Sigrun — By Diane M. Byrne — April 2002
Green With Envy
|Contrary to some assumptions, Broward never went away—in fact, the quality of the engineering onboard Sigrun shows what the yard’s been up to.|
While it was the green hull that first got their attention, the thing that really made them look twice was the name of the yard on the superstructure.
"This morning alone I’ve had four captains come up to me," explains Capt. John Russell, who helms the 120-foot Sigrun, as we sit onboard at West Palm Beach’s Australian Docks on a cool February day. "None of them could believe it was a Broward."
Now there’s a name we haven’t heard in a while. Since coming under new management three years ago, the Florida-based yard has been pretty quiet on the publicity front. While some people assumed out of sight meant out of business, Broward has actually delivered 11 yachts measuring 100 feet or more in that period. But what will really strike you–as it did me—is the fact that the yard tallies more than 100 improvements (and counting) in the construction and engineering of its all-aluminum yachts. If Sigrun is any indication of the statement Broward is trying to make, then we’re all in for quite a conversation.
The person responsible for most of these changes is Rick Arnold, the yard’s project manager. With 35 years’ experience running charter boats and building yachts worldwide, including in Holland, Arnold wanted to push Broward into more modern construction methods. One of the first changes was the purchase and installation of a computer-controlled plasma cutter for the aluminum plates. For years Broward craftsmen hand-cut plates out in the open air. Plasma creates a cleaner metal edge and less distortion, which reduces the amount of fairing compound needed to smooth the hull. Sigrun was one of the first Browards to benefit from this. And given that any hull color other than white will more readily reveal flaws, the response of the captains who approached Russell that February morning says a lot.
The reaction of surveyors that Russell hired to periodically review construction also speaks volumes. Although he had overseen a refit of the owner’s previous yacht, an 87-footer, he is, by his own admission, not an engineering expert, so he wanted to tap knowledgeable sources. He says the surveyors all commented on how the frames and ribs were closer together than those of previous Browards they had inspected.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.