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Northcoast's Southern Lady Page 2

Southern Lady By Diane M. Byrne — January 2001

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Most of the other exterior changes are subtle. Northcoast modified the bow to make it appear more traditional, removing the pulpit that gave the 82 her distinctive look. Unobtrusive drains that run nearly the full length of the side decks replace multiple scuppers. There's also a spot to fill Southern Lady's 3,000-gallon fuel tanks to starboard, off the cockpit, a feature more commonly found on megayachts. A hatch also off the cockpit lifts to provide access to a big lazarette, large enough to stow all sorts of watersports- and boat-related gear.

More "big yacht" touches lie inside. Nearly every custom builder these days provides abundant headroom, and Northcoast is no different, giving Southern Lady seven feet throughout. Instead of furnishing an ordinary set of stairs leading up to the pilothouse, the yard created a floating staircase highlighted by fluted white oak and stainless steel, producing a work of art.

Unlike the 82--or nearly any other yacht in this size range, for that matter--Southern Lady has a foyer, not a vestibule, at the base of the stairs leading from the main deck to the master stateroom and three guest accommodations. Another pleasant surprise is the double-door entry to both the forward VIP and aft master staterooms; you're more likely to find this feature solely on owners' cabins, and then it's typically on yachts 20 feet larger. Northcoast also provided pocket doors for the guest cabins to port and starboard of the foyer. Although unusual, this is a good idea, as it prevents the doors from hitting each other--or worse, a passing guest--if they were to open out into the hallway and from taking up space if they were to open into the cabins.

Even the crew is treated to more space on the 84 in comparison to the 82. Located aft and to starboard, their cabin has a double berth and a pullman, if needed. Opposite, there's a combination mess/work area containing a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, the electrical panel, and a watermaker.

Amid these changes, Northcoast retained some of its tried and true practices. As mentioned earlier, it created a new mold for the 84's flying bridge; that's in keeping with the yard's practice of building whatever tooling it needs, including that for hulls. (It's not uncommon to find a few of its Pacific Northwest neighbors buying their hulls from other area builders.) Other similarities to previous Northcoasts include one-piece flooring and mostly balsa-cored fiberglass; foam coring is used in stringers and areas that are exposed to the outside, like flying-bridge decks. Northcoast also does all its own stainless steel work and fashions nearly all of its own joinery (occasionally subcontracting some cabinetry). Considering this is a small builder--its workforce numbers fewer than 100, and it can turn out only about two yachts a year--these abilities are impressive.

While at first glance there may not seem to be much difference between the Northcoast 82 and the 84-foot Southern Lady, in reality the new yacht breaks new ground for this Northwest builder. It's nothing along the scale of Neil Armstrong's moonwalk, but it is nonetheless a handful of small steps that translate into a giant leap for Northcoast.

Northcoast Yachts (253) 627-2503. Fax: (253) 272-0306.

Next page > Southern Lady Specs > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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