The renderings for the Hodgdon Onyx 41 are nothing short of gorgeous. So sleek and replete with glass and wood, it looks like she is going to be a true show-stopper once the design finds a buyer, gets built, and finally launches. With a boat this pretty though, sometimes hardcore boaters will blanch at the thought of her practicality. Because aesthetics are great, but when you’re cruising, you need a real boat, not just a floating work of art.
Designer Luiz DeBasto is well aware of this truth. He’s also a boater himself, with his own desire for, and peeves against, certain kinds of boats. As such, when he began to formulate the idea for the Onyx 41 he came up with a list of things he doesn’t like about boats in this size range. Then he systematically ticked off those problems with his design.
One thing he finds annoying is putting out fenders. Thus, he came up with a simple solution. “The sides of the boat, in strategic areas, have high-impact foam covered by a very tough, metallic fabric,” the designer says. “So you don’t need fenders at all. It makes docking much more simple.”
Another gripe was cleats. “When you’re at anchor or at the pier, that’s when pop-up cleats are up, and that’s exactly when you’re walking near them,” DeBasto says. “Which makes no sense. So we put the cleats under the deck. There are little openings on the side and you put the line through them, and you open up a little hatch in the deck and the cleat is there. Then you close it up, and you can’t even see them!”
Not bad. But what about underway? How will the boat perform? “Sometimes in the U.S. you have to go through a canal or something to get to the ocean, so you go slow. So we put in electrical propulsion, it’s a hybrid. With this boat you can go 8 knots without even using the diesels, so you don’t use as much fuel,” says DeBasto. “She’s my little baby,” he concluded, “we tried to think of everything.”
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This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.