin-water island anchorages.

Not that Sorcha can’t be used for island “hopping”; indeed, she’s visited a large number of islands — only they are volcanic Pacific islands with deeper anchorages than you find among the islands of the Bahamas and environs. In contrast, the Migliori Amici can nestle to within walk-ashore distance from a white sand beach, pull water-skiers, and take divers to where they can easily drop off her swim platform and boat warm-water lobsters for her grille.

Clearly, independent of size and cost, one of these yachts might appeal, while the other may not. But which is which very much depends on how and where you will be doing your yachting. Getting clear on that is the first order of business.

Phil Friedman, former President and CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts (Sturgeon Bay, WI and Savannah, GA, USA), is currently Director of New Build and Refit for Dwight Tracy & Friends Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is the author of more than 600 articles in a wide array of international yachting magazines, and regularly shares his 30 years of professional experience in yacht design, engineering, construction, and refit at his blog YachtBuildAdvisor.com. His recent eBook, “Ten Golden Rules for Successful Yacht Build Projects”, has received widespread praise from industry professionals. A free copy is available by emailing [email protected] .

A Different Kind of Yacht for Coastal Cruising and Island Hopping (by Guest Blogger Phil Friedman)

Several decades ago, a species of yacht was developed in North America, primarily for coastal cruising and island hopping. The genre almost instantaneously became known as a “Bahamas Houseboat”; and yachts of the kind in the 10m to 15m LOA range were marketed for chartering and wintering in the mostly sheltered waters of the island chain that lies some 90 nm east of the Florida coast.

The type combined houseboat-like accommodations with a beamy, shallow-V hull form that was in distinction to the barge and pontoon bottoms then ubiquitously associated with such vessels. Like a barge or pontoon bottom, the broad beam, shallow-V hull form kept draft to a minimum, while still providing sufficient load carrying capacity for truly house-like accommodations and the fuel, water, and stores necessary for extended island hopping. In addition, however, the V-bottom provided just enough sea-keeping ability to be able to cross the Gulf Stream — at least in predictably good weather — from, say, Bimini right across the Bank to Grand Bahama. And the V-bottom was definitely better able to negotiate passages from the lee of one island to that of another, in the presence of slight to moderate seas — something at which previous “houseboats” were notoriously deficient. Unfortunately, the “Bahamas Houseboats” were, to my mind, produced in sizes too small to reap fully the nominally intended benefits of the type. Consequently, after less than ten years, the genre passed from the yachting scene.

But that was then, and this is now. Recently, Boundless Yachts LLC introduced a shallow draft, waterjet-driven, triple-decked yacht that takes the Island Cruiser concept to its next logical iteration. This yacht is 27.4m (90’) LOA by 6.7m (22’) in beam, and draws less than .75m (2’6”) of water. She sports house-like accommodations, with eight feet of headroom throughout, and accommodations for 12 in four double staterooms and two convertible sleeping areas. Her huge main saloon blends into a country-kitchen style dining and galley area, to provide more convivial common area than one sees on yachts twenty feet longer or more.

An array of three Yanmar marine diesel propulsion engines, each coupled to a Hamilton waterjet drive, gives her the ability to reach 29 knots top speed, while retaining joystick maneuverability for docking on her two wing engines, and more than ample island-hopping range when running at passagemaking speeds on just her single centerline engine.

The Boundless 90 constitutes an instance in which form truly follows function without, I might add, undue sacrifice in styling. Personally, I see in the type high potential, not only for the Bahamas, but for European coastal and canal cruising, as well as charter fleet duty. Moreover, this is especially so, when you consider that, due to smartly executed value engineering, her cost is probably little more than half that of a tri-deck motor yacht matching her interior volume and accommodations.

Phil Friedman is the Director of , Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. He has a long background in yacht design and construction, including several years as President and CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts.

Golden Advice on New Builds and Major Refits (by Guest Blogger Phil Friedman)

Experience is Just as Important as Talent

If you’re considering building a new yacht for charter service, or thinking about refitting the one you have now, you might think carefully about the team you employ to plan and manage the work. The successful completion of a new construction or major refit project requires understanding what is within the realm of possibility to accomplish, and what is not. Raw talent often embodies vision and creativity, but concepts do not on their own turn into reality, especially on the shipbuilding shop floor. One major pitfall into which many new build and major refit projects step is setting off in pursuit of objectives that will take way too long, and cost way too much to achieve — if indeed they can ever be achieved at all.

I remember one large-yacht build project, to which I came as a project consultant/manager after it was begun. The development of the project was stalled because the initial concept called for a semi-displacement hull to be matched with a quite voluminous tri-deck superstructure. The naval architects involved were very talented and visionary, but in the relatively early stages of their careers. They had not been able to secure classification society approval for the design because of the yachts calculated stability curve. And out of frustration, the buyer/owner was preparing to walk away from the deal.

Looking at the parameters for speed and range, I determined that if the buyer would accept just three knots less top speed, we could switch to a well proven full displacement hull form, from a noted European N.A. firm, which hull form would handily satisfy the classification society’s requirement for stability, without any compromises as to the vessel’s general arrangement (GA) or other critical factors. I made the suggestion at a late night meeting of all parties, secured approval from the buyer, and released the original naval architects from further employment on the project.

Flying home from the meeting, I found myself sitting on the plane next to the naval architects in question. To say the least, they were unhappy and defensive, saying that they had not anticipated the problems we were having securing classification approval for the design of the new yacht, in respect of its projected stability. I explained to them that they were not being paid simply for what they did, but more importantly for what they knew. The hard truth was, and remains to this day, they should have known putting a tri-deck superstructure on the semi-displacement hull form variant which they had, admittedly, used previously with success, would cause issues in regard of stability. The fact was they should have counseled all involved, right from the beginning, that a switch to a full displacement hull form was the way to go. Instead, their lack of sufficiently broad experience, and their failure to identify a critical potential roadblock, had delayed the project several months, and almost killed it entirely.Photo_Anson-Bell-2_edit11Obviously, talent and enthusiasm are what breathe excitement and life into a developing project. They are what motivate buyers and owners to build yachts and undertake major refits in the first place. But all the talent in the world cannot deliver a properly completed yacht within budget and on a reasonable time schedule — without the experience needed to keep the project from heading down avenues that are very likely to be dead ends. In the main, yacht building is the creative realization of the possible, which, I submit, makes experience just as important as talent. And you can take that to the bank.


NOTE: This post is adapted from Phil Friedman’s recently published eBook, Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects. Comments on the eBook by noted industry professionals have included:

From Stephen Moon (Board Certified Admiralty and Maritime Law Specialist, Stephen M. Moon, P.A., Cocoa, FL, USA): “Your e-book is excellent. I should have been doing a lot of other things this morning but I could not resist reading the e-book as soon as I had a break… Your remarks are very insightful and will be appreciated by many. I have a much better understanding of the events leading up to the actual build process and the  important issues to consider before construction now. Your e-book is a quick, must read for anyone involved in a new build project or major refit.”


What a Difference a Stripe Makes: cost-effective changes to paint scheme. (from Guest Blogger Phil Friedman)






More often than not, a well planned and executed modification to a yacht’s paint scheme can yield aesthetic improvements way out of proportion to their cost.  Consider the 90-foot Bahamas Cruiser style yacht seen above. This luxurious, spacious, and ultimately very practical charter vessel exhibits an admittedly somewhat boxy, some might say ferry-like look. However, the addition of three well-planned paint stripes transforms her into an exceedingly handsome yacht, by anyone’s standards. The broad “window” stripe brings a longitudinal unity to her overall appearance and reduces the apparent height of her superstructure. The mid-topside hull stripe gives her a longer, leaner look. And the eyebrow stripe produces a pleasingly crisp transition from house to flybridge structure. All at a cost far less than you might ever expect.

This unusual yacht, by the way, is very nearly perfect for leisurely island-hopping, what with shallow draft, waterjet drives,  a full eight feet of headroom in her common areas, and a flybridge/boat deck that can carry all the water toys needed for a week or two of sun and sea diversion.

More information on paint schemes, paints, and coatings is available from:

Phil Friedman, New Build and Refit Consultant, Dwight Tracy & Friends Yacht Sales, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.  Author of the recently published eBook “Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects,”  Phil has broad experience in mega- and super-yacht construction, being a former president and CEO of world-class yacht builder Palmer Johnson Yachts. He is always ready to gam about the ins and outs of yacht building and refit.


Twins are better! The benefits of Motor Catamarans (from Guest Blogger Phil Friedman)

Twin hulls, that is. This handsome, power- and fuel-efficient raised pilothouse yacht deftly blends a highly efficient and stable catamaran hull form with exterior styling and interior design by an award-winning international yacht designer, Juan Carlos Espinosa. She is 80’ 4” LOA x 28’ 3” maximum beam, and displaces approximately 64 metric tons at half-load.

Her semi-displacement catamaran hulls run at exceedingly high speed-to-length ratios, without planing and, consequently, without requiring the large horsepower input of traditional mono-hull vessels. Her broad beam and twin-hull footprint provide a high level of stability, both at rest and underway, without the complication and added cost of active zero-speed stabilization. Construction is in state-of-the-art high strength fiberglass reinforced composite; and her outfit is specified for high value.

Catamaran_Master-SuiteInside, bright, airy common spaces on her main deck make for pleasant living and entertaining. Her raised pilothouse arrangement provides excellent separation between entertaining and navigation activities, while a main deck master suite forward provides truly sumptuous private space for her owner. Two double-berth VIP staterooms, and a twin-berth cabin on her lower deck, round out her accommodations.

On deck, her generous beam and broad bridge deck provide all manner of space for lounging and relaxing. And her aft deck incorporates a dining table and chairs for eight, and presents an exceedingly spacious and pleasant lounging area, well suited as well for luxury charters.

Because her hull form yields higher speeds per unit of power input than with conventional monohulls, this 80 footer is exceedingly flexible. With the standard power package, she can push to a genuine 35 knots, yet will run comfortably at 25 to 28 knots when asked to do so. At a passage-making speed of 12 knots, her range borders on being phenomenal. She truly approaches being a yacht for all seasons, and reasons.

The Amazonas 80 project is being developed by Phil Friedman, New Build and Refit Consultant, , Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Phil, who recently published “Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects,”  has substantial experience in mega- and super-yacht construction, being a former president and CEO of megayacht builder Palmer Johnson Yachts. And he is always ready to talk about the ins and outs of catamaran motor yachts.